23 December 2008

Birthday Roundup

I did not get as many presents this year compared to 2007, but it was certainly more memorable. A quick roundup:

Last Thursday I celebrated my birthday with other December-born colleagues at El Mondo Italian restaurant, Krystal Point. A noisy affair, but the service was slow and food was very average. Well, at least I got a free scoop of ice-cream from the restaurant, so thanks!

The next day (Friday) we had our annual office Xmas gift exchange. I received two plush pillows featuring Ratatouille on the cover. They're now in my back seat!

That very same evening I received a pleasant surprise from my Cardio Fit members after class. They 'secretly' planned a cake and mini celebration and it was mighty fun! Though only about 20 people turned up, it was really touching. Equally touching is the generous ang pow they threw in. How did they know I prefer cash over some awkward gift I'll never use?

Last Saturday I had a set lunch with Dad at Bistro Hardwicke. Food quality and taste is great, and the cozy atmosphere is suitable for couples and parties. But the uncomfortable silences and forced conversation kinda dulled the experience... Not to mention having to teach BodyJam after that made it a very difficult class to finish. I also received a red packet from Dad in lieu of a real present. I let him off easy because he's paying for a Thailand trip we're taking in January!

On Sunday night I had dinner with a few close friends at TGIF. For the fourth time in a few days, I had rich cakes for dessert! But that was easily offset by the interesting way the wait staff at TGIF conduct birthdays. I had to sing a song, give a speech, and endure weird stares... all while standing on a chair! Totally fun and cheeky! (However, the uniqueness of the TGIF treatment was nullified when I heard them doing the exact same thing at two other tables.)

Ironically, I hadn't planned any celebrations on my actual birthday. But that night as I was grocery shopping (what an apt thing to do on birthdays!) I got a call from Pauline. She was planning a birthday bash for YP, another gym member. I was surprised when I found out that YP shares my birthday! And not only YP, but Rachel, another Jam instructor. In my 23 years of existence this is the first time I personally know other people who was born on 22nd December.

So I revealed that it was my birthday too, and she asked me out to Coffee Bean for a drink. I went over and was joined by Chris (the male) and Chris (the female). Chris (the female) took plenty of pictures and we had a hilarious chat about -censored- (what happens in Coffee Bean stays in Coffee Bean). We stayed till about 11.45pm even though the next day was a working day! So it was totally memorable :)

(I will upload photos once I get them from Chris, the female)

And then today after lunch I got another slice of cheesecake (I'm assuming Lemon Cheesecake, coz I haven't tasted it) from the colleague who sits next to me. She has started her leave today, so I was even more surprised to see a gift from her. Thanks HY!

Later tonight I'll be having dinner with Mum, so I expect another present. Who knows what other surprises await me? It's never too late to repack a useless gift and send it my way k? *hint* *hint*

15 December 2008

squish squish

My lovely new Nike Zoom Kobenhavens.... have started going squish squish! And it was only the second time I was wearing them! This is unacceptable!! It's now confined to the right shoe's forefoot area, but if it spreads I will try to get a replacement.

From online readings it seems that this stems from bad manufacturing:
"I used to work at Nike, and now know too much about shoes... the squishy or 'farty' sound is because some of the glue in the layers of the sole has 'failed'. This usually happens when the sole is punctured and water gets in, or can just happen when the shoe got a crappy glue job at the factory. This also happens in air-sole shoes if you puncture the bag. Most companies will replace the shoes, though you may need to send back to the manufacturer; sometimes the store you bought the shoes from will consider this kind of frivolous, and not want to hassle with the return."

My previous Nike Air Edge L7 didn't get squishy till many months of abuse, so that was understandable. But squishy after 2 times of average use? Nuh-uh.

10 December 2008

'Tis the Season of Giving

... to myself, especially.

Saw this at Royal Sporting House and immediately felt my heartstrings being tugged. I've been looking for a pair of nice, versatile dancing shoes for a long time and I finally found it! Some of the guys like Nike Air Force 1 for BodyJam, but I've never had much love for their garish designs and bulky construction. I've had to make do with cross-trainers that work well for dance and cardio but look like sports shoes. Finally, something that looks good enough to strut onto the dancefloor!

Name: Nike Zoom Kobenhaven
Price: RM299
Where: Royal Sporting House outlets (I couldn't find them in Nike, Why Pay More? and Studio R boutiques)

P.S. I forgot to post it up last time, but I also bought a new cross-trainer barely 5 months ago. I got Nike Reax Train II for a discounted RM170. It's great but isn't the most stylish shoe in its class, hence rationalizing my new shoe.

P.P.S. You might be wondering if I'm a zombie slave to Nike, so let me tell you - YES! They are the only ones with enough sense to bring in cross training and dance shoes for men. Believe me, I've searched high and low in Adidas, New Balance, Fila, Reebok, and Mizuno shops, both in Penang and KL for cross-training shoes that have proper pivot points. Zilch. Nada. What choice do I have?

P.P.P.S. If you look at the bottom of the shoe, you'll see a silhouette of someone doing a side kick. So it could have been designed for martial arts or BodyCombat too.

02 December 2008

Tropicana Twister Orange

Don't bother with it.

If you brush past any mass media in Malaysia recently, you would have seen the umpteen ads aggressively pushing Tropicana Twister Orange fruit drink. They proudly compare their "100% juice" to competitors "30% juice + who knows what else?". So today I bought a small bottle to try after lunch and it was sooooo disappointing.

The ingredients list: Water, sugar, orange pulp, orange juice concentrate, citric acid, sodium citrate, xanthan gum, flavour, arabic gum, potassium sorbate, ascorbic acid, vitamin e, cornstarch, vitamin a & beta carotene, permitted food conditioner, flavouring, and preservative.

Mmmm.... "who knows what else" indeed!
The fact that they had to add synthetic vitamins just shows how nutrient deficient the orange juice concentrate has become! You can see how misleading their TV ad is. You should keep an eye out for their press advertisements too.

The gold standard, for me, was that roadside cart in Bangkok oh-so-many years ago. This elderly aunty was selling these unmarked 500ml bottles of orange juice for about 50 baht. Quite expensive going by roadside prices, but it was truly fresh, pure juice. I became a convert to 100% undiluted fruit juices then, and Tropicana Twister isn't one of them.

01 December 2008

You Might Wanna Skip This One

If you can't see what it is, click to zoom in.
Rats are certainly a problem in our office! We're partly to blame - eating our teatime cookies and leaving crumbles all over the floor. But I've seen them make a meal out of cables and mouse wheels too!