Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Silly Old Me...

My printer had been out of order for the past few months, but I've managed to survive without it. Needed to print out my references and invoices though, so I fiddled a little and managed to make it work again. I couldn't live without a printer forever...

But the inks were gone. My very good printer has 4 cartridges, and if any of them were empty, or expired, the machine will not run at all. Each cartridge costs a minimum of RM80, and that was a year ago. I had one spare cartridge on hand. To buy another 3? At RM240? That's expensive!!! And why should a cartridge have an expiry date? It will not work even if it still has ink because it has EXPIRED. This is SO an offence against human rights to being frugal. According to the computer, my colour cartridges have all expired. Yeesh!

So I decided to get a replacement black cartridge for SISTER's printer. Why? Because it's much cheaper, that's why. It will run even if both cartridges (Black & colour) are empty. And all I needed was to print invoices, not colour photos... Unfortunately they didn't have that particular cartridge model in TESCO. Instead, I found refills for HP printers; so decided to gamble and bought a set.

Made sure I settled everything else before attempting to refill the darn things. It was a night of learning for me. I started with the box of 3 colours. The black one was separate. Almost immediately realised that the set was not complete. It only had the colours in syringes. What about instructions and nozzles? It must have been stolen. It happens often in hypermarts...

Being the daughter of a McGyver, I decided to make the best of things and googled for instructions on the net. It proved to be very, very useful. "Expired" cartridges were easily handled. All I needed to do was set computer clock back by a year and they worked fine.

But how was I going to refill the empty ones? Followed the instructions and did fairly well until the part where I had to squeeze the refill ink into the empty tanks via the tiny opening. The nozzle was too big. Tried to fashion a hose using tape and ended up squirting cyan ink all over myself. No kidding. Even had blue splotches on part of the face! And I had to interview people in the afternoon! Lucky it washed off. Phew.

Tried using a hypodermic needle from an old insulin pen, with pathetic results. Nothing else quite worked. Plus I discovered that I had "filled" blue ink into the Black cartridge by accident. Sigh... Finally found success using a hollow cotton bud stem. I was SO proud of myself for that.

Then decided to do the black cartridge before I cleared up the mess. Opened up the box and found a complete set inside. The instructions were quite useless, but it had everything else; even disposable gloves to protect one's hands. Now WHY didn't I try opening this box before? It was so easy to do the black cartridge now that I had the necessary knowledge and the right equipment.

Happy that all cartridges are full and the printer works again, I started clearing up the mess. Lifted the tray of 3 colour cartridges and saw the packet of instructions and tools underneath. They had been hidden there all along while I was struggling and making a huge mess in my valiant efforts.... Good Lord!! Won't forget this adventure for a long time yet. Especially with my blue stained cuticles lying testament to my inherent stupidity...

There's still something not quite right with the machine, but it works well enough for my minimal printing needs. It's all right. I'll survive the humiliation... Silly old me.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

My Cats Speak English...

Some of you may have read the story of the lady who procured a dog from the pound, only to be frustrated that it didn't seem to understand any of her commands. In a fit of pique, she spoke to it in German, and lo and behold! It obediently acquisced. The previous owner was German.

MY cats understand English. And Malay too. Wow! They're bilingual! And how do I know this?

Leo refused to eat the food I got him yesterday, the ingrate. SoI told him in no uncertain terms that if he was not interested in the food we bought for him, he was welcome to go hunt his own food.

He must have understood because early this morning, he appeared at my window, wailing loudly. That's weird. He usually just gets on the bed and waits for me to get up. Then he went UNDER the bed, which he never does. I was worried that he might have been hurt, so I shone a light at him; and saw that he was pinning down a hyperventilating field mouse. Too sleepy to intervene, I ignored it, only to hear skittering and chasing noises a moment later. Oh no! Isn't it dead yet? It's running around my room?? Eek! I was afraid the creature would crawl up into my bed, and I didn't want any risk of touching it.. so I stayed in bed, afraid to sleep, and telling the cat to kill it and get it over with! Yeesh!

Eventually I heard crunching noises and decided that I can deal with the mess when I woke up. Strangely, didn't find any remnants or blood anywhere in the room... Maybe he ate it on the roof? Darn. I need to really check the whole area now. He couldn't have possibly eaten EVERYTHING, could he?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Optimism vs Pessimism

I've always been quite an optimistic person. I take stupid risks and trust that things will fly. Guess have been turning into more of the opposite lately. Been worrying a lot, and actually, I think it's a good thing. It means that I'm actually thinking about things, planning escape routes and contingency plans. I'm strategising, something I never used to do. Is this called growing up? Ha ha. About time, I suppose. :p

Monday, May 19, 2008

Au Revoir, Ma Cherie...

Someone finally took Kiko in. A whole family, many kids. I'm so glad! He's a darling, but he does need his own family, and kids to play with. My sis went to hand him over, so I never saw them, but I'm sure he'll be in good hands.

I kinda miss him. The boys (Pseudo & Leo) seem to miss him too. Leo went around calling for the little kid to come out and play, and Pseudo seems to be extra clingy. It's that, or he's just reclaiming lost territory. For all you know, he's just glad not having to share us with that bratty kid anymore....

I'm relieved that we managed to find him a home. I hope he'll be happy there.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Disturbing Dreams

Some dreams are disturbing to me. I guess the fact that I even remember it is disturbing. Most nights I just conk out and wake up the next day and get to work. But when I remember my dreams, they seem to dog me around, prodding me to analyze and think about what they may mean. Dream analysis is nothing new. Nabi Yusuf had the ability to understand dreams. Modern dream reading may not be so accurate, but I do believe they do have a story to tell.

A lot of my dreams are nonsense. Dreams of playing in a beautiful river, or a pool, lake or sea. I perceive water to be a good luck element, except when its murky. Sometimes it's so clear it's lifeless. There are usually friends involved. Most take place outdoor. Once I dreamed I climbed a mountain only to find that it wasn't a mountain after all, just a collection of rickety old furniture. Now what could THAT mean? I've been wasting my time and energy on something not worth the effort?

Just yesterday I dreamed I saw planes crash. Not one. At least three. I was on an empty field; they flew past and suddenly they went unsteady and crash landed. I think the first one made it, but the third one may not have. A strange thing happened with the third. As it was disintegrating, a few people fell but magically drifted down, landed on their feet and walked away. That was creepy.. There was no loud bang. And then I woke up. Shee. A bit scary. I wonder what it means...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Domestic Bliss

Woke up this morning relieved that my house chores had all been done. Well, all the major ones anyway. Of course couldn't enlist sister's help without a fight. But, yeah. It's all done. I actually scrubbed the kitchen floor. Had spent weeks mulling over the messy house. Cleaned out the store and got rid of all the bloody old videos. Moved the old albums out front. Moved fridge into store and put new 2nd hand fridge in kitchen. Except that used fridge will not work until I get the repairman in. I have a feeling that I made a bad decision by letting people push me around instead of saying no to a faulty fridge, even though it's virtually free. Floors are all mopped and clean. Have to do this more often. People mop floors every DAY, for heaven's sake. Except that I live in a bloody big old house and every time I get halfway through the chores I start thinking that it's not fair that I have to do all the bloody work because the other one never seems to notice anything that needs to be done, or able to do it properly, if at all.

Managed to move books back into shelf, dusted albums and arranged in cupboard. Did a bit of reading and cleaned up my garden real good. Grass still needs to be cut, but I guess that can wait. Will now have to catch up with my emails and plans and work, update website and do a pile of marketing. Have not heard from a potential about that big job, but I do hope I get it. Am unfortunately flat out broke because people seem to think freelancers live on air and water and have no overheads to take care of. Hello!! So not true!! At least house is clean. It clears up my mind immensely. Will have to actively chase for payment this week. I feel like I'm choking out here. There's so much that needs to be done, but I can't do it because there's no cash. What the F*** are they thinking? Push me to get work done in record time and then conveniently take their own sweet time over payment. This is so not fair. God. I need to settle some heavy duty things and I'm afraid of running out of time...Damn those people. I want my money. NOW!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Better Late Than Never...

I must admit that I have this thing about reading and watching classics, just to see what the hoo ha was all about. I managed to get a copy of "Bridges of Madison County" (the movie) all the way from UK. Bought Oscar Wilde's Potrait of Dorian Gray at a jumble sale for RM2. The English Patient, The Cider House Rules... And of course, the so called "history of Middle Earth" - books and movies - love them both. Seems that I love old stuff and not new ones since I hate Jurassic Park, and Star Wars send me to sleep.

Anyway, does anyone remember "Dances With Wolves", the epic movie that won 7 Oscars quite a number of years ago? The movie that Kevin Costner scored big on? It came out before I ever bothered with movies, and I had always wondered what the story was all about. Picked up a copy some time in the middle of last year but got put off by the opening scene of army hospital, blood and gore and never made time to try again.

Finally gave it another go yesterday. SInce the movie is gila2 panjang, more than 3 hours, I think, I decided to watch it in small bites. Especially since I bought the special edition with more scenes added in. Lagi la panjang...

Found that the story became hugely more interesting once he arrived in the prairie and no longer in the company of the foul cart guy. I loved the views, the wolf, the swimming hole, everything natural. His association with the Indians and further relationship was heartwarming. And I found that I HATED the white men who killed the buffalo indiscriminately, leaving them to rot and waste. As I hate the hunters who killed animals on the sacred ground, and the bl**dy soldiers who killed his wolf, TwoSocks.

Bottomline, a GREAT movie. I loved it all. Now I know why they gave it seven Oscars. Wow!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Foodie Fantasy

I have to admit, I don't like film stars, singers and dancers all that much. Reason I don't visit yr blog all that often, Jase. Sorry. I don't hate them, just not very interested. Like people not being interested in looking at Blythe's Hawk Eagles and verditer flycatchers. You know...

However, I did spend some time googling up The Gilmore Girls cast. And I do watch AmIdol now and then. Love CSI, ER and a number of other shows. Not like I'm a complete nerdo about entertainment...

What I DO make time for, however, are cooking shows. 703 is by far my anchor channel, with occasional forays to 707, 702 and 701. Have been so addicted to Restaurant Makeover that I actually went and looked up the crew. Mostly looked up the chefs, but even checked out Igor too. Did you know he's a Ukrainian and his last name is Shamraychuk? Admittedly, some episodes are boring, and some of the chefs are not very nice. but it's still quite entertaining. Especially when the designers are such a pain to Igor and his poor, put upon crew. Seriously, they deserve to be paid more than the designers at times. They're the real heroes, doing all that hard work for loco designers who keep changing their minds. It's a wonder no one has been sledgehammered so far.

Wanna know my current celeb fantasy? Celeb chef la. No, it has nothing to do with Curtis Stone. It's something along the lines of cooking with tough lady Lynn Crawford. Ekekeke... And I would introduce her to the wonderful world of Malaysian cooking. Entice her with the extraordinary flavors of Nasi lemak, sambal petai, ulam and sambal belacan. Can you imagine, one day, it would be served in the hallowed halls of the Four Seasons?? Hey, proud to be Malaysian, la... ekekeke.... "Excuse me, sir, would you prefer your pucuk paku with garlic or belacan?" "Extra petai, ma'am? Very well, I will inform the cook." What? Malaysia Boleh, kan...?

Even have me favourite cook show hosts. No, I don't watch TV all the time. Yes, I sometimes have the TV on while I work. Rarely. No, not all the time. Hush. I DO work. Yes, I get my work done, thank you very much. I only switch the TV on after seven, for goodness' sakes! PM, not AM. Sheesh. Nosy Voice of Conscience.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, fave cooks... Let's see.. who do we have...?
- "Cook Like a Chef" guy - so so la. Some interesting ideas. OK jugak la
- River Cottage guy - Hmm.. not so great
- David Rocco - nice, simple dishes. Love his website. On TV - smiles too much. very kaku oso.
- Jamie Oliver - By far my favourite. Kelakar, down to earth and makes it look oh so easy!
- Floyd - Yuk. Nuf said
- Anna Nordstrum (Scandinavian cooking) - interesting
- Gordon Ramsay - I find him very the kelakar. Especially when he loses his cooking challenge with a non-cook in Hell's Kitchen.
- Michael Smith (Chef at Home and Chef at Large) - nice, skema, very Canadian, I guess. Pleasant. Not boring, just skema. I like his tips and ideas. And his pantry is like a chef's heaven!
- Licence to Grill guy - cool recipes and ideas. But over happy and lotsof sound effects. Ayyooo... you on ecstasy or what?

Then there's Bobby Chin, and Anthony Bourdain, and so many many more. Some are more travel shows rather than cooking. But well, managed to pick up a number of tips here and there... Anyone you want to comment on?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Familiarity Breeds Contempt...

And anonymity breeds nasty buggers.

Think about it. People think, no one knows who I really am. So they pretend, and lie, and make fun of others. They write nasty comments and posts unnecessarily.

Case in point: Alamx, whoever that was. So my blog is boring. So what? It's just a place for me to vent and share with my friends. It's not a popularity contest. For all u know, he/she just doesn't understand English. So he/she has to be nasty just to feel that little bit superior. Chee.

Just read comments on YouTube. My goodness! Are people really so rude to each other face to face? I don't think so! Where is the basic courtesy?

Then there's Skype. It seems to be utilised by bored married men who don't have the guts to have a real affair. And they seem to have endless hours to kacau people who are trying to work. Some can't even understand that I use it to communicate with long-distance friends and family. Oh well. Have deleted the rubbish already.

On the other hand, there are those who 'play along' and in return pretend to be 18 year old teenagers instead of 26 year old women. Oh dear. What IS the world coming to???