Monday, July 19, 2004

In the Shadows of THE RASMUS

The Rasmus @ HRC Posted by Hello     It’s been a while since I have dinner with celebrities. I still remembered my first celebrity dinner date with Dave Koz (Pop-jazz saxophonist) which I won from a contest. We were pratically blown away by this warmth and friendliness. A dinner with pop teen-queen Tiffany followed. Over the years I have been lucky enough to dine and wine / meet and greet with pop stars like 911 (where are they now?), Boyzone (before the split), Tevin Campbell, Code Red, Trademark (German pop group), Wild Orchids (three va-va-voom chicks with power lungs from LA), Bachelor Girl (Aussie pop duo), Donna Lewis and last but not least a trip to Sydney to spend a weekend with Aussie then famous R&B group – Kulcha. I have stopped participating in these contests due to lack of interest and mere laziness.   This time thanks to Boy Wonder, I was invited for a dinner to meet THE RASMUS at the Hard Rock Café, Kuala Lumpur. THE RASMUS is a rock outfit from Finland with one killer song that has been played to death on the radio – IN THE SHADOWS. They have  just released a new album called DEAD LETTERS. The whole album was pretty listenable despite the morbid title and lyrics.     At about 8:30pm, the group arrived with applause and shrieking from the winners and friends. I felt a little out of place, as the other people at the tables were young pimply college students as I was once was. Age is catching up with me. And that was when I went to the buffet spread for some comfort food. (Insert saliva dripping sound effect here).   They came, they signed the autographs, they posed for pictures and off they went. They didn’t even eat with us. I was expecting tall blonde Finnish rock dudes but we got some cute little hobbits. Mean hobbits that can rock. (Grrrrr….)   We were made to line up like little school kids to take pictures with the group. My pictures with them turned out shaky and overexposed, thanks to the idiot whom I pass my camera to. Hope the picture taken with Boy Wonder antique camera would turn out all right.   Didn’t stay back for the showcase, which was scheduled at 11:00pm. It was a bit late for weekdays. Rather have my sleep. Is this sign of aging? Sigh…I think I will go grab a bar of Crunchie, my comfort food.    CLICK HERE FOR THE AMAZING DINNER WITH RASMUS PICTURES  

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Singapore CD Shopping Spree

I skipped Seremban ½ Marathon last weekend and decided to head further south to Singapore for a CD shopping spree. Took the Senandung Malam Ekspres on Friday night. Arrived in Singapore on Sat morning. Train was delayed due to technical problems for a hour. Headed straight to Orchard Road upon reaching Tanjong Pagar Train Station. Noted that there was a sign “WELCOME TO MALAYSIA” in front of the train station. Strange but true. Spent the whole Saturday in and out CD shops. Here are some places I raided in Singapore. a) Borders – Good to buy US import CD. Prefer Border to Kinokuniya. Books in Kino are wrapped with PVC while I can freely thumb through the books in Border (except those explicitly titled books like Illustrated Guide To Kama Sutra or of the same sorts). Bought Nicole Kidman Dogville limited edition 4 disc VCD. Nice packaging. b) Popular – Orchard MRT Station – Bought Jessica Simpson – In This Skin (Expended version with bonus DVD- footage of her wedding..Yikes! ) c) Sembawang – Orchard MRT Station & Cineleisure Building. Stock latest singles. Bought Fantasia Barrino- I Believe, Diana Degarmo – Dreams singles and the Season 3 American Idol Soul Classics album. I love Idols!!! d) HMV – Closed at 12am on Sat night!! 3 –floors of CDs, VCDs and DVDs. Damn Shiok! Singles selection is better than the rest. Bought Janet Jackson – Don’t Stop (All Night), 2 Britney singles, Anastacia – Left Outside Alone, Michelle Branch – Breathe (The Remixes) and a DVD – YOGA for RUNNERS. e) Gramophone – The Specialist Centre & City Hall. Great selection of DVDs. Discounted music CDs. Got Celine Dion – Live at Paris (with Bonus DVD, the local Malaysian version comes with a VCD only…) and Beyonce – Live In Wembley DVD (She wriggles and rocks!!!) f) Blue Max – Suntec City. Reasonably priced VCD and DVD. Good selections. Also dropped by at Tower Records at Suntec City but the selection here sucks. Went to Times Bookshop and got myself a copy of Kiss and Tell (Sex and the City official book, updated with season 6). Great buy. Got 10% discount as I still can use my Malaysian Times Bookshop Privilege card here.(Insert laughter like the girl in the Watson's ad) Discovered a little café at Raffles Hospital – Ya Kun Kaya Toast serves exorbitantly priced Kaya Toast and Kopi O. A set of 2 slices of kaya toast, two half-boiled eggs and a cup of Kopi-O set me back SGD 3.60. I can’t believe I actually queued up for it. Anyway, the ambiance was great (mind you this was in a hospital building) and the toast was actually very tasty. Wanted to watch movies but nothing special was playing in the cinema here. Bought a Spiderman combo came in a nice Spiderman cup with Spidey figurine crouching on the cap. This will go nicely with my Queen Amidala, T-Rex and Arnold T-3 combo cups collection. Had coke and popcorn for dinner.(Insert burp here). Retired for the night at Holiday Inn Parkview. Nice cosy hotel in the heart of Orchard. Bought some buns from Break Talk and had them in the hotel for breakfast. Watched Malaysian Idol (theater elimination) on TV3. Thank God that Holiday Inn has TV3 as I missed the earlier show on 8TV previously. Glued to the TV for two hours watching some pathetic sods got their ass kicked for fumbling over the lyrics and singing off keys. Hailed a cab to Golden Mile Complex to catch an express bus home. Discovered another surprise upon entering the complex. My nose detected and familiar yet distance smell. Pungent. Spicy. Hot. I smelled Thailand! True indeed the place was swarmed with Thais. Restaurants (complete with Thai karaoke). Shops selling everything Thai from magazine, CDs, food, spices, vegetable, meat, durians and clothings. To top it all, there is a big Thai Supermarket. Thailand in a building in Singapore. What a pleasant surprise!! I'm glad that I skipped Seremban Run as I heard from my fellow runners that the traffic control was appalling. I got lost once during the Seremban run and I have yet to return ever since. Look forward for the next CD shopping spree in Singapore. In Dec perhaps, for Singapore Marathon 2004. CLICK HERE FOR THE AMAZING PICTURES OF MY SINGAPORE SHOPPING SPREE

Monday, July 05, 2004

The Yummiest Run of All

Limau Bali Ipoh Posted by Hello Ipoh International Marathon was organized by the Ipoh City Council with co-operation of Perak State Government and Perak Amateur Athlete Association (POAP). The run started and ended at Dataran Ipoh, Greentown, Ipoh. 3 July 2004 7:40am Arrived at Food Court at Petaling Street. Amelia, Boy Wonder & Tan already there gobbling up their breakfast. Didn’t feel like eating breakfast there. Bought a Mexican bun, egg tart and chicken siew-pau for breakfast in the bus. 8:30am Bus Transnational left Puduraya Bus Station. The ride was smooth. Took some pictures of the sleeping beauties but was avenged later. (Insert snoring noises here). 11:30am Arrived in Medan Kidd. Greeted by Tan. He took us to buy some local biscuits at Yee Thye. Amelia did some serious shopping here. Had lunch at Pak Kong Nasi Ayam restaurant. The chicken rice was reasonably good. The rice was fragrant and not too oily. Chicken was tender, soak in dark soy sauce. Our gastronomical marathon began here. Tan drove us around town highlighting various recommended eateries. 1:00pm Checked into Syuen Hotel. Met uncle and auntie at the lobby. My uncle drove all the way from Kuantan. He has signed up for full marathon. 2:40pm My sister picked Wei Yee and I up for shopping. Went to Jusco and some video stores at Ipoh East. Checked out some running apparels in Fila. Didn’t buy anything despite the sale was on. 4:30pm Got backed to Syuen. Join the rest of the gang for shopping at Ipoh Parade which is just a stone throw away from Syuen. Combed the mall and realized that Ipoh Parade is a clone of IOI Mall in Puchong. Had a turkey ham sandwich at a German sounding café, don’t recall the name. Went to XTRA and bought some cereal, a carton of low fat milk, 2 oranges and an apple for breakfast. Very healthy, indeed. 7:40pm Shenny came to pick up for dinner. Was drizzling. Went to a placed call Yeolde English in Greentown that serves western-styled dishes. Ordered a banana smoothie (runners love bananas, don’t we?) and some stuffed crab for myself. KK ordered house-specialty Yeolde chicken – it was dry and nothing special. 10:00pm Went to Y2K bar for some beer with Shenny, Shenny’s sister and KK. Y2K is located in Ipoh East, a stone throw away from Jusco. Second time today to pass by Jusco. We were the only customers there but all the stools and sofas were reserved. Hip and happening place when the night grows older, I think. KK yakked about his trip to Paris and Rome. 11:00pm Drove pass by Lou Wong and spontaneously decided to have supper. This place was touted as the most famous chicken bean sprout noodle in town. This place was packed but we managed to secure a table. Ordered half a chicken, some taugeh and noodles. Chicken was smooth and tender. The noodle was a bit sweet, laden with MSG I supposed. What I loved best was the taugeh – clean, fat and crunchy. What a yummy was to carbo-load! 4 July 2004 12:00am Sweet dream. (Insert snore here) 4:00am Amelia gave a wake up call. It was way too early. Returned to dreamland. 6:00am Woke up. Had a light breakfast. 6:30am Rushed to the Padang for registration. Glad that the starting point was basically at the doorstep of Syuen. There was a minor accident involving 3 cars at the roadside. Couldn’t be bothered as I was a bit late. Registered at the counter and was tied with a plastic cable tie on my right hand. Ate my chocolate Power Gel. Yuck. Tasted like shit. 6:45am Huddled at the starting point. Almost fainted because of the B.O galore. Haven’t these people heard of deodorant or shower? These people make running hazardous to health. The run was set off by some Perak royalty. Didn’t get who was the person with the gun as I was busy fainting. The run was pretty smooth as the road in Ipoh is relatively flat. The sky was pretty with hues of orange and blue as the sun was peeking from the clouds, greeting the runners. The run took me from Dataran Ipoh to Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil, Persiaran Greenhill, Jalan Sultan Idris Shah, Jalan Gopeng, Jalan Dairy, Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Jalan Tasek, Jalan Kg. Simee, Lebuhraya Cecil Raa, Jalan Hospital, Jalan Chin Choon Sam, Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil, Jalan Dato Ahmad Said to Persiaran Bandaraya and finised at Dataran Ipoh. As usual, I was ready with my camera. Running my own race, slowly and stopping for those Kodak (In my case, it would be Nikon) moments. The weather was perfect. The sun was merciful unlike the scorching sun during the Melaka Historic Run in May. I did my personal best in this run – 2 hours and 29 minutes, one minute below the qualifying time. (Insert applause here). Was given a pink card to collect my medal. I was hugely disappointed when was told that they were out of medals. How could this be? The nerve that they call this an International event! It is not like they knew about the race and the medal allocation the day before the rest. This is totally unacceptable! We were made to queue under the hot sun to write our addresses so that the medal can be mailed to us. I was robbed! Robbed of my joy to receive my hard-earned medal at the end of my run. (Insert a loud wail here). KK, Amelia, Tan and Boy Wonder went for Dim Sum at Foh San. Didn’t join them. Don’t really fancy pork-laden Dim Sum. Instead, I drink some milk and ate an apple. Fell asleep in bed while reading the Sunday paper. What a wonderful Sunday. 12.30pm Checked out from Syuen. KK drove us back. Boy Wonder kept KK awake while driving as Amelia, Tan and I were sleeping at the back. Stopped by Tapah rest area and bought a big bag of jambu air (rose apples). Sweet and juicy. Will I come back to Ipoh Run next year? Yes. Despite the major boo boo on the medal, I enjoyed the trip. Where else can you find a venue with flanked by a major hotel, a shopping mall and food, glorious food? (Insert a burp here). CLICK HERE FOR THE AMAZING 21KM IPOH INTERNATIONAL RUN PICTURES