Monday, January 29, 2007

The 10 Best Smells in the World!!

1. Pine. Otherwise known as the Ikea smell. The smell of Scandinavia. That strong, heady wood smell reminds me of snow and peace and warmth and adventure and good friends and coziness.
2. Burnt rubber (Caused by "enthusiastic" driving). Nothing sums up the elation of slipping/sliding through the Paloh-Yong Peng road or hitting apex after apex at the track than the smell of burnt rubber and motor oil when you stop at the gas station afterwards, accompanied by the ticking sound of your radiator cooling down.
3. New clothes. You wanna keep that smell forever, until you have....
4. Fresh laundry! The hot, just-in-from-the-sun smell of Breeze, Fab, Dynamo....
5. New leather furniture. Leather couch, leather car seats, it doesn't matter. It just reeks opulence if it's new. Only applies to furniture though, in case you wanna go sniffing shoes or jackets (or my vomit-inducing, sweaty boxing gloves).
6. Stir-fried prawns. That smell of umami forces you to drool against your will.
7. Mummy's stewed pork ribs. Slurrrrrrrrrrp. Gulp.....
8. Freshly ground Coffee. You know that Starbucks smell? Imagine stuffing your head into a bag containing freshly ground coffee, taking a huge whiff, and getting that smell a hundred times over. It's so fragrant, so aromatic, so heady that every cell in your brain feels like its bursting to form a cloud of pure coffee mist. I wonder why drug addicts don't sniff coffee... (oh they do actually, they're called coffee addicts)
9. That sweet citrus mist that appears when you open a mandarin orange.
10. Freshly mown grass. My sense of love and security and family comes from that familiar childhood scent.

That's my list. What's yours? :)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Are you a food bully?

Yes you are. Most of us are. The signs are especially prevalent if:

1. You're from Kepong/Ipoh/Penang. All places with incredibly good food.
2. You call yourself a 食家 chinese: shi2 jia1, meaning gourmet or epicure.
3. You teach home science(Ekonomi Rumah Tangga) in secondary school, which involves a lot of food science and cooking, making you a naturally good cook.
4. You are a control freak.

Have you ever felt like tearing your hair out when you see your children happily stuffing their pieholes with Big Macs, but turn up their noses at the burger you made with fresh ground chuck, polenta, real cheddar, romaine lettuce, capers, and freshly baked rye bread?

Do you know that almost uncontrollable urge to scream when your boyfriend drowns your beautifully made filet mignon/braised cod fillet in tomato ketchup? What about that time when you brought your girlfriend to the Lemon Garden Cafe at Shangri-La for high tea, where you suddenly caught sight of her gagging and making a disgusted face when you slurped down the gorgeous, fresh, ice-cold Foveaux Strait Oysters, telling you that she'd rather die than eat raw shellfish?

I think I'm a food bully, albeit a mellow one who doesn't push too hard when someone I know commits a culinary faux pas. I couldn't understand my sister when she decided out of the blue to stop eating pork: that tender, heavenly pink meat that gives you cholesterol even as it delights your tastebuds. I was having dinner with my groupie at Pho Hoa, The Curve yesterday. FYI, Pho Hoa is a place that serves Vietnamese beef noodles in a broth that's flavourful beyond description. It didn't bother me that April is a carnivore(I'm not joking, I actually think she might cry or assault you if you tried to make her put something green in her mouth), I just thought that it was quirky and kinda funny, especially when she told stories about her ex- boyfriend's mother making blended veggie soup and wheatgrass WUAHAHHAAHHAHA. Anyway, when April made her choice of having "meatballs and steak" with her noodles, I succeeded in not shooting my brains out in frustration, but failed miserably in gently trying to steer her towards the more adventurous choices of flank, brisket and tripe. Luckily my social instincts kicked in when she said with a cheeky expression that she would just try mine. I let it drop at that, instead of giving her a flying kick across the table, then clambering on top while she was dazed and punching her pretty face, all the while repeating "Meatball........ *punch*...... is...*punch*..... *PANT PANT*........ NOT MEAT...*roundhouse punch*... now order the brisket dammit!!!!!"

It's a protracted dilemma that makes you feel both guilty (at being such a control freak, cause it's none of your god-damned business) and angry(What the fuck? Putting ice in the wine?!??! ARRRRRGHHHH!!!!). Intellectually, you know it's just a matter of taste, but emotionally, you feel that food is one of the great hedonistic pleasures in life, ostensibly interchangeable with sex, as has been documented in so much literature and the hentai practice of eating sushi off a naked girl.

It feels like sacrilege when you see someone throwing out all the siham(cockles) in char kuay teow, or when someone drowns their shark's fin soup with vinegar until it's all black-coloured, or when the Japanese eat EVERYTHING - including steak and fish-and-chips - with rice. When I visited Takamatsu - the Udon capital of Japan - as a teenager, everyone I ate with told me that it was rude when I didn't slurp my noodles (Something about not enjoying the food or disrespecting the table). They would mime slurping the udon when I ate, with raised eyebrows and rapid-fire Japanese. The language was alien, but the tone was not: Hey boy! Suck your udon and make noise or else! So of course I had enormous fun slurping loudly like a garrulous vacuum-powered monster while getting approving smiles and nods, where all I would have received at home was a backhanded slap for such atrocious table manners. Or my personal favourite, when someone eats a dish of crab not by fiddling and coaxing out the succulent white flesh, but by putting the entire body into their mouth and chewing confusedly for a while, then spitting out the entire uneaten mangled mess of shell and flesh into a wasted pile onto the red chinese-shop tablecloth.

Sometimes, you even get fucked-up food bullies. They're something like the "religious scholars" of the corrupted backwater 3rd-world country located between Singapore and Thailand, implacably arrogant and self righteous when they label people jahil(ignorant) and biadab(uncouth) when they're the ones unenlightened. For example, meet the Singaporean who sneers at you because you don't mix tomato sauce with your konlow mee. LOL. Or how about the moron who says that espresso - that perfectly calibrated shot of coffee essence made mostly with the superior Arabica bean - is "nonsense", refusing even to try it, insisting instead that "NOTHING, AND I MEAN NOTHING, BOY...." will ever compare to the local (robusta) coffee he sips at the Hainanese coffeeshop around the corner. Jahil, indeed.

My brother Erlend is a contender for Champion Food Bully. When he visited me, char koay teow, fishball noodles, radish cake(loh bak kou), all the Malay kuihs, roti canai, curry mee, prawn mee - practically all the food that we were proud of - was dismissed summarily with the verdict,"It's all filler! It doesn't make me full! Noodles noodles noodles! It's all 'empty'! Give me some proper food! I'm a viking! I need meat!" He eventually came around to enjoying bak kut teh and some, if not all, our national dishes where he almost made me cry before. Of course, we could put it down to his having superior Scandinavian tastebuds (being the angmoh-loving morons that we are), but his was a country that had as national foods: rice porridge(hot tasteless lumpy curds served with butter, sugar and cinnamon *faint*), lamb and cabbage stew, potato dumplings, and giant fishballs. Plus, they eat roast meat with JAM. I kid you not.

*Please don't post any disparaging comments about the vikings. I happen to know an incredibly hot, drop-dead super-gorgeous Norwegian girl who reads this blog(and probably shouldn't *wink wink*) and whom I'm trying to convince to visit. Also, my brother has been working out a lot, and he might choose to take out his frustration on me for your comments :D

So the next time you feel the urge to tell your brother to lay off the soya sauce, or tell your dad that his porridge doesn't need an entire handful of preserved veggies, or sneer at your friend who eats banana leaf rice with cutlery instead of his hands, or laugh at the feller who hates runny egg yolks..... Pause, take a deep breath, and remember that in Japan, you get scolded for not slurping your noodles like a turbo-powered vacuum cleaner, neh?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Balm for My Bored Pirate Soul

What's with the dearth of good programming over the New Year season? What the fuck is all that about? For some unfathomable reason (whoever knows please explain), great TV shows have this break over the holiday period, anywhere from Oct/Nov/Dec to January.

And it includes ALL my favourite shows: Prison Break, Nip/Tuck, Top Gear, Fifth Gear, Entourage, Smallville, South Park, Weeds (motherfucker! I AM a TV addict, albeit one without a TV *wink wink*)......

...... until I discovered this gem: Heroes.

If you want details, it's about people with powers. But their lives are all complex and human, and the human dramas take precedence over their superpowers, which are shown only rarely, and are breathtakingly believable, unlike the OTHER superhero-themed TV series, which is going from implausible to downright hilarious in its undisciplined depictions of Clark Kent huffing and puffing away storm clouds and story arcs which have me screaming"DEUS EX MACHINA" everytime they switch the semi-incestous relationship between Clark, Lex and Lana on and off.

Heroes is aired in comic book style too, with a few mini story-arcs linked together to form an overarching plot. It's a very realistic story, and because of the tight writing, it's comparable to Prison Break in it's tension and realism.

So if you've run out of good shows to watch, find one of your geeky friends who download bucketfuls of TV series and ask them to get it for you. Watch the pilot episode and decide for yourself. I bet that you'll kick yourself later, because it's only until episode 11, and you have to wait till the next week for the following episode.

BTW, watch out for Hiro Nakamura. He's my favourite character. He's incorrigibly irritating in the beginning, but becomes more and more adorable as the episodes go by... maybe he reminds me of how nice it was to be an all-out nerd.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

"Beastie, more like."

Girls, please don't do the following, because it makes you look like absolute morons:

1. "and i'm like..... and she's like.......... and then they're like....."
Please look up the meaning of "like" in any available dictionary. The use of a pronoun followed by "like" is NOT proscribed as proper usage of the word in ANY context. You would think a gender that blabbers non-stop would be proficient in basic grammar.

2. "Bestie"
What the fuck! This awful word word has been popping up all over the place recently. If you're a moron girl, you go,"This girl is my BESTIE!" (Beastie, more like, unless "bestie" stands for "best in show", cause she sure is a real dog). Tiu....... Just because you affectionately call your dog "doggy", your best friend is now "bestie"? Once, I was so bored I picked up one of my sister's pink feminazi magazines - I dunno, cleo or seventeen or something - and I caught sight of the word used in the publication! You think it's cute? Just because she used to suck your mum's other breast when you were kids doesn't give you the right to annoy the whole world. Please realise the fact that the creative and situationally proper use of English(read bigoted, racist, bullying, discriminatory) - like calling a dark-skinned friend Blackie, or a flatulent friend Farty - is good, while adding on a "-ey" or "-ie" suffix to a word just to make it "cute" is not. It just exhibits how much empty space there is between your skull.

3. Posing like porn stars everytime you and your "bestie" take a picture....
......which is every single moment you're together: At the mall, eating lunch, in the restroom, at the club(ESPECIALLY at the club). If someone challenged me to name one disadvantage of camera phones and the easy proliferation of digicams, this would be it. When girls began to pout, arch their backs and squeeze their boobs together back in 2004, men everywhere secretly rejoiced, believing that the next sexual revolution was here, that Malaysian girls had finally begun to shed their (honestly self-limiting) prudish skins in favour of a more open and happy disposition. Little did we dumb males realise that this behaviour was merely an evolution of the traditional "chinese girl ADD" mode, because the sex-kitten persona almost never extended beyond the reach of the lens, serving only to shamelessly attract as much attention as possible(in clubs) and to fuel the angst-ridden fantasies of undersexed teenage boys everywhere(on Friendster), who will then proceed to send them a message saying "hi. You lookd sexy. Mind friends?" The girls will then complain to me, saying that nerdy boys are harassing them, earning a huge kick in the ass from me. You don't want them to message you then why you post the picture? Wear a burqa lah. Moron.