Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Deadpool

First movie of 2016. Didn't already know the character from my childhood or anything (but it's amazing what you can dig up on Wikipedia these days) and didn't watch the trailers beforehand. But I did remember Deadpool from the first standalone Wolverine movie. So knowing now what I know about Deadpool the character, I figured it would be a fun movie to kick off 2016.

Between the two major cineplex chains, you could still get early bird ticket to a movie the day before its local opening at TGV. Because some people have the rest of the week off, there were a lot of people in the second home TGV and had to line up at the kiosk again and waited for what seemed like FOREVER for a group of FIVE people to decide on what movie to watch and when. It's a movie, not your wedding - just pick something and GTFO! What the fuck is with the back and forth... ish.

It was just as well Ryan Reynolds had been campaigning to play Deadpool and (as producer) to get the movie made for what seems to be a long time now, cos I can't think of anyone else to play him.  
  • Throughout the whole movie, I thought Ed Skrein was Jai Courtney for some reason. Oh come on, those two buggers look alike lah, can? 
  • TJ Miller as his BFF barkeep Weasel is hilarious. But he's a comedian, so... 
  • Dunno whether to laugh or cry that out of all the X-Men in that universe, there was only Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Deadpool's wry comment about how it's just the two of them cracked me up. 
  • "Let's go see the Professor""Stewart of McAvoy?" ROFL. 
  • Stay for the post credits stinger. 
  • RunPee already has its suggested pee times for this movie (yay), but I would also suggest another pee time for those who don't have the stomach for it: when Wade Wilson is getting tortured in order to trigger his genetic mutation. 
If you enjoy the meta references to other films and pop culture, it's a fun movie to watch (a barrel of chuckles from start to finish), but it's rated 18, so it's not family friendly and I really mean it. Because the movie had been in development hell for so long, I don't know how long can Ryan Reynolds play the role before he gets too old. Sooner than later, I hope.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

First Impressions: da:mén, USJ

Went to check out the latest all in USJ, da:mén (which literally means "Big Door") just to get out of the house and I otherwise wouldn't venture to that part of USJ normally. (It's located down the road from Summit)

Fortunately, parking there is free until the end of the month. Otherwise, it'd be RM2 for the first three hours. Pretty much like Midvalley/Gardens.



It was just as well that parking is free, because occupancy at the moment is barely half full. And also no mobile reception in the mall. 

The lower ground floor is pretty much where the supermarket (Jaya Grocer) and most of the eateries/food court is. And probably the most happening floor at the moment. 

The only thing that excited me was this... 


Is Singapore's Pasarbella opening a Malaysian outpost? I wouldn't mind, because the one in Singapore is a pain to get to :P Wouldn't mind it more if the retailers from the Grandstand space was here, but that's just my laziness talking.

Other than that, no real reason to come back here any time soon. 

Monday, 8 February 2016

Line Clear Restaurant in Kampung Baru (LC Restoran KL)

Against (perhaps) our better judgement, the sibling and myself decided to check out the KL branch of the (in)famous Line Clear nasi kandar, LC Restoran, located in Kampung Baru, for lunch on the first day of CNY (it's not like we could go during Raya...). Even though we had breakfast less than a couple of hours before, we left home around noon. 

The sibling had already scouted out the best place to park (it's on Waze) - there's a parking lot out back for the Line Clear clientele. Between the both of us, he was the only one who's ever been to the one in Penang. 

Entrance from the unpaved parking lot in the back
As to be expected, there is a line - apparently all the non-Chinese in KL had decided to check the place out too..? At least we weren't lining up out on the street.

There's also an air-conditioned VIP area downstairs and a surau upstairs. You would think there would be more seating upstairs, but they don't. Ish. 

Check out the crazy line
One of the things about being in line so long is that you have all the time in the world to study the menu and judge its prices. We joked with this makcik ahead of us about the price of the poppadom (RM1 for 3 pieces -_-) - the usual, "for that price, can fry our own" etc. 

Check out the prices :P
 I scoffed at the tagline, "Always Clear". Clear my ass lah :P

So close, yet so far.
At this point, we were probably in line for at least half an hour. Luckily I was still full from breakfast earlier and managed to stay hangry-free. 

So by the time I got my lunch (curry drenched rice, fried chicken, some fried bittergourd, and cabbage), I was properly hungry and we were in line for almost an hour. When I got to the front of the line, I think I understood why the line was so long and so slow - things like basic fried chicken run out pretty quickly, and I waited an awkward couple of minutes for a fresh batch to come out of the fryer (which is a pretty long time). By the time I got my food, there were no more clean spoons and I had to settle with eating my meal with just a fork (if there's anything I learned from angmo food shows: you could eat rice with a fork, but it'll be slow). Tip: if you get the chance, get the cutlery first, even if you hadn't gotten your nasi just yet. Have you tried eating fried chicken with just a fork? I had to use my hand towards the end. 

Nice to look back :P
Lining up for the food is one thing; getting a table afters is another - tables were being taken up by people waiting for their family members who are in line for food. Luckily I found a table quickly by unabashedly asking a family of four if the table next to theirs was taken (it wasn't); can't trust the sibling to do anything one, table also yours truly must scout :P 

I heard from the guy we shared a table with that if you came in a group of five or more, you get tableside service and the food comes to you in family serving portions... Don't know how true is that, but if the family of four we shared a table with also had to line up for their food, they probably had a point :P  And the guy was erm, surprised that Chinese people also "tau makan" nasi kandar. Errr... okay then. 

Prep station for group orders
For my plate of rice, they only charged me RM6.60, which wasn't too bad I suppose, but it's also pretty basic. Not sure if I would come back again any time soon or ever... 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Week 6, 2016 - CNY already

It's the night before CNY. While everyone is with their extended relatives, I'm already back home and somewhat ready to call it a night.

  • Mild outrage over Sephora's acquisition of Luxola and the revamp of the points system.
  • Uber's new logo sorta kinda looks like a butthole. 
  • Had to get a new ATM card.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Ed Alonzo's Psycho Circus of Magic & Mayhem

Until last weekend, I can't remember the last time I went to Genting Highlands. Between the renovation of the outdoor theme park (20th Century FOX World is currently under construction, delayed until who-knows-when), not into gambling, the shopping sucks and feeling too old, jaded and cynical for the rides and attractions in the indoor theme park (that said, you should at the very least spend the RM25 on the Ripley's exhibit), there had been no incentive for me to go up. 

So to get people/non-gamblers in during the construction, there's been a ton of magicians and magic shows over the last few years up there. If you watch a lot of American TV, you might recognise Ed Alonzo from his TV work, which you all can find on YouTube. 

We got tickets (as part of the room package) to a 4 p.m. matinee performance last Saturday and the turnout was a little sad, even for a matinee. Anyway, brought the confirmation email to the box office at Genting Grand (which is just upstairs from the Genting Grand lobby) to collect the tickets. They also swiped my Genting Rewards card for verification cos I used the members' discount.

Was seated in the front row, but quickly self-upgraded since the place was practically empty. 


First of all, any show that kicks off with Muse song already gets a thumbs up from me - I recognised the piano strain of New Born and I couldn't believe that I was hearing a Muse song at a magic show. 

Even if you've seen some of the tricks elsewhere, it still doesn't beat watching it in person. It also has cute animals (his pet duck Bob, which I'm guessing he either has more than one of, or that's one VERY old duck; the fluffiest bunny ever (named Peanut), and a tiny little dog), hot dancers and mind blowing magic. Also not forgetting Manx, who's sword swallowing and fire eating may not be for everyone (certainly for at least one Asian grandmother present). 

If you're in the front row with kids, you might even get to pet the animals, so just saying... 

The only other good thing about a not-so full house: shorter line for the photo session afterwards. I usually don't bother, but I did just this one time. No, I'm not putting that picture up anywhere.

He's been performing up in Genting International Show Room in Genting Grand Hotel since last November (with days off here and there), but is coming to an end sometime next month. I would highly recommend catching the show while it's still in Malaysia. And bring the kids. Here are the details if you're interested. 



Stray observations:
  • Can't help but wonder how much did Genting pay him for this residency stint :P 
  • If you follow the guy on social media, you'll see what he does with the time off... 
  • How does the hair stay up? Is it even his real hair? Am I the only one that's reminded of Kramer?

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

About the Sephora Malaysia/Luxola acquisition...

When I read on Buro a week or two ago that Luxola got acquired by Sephora, my first thought was: Oh shit. Actually, my real first thought was...


via GIPHY

While I'm usually all about change and would not one of those people who would complain (too much) about new things, but this wasn't exactly great news for the customer, and here's why:
  1. Prices for some brands (Mario Badescu comes to mind) were cheaper on Luxola than it was at the local Sephora store. Now we would have to pay local Sephora store prices online. *face palm*
  2. Local economy - The local online Sephora store has rendered some people's "Sephora personal shopper" side business that you sometimes come across online moot...? 
MY biggest bugbear from the whole acquisition news: The points system.

The old Sephora points system in Malaysia was that for every RM5 spent, you would get 3 points; once you reach 250, you get 10% discount voucher on your subsequent purchase.

Under the previous system, you would only have to spend RM416.67 (give or take) to reach that goal, or move up to Black Card if you're a White Card holder. Which is not difficult, even for someone like me, who got the Black Card within a couple of years.

NOW - to reach the same 250 points, one would have to spend RM750 because it's RM3 = 1 point. What. the. FUCK. Luckily there's no deadline on how often you need to reach said 250 points, but still.  

One might admit that it's great for people who live nowhere near a Sephora store, but at what cost? 

Luckily I had scaled up to Black Card a while back under the old points system, otherwise it would take me forever to do the same now because I'm one of those people who mostly shop during members' sale, and even then I don't spend much (aka not their best customer). As much as I enjoyed some of the other perks like the occasional free sample or member sales, and the customer service, but... 

I totally brain-farted about the cash rebate saved up in my old Luxola account that I'll never get back now. Ah well. 

First World Hotel, Genting Highlands

Drove up to Genting Highlands with a friend last Saturday to watch Ed Alonzo's show (who's doing a short residency stint) in the Genting International Show Room and there was a room package option which included tickets to the show plus a night's stay in First World Hotel, Genting's equivalent of Tune Hotel (small rooms, bare furnishings, etc). While I'm glad I didn't go alone, but I probably would've been fine if no one wanted to go with me - I could always just got a ticket to the matinee show, find my own way up and down and would still be sleeping in my own bed at the end of the night. But that's not the point of the story. 

I had not driven all the way to the top of Genting Highlands since I first got my driver's license while under parental supervision (in the years since, I had gotten by with just driving to the cable car station at Gohtong Jaya and taking the cable car up). Long story short, survived the drive up and down lah

Parking at First World is (at least) free (whether you're a hotel guest or just day tripping), but the signage at the parking lot is atrocious: there's no way to tell which way to go up, down, left or right. Unless you're really familiar with the parking structure, do not rush. 

As it turned out, we parked closer to Tower Three of First World, but it was a short walk over to the Main Lobby in Tower One from there. So that was fine. 

If you wanted to check in before the official check-in time of 3 p.m., it was a RM5 charge which we both decided to go with even though we got there around 2 p.m., because we needed some time to unload the bags/refresh self, get to Genting Grand (where the Show Room is) as it was going to be quite the walk.

There's a bunch of automated check in kiosks in the lobby (if you decide to kacau the counter people, there was another charge), and there's always a person standing around to help you check in at the kiosk. For locals, all you need is like your IC and/or your Genting membership card and just follow the instructions on the screen. Luckily you could choose whether you want twin bedding or otherwise at no charge, or else I would've thrown a fit. Each booking by default only gets one key card, so the only way you get a second key card is if you slot in another IC into the machine so that it could issue another one. 

So we got a room on the 24th floor of Tower One, the highest floor. 

Seems clean enough - at least we got two pillows each.
Room: Beds were firm and comfy, but if you're over 5' 5", the beds would be too short for you.

There's also no coffee and tea making "facilities" in Standard rooms, but if you want those, it's available in a vending machine downstairs for RM5. Like that just bring your instant coffee, tea lah, no need so susah. (FWIW, I did pack some apples, packets of Swiss Miss, Nescafe 3-in-1 and also my KeepCup for this purpose)

Because it's First World, there's also no Wi-Fi in the rooms unless you're willing to be gouged downstairs at the lobby. If you have a data plan, the signal is pretty spotty, depending on your telco. 

If anyone was wondering, there are a couple of power sockets, but only at the desk; there wasn't any way to charge the devices bed side. Have to like how they're so confident about the temperature outside, they only installed ceiling fans and no air conditioning. To be fair, even at the lowest setting, it was already pretty liang (cool), any higher we would've been really, really cold. 

The shower is right behind the door...
Bathroom: There was a 3-in-1 (shampoo, conditioner and body wash) dispenser both at the sink and in the shower. It's not 3 different liquids, it's ONE liquid that they deem safe enough for you to use top-to-toe. I only used it for the hands, and as I have travel sized most things, I don't know how it was on the head or body.

Before I forget, towels are also provided (which I have to mention because there's no mention of it on Tripadvisor, etc), and also an individually wrapped shower cap, but you would have to BYO hair dryer.

Plastic drinkware
At least there's an in-room safe
What's available - Local free-to-air channels, and Vision Four
The hot and cold water dispenser: the hot was really hot (as in can masak instant noodles hot);
but the cold was basically room temp water at best.
While we were quite a distance from the elevator, but the hot and cold water dispenser was only around the corner, so it depends on your priorities: do you want to be closer to the elevator or the water dispenser?

I didn't sleep so great despite the cool weather at that altitude: the ceiling fan was squeaky, there was the noise of people moving the furniture around and I was feeling overheated for some reason. 

There was also no breakfast included; found that out when we went to check out the First World Cafe on the third floor and it was RM30 for adults for buffet breakfast. Erm, no thanks.

What they have: Towels, extra pillow each (some might find it too soft), head to toe soap, in-room safe, single USB charger on the wall. stationery (pad and pencil), packet tissue paper (not the pocket sized, but the slightly larger one), shower cap. 

What they don't have: Complimentary Wi-Fi, hair dryer, thicker walls... 

Mostly took things like the shower cap, sanitary bag, tissue and stationery, but not the toilet paper; though I know some people who would've grabbed the toilet paper. 

Now that I know what the Standard Room is like, I'd probably wouldn't go again. 

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Week 5, 2016

Weather still hot as balls. There's a piece of news going around that it'll be 16 degrees Celsius next weekend during CNY. I'll believe it when it happens. 
  • Monday was a state holiday. Tomorrow being Federal Day, I sense chaos is upon us.
  • Drove all the way to Genting Highlands on Saturday for Ed Alonzo's show, Psycho Circus of Magic and Mayhem and overnight stay at First World Hotel. Those posts to follow. 
  • Also finally got to try Godiva's soft serve ice cream. Most expensive soft serve ice cream ever, but luckily pretty good too :P
  • Saw Kuah Jenhan's latest show at PJ Live Arts's Cabaret space.
  • No idea you can now shop for lululemon from Malaysia at the HK online store. Erm, whee?
Chinese New Year is next week. Oy.

[Review] White Teeth Global Teeth Whitening System

I got asked to review a different teeth whitening system recently (White Teeth Global's Basic Kit, which includes...
  • 1 Syringe (10 ml) of Dental Whitening Gel (22% or 35% Carbamide Peroxide)
  • 2 Teeth Whitening Trays with Container
  • Shade Guide
  • Complete Instructions
Shipping: A couple weeks, tops. The tracked shipping kind of paused a few days over some long holiday weekend. I did the pretend drop into the cart to check shipping fees and shipping to Malaysia was only US$7.99, which was not terribly expensive, all things considered. 

As received in the mail
Yup, everything's in there.
The mouth trays themselves are the thermoforming ones, which means that all you do is dunk them into some boiling hot water for them to soften, quickly putting it in your mouth, suck the air out so that it forms better to your mouth. But I still messed it up a little because it wasn't a perfect fit, but at least now I can tell the top and bottom trays apart, so...

Close, but no prize
After that you're supposed to squirt a thin layer of gel into the trays themselves before putting them into your mouth from 15 minutes to half an hour. Even with the thermoforming trays, I still found that I had a bunch of pooled drool to drain when I removed the tray, so definitely not for overnight application. You also have to rinse the trays of excess gel (and drool) and to dry them before use.

I did use this for a few nights straight, but had to cut back when the sensitivity kicked in (they did warn you about this in the instructions). Also tried to take pictures, but replicating the lighting conditions for before and after pictures got cumbersome and I don't know if I could subject people to pictures of my teeth again ;/, but I can tell you that my teeth did look a couple shades lighter after a couple nights use, even with my daily tea and coffee consumption.

All in all, I don't mind this home teeth whitening kit because of the thermoforming tray option and using this was definitely less cumbersome.

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