Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Financial Plan Awry

Money! Money! Money!

We just can’t get enough of it. As soon as we get more monthly income, we upgrade our lifestyle. The more we have, the more we spend. The more we earn, the less money we have. Ironic isn’t it? But that’s just the truth.

I’ve been feeling a bit down about money. The people around me with financial worries isn’t helping my situation except realize that some people may seem to have a lot of material goods but they very often live on credit. And that’s no way to live.

Not that I’m broke or anything. I have a great studio apartment which I’m renting out so the tenant is paying for me to own the place. I have a lovely zippy car which I love to bits and still sigh at how cute he looks.

But I don’t seem to be where I wanted to be when I hit 30. My pay is crap but I manage to get along and maintain my lifestyle and pay my bills. But I want so much more than this.

Fruitcake and I had lunch today and we were talking about how we returned to Malaysia to start a business and make us some serious cash. So here we are in Malaysia 10 years later with no business to show and still making peanuts under our employers.

Somewhere along the way, the plan went awry. Time to get it back on track.

So many friends have a full time job and a side business. Then they eventually leave their permanent job and concentrate fully on their own business. And from there they make their millions! Okay, millions may be pushing it but that is a possibility and its always good to earn your own money and be your own boss.

Sure there’s always risk involved and the fear of failure. But worry is a waste of time and energy. It does nothing but create negative energy and sleepless nights.

If we had put more thought into starting a business seriously 5 years ago, who knows where we would be right now.

It’s time for some action. Anyone got some great business ideas?!

Murder in Mont Kiara

Yesterday, the new papers reported a shocking incident which took place in Mont Kiara. A unit in a luxury condo there was purchased via a bank auctioned. When the new owner went into the unit, he was greeted with a bad stench. With the help of security guards, they discovered the body of a man which was chopped up into 11 pieces and stuffed into a fridge.

Today, the news papers reported that the man’s wife has been detained in connection with the crime.

The papers did not inform which condo it is but my sources tell me that it’s Mont Kiara Bayu. It’s a fairly high end condo which is surrounded by super condos / resort condos.

How shocking that this happened so close to home. No area is safe.

We all know that the crime rate in this country is escalating. We hear things happening to friends and we may even have encountered danger in the face a couple of times. But the level of crime and occurrence is happening around me at a disturbing rate.

It’s not safe to walk on the roads now even if it’s the short distance from a shop to your parked car. I eat at stall or hawker centres clutching my hand bag on my lap under the table. I go to certain areas with my valuables in my pockets so I don’t carry a bag. I almost sprint to my car while looking over my shoulder and also inside the car before getting in and then quickly locking all the doors. What’s our country becoming to? What’s happening in this world? I don’t like living in perpetual paranoia.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Even Daniel Radcliffe Agrees

In an interview about Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (the movie), Daniel Radcliffe was asked his take on the possible ending of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the book). He said that "If in the end, Voldermort died and Harry lived happily ever after, it would be a weak ending". Even "Harry" agrees. Sigh.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bubbles is Upset With JK Rowling

If you're a Harry Potter fan and have been following the book since Philosopher's Stone but have not completed Deathly Hallows, my suggestion is to skip the last few pages. U'll actually know when to stop reading as you flip the last few pages. Curiosity will claw at you. But if you want to retain all the magic built up over 10 years in your life, i suggest u rip those pages out and cast 'INCENDIO' on them.

I'm very upset with Joanne Rowling and I don't feel like visiting the Harry Potter Theme Park at Universal Studios anymore!

For friends who've asked for the ending or why i feel the way I do about the book, I'll post the end up a lil later for the sake of those who have not finished the book.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

This Is How The Deathly Hallows Ends?!!

My eyes were closing and my brain was shutting down. But I knew I had to stay awake. I sat up then flipped over to my tummy and then continued in child’s pose. The battle scenes were exciting and so was the twist in the story. I liked how Dumbledore’s Army and the Order of the Phoenix stood together to fight. They were helped by so many of the other magical creatures, live and inanimate objects joined for a fight to defeat the evil Voldermort! And the question on everyone’s minds since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone - whether Dumbledore was indeed right to trust Snape or not.

My eyes moved faster and faster as I sped to finish the book. The battle scene finally ended. JK Rowling is merciless. Just within the first few chapters, half a dozen characters are killed off. By the last few chapters, I’ve lost count of the wounded and the dead. Sad as it was with a few of my favourite characters killed, I still say it was a good story.

As I reached the last few chapters, I slowed down to savour what would be the last of the amazing Harry Potter series. It has been a wonderful journey spanning 10 years of reading and following the life and coming of age of the ‘Boy Who Lived’. The younger readers would have grown up along with Harry and would have resonated even more strongly with him.

Then came the final chapter. And then the last page.

I’m outraged! I can’t believe it ended this way! In just a few pages, JK Rowling negated all the fantasy which she’s conjured in people’s minds so amazingly well in all 7 books.

I can’t help but get a feel that she’s doing it for herself. She did it to safe guard her character. While I can understand why she would want to do it, I felt it was unfair for the readers. The millions of kids and adults out there! Those last pages took away all the magic which was becoming part of our everyday lives and more so when a new book is released every year or two. It was even corny.

I’m utterly disappointed and want to yell ‘IMPERIO’ at JK Rowling and I want to cast ‘OBLIVATE’ on my mind but I didn’t even have it in me to cast a Patronus. I cast my wand aside along with the book and hid under the duvet. And I realized with full conviction that I’m now a Muggle.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Main Bookstore Chains Boycotting Harry Potter

This morning, the Morning Crew on Hitz.FM announced that Carrefour is selling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at RM69 tomorrow, the first day of the release of the book.

Considering Times, MPH and Borders are retailing the book at RM109.90 with a percentage of discount depending on the chain of store and whether u r a member, that’s still RM20 more expensive when compared to Carrefour.

I didn’t think much of it till I found out from Fruitcake that the 3 main book store chains will NOT be opening their doors at 7.01am as promised for book collection and sale. And they will not be entertaining sales for not pre-bookings. Also, they are canceling all activities pertaining to the launch of the book. This has been confirmed on Star Online.

This is an outrage. We cannot collect the books early even though we’ll paying full price? How is that fair?

I just called Times Bookstore. I could get though. No one picking up calls from MPH 1 Utama but MHP The Curve responded to say that they will be open at 7.01am.

Maybe this is just an issue of people being over zealous about the book. Emotions can run pretty high when it comes to something people are the passionate about. And this is a global sentiment.

My take is that Carrefour is selling the books at cost in order to attract crowds to their store in hopes that the customers will buy other items while they are there.

Apparently we are to write to Penguin Books if we are to complain. And that, we shall.

Let’s see what happens tomorrow.

Whiskey Sobered Me Up

I just had a glass of whiskey and I feel fine now! In fact, it sobered me up from the wine. I never learn. I should just stick to whiskey. But then again it doesn’t work if the objective is to get drunk.

Deathly Hallows: 7:01am release

Less than 12 hours to the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in Malaysia!

Who will die and who will live? What's to become of Harry and Hogwarts and the magical world?

No one call me tomorrow!

Bubbles Is Allergic To Alcohol. Really!!!

It’s the Saatchi Creative Review again. Happening every 2 months or so, that’s when we have 10 minutes of updates and announcements and 4 hours of food and free flow of alcohol. Today’s session feels a little sedate. Actually it’s been getting mellower by the month. There was a time when people got drunk and danced on the conference table then passed out. Those were fun times.

And since I’ve slowed down in clubbing by about 90%, so has my alcohol tolerance. I had 2 glasses of wine and I’m feeling it already. My 3rd glass of rose is next to me on the table, still mostly full.

And I’m really red. But then again that’s the norm. People don’t know this but I’m allergic to alcohol. I’ll turn red after 2 glasses and my torso will start to itch. To counter this, I’ll down about 5 more, the body becomes numb and there’s no more itch. Problem solved.

I tell people I’m allergic but they don’t believe me!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

3 More Days Till The Deathly Hallows

3 days till the release of the seventh and final of the Harry Potter book series – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It will be available worldwide on Saturday, 21st July.

The stores in Malaysia will open their doors at 7.01am that Saturday for book collection (for those who pre booked like me) and for purchases.

The whole world is waiting and is in a frenzy.

Households are putting manners of news channels on hold such as TV, radio, the net, telephones …… so that they can read the book themselves without anyone spoiling it for them.

I can’t wait! I’m going to pick up my copy early and read at top speed but will probably slow down towards the end as this is the final book. I can’t image a world where there is no more Harry Potter to look forward to in the coming years. Sounds a little fanatical, but I’m not alone.

JK Rowling cried when she wrote this book. Is it because she killed off a character? Or because this is the last book?

She did said that she’ll be killing off a character in this book. And seeing how she so mercilessly killed Sirius and Dumbledore in the last 2 books, it could very well be Harry that’s next. This is especially since the prophecy in Order of the Phoenix says that ‘One will not live while the other survives’, referring to Harry and Voldermort. Meaning either of them is going to perish. Will it be Harry?! I hope not. There are petitions going round for Joanne not to kill Harry. But has it helped?

While a prophecy is supposed to hold true, hopefully (crossing fingers), it won’t come to pass. After all, Voldermost entered Harry’s house when he was a baby to kill the entire family. Harry was still an infant then. His parents met their death in Voldermort hands but Harry managed to survive.

So maybe not all prophecies will come true. Harry’s mother’s love protected him and Voldermost’s attack merely left him with a scar on his forehead. Will Harry be able to survive again?

There’s so much speculation out that. But my take is that Harry will defeat Voldermost and survive and will graduate and become an excellent Auror.

3 more days to go! No one disturb me on Saturday please!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Marche’s All You Can Eat Tuesdays

Marche’s All You Can Eat Tuesdays is back.

It’s really just a western style hawker centre with really expensive food but it’s so yummy. And I stress again, so expensive. But it doesn’t seem as wasteful since you actually order the dish u want and its cooked fresh rather than just piling your plate high like in normal buffet lines.

Paul and I we seem to get our money’s worth when it comes to buffet. On a normal day, we already consume food for more than 2.

This is an example of our last dinner at Sake Sushi at the Curve. The table was small and we had to eat and clear the plates as more dishes arrived. What you see is about half of what we ordered.

Let’s see how we do art Marche tonight. I'm hungry!

The Sassari

The quality of Crocs since they moved their production to China is very disheartening. Sure, quality of products drops when they’re manufactured in China. But the drop of quality is so significant (with the price remaining the same) that I feel so cheated. I’m paying for sub-standard products now. The first batch of Crocs molded to your feet so that when you slip into them, you almost go ‘ahhhhh’ in contentment due to the hold and support. It just cradles your feet.

Now, u slip it in and while it’s still soft, there are gaps which should not be there and it even squeaks more.

I’m a big fan of Crocs and own one Beach and 2 Mary Janes. These are my official work shoes as they are for many of my colleagues due to the amount of running we have to do sometimes within the office and out. I’ve also wanted the Sassari for the longest time. It’s their first attempt at introducing heels into their line of casual footwear. Good looking heels are never comfortable but Crocs may just have broken the unwritten fashion rule. The stores have one side of the Sassari displayed for the past 4 months at least and it’s still not hit our shores yet. Thanks to Lola who bought me a pair while in Singapore for work, I now have my 4th pair - A pink and white Sassari.

I’m also eying the Capri. But now I’m thinking twice.

Maybe I should just forget about Crocs and remember to wear the other 50 pairs of shoes I own.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Harry Potter Beats Transformers

My morning has just been made!

It’s another Monday morning, which has been crappier the past few months since the company decided to set a Work-In-Progress meeting every Monday at 8.30am!

I was driving to work, blur and hating the traffic as any other Monday morning when I hear on the radio news that Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix beat Transformers in box office sales in the first few days of the premier!

Bloomberg, just 4 hours ago reported that:

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'' was the top film in the U.S. and Canada over the weekend with $77.4 million. The film toppled Transformers, which fell to second from first with $36 million in sales, Media By Numbers LLC said today in a statement.”

“Order of the Phoenix'' has taken in $140 million domestically since the film opened on July 11, and $190.3 million internationally, said Warner Brothers spokeswoman Veronika Kwan-Rubinek. She said the film had 16.2 million pounds ($32.9 million) in receipts its first four days in the U.K.

“The first four “Potter” movies have made $3.54 billion worldwide, making “Harry Potter” Time Warner's most lucrative franchise, according to Box Office Mojo LLC, which tracks international sales. The company's Warner Bros. studio plans two more films based on the sixth and seventh books.”

Mind u, not that I have anything against Transformers but I really didn’t see the big deal about the show. Sure it was about good vs evil with huge transforming robots saving the world. The CGI during the transforming stage was pretty good. And it was quite entertaining. I’ve asked people what they think was so great about the movie and 80% tell me it’s the CGI. But for me, effects alone isn’t enough to make a great movie. There’s so much more to a good movie than just what u can do with a computer.

When I watched “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, the movie was pretty close to the book but a lot of details were missing. This was understandable as it was just a 2 hour movie.

As for “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”, now that’s a movie which blew me away. I’ve come to accept that the movie can never be as good nor as detailed as the book. But this one made me go ‘WOW’. It was better than I could ever imagine. The CGI was good and it was very detailed, and not just about effects which were blowing up in your face. I especially liked the part where Harry was flying on his broom across the Thames. The fight sequence between Dumbledore, Harry and Voldermort was gripping with details such as the shattering of glass and the small particles floating around Harry as he was lying on the ground. It was a good thing I read the book or I would have been utterly shocked and devastated when Sirius fell through the archway and died. I still feel the way he died was too undramatic as he played such a pivotal role in Harry’s life. Still, at least it was true to the book. The character building in the movie was good and showed so much human emotional though I felt that there could have been more screen time for Hermione and Ron.

Speaking about Hermione, don’t u think she’s getting so hot! There’s a beautiful shot of her in Hot magazine. Still looking virginal and sweet but hot nonetheless.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (the book) will be released this Saturday, 21st 2007. On one hand, I’m extremely excited and can’t wait to read it. On the other hand, this is the seventh and final book. And someone dies. So I’m having mixed feelings about the book. First Sirius dies in the most undramatic way. Then Dumbledore, the most powerful wizard, dies during a battle with Lord Voldermort in order to save Harry. Who dies next? Harry? I hope not.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Vegetarian Wannabe

Those who know me well, know that I’m allergic to vegetables. But over the years, I’ve managed to adapt and now eat either dark green leafy ones (spinach, kangkung, Romaine lettuce) or the beany type (okra, French beans, long beans). However, I’m still selective and refuse to eat white or light green coloured vegetables (beans sprouts, cabbage, lettuce). People often ask me why. It’s because white vegetables look pale and sickly and so unappetizing. And scientific researches has also proven that the light coloured veges have less vitamins than dark coloured one. So why eat pale veges which don’t taste or look good especially when they don’t have any nutritional value. Ha!

Last Friday, after the Chivas whiskey tasting session, I went to King Crab on the LDP with a few friends. As they were slightly late, I wandered to the tanks of live seafood and I saw a cook scooping a few crabs out of a basket and into a bucket. Then it hit me. Oh no! These crabs are going to die for me! Poor crab …..

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the salted egg crabs very much though friends tell me the one in Kepong is better. I don’t like Fatty Crab cos they don’t have variety. As for Coconut Flower in Klang, they’re not as good as before and is no longer worth the long drive there. The only good thing is that they serve thodi. Thodi and Guinness! Yum! Can’t believe some of my Indians friends have not tried this drink before. Not that I’m being racist but thodi is traditionally known to be an Indian drink. And I love it! Makes u high just after a few glasses and gets u all giggly and happy. And the high lasts for an hour and then you’re back to normal. Genius!

Anyway, back to the crab story. I still felt bad for the poor crabs so decided to be vegetarian on Saturday.

Brunch consisted of bread. Then Paul and I met up with his sis and boyfriend at GSC 1U to watch Transformers. After that, we went to Dragon-I for dinner. While the rest ate ‘siew long pau’ which is the restaurant’s specialty, I ate noodles with szechuan vegetables. Didn’t enjoy the dinner much but felt a bit better for part of the pigs and the crabs out where which I’ve saved.

I survived being vegetarian for a day! While I would like to be a complete vegetarian to save more animals, I just can’t do it.

I tried it once a few years ago. I stared the day with cereal, followed by noodles and ended the night with a sandwich. By the end of the night, I could kill a cow myself. I know, that’s a little extreme but here I am, a pure carnivorous creature trying to be vegetarian.