Monday, April 21, 2008

What Chillies Are These??

Sometimes, even cooking requires research. I found these intriguing little bombs while shopping in Cameron Highlands. Being priced the same as other vegs, I took a pack to try out. The girl at the stall said they were "cili Benggala". "Pedas ni kak", she added.

No knowing how pedas is pedas, I sliced 2 and added them into my nasi goreng mix this afternoon. The first warning came while menumis. It was so pungent I started coughing hard. Oh oh... What IS this thing?? When done, the nasi was so pedas I had to tame it with kicap, tomato sauce, keledek and additional nasi.. Phew.

Later baru I googled up the cili varieties and saw the lookalike.

Scoville scale:

Habanero 100,000 - 350,000

Cili api aka Birds eye 100,000 - 225,000

On the left: What I bought
Right: What I found on the net

Based on the photos, I think I can safely conclude that they were indeed habaneros - one of the hottest chillies on earth. Looking at the Scoville scale, it's roughly same or half again as pedas as our cili api. Wow. No wonder la so pungent!

Oh well, I've always wondered how pedas habanero and jalapeno really are, since our tastebuds are mostly immune to capsaicin. So now I know lah. Ha ha. Wonder if I could tanam a few plants from the seeds. It would be so cool to have a few in the garden... :D

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I'm Birding Again!

It's been some time since I went out just to bird. The kids session at Raptor Watch was more of an obligation, and I was just too busy to allow myself time for birding. But I have started getting a bad back from sitting too much, so figured I should go out and get some exercise. Birding involves slow walking and some trekking if you go into the trails. Gentle, but better than nothing... Earlier in the week, Seng had posted that he had 2 seats empty for a trip up Fraser's, but could not make up my mind to go until the very last minute. Called him too late, but managed to wangle a ride with Surin, who was also going up.

The majority of the people had some discussing to do. I joined Carol, Jas & John who were there just to do birding. We drove down the dumpsite road, and near the smokehouse, we heard a very loud call. Carol IDed it as a large hawk cuckoo. The 3 of us had never seen one before, so we rushed out to find it. It started to drizzle, but who cares! John spotted the bird perching in one of the trees, and I managed to get a good look. A lifer for us. Yeay!

We drove down to the dumpsite and waterfall, but didn't see anything much. As we went along, the rain got heavier and heavier. In the end we decided to go back to the town center for lunch. Had a pretty disappointing one, but it was enough to refuel. Once the rain abated, we drove a ways down the now closed new road. A massive landslide has basically swept a huge chunk of it away. It's back to the old system yet again for people driving up to the hill station. More birding, but didn't see all that much, no thanks to my horribly rusty skills. We decided to try our luck at Bishop's trail next.

Nasib baik Carol insisted that I wear Seng's leech socks. I didn't normally bother, but put them on anyway. It helped to intercept a few of the rubbery bloodsuckers. They don't really bother me, but I hate the endless bleeding and itchiness of the bite spot. We saw a bit of this and that, but so frustratingly for me, could not see the long tailed broadbill that was right in front of us! Everyone saw it except me... sob sob..
Then a black eagle came and circled practically on top of us. It was SO close... So nice...

Saw a pygmy blue flycatcher, another lifer for me, and a few other birds. By the time we came back out, it was almost six. Managed to see a greater yellownape, green magpie, grey chinned minivets among others. Yeay! We left about six thirty and got home by nine something.

This morning, headed out to the Lake Gardens to help out with the Intro event for the public. I knew Jas had a huge crowd, so went anyway despite the heavy rain. Amazingly, we had a good turnout. We started out in a drizzle, which stopped by 8.30 or so. Had a good time showing beginners what it was all about, helping them find the birds through the binoculars, showing how to differentiate the species. Lake Gardens was a really good spot. Must go there again soon. There were the common magpie robins, mynahs and zebra doves. There also were pink necked green pigeons, blue tailed bee eaters, white throated kingfishers and leafbirds among other things. Ended the morning with a late breakfast, and went home to sleep...

Woke up in the afternoon thinking that it was already Monday morning, but soon realized that it was still Sunday. However, since I had taken one and a half days off to bird, will have to catch up with work tonight, since I have 2 deadlines next week, and starting on another article. Oh well, better too much work than none.. Just wish payments came in as fast as my deadlines, but I guess that's the nature of the beast. :D I'm sooo happy I went birding this weekend. So much fun!!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Water in the hold!

.. or screen. Whatever.

Daddy dearest stopped by yesterday, and as we borak2, it started to rain heavily. As with other not very well off people, I live in a leaky old house. I had moved my laptop to the working area earlier on and I knew some spots will leak if it rained hard. With this in mind, I moved it to a supposedly dry spot on the table. Despite my sister's warning, I didn't check to see if it REALLY was a dry spot.

By the time Abah left it was already seven. I went to restart my computer only to find that it was WET!! Oh no! Luckily I had disconnected the power, so it was already off, or hibernating, or something like that la. Bottomline - not switched on. Phew!

Immediately upended the thing and used my long unused hair dryer to dry it off. Eventually switched it on only to find that water had managed to seep into the LCD screen layers. Apparently it can happen. Oops. And here's how it looks like. Sigh.

Googled for some info and learned that the water will eventually evaporate and the screen will be good as new. Right. I hope so. I'm not quite ready to buy another computer just yet. Touch wood.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Logik Lelaki Melayu

Man divorces two wives in three mins


KUALA TERENGGANU: It was no April Fools’ joke. The short messaging service (SMS) was real – a man divorced his two wives within three minutes.

In the Lower Syariah Court, businessman Roslan Ngah, 44, divorced both wives by pronouncing talak (intention to divorce) to each of them.

He pronounced talak to his second wife Mastura Ahmad, 35, about 11.50am, then to Norhayati Ismail, 46, before judge Wan Abdul Malik Wan Sidek.

Composed: Norhayati (left) and Mastura at the Lower Syariah Court. They were divorced by their husband Roslan within three minutes of each other. — Bernama

Wan Abdul Malik said this was the first time in the court’s history that two wives had sought a divorce at the same time.

Earlier, someone had sent out a message “there is a case in Syariah (court), husband divorces two wives. Star pls come now.”

Four reporters here who received the SMS brushed it off as a prank.

This reporter had replied “ha, ha, ha, thanks.”

An hour later another SMS came: “Yhis is not a joke, pls come to court now.”

The reporters gave it a shot and headed to the court. They made it in time to listen to the proceedings.

Norhayati, a homemaker, has four children (aged nine to 22) with Roslan after marrying in 1986.

Mastura, a nurse at the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital, has two, aged six and 10, following their marriage in 1995.

Both women looked composed during the proceedings. Accompanying Norhayati was her eldest daughter, Nurfarhana, 19.

The divorces were made under Section 44 of the Terengganu Syariah Enactment.

Outside the court, Roslan said he felt sad to be separated from his wives whom he claimed had asked him for the divorce.

He said both women shared “a very close relationship” and lived in a house in Pasir Panjang here. He stays in another house a few metres away.

“They are like good friends but I never imagined that both of them had collectively decided to divorce me.

“I admit that my relationship with them had been strained over the past few months but I never expected our marriages to end in this manner,” he said in a calm voice.

Roslan confessed that he was also married to another woman in 2001 and they were blessed with a baby girl but they separated in 2004.

When asked whether he would remarry, Roslan replied: “If my fate says so, I have no qualms and this time I hope that my marriage will last forever.”


Heh. Maybe his first marriage would have stayed intact if he didn't keep on adding more wives! I'm not against poligamy per se (sorry kalau ada yang terasa), but in cases like this, it seems like the guy has no understanding of human nature at all! Sheez. Ye la isteri baik, tak nak bercerai-berai, tapi kalau laki dok main kayu tiga... Ia ke ikut sunnah?? Heh. :x

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

(Writer's) Block Buster

Half recline with legs on the table and laptop on lap (where else?) as in the style of "Adam@Home". Coffee must be within easy reach. Put Il Divo and Jay Jay on Media Player. Or other music in a foreign language, 'coz it's less distracting when you don't understand what they're singing about. I guess instrumentals work for some, but it sends me to sleep... heh. :D