Monday, June 30, 2008

Chance Encounters?

I am constantly amazed by the wonders of fate and coincidence. The way certain things happen and events unravel and unfold. I love it when these moments of serendipity occur. A chance encounter, a delightful surprise, a pleasant discovery, an unexpected memory in the making. I then enjoy playing the game of questioning, 'What if?' What if we were 5 minutes late? What if we took a different route? What if we decided on the opposite? Then, that thing that happened, wouldn't have happened and the whole day, or maybe even certain aspects of our entire lives would take a different path. We wouldn't have bumped into Ani at the Pavillion, we wouldn't have been in that dreaded taxi queue the exact moment that Anna pulled up at the airport and life would have gone on as usual. Or would it?

In a sense, it is the law of attraction working. Most likely, the encounters are with people we wanted to encounter in the first place. You think of that person and the universe then does it's thing to make sure that somehow, someway, you end up crossing paths. I love thinking of those moments where I unexpectedly bump into or get a phone call from the exact person I had been thinking about. Weird. But sweet. Call it fate. Call it coincidence or luck. Call it whatever you want.

On the other hand, it does sometime scare me to think of how there is this huge book of already laid out events in our lives. Imagine that person who was five minutes late to work on 9/11? Or the person who exchanged seats in an aircraft? You wake thinking it's gonna be an ordinary day...yet somehow, it's been written all along.

The Domestic Goddess in Me

I have to admit, I am not really a domestic goddess when it comes to cleaning at home. You might think that I am one organized person but really, I have to admit that I am not. I've told my hubby a few times that I wanted to clean out the spare room where most of our clothes and other belongings are but still, I haven't. It doesn't help that my nose usually doesn't cooperate during these times when I get a sudden outburst to clean. I sneeze profusely at the slightest hint of dust. As such, hubby has been the one to do most dust related cleaning work lately! Lucky me? Thanks hubby!

I wish I were like Giselle in the movie Enchanted, I could just sing and call out to all the birds and mice and roaches to help out with the cleaning. Then again, I'd squeal at the sight of all those mice and err, I hate roaches too! What's a girl to do? Not clean at all, if only that were an option!

I remember my friend Niza used to squirm whenever she say a huge house. She'd say, 'That's gonna be tough to sweep!' Fortunately for us, we live in this technological age where household gadgets are abound. Remember those back killing days of slaving over laundry? Now, hey presto! Stuff it all in the washing machine! Hate doing the dishes? Get a dishwasher. Don't like sweeping? The vacuum cleaner's a godsend! Instead of paying for a maid, you pay for the technology and convenience that these appliances offer. No more back breaking and energy zapping labour doing the household chores.

How about the electricity bill, you ask? Well, many electrical appliances now are also designed with energy saving features, so you don't have to worry too much about power consumption. Take the new Dirt Devil AccuCharge Stick Vacuum and Hand Vacuum cleaners for instance. Both use 70% less energy, making them the first cordless cleaning technology to earn Energy Star approval.

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Hurrah for technology and kudos to those folks who designed this! It's for sure better than the huge R2D2 like vacuum cleaner that I currently have at home! I have been wanting a Hand Vacuum cleaner for quite some time now. I like that it's portable and easy to use for cleaning all those little nook and crannies at home as well as in the car. Perhaps, there is hope for me to turn into a cleaning domestic goddess after all!

Sponsored by Dirt Devil AccuCharge

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Away

I am currently away...in a land filled with a never ending sea of people, people who talk different...too much traffic and smog, too many enticing and alluring shopping malls!  It's good to be away...it's been a while... Back in KK on Tues. and will tell more then!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Yasmin at the Playground

My fourth post of the night...I just wanted to put up these pictures of Yasmin at the playground. Last weekend, you wouldn't believe this.. she said to us, 'May I use the playground, please?' Punya la comel! It rained that day..and the next...and so when it didn't on Tuesday, hubby suggested we go to the nearby park which has a playground. Yasmin was ecstatic and sang praises to her daddy! We also managed to go again on Thursday. We had fun. Yasmin was all over the place. Climbing and sliding and running. She even left the playground without protest and said, 'Bye-bye playground!'

Leading the way. Tengok tu, siap ada spec hitam lagi!

Hurrrayyy! We found the playground!!!

She mastered climbing up the slide

Also climbed up this cylindrically enclosed ladder

Bye-bye playground..

Flushed!!

This was taken on a prior visit. Hubby says this pic is cute.
Tengok la langkah kami, sama lagi tu..

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I'm Sparked

Hurrrahh! I've signed up for SocialSpark and my blog has just been accepted! I have read numerous views from blogger pals who have already signed up and have been piling on with opportunities through this site. And I look forward to doing the same.

I started blogging in 2004 and back then, I had the faintest idea on how to make money online. I thought that one had to know programming and website design and had to be online 24-7 to really be making money on the web. Blogging was just a means to pour my heart out, even if no one ever read any of it. As more people began to read, it became a means to share thoughts and events in my life, to shout out happy news and garner empathy and support on those darker days. I always thought though, that if there were ever a way to get paid to write, something I love...I would grab it in a heartbeat! I sound like Anne of Green Gables!

So, here we are now. Blogging is the latest fad. Almost everyone I know has a blog or reads blogs. And I know that there are some bloggers who are making an obscene amount of money from their blog(s). Imagine that. Offices everywhere are probably filled with people who look like they are busy doing work but who are really busy updating their blogs and taking up sponsored post opportunities! Oops, anyone felt that? Don't worry, I did that too!!

What's different about SocialSpark is that in addition to writing sponsored posts, there is also opportunity for blog sponsorship, whereby an advertiser will put up their advert in your blog. You can also take up 'Sparks', these are sponsored post in a variety of topics designed to help those new to blogging or those in need of fresh ideas. SocialSpark also allows you to meet other bloggers and this inadvertently drives more traffic to your own blog and increasing its ranking. Overall, it's a very interesting concept and dynamic site, I must say.

SocialSpark operates with these codes of ethics:

-100% Audit-able In-Post Disclosure
-100% Transparency
-100% Real Opinions
-100% Search Engine Friendly

If you are a blogger who is looking to earn extra money from your blog, what are you waiting for? Check this out now! Join the revolution, make money and be merry!

Sponsored by SocialSpark

The Week After

My car felt different this week. I started using this more expensive fuel, that's why!

So it's been a week since the frenzy that was the sudden price hike in fuel. I intentionally filled up my tank last Friday to see what the damage was. My full tank is now a whopping RM96! Before this it was around RM76. So that's a twenty bucks increase. Once upon a time ago, it was RM50! Yes, my car is rather ancient.

There has been a lot of talk, rants, complaints and curses about this price hike. I still don't get why it had to be done overnight, creating mass hysteria of people queuing up to buy fuel like it was the end of the world. And from talks with my husband, who is more in the know of these issues..it seems like the government has dug themselves into a rather big hole, patching up things here and there as it comes, as result of what looks like very poor planning. But anyway, I'm not gonna delve into that.

My thoughts, as soon as I found out about the price hike..were not to complain or curse. Nor was it to conjure a plan to cut queues at the stations. My thoughts were that it was inevitable. Living as we know has and will become more expensive. So if not last week, the price was due to go up some time. As will the price of other goods and services in years, perhaps even months to come.

Here were my other thoughts:
  • What if I sold my car? How much could I get?
  • How can I minimize driving and therefore fuel consumption?
  • How can I arrange my schedule so that I can have one or more days off in the week?
  • How's the public transportation system now? Take the bus?
  • Ride a bike? Walk?
  • How much do hybrid cars cost? How do they work?
  • What else can we do?
I've been having rather environmental thoughts lately. It seems crazy, what we are doing to this world of ours. More cars, more pollution, more wastes, more damage and disease and crazy climate change, natural disasters...scary. I'm hoping....I want to make some changes in my life that I hope are more green choices. Everyone can do their own little part, right?

Go Pink!


Dear Friends & Readers,

Can you spare a click? The Breast Cancer Site is targeting 8 million clicks for their Help Make June Survivor Month! campaign. If they achieve this target, their premier sponsor will be donating $10000 for FREE mammograms for women in need, whose awareness of breast cancer and opportunity for help is limited. Statistics show that one woman in eight either has or will develop breast cancer in her life. That's scary. It could be me. Or you. Or your mom or sister or wife or friend. So can you spare a click, please? Just go to the site and click the Pink button . It's free and it matters! You can also help by sharing this site on your blog, your Facebook profile, etc. Thanks :)

Yours Truly,

Linachu

PS..Thanks Carol for passing this to me!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Of Online Friends

I've been receiving a few Friends requests particularly on Facebook lately, from people that I do not know or at least I think I do not know. Some of them, I have ignored their requests in the past but they have 'applied' again. So far, I only accept requests from people I know. I was thinking of ignoring them again. At the same time, I also thought about how isn't this one of the objectives of these online social networking sites in the first place? To meet people? And who knows, these people might be important network and business wise later on? What thinks you??

Of Failure and Imagination

I came across this link from a friend in Facebook, of JK Rowling delivering her Commencement Speech at the recent Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association. Prior to that, she was also awarded with an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from Harvard. I don't even know what doctor of letters means but I was intrigued to watch and listen to her speech especially with the weirdly beautiful title, 'The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination'.

The speech was wonderful. She is very, very funny and sincere and philosophical at the same time. I love the part where she talks about how there is an expiry date of blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction, about how we don't need any magic to transform our world and how she was grateful for her circle of friends who did not sue her for using their names as Death Eaters!

If you are in need of inspiration, if you love Harry Potter and all associated with it, if you just want a laugh..click the link below to listen to her speech. A transcript of the speech is also available.

The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by JK Rowling

Monday, June 02, 2008

Tag - 8 Random Facts about Me

Rules: Start with 8 random facts or habits about yourself. Once you're tagged, write a blog post about your own random fact and post these rules. At the end of the post you need to tag 8 other wonderful bloggers and include their names. Then once you're done, don't forget to let them know in their blogs that you've given them a tag ... and to come read your random facts!

Linachu's Random Facts:

1. I started wearing glasses in my second year of university. Was initially in denial but when it got to the point that I couldn't even recognise people waving to me, decided it was high time to get another pair of eyes. Started with 1.50 on both eyes and now more than 10 years on, left eye is at 4.00 and right eye 3.75. Wear contacts on and off. Have recently started thinking about Lasik.

2. I love Jane Austen and her simple and witty style of writing. She's the only classic writer that I like. Have read all her books except Northanger Abbey. I haven't been able to fathom anything from the Bronte sisters, etc.

3. I love aerobics, yoga and pilates classes. Although I haven't been in a while. Started going when I was in Southampton Uni and ooohh..I am reminded of gorgeous Steve, the aerobics instructor cum med student. What a great source of motivation to attend the classes! Heh! I love buying exercise videos as well... Denise Austin, Kathy Smith, Paula Abdul..semua ada di rumah.. and I used to do them when I was alone at home.. I should start exercising again!

4. 5 of my favourite movies all star Ethan Hawke : Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Gattaca, Dead Poet's Society and Alive. I am just an OK OK fan of his..but what can I say, the guy has a knack of choosing great movies!

5. I daydream a lot! I got a B in my SRP BM Oral/Listening exam because I think my mind just went off for a while then! Hehe.... God knows how I got through university! Daydream about what?...Can not tell one!

6. I have climbed Mt Kinabalu 3 times. And I think that's quite enough, thank you very much! The whole thing is a mental and physical challenge. On the way up, I think..'Oh God, why am I doing this???' Then when we reach the summit and enjoy the exhilarating view, I'd go 'Wow..this is awesome!' Then going down and all the kaki and badan already sakit-sakit, 'Never..never do this again!' Then when reaching Timpohon Gate, 'When is the next trip?? I wanna do that again!' Emotional roller coaster! Hmmm..but enough la for me...you guys can go up and I'll barbeque and wait for you at the National Park!

7. I have been for the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca. My parents were thoughtful and generous enough to sponsor me to go with them in 2003/2004. My initial reaction was, 'No! I'm too young to go!' But you know what, it is probably the most amazing and wonderful experience I have had so far. And I had the chance to go with my parents! I thank my parents for bringing me along and hope I would be able to repay them with another trip there some day. And the Haj ritual is actually quite physical. Kesian tengok all the pakcik and makcik yang sakit-sakit tu. So, if you have a chance, go when you are young and healthy! The thing I remember the most about the experience was how timeless it felt there. No need to worry about clocking in to work, traffic jams, tv shows, etc... just go to the mosque and chill and marvel at the wonders of God. And no...please, there is no need to call me Hajjah. As far as I am concerned, it was an experience, a journey and not a reason to have and use the title in front of my name.

8. I learnt how to bake cakes by watching my flatmate do it. Yes, when I was in Manchester, my flatmate SiewNyet used to love baking cakes and cookies and what not. Our flat used to be filled with the lovely aroma most of the time. And I used to just watch her. I guessed it paid that I watched a lot of Ready, Steady, Cook as well. Masa tu belum ada lagi Jamie and Nigella, etc. So one day, I just tried to bake a cake and hey presto, it worked! So learning by observing really works! Try it.

And here are the 8 wonderful bloggers I want to tag and would love to know more about:

  1. Rina (please include at least one NON Korean/Japanese facts in your post)
  2. Leo
  3. Izyanti
  4. Rizwan
  5. Maizura
  6. Rachel
  7. Siti @ Misako
  8. Rosie Josie

Sunday, June 01, 2008

At the Movies

I just put Yasmin to sleep around 8.20pm. This is not her typical sleeping time, it's usually much much later around 1030 - 1130pm. This is the second time this weekend that she has gone to sleep early because she didn't have her usual afternoon nap. Stayed up watching Elmo's World all afternoon. Mommy dia yang sudah terkebil-kebil and she's singing and dancing and hopping.

It's nights like these though that I have a chance to go through my e-mails and favourite sites, blog and blog-hop, sometimes even catch a movie. The last movie that I watched in the cinema was Batman Begins, that was ...what...3 years ago? Yes, ever since baby, I haven't had a chance to go to the movies. I didn't even make it to Harry Potter at the cinema. Movies these days are watched in the comfort of home, usually on the PC, in the bedroom, once baby is down for the night. Hurrah for BitComet and download technology!

Here's my take of the movies I have managed to watch so far:

Stardust - Watched this 2 nights ago. A very delightful movie, cute and funny! Claire Danes' performance was reminiscent of Romeo & Juliet and Charlie Cox as Tristan, very charming. Very funny are the 7 brothers/ghosts and Robert DeNiro as Captain Shakespeare. Based on the book by Neil Gaiman, it's one of those movies that I could probably watch over and over again. Somehow I am reminded of the movie The Princess Bride. My rating: A+

PS I Love You - Watched this after reading Herda's blog. Prepare your kleenex! A definite tearjerker about one woman's journey to get on with her life after the death of her husband. Based on the book by Cecilia Ahern - she's Irish but the book is set in the states with some scenes in the very beautiful Ireland as well. The Irish lad in the movie is played by Gerard Butler of 300 fame - I know many girls and guys too, yang tergila-gilakan this guy and his abs in 300! No abs in this movie but he sings! OK la this movie, I cried though I wouldn't classify it as a favourite and I probably wouldn't watch it again and again. My rating: B

No Reservations - Catherine Zeta Jones plays a chef who is very much independent and strong willed but is in therapy. She's suddenly forced to take in her niece when an accident occurs and finds herself re-evaluating her priorities. The male lead is played by Aaron Eckhart (I wonder, couldn't they get anyone more...dashing?) and the niece, by girl star of the moment, Abigail Breslin. This movie is just barely OK. I read though that Catherine Zeta Jones can't cook to save her life, so it must have been a real stretch for her playing the character in this movie. My rating: C

Juno - It started with a chair... This story of teenage pregnancy earned Ellen Page who plays the title role, an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Juno is a wise cracking, straight talking, tough, tomboyish girl who gets pregnant after a night of making out with her sweet and shy bestfriend. This movie is sweet. The songs are really cute. The script is witty. Jason Bateman is almost fall in love-able. Overall great movie. My rating: A

Stranger Than Fiction - Was kinda reluctant to watch this at first. Not really a fan of Will Ferrell and his slapstick comedy. But I thought the storyline was interesting and I wanted to know what happened to him in the end. Turned out, I actually liked this movie. A bit like Jim Carey and The Truman Show. I liked Emma Thompson as the neurotic writer and Dustin Hoffman as the nutty but willing English professor. My rating: B+

27 Dresses - I watched this movie a few times, I must admit. For one reason and one reason alone, by the name of James Marsden. I've been waiting for him to play a lead role in a romantic comedy and I liked him in this movie, very like-able, not overly suave, just like the guy next door, your bestfriend that you're in love with :) Katherine Heigl is of course, gorgeous as the lead female. Though the movie is very predictable, it's light enough to watch over and over again. My rating: B but because ada James Marsden, upgrade to B+ la :)

Blood Diamond - Managed to watch this on Astro actually. It was one of those rare nights that Yasmin was up late but was off playing by herself and entertained by her uncle. Not my typical choice of movies, I even told my hubby to change the channel because I couldn't stand watching all the violence and bloodshed. But this movie is a real gem. Leonardo DiCaprio is stellar as the reporter Danny Archer, complete with South African accent. If not mistaken he was nominated for a Golden Globe for this (and this was in the year that he did Departed as well). He's turning out to be a hottie and I love how his choice of movie roles seem to mirror that of one Johnny Depp. It's like he's going for the more meaningful roles nowadays. Blood Diamond is wonderful. The scene on the hill, when Danny calls Maddie.... totally gets at you. Brilliant. My rating: A+

I want to watch Sex & The City! I miss those foursome...don't know if I'll be going to the cinema though...or just wait for the semi-ori (as Josie calls them) version.

Night night.