Friday, July 22, 2011

The 12 hour Atrium Marathon Buffet

When it comes to food I have to admit that I'm picky. There's so many types of food that I love, food that I loathe and food that I'm okay with. One thing that I love the most is my dad's western cooking, it tastes absolutely delicious. I've been to many western restaurants there's none that can beat the taste and love from my dad. I can say now that I manage to reproduce his Spaghetti Bolognese taste's after observing him cook so many years. So back to the topic, going to a buffet is not so beneficial for a picky person as me but it's still fun as I can eat the things I like in bigger quantity. Not so long ago, my friends saw a good deal on a website and bought coupons to the buffet mentioned in my title.

Last Sunday my friends made the booking and we went to try this buffet which last 12 hours. Obviously eating for 12 hours straight is impossible therefore participants are allowed to go in and out of the place within the 12 hours. There were a variety of food and Penang food was one of the themes of the week. For a 4 star hotel, the food was just average, not really extraordinary. We dined from 11ish till 2 pm and went to watch Transformers in Sunway TGV which greatly disappointed me as the seats were really uncomfortable. My legs were on the verge of getting cramps as there weren't any space to stretch even the tiniest bit. This is definitely the worse cinema experience I have in my entire life. After the movie we went back to eat again till about 7ish and took a short mall in the mall then continued eating until 10ish. The dishes served for dinner are slightly different whereby the shell foods (oysters and mussels) were presented. Overall it was an okay meal, because of the coupon we paid RM 55 only without any tax. In the end, the thing I enjoyed was the company of friends more than the meal. Below are some pictures I took of the food served:

 My album with more pictures:Food marathon

Monday, July 18, 2011

Just Like Heaven

Marcus was an only child and was raise in solitude since his mother has passed away when he was four. His father Lord Chatteris had never thought of finding another wife and so he invested in his son. He was tutored at home with the best tutors.By twelve he could read Latin and Greek, excel in shooting and fencing,  write lengthy products and sums without wasting a drop of ink. Like every Holroyd boy he went to Eton college as it was time to get the next step in education. It was a happy moment for Marcus as he did not have any friends at all. He was not allowed to play with other children as his father fear of bad influence like running wild in the fields. Marcus had no idea how to interact with the other boys in school. 

On his first day, his father's valet dropped him and saw many boys running around and he said they were like a pack of savages. There was this boy, Daniel Smythe-Smith who knew how to get along with other children, confident, and easy smile. Daniel was a born leader and he was assigned to the bed next to Marcus and they became the best of friends.  Often during holidays it was farther to travel home to Cambridgeshire for Marcus and thus Daniel invited him to his home at Whipple Hill. Daniel's youngest sister (Honoria) had always follow him around as his sister Charlotte who was eleven wanted nothing to do with Honoria and thus wanted to play with the two of them. It was cute of her to follow but annoying to the boys. It was like this all the time and Marcus enjoyed his stay there. He was invited there many a times when there were small holidays and he felt like family there until spring of 1821.

Three years has passed, Honoria was soaking wet for suddenly the rain fell. She was trying to meet up with her cousins and friends which were at the opposite store but heavy rain came and took refuge. Her cousins and she came to Cambridgeshire to do shopping and get ready for the new season, at the same time to scout potential husbands. There were many young fellow there as Cambridge university was located nearby. Honoria was feeling all down and sad not to forget wet thought she would stuck for a long time and missing out on the fun. Suddenly, a carriage pulled to a stop in front of her and it was Marcus. He offered her a ride in the rain and also refuge which was kind of him. She was hesitant because over the years she felt that he was glowering at her all the time like he didn't approve of something she did. Seeing him bring backs childhood memories and she recalled that they both loved sweets and cakes.  He sent her back to where she was staying which was with the Royles and also his neighbour.

Honoria and her cousins were staying at Cecily Royles' family home where they manage to get a professor to tutor them after his usual class in Cambridge university. Cecily was quite interested in getting Marcus as a husband because he is wealthy and handsome, a man with high status. And so Cecily came up with a good idea which was to hold a weekend tea party at their country house and invite some eligible bachelors to it. Her mother was so excited and Marcus was invited but Honoria wrote a letter to Marcus to turn down the invitation.

Marcus thought the letter was funny and wrote back to decline the invitation but his real plan was to take a walk in the woods nearby and drop by the party for a while to keep an eye on Honoria. He had to do it because before Daniel fled the country he promised Daniel to take care of his sister and to make sure that she would marry the right person. Over the years Marcus occasionally showed up in London to investigate and scare Honoria's suitors as many were not qualified enough. Marcus was going to drop by to investigate who she was interested this year.

Honoria had a plan to capture her target which was Mr. George Bridgerton. She was digging a fake mole hole and to fake as a damsel in distress. While she was digging, Marcus was watching from far and laughing at her scheme that he easily see through. He laughed too loud which alerted Honoria and she shooed him away. She heard some noise and pretended to fall and yelled for help and in a few attempts which had no effect. She was disappointed so she left and accidentally fell and Marcus tried to save her and in the end landed on top of her. It was an awkward moment but he felt like kissing her but it failed as he twisted his feet because of the fake mole hole. Honoria tried to help Marcus up and he wanted to walk back but it was 3 miles away. She had no choice but to run back for help and things went worse when it started to rain. Honoria rushed to write a letter to his valet to pick him as he insisted.  The next day, Honoria woke up and then insisted to go visit Marcus to check on his condition. Cecily decided to follow with her and Marcus showed that he was not in a bad condition which made Honoria felt slightly better.

Few days later Honoria went back to London to prepare for the season and suddenly received a letter from Marcus's servant claiming that his condition was really bad and indicated that he is near death.  After reading that letter Honoria felt bad and worried as she was the one who caused him to be in that condition. She urged her mother to travel to his home as he has no family to care for him. Her mother got ready within 45 minutes and off they go traveling down to Fensmore. When they reached it was quite late at night and Honoria banged at the door and was answered by the butler. The butler was relieved that they came to help and she was lead by the butler to meet with his oldest maid. Both of them went to check on his condition and it was bad. Honoria was determined to help him heal and stayed by his side.  Marcus was glad to have her by his side but his condition wasn't improving, what was Honoria to do?

Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn is one historical fiction that got me hook real bad. I really love reading this book as this is my first time reading from this writer and I did not know what to expect. The book presented its story from Honoria's and Marcus's own point of view and how they felt. It wasn't straight to the point like how you can see what will happen in the story. How the character progressed was also at a good pace so from start till end, every chapter it was interesting.  It is obvious that they will end up together but how it happened you'll have to read it.  There are some vocabulary that was tough for me as for the timeline it is in, the words used are more proper and formal. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it was not too long or too short. I'm looking forward to reading more of Julia Quinn's works.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kafka on the Shore

Kafka a 15 year old boy ran away from home and arrived in a town called Shikoku. He spent most of his days in a private library reading , sometimes going to the gym for exercise. Kafka ran from reality and from the prophecy that his father made which was "One day he will kill his father and sleep with his mother and sister". It is one weird prophecy but it made him ran away. He was never close to his father and kept his days in school peaceful without making friends and causing trouble but sadly he has violently hurt some classmates twice. There is something dark inside of him which he did not understand and it's also one of the reasons to run away from fate that's to come. 

One night he found himself waking up from a bush nearby a shrine covered with blood that did not belong to him. He didn't want to go back to the motel he was staying and therefore called Sakura whom he met on his bus ride to Shikoku. He couldn't explain completely what had happened because he had no memories but she still took him in and let him stayed for the night. The next day he left the house with a note saying thank you and went back to the library. Oshima who worked at the library could sense that he was in trouble and decided to help him. He arranged for Kafka to live in a cabin that belongs to Oshima and his brother. The land which the cabin resides was a leftover treasure from his grandfather who has passed. Oshima had once spend his younger days living alone there and asked Kafka to stay there for he will make other arrangements for later.

Kafka was warned not to simply wander deep into the forest as he can easily get lost. Kafka felt that there was a sort of presence in the forest but it was hard to explain. He spend his days reading on the porch, exercising as usual. He tried to explore the forest but nearly got lost, so the second time he went with a compass but it was still dangerous and he gave up. A few days later, Oshima came to pick him up and have arranged for him to work as an assistant to Oshima in the library and was also allowed to stay there for as long as he like. On the way back, Oshima told him some important things which is that Ms Saeki the head librarian is a delicate person and had disappeared previously in her younger days. The timing and the age of Ms Saeki closely resembles Kafka's mother who had left him when he was four. He had his suspicions and tried to find out more.
Meanwhile, Mr Nakata in his 60's who lives in Tokyo is a person who can talk to cats. He is well known by some people that he can easily find lost cats. With the subsidy given by the city because he is considered mentally retarded he lives his life normal and finds cats to earn extra. He helps family find their cat and they just pay him a small amount or some will just provide him meals which is good enough for him. Nakata when young was a smart child but an incident happened when he was around 10 and he lost the ability to read and can't remember how to study at all. Since he couldn't read his parents send him to live with his grandparents. He just sat through school and completed junior high and went on to study below a carpenter. He made old and tradition designed furniture for a living until he was in his 50's and the place got closed down as his boss has passed and the son did not want to continue the business. So Nakata moved to Tokyo with his sibling's help and live alone in a small apartment in Nakano ward.

Nakata search for quite some time for a cat named Goma and got information that at a plain empty land many cats wandered there but a dangerous man lurks there too. This man was known to kidnap cats and Nakata sat there for days to wait for Goma to show up but one day a dog showed up. The dog beckons for Nakata to follow and so he did. He followed it to a house and the door was unlocked and he followed the dog inside. There was a man sitting at a desk and he welcomed Nakata. The man said his name was Johnnie Walker just like the liquor drink . Johnnie Walker told him that he has been hunting cats and cutting  off their heads to collect the soul. He was on a mission to collect cats soul to make a special flute. He expressed that he was tired with what he did but he could not stop himself and asked Nakata's help to stop him and the only way was to kill him. Nakata was troubled as he did not know what to do but that man was starting to kill the cats in front of him and ripped its heart out and ate it in front of him. Nakata could not stand it, there was a feeling burning inside him which made him took a knife and stabbed the man a few times. Blood splattered everywhere including onto Mr Nakata. He collapsed and then woke up in the evening finding himself sitting at the plain field with Goma and also Mimi which was another cat.

Nakata tried to confess his crimes but was ignored by the policeman who thought this old man was senile. The next day, Nakata set out on a journey going somewhere and had to do something. He had no idea where to go but only knew when he reached a place . On his journey he met a young man name Hoshino who assisted Nakata on his journey to Shikoku.

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami is one of the most unique books I've ever read. I can't really pinpoint the genre, but maybe it's thriller, mystery and also fantasy. The book has one chapter alternately for the two characters and slowly you will find the connection between them. At first you read about Nakata's past in a report and it got me wondering what it was about. Right until I started to read about the character in present time that I knew it was about him. This book has a lot of metaphors which is related to life and how to face reality. The author is definitely really knowledgeable and have quoted many famous people. Understanding the metaphors means you understand how we're suppose to view life and when face with dilemma, struggling with fate we still have to live on. How you choose to live and walk on depends on you and at the end you'll face death.  I can say it's a book that makes you think because you will think and try to understand the quotes and metaphors of the book. Many things of the book are left unexplained but I guess it's up to the reader to figure it out or maybe it wasn't meant to be told. This is an interesting read but not a book that I would pick up again but I still recommend it.
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