Friday, November 27, 2015

I see a ladybug! Hello lady ladybug!

My garden now has at least one resident ladybug in it and she's a gorgeous little beetle, isn't she? She's a tiny little thing but she is bright red and according to my sister, jf you look really, really closely to her spots, it looks like its smiling! :)

Ladybugs are categorised as beneficial bugs and I am happy to let her be among my spearmint plants. They and their larvae dine on aphids, those pesky mealy bugs and other soft bodies insects. I actually hope she will bring more of her friends around for the party because she's doing wonders for my vegetable plants.

The thing to remember about ladybugs is the brightness of her shell. Bright red bug are the good ones. Dull coloured ones are bad ones.

So the next time you see a ladybug in your garden, remember to be nice to them, ya. They are good bugs! :)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

My favourite quotes from Markus Zusak's The Book Thief

I love this book. And I've recently the movie version too, which, I must say, is really not bad at all and I highly recommend them. Both of them. The book and the movie. As I have mentioned before, this is not the most delightful story ever, though there are delightful moments in the story. But this is one that deeply and intensely touches the heart.

These are some of my favourite quotes from the story:
Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.
Somewhere, far down, there was an itch in his heart, but he made it a point not to scratch it. He was afraid of what might come leaking out.
I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn't already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.
The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you.
If only she could be so oblivious again, to feel such love without knowing it, mistaking it for laughter.
A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.
I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.
A small but noteworthy note. I've seen so many young men over the years who think they're running at other young men. They are not. They are running at me.
He stood waist-deep in the water for a few moments longer before climbing out and handing her the book. His pants clung to him, and he did not stop walking. In truth, I think he was afraid. Rudy Steiner was scared of the book thief's kiss. He must have longed for it so much. He must have loved her so incredibly hard. So hard that he would never ask for her lips again and would go to his grave without them.
His soul sat up. It met me. Those kinds of souls always do - the best ones. The ones who rise up and say "I know who you are and I am ready. Not that I want to go, of course, but I will come." Those souls are always light because more of them have been put out. More of them have already found their way to other places.
Together, they would watch everything that was so carefully planned collapse, and they would smile at the beauty of destruction.
She did not say goodbye. She was incapable, and after a few more minutes at his side, she was able to tear herself from the ground. It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on...
I am haunted by humans.

The case of the alien bug

I know what you are thinking: What on earth is that?! And in all honesty, I don't know. I personally thought it was dried leaves when I first saw it and touched one of its wings and it twitched. It twitched a bit an when back to sleep. I only got a good look at it once I realised that it was in insect. My best guess is that it is some sort of moth. This fellow is about two inches plus from head to tail.

I took this picture and consulted my gardener sifus and surprisingly, no one knew what sort of moth this is. My query was simple: Is it a pest or is it a good bug? If it is a pest, then I'd like to wake it up so that it won't lay eggs or eat my plants or carry some disease or something. But if it is a good bug, then I'd be fine to let it snooze as long as it liked.

I never got to know what this bug is. Some of the more cheeky answers I got was that it is some kind of alien bug. It was gone by the time I went to look for it again in the evening.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Visiting 1AES 2015

You know how sometimes when you set out to achieve something, the universe "conspires to make things happen" so that everything falls into place? I really thing this is happening for me. It is a sign, at least, that I am on the right track. The "universe" wants this to happen.

So it is exciting that 1AES comes around just when I set out to open my own company. And I met so many familiar faces there, which is such a welcome discovery for me, especially some people that I have not met in so many years! It was like a little reunion of sorts for me.

I did learn quite a bit from the event. This event has opened my eyes to many aspects of entrepreneurship that I know will be useful in setting up my startup. I did not attend all the sessions and I strongly believe that the organisation of the event and its sub events can be immensely improved. But on the positive side, the next AES can only get better :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My favourite quotes from Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book

I still cannot decide if this book if dark or not. The genius of this book is simply that kids can read it and enjoy the story, and adults can read it and be disturbed by the story, and thereby enjoy it too. Ha.

So here are some of my favourite quotes from this book:
If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.
People want to forget the impossible. It makes their world safer.
You're always you, and that don't change, and you're always changing, and there's nothing you can do about it.
You're alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you're dead, it's gone. Over. You've made what you've made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.
You're brave. You are the bravest person I know, and you are my friend. I don't care if you are imaginary.
Face your life, its pain, its pleasure, leave no path untaken.
Things bloosom in their time. They bud and bloom, blossom and fade. Everything in its time.
It's like the people who believe they'll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn't work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.
We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort. And that is why we write.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Spectre 007 - Directed by Sam Mendes

Without giving away the plot, it is my personal opinion that the story moved a tad too slowly for me. Maybe because I was used to the quick pace of previous Bond films, that I walked into the cinema expecting something snappy and would keep me constantly on the edge of my seat. Instead, I was pushed through one abrupt sentimental scene after another. It is not bad. It was just too much drama.

Despite the slow motion storytelling, Daniel Craig reminds all of us why he is still the most perfect Bond ever. I wish there were more scenes of Q though, because his role in progressing the plot is actually more important than he gets screen time for. And M too. I'd have like to have seen more action by M.

CK, who is more familiar with the Bond history gave the film more credit, though. If you are that kind, and can connect all of Craig's Bond series together, then you would probably find Spectre more fascinating. However, if you are like me, and take this movie in its stand alone glory, you'd need to exhaust a few more synapse connections to put all the pieces together. It is not a bad thing. It just puts this movie a little on the heavy side as far as I am concerned.

So here's my tip to make the experience of watching Spectre more manageable: Go to the bathroom before you watch the movie. Get lots of snacks and chew through them slowly. You're gonna need the sugar and all your brain cells alert for this one.

Blue tea evening

Among the plants that I collected during the last FTS giveaway is the 'mother-in-law's tongue.' They told me that this magnificent plant helps purifies air and we all know just how bad is the haze about a week ago. The haze has been really getting my hayfever going lately, and so I happily welcomed clean air into my house.

My telang plant has also been generous these days. I think it is really enjoying the rain lately, so it blooms quite a bit. This means that I have ample flowers to make blue tea. Like, really blue tea.

The daily evening rains has been generally welcomed by my plants. But it also means that I can't really spend my evenings with them anymore. I guess this is an opportunity to work on my indoor projects eh.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Yummy seafood curry noodles at Yu Ai Seafood Noodles

Expensive. But for that once-in-awhile sinful splurge, worth every single penny. The curry is rich and spicy. The seafood is fresh and generous. One tip, don't sit inside the shop because it is hot and stuffy. Opt to sit outside, Malaysian al fresco style. We also tried the fried fish noodle soup which came swimming in sourish white soup. This was just okay, I thought, because I am not much for sour soup.

Another tip, go early. The place gets super crowded really quickly. But it is the kind of scene that really embodies the best of Malaysian eating. No dress code, just come in whatever you walked out of the house with. No fancy dining, just a simple coffeeshop. Plastic tables under huge trees. Rubber slippers swinging happily under tables. Growing piles of clam shells, prawn shell and fish bones on the table as people work their way through bowls of seafood noodles. No constrained, oppressed eating. Lots of slurping and loud chatter.

Hello lemon basil!

Okay, I am not completely sure if this is lemon basil or lime basil. The leaves do have a distinctly citrus tang with a hint of mint. Part of me thinks that this is lime basil, but the lemony flavour of the leaves keeps telling me otherwise.

The whole plant looks like a little bush of leaves and is a wonderful addition to my herb garden. I am trying to propagate the plant with cuttings. Fingers crossed that the little new ones survive and flourish!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

My vegetable patch now includes kailan (Chinese kale)

I was wondering if kailan, when harvested young would result it baby kailan. Sounds logical enough, right? There would be baby kailan and left to get bigger would become 'adult' kailan. Right? Mom insists that baby kailan is a different breed of kailan altogether. They'd of course be smaller, this its 'baby' name. But no, a young kailan is not the same as a baby kailan.

So I guess that I will be letting these babies grow for now and harvesting them later on as 'adult' kailans then. Haha!

Monday, November 02, 2015

Thank you, everyone!

Last weekend, my team received this year's Festival Director's Award in conjunction with Short+Sweet Theater Malaysia 2015 for our performance of the play 'Do You Believe In Fairies.' I am the playwright for this play and besides myself, my team was comprised by undergraduates pursuing degrees and diplomas in the performing arts.

On behalf of my team, I would like to convey our sincere appreciation to everyone who has been a part of this journey with us. Of course, there were bumps on the road, but I am proud of how we rose above the odds with both humility and good humours intact. We could not have achieved this without the support of all those who believed in us - and to them, we dedicate this award.

This is a recording of our performance. We hope you enjoy it.

Bonus video: Behind the scenes footage of the boys' warm up session with the director.