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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Blurred lines

They're the most torturous.
It means you're something and nothing to the other person simultaneously.
It means you can do everything and also do nothing.

For whatever reason that I'm in this position, this seems to be the position I'm in most of the time - I'm the girl that has to be kept secret, or at least, the "relationship" has to be, if there ever was one in the first place.

Vague, suggestive updates are done because "it's not real yet", "I can't guarantee anything to you".

I really, really, really can't care less what the reason is, because it makes no difference to the situation I'm in, and how it makes me feel.

But then I'm stupid enough to put up with it, pack all of them into a temporary box, sealed with a pleasant facade. I'll try to be understanding, and be stupid enough to wait, but rest assured that I'm tormented by every second of this.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Carrie 2013

The first time I watched Carrie was many years ago, with my family. It was a movie that my parents and their generation knew well, because it was almost the horror movie of their generation. The 1976 version of Carrie starred Sissy Spacek, who had the 'perfect' facial features for her role as Carrie White herself - just plain creepy.

Taken from Wikipedia's page for the movie.
I was stoked when I realized that they were making a remake.

This time, Chloe Grace Moretz plays Carrie. If you don't recognize her, she's the alternative werewolf girl in the Johnny Depp movie Dark Shadows. Instead of the creepy-ish face that Sissy had, Chloe gives the modern-day Carrie a more vulnerable, child-like face. Did I mention that Chloe is 16? Yeah.

In a way, I was disappointed - I thought that they would make some other changes to the story, like some other remakes do: nothing much, just a little bit of plot twists here and there. Both movies basically had the same storyline. The only difference was that the modern version had a fairly attention-grabbing intro (though a little awkward, especially when you're a girl watching it with two other guys).

Although, of course, after so many years of improving technology in the movie-making industry, the special effects and make-up were much better, though most of the make-up consisted of heavy foundation and concealer.

In other words, a pretty unsurprising movie if you've seen the original feature film. Almost word for word from the original, but with better quality (I guess).

Sorry if I sent out any spoilers. =x

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pumpkin pasta with miso cream sauce

Earlier on, I did a stupid move and gave myself a muscle-exposing cut on my right hand, which rendered it partially unusable for about a week. I can finally whip up something that isn't instant noodles now.

Made this because I needed to clear out the veggies in my veggie bin ('my' because the veggies in there are mainly only used by me) - half a 3-week-old molding pumpkin, a whole head of yellowing broccoli, Japanese mushrooms, and a dehydrated Japanese cucumber.

It turned out to be a pleasant combo of flavors and textures. There was the savory miso, the earthiness of the whole wheat pasta (the texture and flavor are different from regular pasta), as well as the warming sweetness of the pumpkin.

What I used:
  • about 3/4 cup of diced and peeled pumpkin
  • about 1/2 cup of broccoli
  • a handful of trimmed shimeji mushrooms
  • a small handful of whole wheat spirali pasta
  • 1 tbsp awase miso
  • 3-4 tbsp European cooking cream

  1. Boiled water for pasta. Cooked according to package instructions.
  2. Cooked pumpkin and mushrooms in a large pan (I freaking love the Tefal non-stick pan) with about 1 tbsp olive oil and a good seasoning with salt.
  3. When both have cooked through, turned off the heat and threw in the broccoli, then covered. I let the remaining heat gently steam the broccoli through.
  4. Premixed the miso and the cream, then coated the cooked pasta with it first, before pouring everything into the veggies.
  5. Served on a dish, sprinkled with sweet Hungarian style paprika and Italian herbs, then garnished with the sliced cucumber.
Another dish haphazardly thrown together, but turned out good enough =D

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Flat White Cafe, SS15, Subang Jaya

SS15 is pretty much known as the chillax district to me, because apart from a few campuses (and hence stationery stores) there, it's packed with both the mainstream and hipster nom and beverage places. Starbucks, CBTL, McDonald's, the various burger joints - it's a place where you can get a meal (both expensive and economical), as well as sit down to have a nice coffee with a friend, or study in the corner of a homey cafe.

Comfortable, warm, and hipster.
Flat White Cafe is one such cafe to study at - it's a homey little cafe tucked away below a snapback store. If you guys know the SS15 area, it's on the same row as Starbucks, opposite Asia Cafe. You walk up two flights of stairs to come to cafe with a very comfortable, rustic atmosphere.

Despite being rustic, the place oozes "hipster". Wooden tables with wooden chairs or metal stools, chalkboard menus, and warm light that is just bright enough to illuminate the place. A nice brick wall lines the opposite of the counter, which is also wooden. A glass door on the right of the entrance separates the smoking area and the non-smoking area.

Noms menu, apart from the desserts. Forgive the bad resolution. =(
First and foremost, the place serves coffee, in a variety of flavors, served hot or cold. Coffee connoisseurs will know what a cup of flat white is. Other than coffee (and tea, a choice between green and black), cakes and light noms are available. Noms like pancakes, pastries, and homemade brioche.

We picked the infamous salted caramel cake (out of a choice between that, red velvet, and a triple chocolate mousse) for sharing. A slice costs MYR11, which is almost double the price of a slice from Secret Recipe. The cake was divine, but all it was was delicious chocolate cake on salted caramel sauce. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't what it said it was...

The Nutella cappucino (only available hot) was the beverage that caught my eye the moment I started scanning the menu (priced at MYR13). How much more Italian can you get? Single-shot cappucino, mixed with glorious Nutella~ While the beverage was delicious, it lacked actual Nutella taste.

During our short visit there, the place remained fairly quiet - students studying for exams, some older individuals working on their MacBooks (I told you, hipster), other coffee drinkers Instagramming their coffee/pastries/cakes (WiFi password is flatwhitesubang, though my device couldn't connect).

Overall, this would be the perfect place to just chill, whether alone or with friends. Perhaps to sit around to think, because the place really is quite quiet (apart from the occasionally coffee grinder noise), and I feel that it's the ideal place to generate and reap inspiration.

Food / beverage - 7 / 10
Environment / ambiance - 9 / 10
Location - 7 / 10 (SS15's parking is a bitch)
Price - 6 / 10
Service - 8 / 10 (quite friendly, and items are brought to you)

Suffocating memories

There are memories that you smile upon when they visit
There are memories that you shun when they try to enter
Then there are the memories that haunt you every moment
So much that you feel like suffocating
You feel so much like moving on and giving your heart a break
But you just can't...
Because it's too beautiful
Too rare
Too perfect

You're that suffocating memory
That memory that I love and hate
The one that I want to keep until the end of time
But also the one that I wish I could just forget

By pure chance, I met you
And something beautiful blossomed between you and I
Rare, precious, absolute
Something to be cherished and held close to the heart

Those three days were the most amazing in my life
Just one kiss to realize that you were the one
One hug to know that I would be cold without your embrace
And one exclamation of love
To express all those feelings we had

You saw me at my best
And you also saw the worst of me
But you loved me nonetheless
Even with the distance in between

The morning you left
Was the morning my heart died
It didn't shatter
But just stopped beating

I feared that you would stop talking to me
I feared that you wouldn't write to me anymore
Half of those fears came true
Perhaps not because of what I thought
But I was wounded nonetheless
Because I thought that was the end of us

Perhaps it was my fault
Perhaps it was yours
It was just both of us being fools
You for thinking that I needed space
I for thinking that you have forsaken my heart in the snow

It isn't fair
To that wonderful girl there
To the amazing man here
But you're the one I'll always love
And I hope I have the same place in your heart
As you are in mine

I miss everything of you
Your voice
Your skin
Your smell
I miss looking into your eyes
I miss sharing kisses with you, be they virtual or real
I miss the bear of the man that I loved
The one with the European accent

Do I appear in your mind
As often as you appear in mine?
Do you picture holding me during those lonely nights
As I imagine being embraced in your chest?
Do tears fall
Though you try to hold them in
When you think about us?
Because mine flow freely when the memories flood back
Just as they did before you left

Maybe it's all just wishful thinking
That we would have a nice cabin in the Alps
You with your music
I with my writing
Perhaps a white puppy to bind everything together
It's a fantasy I still relive
Ever since you described it to me

Here's to us
Forever in love
But forever apart

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Self identity

To the world, I'm first and foremost my parents' second daughter, and sisters' sister. I am a friend to many others; a person to hate to some; and hopefully, someone's lost love. I am a niece, a cousin, a goddaughter, a student, a granddaughter, and both an older and a younger sister.

Most of the time, however, I find myself wondering at the true purpose of my existence, as well as the actual role I play in the lives of all whom I meet. Am I a reliable friend? Am I a daughter to be proud of? What am I supposed to do in order to... I dunno, change the world? When that comes into the picture, it feels that the significance of my existence just shrinks even more.

I've been talking to someone lately, and he's made me question a lot of these. Most of these have always plagued me, but in a different context. I'm usually the daughter, sister, [insert identity here] with the piercings and the tramp stamp, the perverted nut, the one who laughs at practically everything, the make-up geek, the one into fads and trends, etc.

Imagine a scenario where we (my family) are going out to have a meal with my ... let's say, dad's ex-colleague. Of course, in such a situation, introductions are due. Here's the typical introduction speech:

"Here's my oldest daughter, she studied culinary arts and is a chef. She's now working outstation. My second daughter, she's good with make-up. And my youngest, who usually does the home-cooking. Like she would improvise something for dinner with whatever in the house."

Yeah, yeah. You're thinking: "just middle-child syndrome". Actually, BINGO. Compare the number of words used to introduce each of us. Usually, how I'm introduced is "the make-up one", but now I have another label: "the vegetarian".

Now this isn't about child favoritism, and please don't get the wrong perception - what I'm talking about here is the traits that I have that allow people to introduce me or identify me to other people. To friends, I may be the perverted crazy-ass who's a cardio-freak and a real klutz.

Personally, I see myself as a person who lives in a closet, but yearns to reach out and be comfortable in the world outside. Imagine a chick exploring the world for the first time - afraid, anxious, excited, and expectant. I'm stumbling around, trying to find my own footing, and trying really hard not to break anything else. I'm a person who has yet to actually do something with her life. But for now, I still don't know what that is.

Right now, while I'm being pesked with happenings of the past, I need to focus on more important things - my education. Apart from being a girl in a family, I'm also a student, one of the many of my peers. I'm studying two things that aren't really my forte - public relations, in other words, communicating with people; event management, when I can't even decide on where to have lunch without tearing my hair out.

I guess it's a time for some self-discovery, but I can't very well just skip off on a backpacking trip (though I could consider saving up for one). This will have to wait, or just happen like with everyone else - by fumbling through this confusing place we call "society".

Monday, November 4, 2013

Loving Hut, Jalan Radin Bagus

Apart from Le Veggie closest to my home, Loving Hut is another vegan restaurant/cafe that is situated above a bank, and below a fitness center. Right next to Sen-Heng, you have to proceed one floor up to access the peaceful, homey cafe.

Upon entering, you encounter wooden floor boards, a standing water feature on your right (probably for feng shui), and an assortment of laminated wooden tables accompanied by solid acrylic chairs. Take a seat, and the somewhat surly young waiter will hand you the menu. There's a daily set (changes according to the day of the week) for MYR5.80, or you could order straight from the main menu.

The place isn't Buddhist-oriented (that we noticed), and the items on the menu were not limited to just regular Chinese dishes as we found in other restaurants. Apart from regular dishes to go with rice, there were curries, noodles, and fried rices. We ordered a meal with soup each, plus a drink and a side dish for sharing.

The drink we ordered was a rose cappucino, which is pretty much an iced cappucino (you could have it hot too) with a little rose essence, and topped with dried rose buds. While it looked pretty, it tasted only like over-sweetened coffee.

My sister ordered a tofu steak with bean sauce, served with brown rice, a salad, Chinese-style stir-fried veggies, and a Chinese-style soup. My sister isn't much of a vege food fan, but she enjoyed this one, which is pretty good. We both agreed that the salad wasn't the best, though.

The soup was some kind of root vegetable soup, with red dates and chickpeas. Not bad, but I wasn't too fond of the anonymous root vegetable cubes that accompanied the carrot cubes in the soup.

I originally ordered a green curry rice, but apparently it wasn't ready yet, so I changed my order to the basil sauce chops rice, served with the same rice platter and soup that went with my sister's set. The sauce is derived from the popular Taiwanese "three cup" chicken dish, which is made with basil, soy sauce, Chinese rice wine, and sesame oil (a cup each, hence, "three cup", and boiled down to a thick sauce).

I loved that the sauce tasted authentic, just like how "three cup" chicken is supposed to taste like. And even though I fished out a ton of chili slices from the sauce, it wasn't too spicy, and had enough sweetness to it to balance out the saltiness of the soy sauce.

Lemon chicken was one of my favorite dishes, and here's the vegetarian version, with vegetarian chicken. Need I say more? If I needed to, I'd say it tastes exactly like its non-vege counterpart, if not more delicious.

The bill came up to slightly under MYR50, which is less than our meal at Le Veggie. So, overall:

Food - 8.5 / 10
Environment / ambiance - 6.5 / 10
Location - 6.5 / 10
Price - 9 / 10
Service - 7 / 10

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Le Veggie, Jalan Radin Bagus

Whether it's just my ignorance, or there's just not as many vegetarian/vegan restaurants around, I don't know. But I have noticed a couple of such restaurants near my place, and I finally got off my butt to try one of them.

Le Veggie is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant situated on Jalan Radin Bagus, next to Tutti Frutti. What sets this restaurant apart to the other Buddhist veggie restaurants I've been to (one in SS15, the other one opposite the One Academy) is that it looks more like a cafe/boutique hotel lobby than anything.

However, once you get past that facade, you're face to face with a large-group-friendly restaurants - a row of 4-seater tables on the right, and all the others are large tables. Did I mention that the place has WiFi and is air-conditioned?

Anyways, the menu houses a fair variety of dishes, from regular veggies, to vegetarian meat (a.k.a "fake meat of self-deception" to some people), to desserts. Le Veggie has their own homemade herbal drink, that we had to accompany our meal.

We ordered three dishes to go with rice (available in white or brown) - claypot tofu with assorted mushrooms and vegetables; sweet potato leaves stir-fried with ginger and fermented bean sauce; and vegetarian mutton dry curry.

The claypot tofu was not bad, but nothing much to shout about. I do like the fact that the snow peas weren't cooked through completely. I never would have thought that I would prefer certain veggies crispy/crunchy now.

Fermented bean paste is a popular seasoning for vegetarian dishes, since using garlic would be too strong. In Chinese, it's called "fu ru", meaning fermented milk, or in this case, tofu. I guess it would be considered an acquired taste, but I love the fact that you can actually taste the paste in this dish, as opposed to just tasting the vegetables as I've tried somewhere else.

I have a bone to pick with people with opinions about vegetarian meat. This "meat" is made out of soy and/or flour to resemble the texture of meat (i.e. chicken, mutton, fish, etc), and cooked in many different ways. While mushrooms are already an excellent meat substitute because of its texture, but some individuals opt for the "fake" meat for reasons of their own.

Personally, I find "fake" meat pretty much a wonder, but in moderate amounts. Being a meat lover, I love the chewy texture of any meat, and "fake" meat gives me the texture without the meat itself. The whole point I became vegetarian is because I wanna go meatless, and here I'm getting my "fix" without having to kill a lamb. So please, if you have an opinion on "fake" meat and why vegetarians seem to be "betraying themselves" when they eat "fake" meat, just keep that thought mental.

Back to the dish itself. I like that the curry wasn't too spicy, but had a kick, and it had a good assortment of veggies in it (as opposed to a lot of other curries with just a mush of blended seasonings). Dimensions of flavor were a little lacking, though.

Overall, it was a pretty good meal. The bill came to MYR53, including a homemade red bean paste that my sister ordered. Pretty typical for vegetarian food, but reasonable enough.

Food - 8 / 10
Environment & ambiance - 7.5 / 10
Location - 9 / 10
Price - 7.5 / 10
Service - 8 / 10