Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Down on luck...

Every had one of those days that you know your luck has run out? These few days it really feels like that. It all started on Monday when I had an interview with a bank. I've never pictured myself working in a bank, not once. Looks like I'm gonna be exploring new grounds.

So, the interview was at 2.30pm in the middle of KL. Thought I'd get there in ample time as that would mean after rush hour. I got ready, went downstairs to close the slidding door before I left. To my horror, the door was stuck! I kept pulling the doors to close till one of the handles popped off! So I just thought, screw it!

After locking the front door, I went to my car and clicked the alarm. It shorted and refused to open. Dammit! And the time was already 2.10pm. So much for being early for the interview. After a few fiddles, the alarm finally opened the door and allowed me to start the car. If it's not disarmed, the immobilizer won't let me start the car.

Rushed to the city centre, traffic was surprisingly light. Managed to find a parking spot near the bank's building. I had the leave the key behind as the parking area was rather small and they were stacking the cars side by side. I contemplated on not parking there, but it was already 2.25pm. I had 5 minutes left to rush in and get to the 11th floor. I just left the keys with the attendant and grabbed my umbrella. It started raining heavily as I walked to the building. Really.. not my day!

The interview wait time was really long. I managed to complete my details and handed my documents to the receptionist in 10 minutes flat. She asked me to wait on until they call me in for the interview. The waiting room had leather sofa, but the thing which ruined the room was a musky smell. It smelt like wet carpet that has been left wet for a few days. The smell was horrible. Quite hard to endure and I was left in there till about 4pm before they called me in!

By then, sitting there in the waiting room marinating for an hour and a half, it was quite a torture. I was no longer in the mood to proceed with the interview and I probably screwed it up. Like they say, screw up your preliminary interview and it's as good as over.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Are the prices of Teh Tarik and Diesel related?

You know, come to think of it, I fail to see why the stalls are charging higher for a cup of teh tarik (pulled tea). Is it because that a cup of teh tarik costs more to deliver nowadays?

There's this restaurant in Lucky Gardens called Mahbub. I'm sure most of the Bangsar people have heard about it as it used to charge reasonable prices. A cup of teh tarik cost me RM 1.00. A cup of teh ais(Iced tea)on the other hand was only RM 1.10. Ever since the price increase of petrol in October, the restaurant has been increasing the prices of drinks with ice an extra 10 cents. After the New Year, they charged another 10 cents extra. So now the prices of cold drinks increased to RM 1.20. Worst if it's Milo (chocolate drink by Nestle), it'll set you back RM 1.60 for a cold one. Usually when one goes to a restaurant and doesn't know what to drink, Iced tea is the first choice. I won't even go into the food, as a plate of nasi lemak (a local delicacy of rice made with coconut milk)now costs RM 2.00 per plate. That's a rip-off of another 50 cents from the old prices!

The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister in today's The Star newspaper questions the relation between a rise in the price of the drinks and that of diesel. It definitely has no direct relation to the price increase! We're talking an increase of 10 cents per cup, for every 10 customers, that's an additional profit of RM 1.00. Imagine if a hundred people order that in a day? How does that justify the price increase of the iced drinks?

Does it really cost that much more to deliver the same amount of tea leaves or bags of to the restaurant operators? These buggers are really out to make a quick profit!

It has officially started, the truckers are ready to increase the prices for transportation charges by 25%. By all means, it's only fair that they do so. How do you expect these truck operators to absorb the costs? According to the Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Lorry Operators Association, a two-way trip from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh used to cost about RM 240, is now RM 320. The distance between Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh is about 200 kms. How does the ministry expect the prices to hold firm?

So in the end, who will absorb the costs? The truckers push it on to the wholesellers, the wholesellers push it to the middlemen and hence the increased prices will eventually end up to burden the consumers. What is the government trying to do? It's like they've opened up a can of worms and blamed it on others.

It's no secret that it's the perfect excuse to increase prices of goods. As one member of the public was quoted saying on the Astro Channel 19's news, "The prices of fuel keeps increasing, but my pay is still the same. How to survive?"

Monday, May 09, 2005

Keeping prices in check?

So, the Malaysian government announced last Thursday that there will be an increase of 10 cents in petrol prices and 20 cents to diesel prices respectively. Yesterday the Prime Minister told various businesses to keep the prices in check and not take advantage over the recent increases in fuel prices. Yes, that's a good way to keep consumer goods in check, but heck, let's raise the prices of fuel to further burden the people! Also take into consideration the lack of proper planning for our public transport system.

With fuel prices hovering at US$49 per barrel, I don't see why the government had to go make such an increase to the petrol prices? Considering the last increase was just announced last October due to the fluctuating fuel prices worldwide. I would also like to add that diesel prices were just recently increased about a month or so ago and the government is still coping with the problem of diesel shortage in this country. All this for the price of country development!

Although the PM has given a stern warning to those who are looking to make a quick buck from the situation, it's only a matter of time before they have to EVENTUALLY raise the prices. I mean, tell me, who in their sane mind would want to absorb such a cost? It's an outflow of income! Why make less when you can burden the cost to the end users?

I would know cause companies would take advantage saying that, "You know, the goods don't just deliver themselves," or, "Hello??? Who's gonna pay for transportation?... You're goods are not gonna just walk to your front door by themselves!" I've heard these excuses from various courier companies. Either pay up, or risk having your clients scream at you for not having the goods delivered on time.

I would truely sympathize the diesel users of this country. A friend of mine who drives a diesel SUV was stranded for 3 days. How in the world can you tell someone who knows that their country produces petroleum and still have problems like diesel shortages?! I can't imagine the problem that courier companies are going through considering all the diesel trucks that they having running on the roads.

Who's to be blamed for matters such as diesel shortages? Everyone's pointing fingers at each other in the administration, so will the true culprit please stand up? Let's have a public bashing before letting his or her family take humiliation for his or her incompetency!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mother's Day

OK. It's been 3 years to date since I've had a chance to celebrate Mother's Day with me mum. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the bad son who ignores his mum, it's just that I've spent the first two of the three years abroad living in Brisbane. I was really looking forward to celebrate it with her this year. Unfortunately she's being posted in Ipoh, so heck, let's postpone the celebrations. Managed to speak to her on the phone and wished her, "Happy Mother's day".

I was contemplating the drive to Ipoh, but with the recent increase in petrol prices it would mean having to endure a nice long lecturing from me mum and her asking me, "So how's the job hunt situation coming?" I've still yet to come up with an explanation for sitting at home for almost a year since I've graduated. Calling it an extended holiday, but I've really been trying hard to get something soon. It's really boring sitting at home everyday!

Thought I'd just save myself the hassle and I'll celebrate it the next year with something posh like a dinner in Lemon Garden, Shangri-La, KL.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

God of War

God Of War Posted by Hello

This is the best game I've played on the PS2! I got to know about it from Rudy and it's been a very addictive game. For those of you who enjoy Greek mythology, this is really a MUST have. It's rated mature though, so be prepared for very gory game play and offensive graphics. Just the way I love my games! I'd pick this to be the game of the year!

It comes complete with Cyclops, Hydras, Medusa, Oracle and of course who can forget, the title of the game itself, Ares the God of War. You play Kratos, a spartan who the Gods of Olympus has called upon to do the dirty job of stopping the God of War himself. As a mortal, you get some pretty nifty magic such as Medusa's Gaze to turn Minotaurs into stone and whipping them to shreds in one cool move. Or even get Poseidon's Rage or have a throw of Zeus' Fury... yes you get to harness lightning bolts and throw them at pesky archers from long range.

Unfortunately the copy that I am playing at the moment is not too good. It's hung at a certain stage, the Temple of Pandora. Damn, I was really looking forward to opening that Pandora's Box to see what's really in there. Just caught an episode of Charmed from Season 7 where they had to stop a demon from opening Pandora's Box. Of course we all know that the box holds all the worst things in the world such as misery, famine, etc. etc. etc. But in the game, you'll need Pandora's Box to help you fight Ares himself. I mean how does a mortal stand up against a Greek god?

For those of you with new TV sets that supports HDTV, it will be a good thing to note that this games supports that and a widescreen format. As you can see from the screen shots, the graphics are really to die for!

Looks like I'll have to put this game on hold for the moment until I return it and get a better copy.

Screenshot 1  Posted by Hello

Screenshot 2  Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Homemade Capuccino Posted by Hello

No, that's not picture of a cup of coffee that I took from a Starbucks outlet near my house. Woke up this morning, saw some milk left in the fridge. I was recalling how much I really missed that capuccino machine that Sam bought back in Brisbane. I still remember, I would wake up and head straight for the coffee machine. Nothing like starting the day with a nice cuppa. Making your own capuccino really did save you some money and I liked mine without nutmeg or cinnamon. It had a decent pressure to create good quality froth. Not bad for a machine that cost A$35.00. That's after 20% discount, on top of a 15% store discount! I can't believe it! They actually give discount to employees on top of the offer price! How do they make money? Are they suggesting that they are making a good 50% of the shelf price? Who knows?

Anyway, I still remember the first time we tried to operate the darn thing. Being guys, we didn't opted for the manual. We went for the old fashioned 'Plug and Play'. Simple, or so we thought. We didn't exactly know how much water to put in, so we filled it halfway to just run a trial and error thingy. Kids, don't ever try this at home. Now, the water in the machine boils, so that you can filter hot water through the grounded coffee. You get a nice selection of different flavors, Mountain Blue, Kenyan Gold and Irish coffee (there's Kahlua or Baileys mixed into the beans as they are roasted), just to name a few.

Well, the remaining water is needed to froth and steam the milk. Well, Sam being the genius thought that we should just fill up the water halfway. After the water is used to filter the coffee, there wasn't enough left to steam the milk. He just opened the water chamber and forgetting that it was pressurized the thing just went pop! It was quite scary and Ann (my housemate from Germany) said, "Told you so!" Yea, she was right, we should ALWAYS read the manual before operating complicating machinery. Luckily the cover didn't pop into Sam's eye or something. I spent the next 5 minutes going through the manual and there in fine print at the end of the page, "Warning: Do not open cover when the water chamber is empty. Allow the chamber to depressurize before opening."

What can I say? Guys will be guys!

Now back to the coffee I made this morning. Getting the froth was actually quite easy without the help of a machine. All you need is to heat up the milk, and then pour it into a small bottle. After that, give it a good shake. A word of advice, don't forget to wrap a cloth around the bottle, otherwise it can get really hot. After a minute or two, you'll have all the froth that you want without the help of a coffee machine! Who says you can't learn anything from a cook chef named Jamie? And how much milk do you use? Equal parts of coffee and milk. Unless you are making a Latte then you'll need one part coffee and two parts milk.

And no, the cup wasn't stolen from a local Starbucks outlet! Although I know that they don't sell this particular cup with the logo that they use in the coffeeshops. I managed to get 3 of these mugs back from Brisbane. They sell it for A$7 each! What a rip off, I should've just gone and knicked one.