Saturday, 22 August 2015

Uninvited* - Alanis Morissette

Last Wednesday, there was an uninvited guest who came into our house!

It was a good thing that i decided to go to our TV room in the morning with my daughter - for it is better that i discovered the "guest" than my wife!!!

When we got there, i noticed that something was not right as things from my cork board was falling off (it was my "This is Anfield" banner so i guess that little fella must have been a Red Devil fan!!!). I noticed also that my study lamp had fallen over and when i switched on the lights, i saw IT!!! I quickly grabbed my little girl, slammed the door shut and ran down!

When my wife saw us, she must have noticed how white my face was - i told her that something is upstairs and her first thought was that it was a cockroach!!!

Well, we started calling up exterminators and pest controllers to sort out the guest. To our dismay, they all had the same modus operandi - set up a trap and then hopefully it will catch that fella within 2 days!!!!

Finally, i found this company online and they said that they will go in and catch that fella for us! And they can come by noon (one company said they'll only come after 3 pm that day).

It was a little amusing as the guy over the phone tried to tell me that they will basically kill the intruder and it may be in a violent manner. Perhaps he didn't want to offend any animal rights activists!!! I told him that we are fine with it. Just get it OUT!!!

And they did. They sent one man over. He was polite - although a little amused that i was clearly scared of the small fella. Well, small relatively - if compared to me. But to me, it was a big fella!!! The guy tried to make me feel better by saying that different people are afraid of different things. But he asked if i was afraid of cockroaches and i said yes, i was afraid of that too!!!

He went up and locked himself in the room. I heard him used a stick to try to get it out of its hiding place. After a couple of minutes, my heart sank - had it left edi? That would mean we still have to pay them their fees! But then i heard the fella screaming!

What the man did was just to place some glue boards - it's like fly paper but bigger. He then chased the fella onto it and it will get caught.

Well done! Here's a free plug for them:-

The hardest part then was to clean up the entire room. First things first, though. I made sure that there are no openings available for such intruders again. These fellas can squeeze in through some really small openings!

And if you wanna have a look at that fella, you can click on the following picture to enlarge it.

*Her first single after her successful Jagged Little Pill album - this song was featured first in teh soundtrack of City of Angels.

Friday, 21 August 2015

I will always love you* - Whitney Houston

I felt sad today when i realised that i cannot afford to bring my daughter to a concert that she would love! For a brief moment, i felt like i have failed her.

And then i began to think of the things i know that i will not be able to afford to give her, the places that i can never bring her to, the experiences that i cannot ensure she gets. Have i failed her?

Of course there are people who say that if we give our children everything they want, we will be doing a disservice to them. Still, it does not change the fact that i won't be able to see the joy in her face if i could bring her to that concert.

But at the end of the day, i am just focusing on myself - i am being selfish!!! I am thinking of what would make me feel good. My daughter did not ask to go for the concert - she is just happy to watch the studio recorded performance in our TV room. In fact, saying she is happy is an understatement. She absolutely loves it. She was dancing around today much to my amusement. There will be days when she insists that i dance along with her and she is left in stitches seeing me try!

Similarly with going to exotic places and eating at posh restaurants - to her, it does not matter as long as she is with us. As a friend said, other people go to Club Med, he goes to PD (Port Dickson).

When i think back of my childhood, my parents also couldn't give me a lot of things that i wanted. I would also hear of friends who went to Disneyland for holidays. But it was ok with me. Well, not really ok - but i learnt to accept it. And i was never bitter nor angry at my parents or the financial situation we were in. I just hope that my children will have the same mindset.

A lot of people today do not have more than 1 child because they feel that they cannot afford it. They will not be able to buy nor provide the children will all the things they want. But i disagree with such a view - and i have friends who are not well to do but have a lot of children. And they are doing fine.

I am reminded today that i may not be able to provide materially for my children - but what i can provide, i should give as much as i can for as long as i am able to. And one thing that i should do is to love them. Love my girl. She doesn't ask for much. she just wants her daddy and she wants her daddy to spend time with her.

Love does not mean giving her everything she wants. Love is to give of myself to her no matter what. And i pray that i will be able to love her always.

*Her remake of the Dolly Parton song which was featured in the soundtrack of the movie, The Bodyguard.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Renewed* - Stryper

I just renewed my passport this week - will be travelling for work later this year (meaning it is paid for - can't afford any overseas holidays).

I want online to get more info about renewing my Malaysian passport but could not get the info I wanted. So as a public service post, I am going to provide info which I wanted but could not get.

Let me just put s disclaimer here - the info is correct as of the 18th of August 2015. Further, the renewal was done at the office at Plaza Glomac and I am unsure if other places have different practices or not.

First things first - what you need to bring. Bring your Mykad and RM200 (as fees for adults). And your current passport. That's all. You Amy want to bring something to amuse you while you wait. A book kept me suitably entertained.

From online, I found out the office opens at 7.30 am. I was late - close to 8 am and there was a long queue. You can park behind the office - an open air car park for RM2 an hour.

When you are allowed in, you will be given a small piece of paper. You are required to fill in your name, your address, your height, your mobile number and your email address. There is a small counter there with pens if you need them. You will have to submit that form together with your Mykad and you'll be given a number. I was the 46th person.

After waiting for over an hour, my number was called. I was required to submit everything and they took my fingerprint. They also took my photo - coats are provided. So you do not need to bring your own photos. Can save some money on that.

After that, I had to wait until they called my number again to the payment counter. I paid the RM200 and they gave me a printed receipt together with another number on the receipt.

I then had to wait again for a while before they called for the number on my receipt. They collected the receipt and then I had to wait until they called for me by name.

That's it. I was done in less than 3 hours.

Quite happy with the process. Not happy with my photo which I'm stuck with for the the next 5 years. I was told from online that I should have a neutral expression - but I overcompensated and I looked really miserable! Lol!

*The last track from this Christian metal group's 7th studio album, No More Hell To Pay.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Stuck on you* - Lionel Ritchie

It has been a while since I've posted anything up. Well, compared to the flurry of posts after my surgery!

The reason is simple - I've finally moved back into my own house. It's been a week since that day when I came back home.

I wondered before my surgery how my daughter'so reaction will be. Is it going to be "absence makes the heart grow fonder" or "out of sight, out of mind". A part of me which feared that I may not make it through the surgery hoped it would have been the latter. After all, she is just barely over 2 years old. How much can she remembe? I cannot remember anything about what happened to me when I was two.

But thankfully, it was the former rather than latter. And although it has been a bit difficult, I have to admit it feels good to be missed and wanted, doesn't it?

It meant that she wanted me by her side ALL the time! And I'm not exaggerating. Even though she had been warned that I am not allowed to carry her and that I will only be holding her hand, she made sure that she held on to my finger almost all the time!

So I have to make sure that I get my rest whenever she is sleeping - for she will not allow me any sleep when she is awake! She will make sure that I am stuck to her by her side all the time!

Ok. Better go get some rest now!

*Interestingly, this hit song of his marked his country music debut!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Join together* - The Who

I went back to remove the staples last Thursday. Managed to sneak a selfie while waiting for the doctor to come.

Unlike other kinds of surgery where they use stitches which actually dissolve in the end, they literally stapled my scalp back together!!! On Thursday, the doctor just removed the staples as one would from a stapled bunch of papers!!!! Thankfully, he didn't use a stapler!!!

If you don't believe me, you may click on the following photo (which i shrink it into quite small in case some people do not like seeing these kinda stuffs) for a zoom in on the staples in my head!

*This song was released as a non-album single way back in the early seventies.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

I'll be there for you* - The Pretenders

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— 
where does my help come from? 
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 
He will not let your foot slip— 
he who watches over you will not slumber; 
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 
The Lord watches over you— 
the Lord is your shade at your right hand; 
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 
The Lord will keep you from all harm— 
he will watch over your life; 
the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

The passage above is taken from the Bible - Psalm 121 to be precise. I read this Psalm some weeks before my surgery and it was of great comfort to me. It was not coincidence during the church leaders' meeting when the elders decided to pray for my surgery, Mr. Wong read this very same Psalm before praying for me.

The Psalm is such a timely reminder that God will be there for me. I can truly count on him - and be comforted as the one I am counting on is the one who is powerful - the creator of the universe, no less.

You can read more about my views on this Psalm here.

*The theme song for the popular TV series, Friends.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

No matter what* - Boyzone

There was an interesting quote from one of the characters in Dear Galileo:-

Interesting? "People these days are just concerned about the result, not the process".

The line was spoken in the context of fishing - one of the characters was fishing and another felt that it was a waste of time as they could very well buy the fish.

It is true! And it is sad. I remember over 20 years ago where some colleges used to advertise how students can finish their pre-U very quickly and graduate young. The focus is on the results, not the process.

In football, we see that a lot too - who cares about playing the "beautiful game"? If they play attractive football, that is the icing on the cake. But what matters is that the team wins - or get the result they desire - which sometimes means a draw. And they play what pundits call "ugly football". And they don't care about the criticism - they are paid to get the result, no matter how the result is achieved.

We live in a day where the ends justifies the means. But does it?

I feel strongly about this because it is the process that determines the quality of the result. Perhaps i am looking at it in the field of education which i am in - results does not guarantee success in the working world. It all depends on how the process of obtaining the results - the trials and tribulations, the challenges, the lessons learnt.

I find personally that the process of obtaining the results in my education played a big part into molding me into who i am today. It also helped me appreciate life - and to live life to the fullest.

*This song is their remake of a song taken from the musical Whistle Down The Wind written by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Thank you* - Dido

I went for my follow-up check yesterday. The results of the tests on the tumour was ready. Here it is:-

Basically, what it means is that everything is good!!!! The doctor said that this is the best result that could come out - that it is Grade 1. The lower the grade, the better it is as it is less dangerous. Mineis Grade 1. In fact, this tumour is even less aggressive than the one i used to have last time.

This is indeed wonderful news. Tumour removed, surgery successful, confirmed benign. I am thankful to God for this.

*Song from her debut studio album and was also featured on the soundtrack of Sliding Doors.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Call me* - Blondie

Since being discharged, i seek for this series and i finally completed the first season - which consisted of 10 episodes!

In case you don't know, this is a spin-off prequel of the successful series Breaking Bad.

I first came across it when it was nominated for 7 Emmy's this year (or is it 6?)

including Best Drama Series as well as best actor and supporting actor. Upon checking IMDB, i also found that the episodes were highly rated.

I enjoyed Breaking Bad and i also liked the character of Saul Goodman as well as Mike Ehrmantraut. So why not?

I really enjoyed it and am glad for the two Emmy nominations for the actors in the series.

It is interesting to note that in spite of the good ratings, there are those who feel that it does not deserve the positive reviews - and that it is only good because people miss Breaking Bad so this is the next best thing.

I think it is unfair. Better Call Saul is different. You can't really compare the two series - in my opinion. Although there are similarities - the main one being that things may not be black or white but grey at times.

Still, i really like Better Call Saul - it seems to be taking its time to build up the characters - perhaps this has worked against it as some have said it is slow moving. But we really get to see what kind of a person Saul was in the past. The main thing working against this series is that we all know what kind of lawyer he ended up being.

But for now, we see how he started as a con-man to someone working in the mail room of a huge law firm to a lawyer himself.

The character of Saul to me is very likable. He is your everyday underdog, trying very hard to make a living. His virtues would be he is willing to work hard. He definitely has the gift of the gab - and this was illustrated so well when he pleaded for the lives of the twins in episode 2. Enough said to keep this as spoiler free as possible.

Bod Odenkirk in my view deserves his Emmy nomination. The show is about him. We see him almost all the time. He has to carry the series on - and to me, he has done a really good job!

As for Mike, he was arguably my favourite character in Breaking Bad. So nice to see him again and to also see how he becomes who he is in the Breaking Bad series.

I will be waiting for season 2!

*This was the band's biggest hit ever and is included in The Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Songs of All Time

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

A whole new world* - Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle

Finally, after a long time, i got to watch this movie:-

Dear Galileo. It's a Thai movie about two friends who decide to travel to Europe. I've been wanting to watch this for so so long and have had the DVD for quite a while - there were a few trips to Bangkok when i looked for this DVD. I did find it but it did not come with subtitles. In the end, i found it at the local Speedy Video store!!!

Here is the trailer for the movie:-

So how was it? Putting it in a nutshell, i enjoyed it. In about 5 minutes into the movie, i already had tears in my eyes!!! And the tears kept coming all the way till the very last scene!!!

No, it is not a sob-fest. It is a simple movie about friendship, about life, about experiencing it to the full. You can read more about the movie elsewhere. Here, i just want to talk about what it means to me!

It was nice to be able to "travel" with the two main leads and share their experiences - especially the London part. The roles were played out very well. I have to admit that the movie dragged on a bit at times (it was over 2 hours - but it did cover 3 countries. 4 if you include the Thai part.

And perhaps this is a movie for those who are younger, those who are doing their tertiary education or just ended it. To be able to be free from responsibilities and just go where you want to go, meet up with people, see a whole new world, experience new things both bitter and sweet, sometimes bittersweet.

The wanderlust in me was indeed stirred up again. Just last night i was chatting with an old friend who spent two months travelling around Europe earlier this year!!! There are so many places that i still would like to go to. And so many sights to see. Of course, there are the people that can meet during the travels too.

But times are different now. I have a family. I cannot just leave at the drop of the hat. There are bills to pay and mouths to feed - and future education to save up for!!! It took me a while but i have resigned myself to the fact that my travelling days are over. And i have come to peace with that.

Instead of looking at the glass as half empty, i look at it as half full. I don't think so much of the places that i have not been to yet. but i keep in mind the places that i have! And I have been to many places. More than many others would ever have the opportunity to do so. I should be thankful - and i am.

Perhaps when my kids are older, we may travel again. We still do - but cheap. Local. And that is good enough.

I confronted myself honestly as i watched this movie - would i rather go travelling or stay put now. Thankfully, my honest answer is that i would rather not see some of the most wonderful sights but to just be able to spend time with my wife and with my daughter. That is far more precious to me now.

But to those who are young - and especially unmarried - go and travel. See the world. Experience life and widen your outlook.

*The theme song for Aladdin which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song as well as the Grammy for Song of the Year. 

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The one* - Elton John

So its confirmed - Benteke will be Liverpool's new no. 9. The question is whether will be be a worthy no. 9 or not?

Pic taken from Liverpool FB page

We have had some hits but a lot of misses in recent times with our no. 9s, the most recent one being Lambert who is now at West Brom (to be honest, i felt he needed a bit more time). You can read about the good and bad no. 9s in an earlier blog post here.

I've never been a big fan of Benteke - but a lot of people are rating him highly - including one of the best no. 9 ever, Robbie Fowler (read his views here where he feels that Benteke is "perfect" for Liverpool).

As usual, i cautiously optimistic - but when Benteke does something like this (see the following video clip) on his debut, you can't blame me for being excited, can you?

Is he the one then? The one worthy to inherit the no. 9 jersey? I really really hope so!!!

*The first single from the album of the same name.

Sore loser* - Tom Chapin

And so English football resumes again!!!! Whoopie!!!!

An interesting game which was won in the end by a brilliantly taken goal by Alex Oxlade Chamberlain for Arsenal. A significant win for Arsenal?

But what amused me was Mourinho's reaction to the loss. He said that the "best team lost".

You can watch the interview here:-

Yeah, yeah, yeah - the best team just couldn't score against an organised defence. The best team conceded the only goal. The best team obviously was the team in blue, isn't it?

To be fair to him, he did congratulate Arsenal.

Let the football resume!

*Tom Chapin is a multiple Grammy Award winner, only for Best Spoken Word Album For Children. This song is from his album Billy The Squid - a "family" album.

Monday, 3 August 2015

One week* - Barenaked Ladies

Exactly one week ago (give or take about an hour or so), i was lying flat in a freezing unfriendly sterilised white room with tubes attached to various parts of a body while a man with a very sharp knife cut my head opened.

The night before, they placed markers so the surgeon knows where to cut

Time flies.

Tumour removed, new titanium plate put into place. ICU, HDU, normal ward, back home.

First real hearty meal was food from home!

Modern technology helped!

Friends came a visiting
Friends came bearing gifts

Give us this day our daily bread - and medication

Reunited and it feels so good!
So thankful to God for his gracious providence and care not only for me but for my loved ones. It's still a long road to full recovery but the worst should be over.

*Their first single from their 1998 album which made them famous.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Feeling good* - Michael Bublé

It's day 6 since my surgery and I'm back home! Well, back to me mom's home. Have been here since day 4!!!

I've been feeling pretty good. As me wife drove me back from the hospital on Friday, i told her that i feel that i can deliver a lecture there and then! With a mic, tho.

Truly God has been very gracious to me. The recovery has been very very good! Much better than the last time! Although it didn't seem like it would be like that initially. My first memories post surgery was that i was feeling pretty bad. I had a headache, i felt like i had urinary tract infection and i was feeling pretty nauseous. The nausea stayed with me for the first two days. I also could feel the pain - albeit slight - on the stitches/staples on my head. I recall the last time round, i couldn't feel anything at all.

But slowly and surely, God helped me to recover and recuperate. The defining moment - actually it was close to 2 hours - was on Wednesday when they were getting ready to transfer me to the normal ward. I got "unplugged" - yay!!!! I felt like Ultron! or Pinnochio!!!

I recall from the last experience that when they finally wheeled me into the ward, i was so overcome by nausea that i went right into the toilet and threw up whatever little i had in me tummy!!!

So this time round, when they told me that the room was being cleaned, i decided to sit up on the bed and prepare meself for the nauseating journey up!

It wasn't easy. I still felt bad but made sure i sat up. Lying down for more than 50 hours can really mess with the head!

Thank God that after an hour passed, i was feeling much better. Soon, i was sitting there singing hymms and old Bible School songs quietly. I was having a mini worship session!

When they wheeled me to the ward, i continued sitting - on the chair next to the window drinking in the view of the world outside, the light blue skies and white clouds, especially, and whatever greenery there was to see.

My condition steadily improved and when i got home, i was quite surprised at how "normal" i felt!

When a fren came over to visit, he reported back to the rest of me mates saying that i look the same except with the patch on my head.

Sure, i don't feel 100% - but i feel quite good. Less than 1 week and i'm already blogging. I think the last time round, it was in week 3 when i started to blog again. And i would have been blogging earlier if i wasn't too busy watching TV!!!

When me wife came over to visit me last night, i think i was feeling much better than she did!

Last night also, i started singing this old chorus that we used to sing a lot during our secondary school days. We used to love this Praise and Worship album - Give Thanks. I still listen to it once in a while these days and the CD is in my car. The song that i was singing was "I am the God That Healeth Thee".

Truly, he is the one! I speak very well about my surgeon and he is probably the best neurosurgeon in the country (and the most expensive too) but at the end of the day, i acknowledge that it is God who used the surgeon and it is God who is healing me day by day. Although i am 5 years older compared to when i had the first surgery, i am recovering much faster. Much much faster. I walk down the stairs and i find myself surprised at how easy it is. I remember how i had to gingerly walk down slowly the last time round.

Well, it's still a long journey to full recovery. I can't see what is happening inside me - so i better take it easy and slowly and just leave it in his hands, the hands of the one who can heal me completely and perfectly!

*His cover version of this popular song written in the 60s.