Astro Star Quest 2009

It was a Saturday evening, and I have nothing planned. My beloved would be joining her family in the PJ Catholic High School School Band Concert, and that left me being alone for the night, until I got a call from my niece.

“We’ve got tickets for the Astro Star Quest Finals at Bukil Jalil Putra Stadium tonight, do you wanna come?”
“Yes! Where? When? Who? What? How?” I immediately jumped at the offer.
“But you won’t be sitting with us girls, we belong to the fan group of one of the contestant, you have to sit with our tuition teacher,”
“Er…not again, going to a concert with a g-u-y…” (the last time I went to Jacky Cheung’s 2007 World Tour in Bukit Jalil Stadium, it was with a GUY friend).
“So you wan or not?” young girls are getting less and less patient nowadays.
“Okay, count me in.”

And here I am. In the free seating section almost at the top of the stadium, this is the view I get, which is not too bad actually.

asq2009_01
Astro Star Quest 2009

Since this is a live broadcast on Astro Channel 311, the show started promptly. With a set of fast songs followed by a set of slow songs performed by the final five. To be honest, I have not followed any of this year’s ASQ, therefore I have no idea who are the five finalists. My judgement is based on their performance on the Finals night and not the whole series.

Having to endure a very poor sound system with echoes and deafening loudness, I can barely differentiate who is actually singing and who is mumbling there. I cannot even hear a single word the judges have said about the performance. By the way, there were no FEMALE judges on the panel.

After the first round of songs, I have eliminated two of them in no particular order:

1-KahFai1-317_43200963707
Kah Fai
17-Ryan1-317_43200960925
Ryan

Reasons for Kah Fai to enter my elimination list:
#1 He was the first to start singing, and he failed to lift the roof, in short, he failed to “come in with a bang”. I know that is pretty bias but being the first contestant to go out, he has to be THAT good.
#2 His voice is a bit better than average but does not have the range to go high pitch without struggling.

Reasons for Ryan to enter my elimination list:
#1 He does not know how to sing (as compared to the other finalists).
#2 He seems to capitalize only on his good looks and the fan base attracted to (perhaps) his looks.
#3 He has shown nothing to convince me that he deserved to be in the last five.
#4 And he ended up No.4 …

Since I have never followed the Astro Star Quest Finals before, I have no idea what was going on when the first elimination was made, until a long long time after that. I was a bit disappointed to see Alvin eliminated in the first round as I tipped him to be in the last TWO. He has that cute babyface (no I am not GAY) and his voice is sweet and soulful, his performance for the night was good, bar his microphone problem in the first song (which was not really his fault, was it?).

Bye bye cute teddybear Alvin...
Bye bye cute teddybear Alvin...

The performance of the last four has picked up a notch and they are singing songs that I know very well. Therefore I can compare them to the original singers. The song that touched me most was Heartbeat (Xin Dong) orginally by Shino Lin Xiao Pei performed by the eventual winner Min. The other female finalist Jie Yu, which I tipped earlier to be in the FINAL TWO, chose to go with Ambiguous (Ai Mei) originally by Rainie Yang Cheng Lin, and in my opinion was the reason she lost. Later I found out that Jie Yu was a ASQ2007 Top 20, which explains why she could only get third place even when she was much better than the rest.

The next round, the final THREE, was messed up by a messed up appearance from Janice ??, who should be responsible for the eventual downfall of Kah Fai. The clueless kid had no idea what was going on when he was backing-up for Janice. Neither did the audience there. After the short appearance, Janice left during the commercial break, looking wobbly and under the influence of drugs. I was wondering if that was Janice or Jill. Later it was reported that Janice has sufferred from a sore throat but insisted on appearing so not to let down her fans, and the smoke from the earlier stage fireworks have made things worse. She was hospitalized immediately after she left the stage.

During the PK round, Kah Fai, probably hit with a huge confidence loss from the previous round, underperformed when it mattered the most. He was out of key in large parts of the song and that no doubt handed the crown to Min with no questions asked.

Podium Finishers of Astro Star Quest 2009
Podium Finishers of Astro Star Quest 2009

Even though Astro Star Quest has produced a few notable stars over the years, namely Nicholas Teo, the standards should be raised so that the Finals will be an entertaining event instead of a dull and a clueless one. I began to check my watch after an hour or so of the show, hoping that it would finish as soon as possbile. Instead, I was forced to sit there and endure almost 3 full hours of a not so entertaining show.

At least it was better than sitting at home, alone, doing nothing.

The unMysterious Disappearance of Andrew Choo

Hello again. It has been a while since I last blogged. One month and nineteen days to be exact. So what happened between these forty-nine days of my disappearance? A lot.

First of all, if you happen to follow my blog, and eventually gave up due to me not updating it as frequent as I have promised, please accept my most sincere apology. It was not my fault. Blame it on my web hosting provider, and blame it on wordpress. Ha ha. No, serious. The very last time when I wanted to update my Monday Blues series, I encountered some technical problem. I could not upload anything to my server. WordPress keeps telling me it failed to upload.

After trying different solutions that was posted on the Internet, except for setting permissions 777 for my uploading folders, I gave up. The very last time I set permission 777 to a folder on my website, my website got hacked and was turned into a phishing/pharming site. I was not aware of that until I received a serious warning letter from a bank in America.

At first I thought it was some kind of joke, but after checking my website folders, I was shocked to find out that I was running a phishing site. The phishing site that was hosted here, in simple words, is a fake online banking login page. I believe the hacker has collected a number of login details, to the extent that the bank’s IT guys noticed that and kindly asked me to remove the illegal site before reporting to the authority.

Soon after, my site’s IP address has been blacklisted by a number of DNS (domain name servers) and I have trouble sometimes to login to my site or to check my emails. It was very frustrating and eventually I wrote to my web hosting provider and asked them to move my site to another IP address, which they kindly did promptly, free of charge.

But that did not solve my wordpress problem. The trick that did it was, to create a new uploads folder, set permissions to 755 and try to upload a file via wordpress. If that works, copy the entire contents of the old uploads folder to the new one and continue blogging!

Well, that did not take me almost one and a half month to solve, it is just that I was occupied by other things. I went for job interviews and finally landed myself a job that I am happy with. In between that, I spent most of my time with my beloved because once I start this new job, I will not have much time for her. Not to mention time to blog.

However, I will try to keep my Monday Blues running as usual, and post short but frequent updates in the future. Until my next post. Take care. See you soon. ūüôā

p.s. While I was AWOL, one of my favourite entertainer, Michael Jackson, has unfortunately passed away. I was looking forward to his last rounds of concerts but seems like Heaven Can’t Wait. Check back soon, I will post a tribute to MJ this weekend.

Monday Blues Series – The Rainbow Week

Ok, ok, I am late for this entry. Reason? I was struck down by a criminal called ‘Monday Blues’. Yeah, I am lame. This entry would be even more lame.

Let’s get back to the topic. I am sure you all know that rainbows have seven colours, which is, from top to bottom, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. How would it be like to associate the days of the week with rainbow colours?

RainbowFirst of all, the beginning of the working week is Monday, and we all know Monday is associated to the blue colour, because we have Monday Blues. The colour is also associated to our mood, therefore on Mondays we feel blue.

Tuesdays make our mood a little better and we feel greener. Our work rate begins to pick up and slowly gathering pace.

Wednesday, it is already the middle of the working week, and we are all looking forward to Friday. Things began to heat up a bit, and we are performing at the most effective level as we want to complete our tasks and enjoy the Friday without having to work overtime. Therefore, it’s Wednesday Yellow.

Thursday, the day before Friday, is what we all look forward to whole week long. Thursday Orange.

The day is finally here! Hooray! RED HOT Friday!

Usually our Friday mood will be extended over into Saturday, therefore we get a mix of red and blue, resulting in a Violet Saturday. By the way, it is VIOLET, not VIOLEnT.

Sunday, a day when we should take a good rest and prepare ourselves for the new week ahead, we have to keep our mind clear and our body fresh. Water is the most cleansing matter of all matters. Thus, Sunday is Indigo.

And now who says that our week cannot be colourful?

Rainbow

Monday Blues Series is aimed at lighting up your Mondays when you reluctantly drag yourself to work. It will be a series of pictures, jokes, or light articles that will, hopefully, bring some life into you. Stay tuned every Monday at 9 a.m. (Malaysian time, +0800 GMT) for my Monday Blues Series.

Monday Blues Series – Hey I Love this Doctor

I received this forwarded email from my high school ENGLISH tuition teacher. Even though it is a little long, please read until the end and you will love the answers that the doctor gave.

Hey I Love this Doctor
This MAY or MAY NOT be the actual doctor that gave the following advice

Q: Doctor, I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that’s it…¬† don’t waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually.¬†Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that’s like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer?¬†Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat?  Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake? 
A:  No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain.  Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your  ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can’t think of a single one, sorry.¬†My philosophy is: No Pain…Good!

Q:¬† Aren’t fried foods bad for you?¬†
A:¬†YOU’RE NOT LISTENING!!! …..¬† Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they’re permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q:  Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q:  Is chocolate bad for me? 
A:¬† Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It’s the best feel-good food around!

Q:  Is swimming good for your figure? 
A:  If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q:  Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle? 
A:¬† Hey!¬† ‘Round’ is a shape!¬†

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And  remember:
‘Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways – Chardonnay in one hand – chocolate in the other – body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ‘WOO HOO, What a Ride’¬†¬†¬†¬†

¬†AND…..

For those of you who watch what you eat, here’s the final word on nutrition and health. It’s a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.¬†
1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans. 
5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

CONCLUSION

Eat and drink what you like.
Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

(and this joke came from my ENGLISH tuition teacher…)

Monday Blues Series is aimed at lighting up your Mondays when you reluctantly drag yourself to work. It will be a series of pictures, jokes, or light articles that will, hopefully, bring some life into you. Stay tuned every Monday at 9 a.m. (Malaysian time, +0800 GMT) for my Monday Blues Series.

Monday Blues Series – The Vicious Cycle

My brother Eddy sent me this picture and I thought it was nice to share with you, especially if you are sufferring from lack of sleep due to late nights and Monday Blues.

The Vicious Cycle
The Vicious Cycle

Relax and enjoy Mondays. Go to bed early tonight to avoid falling into the vicious cycle. ūüôā

Monday Blues Series is aimed at lighting up your Mondays when you reluctantly drag yourself to work. It will be a series of pictures, jokes, or light articles that will, hopefully, bring some life into you. Stay tuned every Monday at 9 a.m. (Malaysian time, +0800 GMT) for my Monday Blues Series.

To tweet or not to tweet

Recently, Twitter has taken the World Wide Web by storm. The media has caught up with the trend as fast as the hini flu. (In case you are wondering what hini is, it is H1N1, aka Influenza Type-A, aka swine flu)

I have no complaints with emerging ‘technologies’ to spread news/information fast, but things should be done correctly. What I am talking about is the integrity of journalism. I will not mind if I am reading updates about personal life and not-so-formal information, but to cover a court case involving the fate of a whole state, thou shalt not tweet. Or at least not in ‘Internet Shorthand’. See what I mean here. (update: the Twitter account was removed shortly after the court case was adjourned for the day)

I am very disappointed at how The Star was reporting the proceedings from the courtroom, and I wonder if it takes time for you to register what you are reading. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer proper English. Sometimes I doubt if the Chief Editor ever goes through EVERYTHING that got published, because typos are everywhere. (Okay, the word processor’s spell-checker should have picked that up, but sometimes we rely too much on technology.)

I used to have the Twitter widget on this blog, if you have been following, and it got removed a week later. Reason? I do not see a point offerring my latest whereabous or projects for your leisure. If you are really concerned about me, give me a call, send me an email or sms, I will gladly tell you what is going on. At least we get to interact with each other. So we should stop relying so much on technology.

Therefore, the answer to the above question is: not to tweet.

Mother’s Day Special – Lunch @ Beacon Point, Ipoh

It has been a long while since my last post entry, almost a month to be exact. I have been pretty busy, so busy that I seldom check my blog. Apologies if you have been trying to contact me via my blog to no avail. Without further ado, I shall start this entry with a Mother’s Day Special, a lunch with the ladies of my family at Beacon Point, Ipoh.

Restoran Beacon Point
Restoran Beacon Point

The restaurant is located within walking distance from my home in Ipoh. I have been passing by this place for decades but have only visited this restaurant for a handful of times. Since mother’s day is around the corner, I have decided to book and have lunch with my grandmother, mother, aunty and cousin (all ladies) on 10th May, 2009.

Jodie Foster and Chef
Jodie Foster and Chef

Beacon Point has been around for a long while. I moved to the area some time in 1988 and I remember seeing the restaurant (used to bear the name Beacon Point Trading and Training Co.) some time afterward (1995 to be exact). I knew that the restaurant serves good food and have always wanted to dine there. Little did I know that when Jodie Foster came to Ipoh to shoot ‘Anna and The King’ in 1999, she employed the Chef of Beacon Point, Phillip Chang, to cook for her. She found out about the restaurant from ‘lonely planet’, which means that the food is more than ordinary. Phillip is also commissioned to look after the diet of HRH Sultan of Perak.

Mothers Day Menu
Mothers Day Menu

Beacon Point is usually closed on Sundays. However, since Mother’s Day fall on the second Sunday of May, they have decided to cater the good food to mothers who deserve a good pamper, and offered three choices on their mothers day menu. The full course menu consists of the following.

Soup
Soup

Delicious Fresh Cream of Almond Soup served with Herbed Garlic Bread pictured below.

Herbed Garlic Bread
Herbed Garlic Bread

The soup tastes nice even if I do not like almond and I finished the soup without any hesitation. The garlic bread is toasted to perfection and it is not too hard for my grandmother. Even after we finished the meal, the leftover garlic bread is stilll very crispy.

Next we have the main course.

Marinated Chicken Drumsticks Bunashimeji
Marinated Chicken Drumsticks Bunashimeji

Along with Roasted Potato, Corn-on-cob, Butter Glazed Broccoli, Cauliflower and Carrot Sticks, we have the Marinated Chicken Drumsticks Bunashimeji with Garlic-pepper Sauce. The marinated chicken tastes nice and is very tender while the garlic pepper sauce complements the chicken very well.

Pan-Fried Snapper
Pan-Fried Snapper

Next, we have the Pan-Fried Snapper with Cajun Spice & Anchovy-Caper Sauce. The fish is fried to perfection and the sauce brings out the freshness of the snapper. However, I had to be careful with the fish as there are little bones in it.

Roast Leg of Lamb
Roast Leg of Lamb

I ordered this dish, the Roast Leg of Lamb with Tomato-Mint Relish. The roasted lamb was a little to hard for my liking, but the tomato-mint relish did make the chewing experience a pleasant one. Afterward, my mother and I both agreed that the stewed lamb leg served at a certain S.R. restaurant is better than this dish.

Mocha Souffle
Mocha Soufflé

To round up the menu, Mocha Soufflé is served as the dessert, which is better than having a brownie after a heavy meal. The dessert is sweet but it does not have the filling feeling when compared to having brownies or cheese cakes. All in all, the meal was a good experience and I am giving it a 4 out of 5.

The Bill
The Bill

For two sets of Chicken Drumstick, two sets of Roasted Lamb Leg and one set of Snapper meal, the bill came to the total of RM146.50, which is light on the wallet too. I would recommend anyone looking for a good food experience at an affordable price in Ipoh to pay Beacon Point a visit and pamper yourself with either a meal or some cheesecakes.

For more information, please visit the following links:-
Beacon Point Website
Review from The Star paper
Rasa Rasa Malaysia Review

FWD: Questions of Wisdom … and some stupid answer

A while back my friend forwarded me a mail titled: ‘Spread the stupidity’. When I read it, I do not find it stupid at all. Maybe I am just not wise enough to realise that it was supposed to be stupid. Anyway, I will list down the questions, and I will try to answer it.

Q: Why do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front?
A: Because they want the smokers to die faster.

Q: Why do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke?
A: Because they feel good when they are on a diet.

Q: Why do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters?
A: Because pens are considered consumables while the doors are considered assets, and the insurance only covers the doors, not the pens.

Q: Why do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage?
A: Because we will never invite our neighbours into our garage to admire our cars.

Q: Why do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering?
A: Because the banks cannot be discriminating towards the visually impaired.

They even put up a sign for it!
They even put up a sign for it!

Ever wonder …

Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?
Because we are not hairy enough to cover our skins, like our monkey brothers.

Why women can’t put on mascara with their mouth closed?
Hmm…not true, because my beloved can.

Why don’t you ever see the headline ‘Psychic Wins Lottery’?
Because they won’t cash out the winnings as using psychic power is considered as cheating.

Why is ‘abbrevitated’ such a long word?
That is why the abbreviated form for this word is ‘abbrev.’

Why is it that doctors call what they do ‘practice’?
Because they never got it right.

Why is lemon juice made with articial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
Because you have to know the difference between 7-Up and Sprite.

Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
That is why I am broke now.

Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food?
Because cats do not play with their food.

Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
Because it was hiding in the elephants.

Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?
Because they are going to recycle the needles.

You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!
Because the data when a plane crashes is more valuable than the lives lost when the plane crashes.

Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?
Because they kept us and our neighbours apart.

If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?
Because that is where you stop flying and have to keep both feet on the ground.

FWD: Comic – The Break Up – Repaying the bloody debt…

My beloved forwarded me a comic strip and said that I will love it because I am lame enough to laugh out loud. Well, I am lame enough to even share this with you guys. Heh heh! ¬†Have a good laugh! ūüôā

Bloody Break Up

Due to the size of the strip, I had to shrink it and thus the words are not too clear. Here is the conversation between the G(irl) and the B(oy).

#1
G : Zakk, I think we should break up.
B : What!?

#2
B : After all we’ve been through you want to break up!?

#3
B : I even donated my blood to save your life and this is how you repay me!?

#4
G : I’m sorry, Zakk … but I just don’t love you anymore …¬†

#5
B : Then give me back my blood.

#6
Silence

#7
G : Fine.

#8
G : Here’s my tampon. I’ll pay you monthly.