Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Happy Birthday Yeesin!!!

Happy Birthday Baby !!! (Its Yeesin/Hostess for the rest of you guys). She is the love of my life, my "bestest" friend, always sticking with me, thru thick and thin.... LOVE YOU... ;)

So... while the kids were in town, we managed to do a quick birthday thingy as usual. Couple of years ago Yeesin mentioned that we were never to throw a "surprise birthday party". Hmmm... maybe it might be related to the soft-toy hidden in a vacumm cleaner box surprise awhile ago!!!

Anyway, here's a pic of the cappucino cheesecake that Elaine and Yeesin made (Yes, the lack of a surprise unfortunately means that cake is DIY too). Anyway, it was a very short ceremony, with the blowing of candles, followed by a very long ceremony of trying to separate the crust of the cake from the cake tray... MMMhhmm, still. it was decadently delicous... Must be the good bakers!
So without further ado, let's introduce her presents! She got a very very nice gift card for Express from Huay+Nick+Elaine. I see some shopping therapy in the near future! Then she got a very snazzy and hip jacket from me ( again no surprise means that she picked it out herself!!)


Monday, November 28, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Par with the Yeoh's B&B tradition, we had a Turkey dinner with lots of other assorted veggie dishes. As with every year, we had Nick, Ah Huay, Elaine, Benji, and ourselves (The hosts) eating.

This year, we are Thankful for Good Health, excellent Food, and the "BESTEST" company that we can have. With our families sooooo far away from us in Malaysia, they are our adopted family over here... Maybe its the random words that we invent on the spot, maybe its the crazy stuff we do (Like the human pyramid here), or maybe its just us making fun of each other, BUT the house just seems so much more alive with them there!!! After getting ready for sleep last night, YS & I were a bummed that our "kids" left the house already... :(

Sappy emotional musings aside, we ate alot. But I bet we didn't eat as much as our little doggy Benji! Our little devil here managed to jump over the baby gate in the kitchen and had a Huge fiesta at the Dining table while we were out for a movie. 5 huge Mushrooms, a turkey leg, and some potatoes later, he was taking a well deserved nap upstairs to help digest...

Needless to say, no happy campers after we returned! Everyone was MAD. Even his favorite auntie Elaine was also on his case. Part of it was we were sooo looking forward to eating those mushrooms, the other part was we were more worried that our "goldfish" dog would eat like his namesake and keel over.... He got what he deserved tho... MAJOR indigestion : he didn't look comfortable at all for the next 2 days.... Don't worry he is back to normal now!

"Nua" for the rest of the weekend, until YS's Birthday celebration

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Picture Share!

Retro 3D TV Night

Apparently 3D is in these days! I stumbled across some really nerdy errr.. i mean really high-tech blue and red 3D glasses in our Sprint break room over lunch today! The story is NBC is running a "special" 3D episode of Medium on TV tonight: link

Trolling the message boards for a few minutes, and noticed that fans are up in arms about not being to get these glasses! So... Kiasu means that this episode MUST be really really good. Hmm... wondering if there's a secondary market for these glasses on ebay today? Too bad I won't be able to ship them out in time, if I did sell any :(

So... maybe there is something to this 3D phenomenon! Maybe in about a couple of weeks, its going to be on every show on the major networks, on syndication etc, then its going to be actually "stylish" to wear them out in the day time??!!. Or maybe its really a gigantic experiments by the TV execs to see if regular people will wear these darn things, and subject themselves to ridicule by their friends and family.... Who Knows?

For those people who have nothing much to do, here's a link to book. What's weird, is that covers the fictional character is based on a true-life medium named Allison DuBois, who is a consultant to the show. For the past four years, the real DuBois has been the subject of rigorous scientific experiments conducted at the University of Arizona by Harvard-trained psychologist Gary Schwartz... Freaky!

BIGGEST Question??!! What happens to the viewers who don't have the glasses? I bet they only get a nice non-3D headache... We'll see how it goes tonight.

EDIT: The show was ok, but the 3D effects didn't really seem "3D-ey"... Probably the reason why no other shows are 3d episodes...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Italian Thoughts...

So, we've been back for about a week already. Seems like our vacation was like a really really good dream. Yeesin still talks about the molto excellente Spaghetti with clam sauce, and I dream about getting my wonderfully made cappucino from our Barista dude at the Bars...

We sometimes think about how we just decided to go somewhere where we don't speak the language, without a tour guide, just pick up a guide book, and go! It's probably the most fun we've both had in ages! Well I can definitely say we were NOT in Kansas anymore, nor in the same continent for that matter!

Aside from most Italians speaking some English (we had the most luck in speaking English with people trying to sell us something), Italy is WAAAYYY different from USA... So I decided to list them out...

1. Driving - Marco, the driver that picked us up from the airport, very well dressed and polite. However, the courtesy did not extend to the other Italian drivers out there. Coming from Malaysia, we surely respected his aptitude in the following skills: (1) Tailgating within a hair's breath of an accident, but close enough so that no one can "cut" in front of us. (2) Squeezing his nicely detailed black beemer into spaces that only scooters can get through. (3) Running red lights, and cursing other drivers that dare to get in his way... AHHH.... it felt like driving in Malaysia..

2. Italian Bars - We thought the Italians were crazy to be drinking at 9am in the morning as we approached a local bar. Later we found out that "bars" are their equivalent of a diner over here. That said, we had the best panini and cappucino ever at Bar Frattina in downtown Rome! "Una cappucino per favore" will get you an excellent cup of cappucino anytime! Here's Yeesin really pumped that we finally get some food after that looong flight! She's also pumped that she's got some caffine too! Shhhhh... don't tell her that they don't believe in gloves or hairnets when preparing panini's in Italy....

3. Bidets - No. They are not personalized toilets for him and her! Aside from the bathroom being a lot larger than our sleeping spaces, the Bidet was probably the next weirdest thing. The operation of the toilet is pretty much similar all across the world. Now, the bidet, on the other hand is kinda harder to operate. Our one didn't really come with an instruction manual, so its up to your imagination on what position you have to get into to clean your... errr, "special" areas. Just be glad that we didn't try to do laundry in that bidet.. It kinda looks like a nice sink for that!!

4. Caldo. This does not mean "COLD". Just because the faucet is marked "C" it reall just means the opposite. "C" stands for "Caldo", which means HOT. "F" on the other hand stand for "Freddo" which IS "C" for the rest of us. I figure they rather let the hotel guest figure this out on their own... If you turn "C", and it only gets Hotter, then common sense would dictate that you try the other one right?... Well, some direction challenged people like myself take slightly longer (and a little burnt) to find that out !!

5. Trains. Train rides in Europe always seem so serene and peaceful for the passengers. A gentle breeze blows in your hair as you take in the wonderful European countryside. That's all true. Here's a shot of Yeesin relaxing on our Eurostar cabin. But before that, we had to figure out if the train that we're supposed to be on was really on the correct track! They announced it, but it was Italian. If you're not paying attention you'll get on a train that's going to be cleaned, not the one going to Florence. A good skill to pick up is to follow where all the locals on your track is run to when they hear an italian annoucement!

6. Locals. Don't always trust them. Just because you meet an Italian dude, and he says that he is going the same way as you are, doesn't mean that he really knows. Or as Yeesin observed, the phenomenen that men don't ask for instructions is universal. On the way from Burano Island back to Venice we were supposed change boats at Punta Sabbioni. We got off, and ahead of the group is this Italian guy that seemed to know where he was going, so ALL the tourists (50 of us) followed him. We knew it didn't look so good the followers started dwindling as we got further out into the Boonies! In the end, the dock for the transfer boat was NEXT TO where we got off!!!

Stay tuned for our Thanksgiving Adventures.... ;)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

We're Back!

We are back from our wonderful trip to Italy... Though it is nice to be back where CSI:Miami is actually televised in English, and traffic signs are actually followed, we are sad to have to leave such a beautiful country.

So, what do we write about? Instead of the usual boring stuff about how much fun we had vs the rest of the people who didn't take the trip, we'll just note some of the highlights of the trip.

1. While its really amazing that the Colloseum in Rome is still standing after thousands of years, its even more amazing that back then, people actually died as gladiators in this place, fighting wild animals, and each other so the population could get entertained. Speaking of Gladiators, notice at the bottom of the picture, you'll see some unshaven, slightly overweight, Italian mafia dudes scamming some tourists into a really "authentic" photo-shoot. Ahh... the hardships of the modern day Gladiator.

2. Ahh.... the romance of Rome reflected at Trevi Fountain at night... This is nightspot where hundreds of tourist and local lovebirds hang out at night to soak in the wonderful atmosphere. We threw a couple of coins over our shoulders into the fountain, a tradition to ensure that we return to this wonderful place. Note to future visitors, when you throw your coins, make sure you don't hit the hundred plus street vendors trying to sell you roses/shinny objects/fake bags/("Insert useless souveniers here"). I think hitting them with the coins only ensures that you buy some useless souvenier back!

3. To the vatican! Since we're are in Rome, might as well go see the biggest Church in the world! Here's a picture from the top after climbing 500+ steps of the dome of the Basilica(=Church). The shadow in the left, is of the dome that we are standing on! We were huffing and puffing from the climb, when someone in the back said [Imagine deep south accent here] "Y'All tired? Know why? Cos we close to the the Lord Y'all! Y'all CAN'T handle the LOOORRDD!" That aside, its an amazing view from the top, and attending mass at the church was a spiritual experience.

4. What trip to the Vatican would be complete without the guards?? Here's a quick picture of the dudes Bob & Joe, dressed up in their wonderfully color coordinated costumes/uniforms. Joe on the right looks a little bit angry. I would be too, if someone gave me those color combinations to wear, and hordes of people point at me and post my fashion sense on their BLOGS. Still, with their wonderfully snazzy, but really sharp looking halberds (the stick thingy Bob is holding), they look mean enough to keep out most people from that private entrance.

5. Apparently, getting into the Vatican Museums was a lot harder than into the Church. Here we are, at the bane of all Eurotrip travellers... the LINE. This picture doesn't do justice to how long the line was... We walked 15 minutes from the front of the line to the BACK! Even the Priests in front of us left the line 1 hour before the front doors closed! So... if even priests don't get in... we didn't even bother to try! Well, since we threw coins into Trevi... I guess we will be coming back!

6. So here we are at the Leaning Tower of Pisa... No this is NOT where Pizza's originated from. Its amazing to see such a HUGE building almost on the verge of falling down, just... hang here, almost in mid-air. Nothing smart-ass to write here, thought it would be nice to have a picture of both of us, just in case you wondered if the husband was even present on this trip!!

7. Then... off to Florence we go, where there are really-really old paintings and statues! Here we'll make an exception and show 2 picures. We gotta take look at the statue of Donatello, one of the great artists of Florence, standing dignified & stoically outside the world famous Uffizi Gallery where Bottichelli's Venus is stored. Too bad they named a ninja turtle after this dude... He must have been turning over in his grave, fuming with anger together with Michaelango, Ralphel, and Leonardo...Heroes in-a-half-shell! On a more picturesque note, here's a breathtaking shot of the Ponte Vechhio across the Arno river. They put really nice jewelry stores over the bridge with really nice shiny objects... and yes, we took a look at the stores.

8. Sunset at Venice... the other city of Romance. Except that there are no cars allowed, and you substitute scooters for speedboats... Here's a great shot as we arrived into Venice from the local public bus/boat. Over here the DHL and UPS boats are worst drivers than they were on land... and everything has to be boated in from the mainland, so prices for everything are pretty steep as well. But then again, romance in Venice is priceless, even if your bank account doesn't think so!

9. Yep, you can't put a price on romance, but you can sure take a picture of it! Here's our attempt a recreating a poster in our living room wall. Its of a couple kissing on the Riva (riverfront) in Venice, with gondolas in the background. Let us know if this picture is close enough to the poster the next time you guys visit!

10. Finally, what visit to Venice would be complete without a Gondola ride. Our Gondola dude was named "James Bond". He musta been really a secret agent, cos he took a lot of phone calls on his cell phone while he was boating us along, undoubtably classified information from his secret contacts... ;) Our favourite song that he sung was "so-lee mia... coka-cola... tiramisu...." you get the idea... I'm still amazed at his skill of taking a phone call with one hand while paddling along with another one... Must be a skill passed down from generation to generation! Here's a shot of the sauve dude hitting on my wife!