Sunday, May 23, 2004

White, Black and Red

I'm already twentysome years old and I still have that dreaded teen problem. Zits. Acne. Pimples. Whiteheads. Carbuncles. Blackheads. Aiyah, whatever you call them, I hate them.

I had them through my teen years and upon hitting 20, I thought it would be a problem of the past. Alas (always wanted to use that word)! They've followed me into adulthood as well. Sure sucks I tell you. I'm still having this problem. I am sure some of you can relate.

What have you tried to "battle" les eruptions?

Let me tell you mine...

I've tried the cucumber mask. Yup. I used to peel, slice, and puree lots of cucumbers, then slop it on my red, acne infested face. Not sure if it really worked though.:(

I've also tried a certain "marvel gel." Hehehe, I remember making my mom call the skin specialist after listening to a radio show advertising it. Not sure it really worked either but I tried. By the way, you know it's bad when your mom buys you a book simple entitled, "Pimples." Remember this, Sara?

Steaming my face over a bowl of hot water? Been there, done that.

Clearasil, oxy...yup, yup. No product endorsement here intended but I figure everyone's used one of these at least once, unless you're blessed with smooth, pimpleless skin. If you are, you're banished from this blog!:)

All that glycolic, alpha-hydroxy gunk.

Done the toothpaste zit zapper remedy, oatmeal mask, a certain "sage and comfrey" conconction, etc...Actually, I think I have tried everything under the sun. Oh wait, that's supposed to be bad too.:)

Also used tea tree oil, apricot scrubs, fragrance free soaps, cleansers, not to mention the $$$ ones, etc...Experimented with that thing you stick on your dalmation spotted nose, let it sit, and then rip off in the hope that those damn blackheads are gone.

It is said that chocolates are not bad for your skin, but I never took/take any chances. When the going gets tough and the enemies of the face start popping up, I try (keyword here is try) not to eat chocs. Eat more tofu, carrots, veggies, instead.:P Oh yeah, even bought those "Skin, Nails, Hair" vitamins too.

Anything I have read in some Cosmo-YM-Self sort of magazine I have also done. Some are absurd but hey, when you're desperate and think everyone's staring at that one huge pustule on your face or a conglomerate of them, you'd try ANYTHING!!!

I still haven't found the "cure." In fact, I think as one gets older (hehehe, notice the use of "one" and not "I"), scars are slower to heal, so really, when they say don't burst them zits, DON'T! Ok, ok, I admit I don't practise what I preach. But I am sure you understand. That unstoppable urge to squeeeeeeeze...die you damn zit, die!!!!!!

But really, zits don't stop once you've reached adulthood (sorry wishful thinking teens), unless you're one of those flawless skinned models you see in mags (which by the way, I hear that isn't really true either...ah! the wonders of retouching, technology, etc...)

So what have I tried and find helps? It's rather expensive but I like charcoal facial masks. No, no, not to hide behind them. You put it on for ten mins and wash it off. Feels great. A trip to the facial lady/guy every now and then doesn't hurt either (not speaking wallet-wise). Vitamin E cream is great too.

Anyway, let me know what works, what doesn't or didn't. You may help some angst-ridden teen/adult...or me for that matter. Divulge!

PS: If all fails, concealer, concealer, concealer......:)

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Food for Thought

Is there a certain type of food or a specific dish that reminds you of happy or sad memories during your childhood? That was the question posed to me by one of my friends (we have weird conversations) and right away, I started rambling on and on about home-cooked meals, take-out and dine-out meals along with the memories each one came attached with. My friend must have regretted asking me the question because he didn't quite know how much I like food. Or talking about food. Or anything related to food for that matter.

Let's see... the first steak I remember eating was with none other than Tira, my dad and his business associate. My sister and I were both young and boy, how we struggled to finish our steaks. The portions were way too big for us so we had to bring the leftovers home in a doggybag. My sister and I find it amusing now because these days when we eat at steakhouses, we have one whole steak each. Plus appetizers. And salad. And soup. Oh, and let's not forget the dinner rolls with butter. Gone are the days of filling up on half a steak!

Then there's ice cream, glorious ice cream... I remember how Tira and I used to wait for the sound of Mr. Ice Cream Seller's bell signalling his arrival and how we ran out to yell "Ice cream! Tuuuuunnng, tuuuunggg! Yat kor Cornetto!" (that's "Ice cream! Wait, wait! One Cornetto!" for all non-Chinese speaking folks :P). Those were the only Chinese words we could utter fluently as kids. Oh wait, those are still the only Chinese words we can utter fluently now :P. But if for some reason we missed Mr Ice Cream Man and had a craving for ice cream that day, we would conveniently be outside the house after office hours to wait for our neighbour's daughter to arrive home from work. She always had extra Cornettos in the freezer and never thought twice about giving some to the two girls playing outside who then mysteriously ran into the house as soon as they got ice cream. How cheeky we were back then!

We also used to spend a lot of afternoons playing at our grandaunt's house while our mother went about her business. It was fun playing at my grandaunt's place because she participated in everything we did. But what I remember best is my grandaunt's cooking... boy, could she cook! Her specialities included potato and fish cakes, cold chicken salad with sesame seeds and lemon juice, acar with whole garlic pieces and fried potatoes with mixed vegetables and chicken. And being the great grandaunt she was, she also specially made non-spicy curry chicken with potatoes because she knew us kids couldn't handle spicy food. We haven't had that dish for years now since we've moved on to spicy food but damn, was that curry good!

It's also hard to not think of a turkey everytime I think of my grandaunt. Wait, that sounds horrible, but let me elaborate. The whole family would congregate at my grandaunt's house for the annual Christmas lunch and both she and my mother never failed to whip up a meal less fitting for a king. They would both slave away in the kitchen while the kids played and adults chattered. Our Christmas spread always consisted of a whole roast turkey with mushroom and chestnut stuffing, mashed potatoes, soup, sausages, mixed vegetables and brussel sprouts and it was all washed down with sparkling grape juice. After lunch, it was time to open presents and pull crackers while waiting for our dessert of vanilla ice cream and fruit cocktail.

And what walk down memory lane would be complete without talking about my mother and my father? To boil it down (no pun intended) to just a few dishes and memories would be impossible. My mother was always there with her chicken or fish porridge whenever one of us were sick. My dad was busy at work and often came home late but he made sure he made his yummy pancakes on Sunday mornings and often brought home fishballs and roasted pigeons (which tastes like chicken by the way) after work. My mom would deep-fry a whole chicken for my dad for his dinner (issues about fat and cholesterol were non-existent back then) and I would sit next to him so he could peel off the crispy chicken skin for me. I remember the many breakfasts my mother prepared for us before we headed off to school - scrambled eggs, cocktail sausages, fried rice etc and how she had to wake up at 4.30a.m. every morning just to prepare everything while we slept like pigs. She also made sure we had a litle tuppperware of food to tote to school for our recess. You'd probably have guessed by now, but we rarely went hungry at home or outside.

So anyway, I continued rambling on and on (much like this actually) and when I was finally done, my friend looked at me and said "I envy you... I asked you for both happy and sad memories and all your memories seem to be happy ones". And it was true. I know I must have had some unhappy moments in my childhood but I've just had so many more happier memories that they overshadow the sad ones. I realized then how lucky I was to have had such a great childhood because while it was great to have been surrounded by yummy food and never having to go hungry when I was young, it was even better to have been surrounded by my family. Because we all know that food always tastes better when we're surrounded by family and love anyway.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Wacky Laws Around the World

I was doing some research on the Internet for my assignment when I came across this page with a list of crazy/ weird laws from around the world. Some are really funny, some are interesting but weird and some just lack plain common sense. I'm not sure if these laws really do exist though or if they're just made up but let's just pretend they're real (it's so much more fun that way!). Here are just some of the zanier few:-

In the United States:
In Miami, it's illegal for men to be seen publicly in any kind of strapless gown.

It is illegal to say "Oh, Boy" in Jonesboro, Georgia.

Chicago law prohibits eating in a place that is on fire.

In Clawson, Michigan, there is a law that makes it LEGAL for a farmer to sleep with his pigs, cows, horses, goats, and chickens.

No man is allowed to make love to his wife with the smell of garlic, onions, or sardines on his breath in Alexandria, Minnesota. If his wife so requests, law mandates that he must brush his teeth.

In Merryville, Missouri, women are prohibited from wearing corsets because "the privilege of admiring the curvaceous, unencumbered body of a young woman should not be denied to the normal, red-blooded American male."

Lovers in Liberty Corner, New Jersey, should avoid satisfying their lustful urges in a parked car. If the horn accidentally sounds while they are frolicking behind the wheel, the couple can face a jail term.

Harthahorne (Oklahoma) City Ordinance, Section 363, states that it shall be unlawful to put any hypnotized person in a display window.

It is illegal in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania., to sleep in a refrigerator.

An ordinance in Newcastle, Wyoming, specifically bans couples from having sex while standing inside a store's walk-in-meat freezer.

Elsewhere Around the World:
In Lebanon, men are legally allowed to have sex with animals, but the animals must be female. Having sexual relations with a male animal is punishable by death.

In Bahrain, a male doctor may legally examine a woman's genitals, but is prohibited from looking directly at them during the examination. He may only see their reflection in a mirror.

Muslims are banned from looking at the genitals of a corpse. This also applies to undertakers; the sex organs of the deceased must be covered with a brick or piece of wood at all times.

The penalty for masturbation in Indonesia is decapitation.

There are men in Guam whose full-time job is to travel the countryside and deflower young virgins, who pay them for the privilege of having sex for the first time...Reason: under Guam law, it is expressly forbidden for virgins to marry.

In Hong Kong, a betrayed wife is legally allowed to kill her adulterous husband, but may only do so with her bare hands. The husband's lover, on the other hand, may be killed in any manner desired.

Topless saleswomen are legal in Liverpool, England - but only in tropical fish stores.

In Santa Cruz, Bolivia, it is illegal for a man to have sex with a woman and her mother at the same time.

In Cali, Colombia, a woman may only have sex with her husband, and the first time this happens, her mother must be in the room to witness the act.

In Maryland, it is illegal to sell condoms from vending machines with one exception: Prophylactics may be dispensed from a vending machine only "in places where alcoholic beverages are sold for consumption on the premises."


Suddenly the laws in Malaysia don't seem too bad or crazy eh? :)

Thursday, May 13, 2004

"I Hope We Can Still be Friends"

Breaking up is never easy, on the person doing the dumping or on the person being dumped. If you've ever been the Dumper or the Dumpee in a past relationship, you would have undoubtably uttered or heard the "I hope we can still be friends" line amidst all the other "I love you, I'm just not in love with you", "I never meant to hurt you", "I will always love you" and the ever popular "It's not you, it's me" breaking-up speech cliches. But I'm wondering, do the Dumpers really mean what they say while sitting across the person whose heart they're breaking or is it just a feeble attempt at making themselves feel better so they appear less like the bad guy? While I can't speak for everyone, I can however, offer my two sen on the matter because yes, I was once the Dumper.

I was in a 4-year relationship which ended last year and I learnt firsthand that uttering those lines only do more harm than good. They do nothing to appease the hurt and anger in the other person and in fact, only seem to make matters worse. For a while at least.

My ex, C and I had a rough 4 years with us being the on-again, off-again couple in our group of friends. No one took us seriously when we broke up because hey, there we were together again a week later. But I guess the death blow finally came when C announced his decision to work outstation. The alarm guarding the Rational Thinking department immediately went off in my head but I chose to ignore it and carried on with a long-distance relationship with C. As you can guess, things between us deteriorated quickly so I figured the most sensible thing to do would be to break up. It should have long occured to me that our relationship was hardly working out when we were face to face so what were the odds of it working when we were miles apart?

I told him of my decision when he came back for a visit and yes, those break-up cliches came spewing out as well and I guess there must have been an air of finality to my words because he looked absolutely crestfallen by the time I was done. He must have asked "Why?" a thousand times that night only to be answered by my looking down at the ground. I will never forget the look on his face and I felt lower than pond scum for saying "I hope we can still be friends" when I didn't even know if I had meant it or not. C, on the other hand, just got angry and left behind a string of obscenities before he left.

We went for weeks without speaking and I'm still not sure who was the first to pick up the phone but we did start talking again and C and I are now the best of friends. It took a while for us to get over the awkward moments (there are still some every now and then) but it helps to know that a normal friendship is much more fulfilling than a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship ever could be between us.

And just yesterday, he called to tell me that he was coming back to KL for good. Will things change for us in the future now that he's coming back? I don't think so. All I do know is, C will always be a permanent fixture in my life and I'm happy with that. And yes, I never meant to hurt him, will always love him and am grateful that we're still friends. I guess I really did mean what I said then.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Random Acts of Kindness

I was watching the news the other day and a tv station had decided it was going to have a "Random Acts of Kindness" week.

It was interesting. Everyday for that week, they did something good, kind, etc...for strangers, in the hope that they in turn would do something good for someone else. One day, they bought strangers coffee and breakfast, another day they paid toll fares for commuters, and yet another day, they paid cab fares for those who catching one. All these strangers who received that random act of kindness were all asked to do something positive for someone else in return. I wonder how many did.

This of course brings to mind the movie, "Pay it Forward." I remember watching it with Sara and it made me cry! It seems so simple, someone does something nice for you and you pass it on. If everyone really did pass the good on, the world would be a much better place. It's so simple, but yet kind of complicated, eh? How many of us actually do it?

I don't know if I have carried out as many random acts of kindness in my life as I would like to. I wish I could say I did or do! It could be as easy as putting a few extra coins in to someone's expired meter so they don't get a ticket, buying someone coffee, giving someone flowers for no reason, all in the hope of making someone, a total stranger's day. It doesn't have to cost a lot, or be something out of one's way. Any simple, small gesture will do, just to put a smile on that person's face.

I am guilty of being selfish. I sometimes feel like I don't need to do something kind for someone I don't even know and will probably never cross paths with again. I feel like I need a reason, but is that really necessary to be nice to someone??? I am no meanie of course (or at least I don't think so). I do the everyday courtesy thing like mind my "p's and q's", hold the door for the person behind me, etc... but nothing randomly kind!

Anyway, I am thinking of what I can do. It's not easy for someone who's somewhat shy like myself to go and buy someone I don't know coffee or breakfast, I would hate to give someone the wrong impression. I do often buy food for the office, is that counted? Maybe not. Maybe I'll just go pop some coins in to someone's parking meter.

I'm going to visit the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation to see if I can get any ideas.

I am still thinking...I'll keep you updated!

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Love Ya Mom!

Just wanted to ditto my sis' sentiments. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Our mom's the greatest! She's the darling of the family.:) I mean this woman would lay down her life for us...and, she's the coolest. We can email her dirty jokes, swear in front of her (she'll swear back), go out with her as if she was our best friend (she is), etc...aiyah, the list goes on.:)

It's weird, cos when we were younger we used to rebel. But now, on days like new year's eve when we want to stay home and avoid the suffocating crowds, our mom will try to persuade us to go out, or she'd be ever willing to buy us alcohol so we can celebrate at home. I mean our mom will really make sure we're happy. She's the best!:) I'd do ANYTHING for this woman, our mom.

For the past two years, Sara and I have entered a newspaper's mother's day contest. And we've always come away feeling like ours should have been the winners - I am sure everyone else feels that way too, hehehe! Anyway, this year, we've decided not to enter any contests, instead we're posting one of the "poems" we came up with previously:

No matter how it's said,
Flowery words or sappy cards,
We decided to tell you straight from the heart,
"Mom, we love you very much!"

Just for fun's sake, we decided to look at some contest entries for a mother's day contest! We don't think they're all that, but that's just what we think. Damn, don't you think we'd have won if we submitted our poem??? (it's copyrighted, by the way:) )

Whatever it is, we just wanted to let everyone know...We love our mom and she's the best! :)

Happy Mothers' Day!

"God couldn't be everywhere, therefore he created mothers" ~ Jewish Proverb

Happy Mothers' Day to all mothers!

Tira & Sara

Friday, May 07, 2004

Songs I Love to Hate

Well, the long weekend is over (bummer!) and yours truly is currently suffering from serious chillin' and pigging out withdrawal symptoms. Warning: That's what you get when you attempt to return to some form of normalcy after 4 days of eating, sleeping and nothing much else. My couch now has an indentation in the shape of my body and is encrusted with crumbs from all the food I've been eating while lying down hahaha... not a pretty picture, I know.

I did however, amidst all the inactivity, manage to catch up on some worthwhile(?) reading online and came across several interesting music articles, one of which attracted my attention more than others. It featured Blender magazine and their choice of the 50 Worst Songs Ever and just reading it inspired me to come up with my own list of bad songs that I love to hate.

In my opinion, a song can be bad for a variety of reasons but more often that not, it's the bad lyrics and cheesy tunes that wear thin after a couple of listens. I do, however, also think that music is a matter of personal choice so a crappy song to some might literally sound like music to the ears to a whole lot of other people. While it's safe to say that I agree with more than half of Blender's choices, I thought some of the other tracks were pretty decent (come on, there are worse songs than John Mayer's Your Body is a Wonderland and Limp Bizkit's Rollin'!)

Topping the Blender list, however, is Starship's 1985 hit, We Built This City and while I agree the song is pretty crappy, I thought it couldn't possibly out-crap some of the rubbish we hear today. So I've compiled my own list of bad songs - you know, those songs that make you switch channels or stations as soon as you hear them or worse, make you want to throw your stereo out the window. Visibly absent from my list are boybands, teen popsters and UK pop bands, all for good reason. No, not because they sing great songs but because I think all their songs are pure crap and listing them would just be a waste of space and time.

So here they are - my personal choices for worst songs ever... all bad, all horrible and all definitely cringe-worthy.

15. Missing by Everything But The Girl   Otherwise known as the boring lullaby. Play this song and I'll be out cold like a lightbulb in 20 seconds, 30 tops.

14. What's Up? by 4 Non Blondes   A whole lotta wailing, yodeling and nothing much else actually.

13. The Sign by Ace Of Base   Among all their similar sounding songs, this has got to be their worst. Don't Turn Around comes in a close second.

12. Shoulder To Cry On by Tommy Page  Besides being one of my choices for worst song, the trophy for the most depressing song goes to this one as well. I'm not sure if you even remember Mr. Page but trust me, his half-dead singing on this particular track could make even the happiest man alive weep buckets of tears.

11. Big, Big World by Emilia   Hmm, let's see which part of this song qualifies it as bad... "I'm a big big girl in a big big world, It's not a big big thing if you leave me, But I do do feel that I do do will miss you much". Yes yes, that would would be it it.

10. I Stand Alone by Godsmack   Just one of the worst rock songs ever. And I rarely hate rock songs.

09. 500 Miles by The Proclaimers   I have no other way of explaining this but listening to this song makes me wanna flex my (non-existent) muscles, march across the room and go "Grrrrrrr!", which can never be a good thing.

08. Who Let The Dogs Out by Baha Men   I think the real question should be, who let this turkey out?!

07. It's a tie! Scatman by Scatman John / Mambo No. 5 by Lou Bega   One hit wonders for both artistes. What a relief!

06. Ray Of Light by Madonna   All her other songs are pretty unbearable too but I thought this particular one was a little worse because it was edging past the pop barrier into dance techno territory. Never a good thing with me.

05.Down With The Sickness by Disturbed   I admit I liked this song when I first heard it. But it's hard to keep liking it when the "Ooh wah ah ah ah! Ohh ohh"s in the song start getting painful on the ears. Now it's just plain torture.

04. My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion   Probably the most overplayed single from any movie soundtrack ever. I, along with many others I'm sure, suffered for months when I had to listen to it every second of the day and all that repetitious airplay made a shitload of money for Dion and her Titanic compadres. How unfair!

03. Blue by Eiffel 65   By far the most annoying song I have ever heard! A thousand mosquitoes buzzing around my ears would be less annoying.

02. The Ketchup Song by Las Ketchup   Think Macarena (another horrible song and dance number) with chicks for singers. Note: It's also a crappy idea to name your song after a condiment you would dip your chicken wings in, even if your father's name is Tomate.

And now, for my number one choice of the worst song ever... (drumroll please)

01. Lemon Tree by Fool's Garden   This song exploded everywhere when it was released! I remember going shopping at Sungei Wang Plaza one weekend and they had this plastic lemon tree at its entrance which played the song everytime the button was pressed. Naturally thousands of people kept pressing it so the song kept playing on and on... and on... and on... and on......... I could have burnt that tree down there and then, I tell ya. That was a few years ago and hearing it still bugs me as much, if not more, today. The childish tune, the lyrics a 10-year-old kid could have written... there's just nothing good about this song!

So there you have it, my two sen on 15 of the worst songs ever. I could have expanded my list to 20 or even 50 but just thinking about all these songs has given me a headache. What about you? What songs do you find bad, annoying or just plain love to hate?

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Two's Enough, Thanks!

How many of us have had one too many drinks and ended up acting like a fool???

I am guilty of: throwing up all over the bathroom, wanting to sleep on the road, crying, suddenly becoming a flirt and a chatterbox (I'm quite quiet and shy in person sans alcohol), swearing a whole lot, etc...

Yes, yes, I's not lady-like, could be dangerous, etc...Funny thing is, when I am sober and I see someone drunk and acting all stupid, I KNOW it's unsightly, annoying, embarrassing and sometimes could be looked upon as plain slutty and cheap.

It's just that alcohol impairs my judgement (yeah, really). I take one and I feel a little loosened up. A couple more and I am a little more loosened up, somewhat happier and talk more. More drinks into the night and I feel like everyone's my best friend, I say things that are on my mind and give my unwanted opinions on everything. Suddenly I feel like the only way I can have fun is with more drinks and that it's cool for me to drink as much as I do (don't know why I think that but I do), the inner alcoholic in me gets unleashed!

Fortunately, I don't party as much as I used to. Just the occasional once every six months or so. But when I party, I PARTY, end up drinking more than I should. Lucky for me, I don't drive in the city, so usually a designated driver friend sends me home.

Worst thing about drinking too much? Apart from the awful hangover the next day and swearing never to drink again, is trying to remember what I said the night before...worst yet, wishing I hadn't said some things or acted the crazy way I had or given the digits to someone I didn't know. Gulp.

Doubly worst is being drunk at an office holiday party, crying, and then having to go to work the next day. ARGH!!!!

Anyway, I have decided to limit the alcohol intake to two drinks. Yes, dos, due, deux, dua. TWO!!!! I've spent way too much hard earned money on useless drinks that just get peed away. Plus I'm just getting too old to be throwing up all over the place, the clean-up isn't exactly fun either, by the way. Enough embarrassing moments for me.

Camera Olympus 765

Thank you everyone for emailing me about digicams! The response was overwhelming! But as Sara would know, I am as fickled as anyone can before I make a final purchase....please let me know what your thoughts are on the latest Olympus c-765!

I am not the most technology savvy person around and any feedback is appreciated! Let me know if there's a digicam around that I should know about or look into. THANKS!