the passenger seat


it’s been a long night in sydney too

Sitting here chillin’ with John Mayer’s new album Battle Studies playing. Picked it up today and I love it. It’s classic John Mayer. The record is kind of a heartbreak album, and yet it doesn’t have a sad tone at all, rather it feels optimistic even though there are songs titled “Heartbreak Warfare” and “Perfectly Lonely”. My favourites so far are “Half of My Heart” (with Taylor Swift) and “Who Says”. Watch the music video for the latter here:

Anyways, onto the brunt of this blog; a not-so-quick recount of the past week of my life…

Monday

Monday was a day at Parramatta with the boys (plus SY and Mindy). Did the usual outing thing where we headed to Foot Locker then grabbed something to eat before heading to the cinemas to catch This Is It. I really, really enjoyed the movie; I didn’t really want it to end. The whole movie is a compilation of footage from the rehearsals for his This Is It tour, and I’ve never seen anything like it before. I found it amazing that MJ’s voice was still the same at fifty years old as it was when he was twenty. And this was just his rehearsal voice (which is apparently his 60% voice according to Milo), so that’s crazy. Admittedly, his dancing isn’t as energetic as it used to be, but that’s to be expected. Still, I could watch that guy dance for ages. The backup dancers were pretty awesome to watch as well.

Another thing I found out was that MJ was a perfectionist. At one point in the film he’s shown advising the keyboard guy on the right way to play a song. To us, the changes he makes are almost unnoticeable, and yet he was so picky about wanting every little nuance to be perfect, exactly how it sounded on the record.

This is a definite must-see film for anyone who is an avid fan of Michael Jackson. For those that aren’t that into him, I wouldn’t recommend it (Michael: “I almost fell asleep”).

Tuesday

I awoke at 11am and went through my morning routine before catching a bus to Epping just after noon. From there, I caught a train to Town Hall where I met Milo. I had come with my camera and my new 35mm lens, ready for an afternoon of photography adventures with Milo and his new Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3.

lumix

From Town Hall we headed to Pepper Lunch for lunch where we both had a regular beef with extra egg (and took some shots of our food while we were there).

pepperlunch

We then headed to Market City to meet Winnie and Leeanne and we were soon joined by Sandy. We had some time to kill so we all headed to Darling Harbour and spent some time there. Played in the water bowl place thingy and on the rope climbing thingy (yeah, I’m awesome at describing) and grabbed some candy from Sweet Doctor at Harbourside.

winnieleeanne

winnieleeanne2

We then went back to Market City where Swami had been waiting for half an hour, and a few things happened after that which I don’t really remember then others arrived and we were all waiting outside Market City for the rest to get there. As a group we then went to Wagaya Japanese Restaurant for dinner. I ordered a Kimuchi Ramen (they messed up my order and it only arrived after like 40 minutes, but I wasn’t too fussed) and Eel Skewers. Both were really nice. Naturally, Milo and I snapped away with our cameras at all the nice food.

sushi

sashimi

unagi

winnie

After that a group of us went to karaoke which was fun before catching a train back to Epping and home.

Wednesday

Janet had her VA exam which finished at 11am, so we grabbed some lunch and chilled after that. Not much to elaborate here. xP

Thursday

Sign out day. I got to school at around 9:30am and began my trek around the school in the boiling heat to get signed off by every department. Ms. O’hare only had time to sign me off at recess, so before that I went down to the courts for a bit of basketball. That ended when it was time for recess (and it was way to hot to play anyway) and I finished signing out after a while (waiting for Mrs. Pooviah to chat to everyone took ages). After that Janet and I headed to Parramatta for some lunch and window-shopped.

Friday

Drove to The Brickpit in Thornleigh at 10am for a day of basketball with the boys. It was good fun getting back into basketball and playing a good game for the first time in ages. We had to get off the court at around 11:30 to make way for a big group of primary school kids, so we all went to the nearby park and played on the mad flying fox and spider web rope climbing thing (like the one at Bicentennial Park if anyone knows of it). We also had a bit of target practice where a person (mostly Kris) went on the flying fox and we took turns at trying to hit them with Deva’s gridiron ball. At 12:30 we went back to the courts and played until about 1:30. Everyone then loaded into Kris’ and my car to Pennant Hills for some lunch. I had a burger with the lot and chips and a drink, and it was good since I was pretty hungry by then (it was 2pm). At 3pm everyone caught trains or got a lift in our cars to wherever.

Saturday

Went to my brother’s basketball game at Newington College. Got there an hour early so watched the 1st team play, which was cool (Kings got thrashed 80-something to 40-something). Unfortunately my brother’s team also lost.

After that we went to “Taste of Shanghai” (I think that was the name) restaurant in Ashfield for lunch. One of the waitresses was really pissy. Some of our cutlery and bowls were dirty (had bits of what looked like porridge on them), so we asked her to bring us new ones. She made a pissed face and a pissed sigh and took away the bowl, plate and chopsticks and handed it off to a different waitress who brought them straight back to our table. We knew it was the same set because the bits of porridge were still there. Anyway, the meal was good. Got a few different kinds of dumplings and things like that, so it was nice.

Sunday

Today I headed to Macquarie Centre with Janet where we basically window-shopped again. Picked up John Mayer’s Battle Studies from Target (since it was cheapest there), and also realised that I had been ripped off by Borders for Matthew Reilly’s new book ($34 at Borders, $25 at Target). Ah well, at least I had decided not to purchase Dan Brown’s new one yet, which also had the same price difference.

Anyways, I hope my recount hasn’t bored you too much. And if you didn’t read it all, I understand. At least there are pictures and a video to look at. xD

I cannot wait till Tuesday, where I’ll get to catch up with all you guys again; the last time we’ll all be together as an entire grade, and all looking good too. I’ll see you all there. (:

But until then, as always, take care.

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the life of the party

So, if you’ve already read Belle’s or Sandy’s or even Janet’s blog, you’ll know that last night we had a belated (exactly a month after her birthday) surprise birthday party for Janet at Temasek Restaurant in Parramatta.

I would’ve blogged about it last night, but I was too busy editing photos to do some writing. Head to my Flickr for the photographs from last night as well as all the other photos I’ve taken with my new camera.

So anyway, the day began with me catching a bus to Parramatta. I arrived jsut before noon and decided to have some lunch and browse JB Hi-Fi a bit. While there I also played Guitar Hero for some time, which I haven’t played in ages, so that was fun. I also went around to the camera stores and had a bit of an ogle at all the gear and lenses. While at one of the stores, an employee noted my camera and we had a little chat about it. It was a little awkward but cool at the same time.

I probably shouldn’t be saying this, nor should I have done it, but a little while later I headed to the cinemas to buy tickets for Janet and me to The Hangover, which we would be watching at 2:20pm later that day. But while there, I met three of my brother’s friends and they were hoping to watch Bruno- except that they were all fourteen. So they then asked me to buy tickets to Bruno for them and I wasn’t so sure about it, but luckily I convinced them to watch The Hangover instead, which was also MA15+ but which I figured would be a cleaner movie than Bruno. So I figured I didn’t really want them to be sitting next to Janet and I in the cinema, so I bought three tickets and decided to buy ours later. In hindsight, the movie wasn’t too bad in terms of adult themes/images, so I guess it was okay.

I met Janet about an hour after I arrived, and we then bought tickets. On the bottom floor of Parramatta Westfield there were two people costumed as Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny, and a lady with a Polaroid camera giving out free photos to anyone who lined up. So Janet and I decided to go down there, and we scored a sweet Polaroid of us with the two characters. After some shopping it was almost time for the movie, so we picked up a pie each from the shop next the Woolworths and also an Easyway each, taking advantage of the “Buy One Get One Free” coupon (for both shops) that was in the free Westfield coupon book that they had at the information desk.

The movie was actually quite good. I had heard people saying that it was a good movie before I went to watch it, and it was quite enjoyable. Basically, the story is about four guys who go to Las Vegas for their bachelor party, but end up waking up the next morning with the biggest hangover possible and no memory of anything that happened the night before. Turns out, a lot of crazy ish went down that night, and the movie is about how they try to find out what happened and to find their friend who they lost on the way. I’ve probably cheapened it somewhat through my description, but I do recommend it to anyone who wants to have a laugh at the movies without wasting your money.

So, after that we headed just outside Westfield where we took some shots. Unfortunately there weren’t very many good ones; Parramatta wasn’t as interesting as I first anticipated.

It was about six o’clock when we started to head to Temasek, where, unknown to Janet, there would be eleven friends waiting for us. I used my cool stalling tactics of forgetting the way to the restaurant (actually, I really did forget) and we ended up getting a bit wet walking through the rain to the restaurant. I wasn’t really worried about going the long way (apart from the rain), since Sharon had called me earlier and asked me to stall for more time.

Anyway, we arrived at the restaurant and everyone yelled “Surprise!” and Janet received her gifts. Then I ordered and we ate. It was good food, we ordered (between two joined tables and thirteen people): Satay Chicken x2, Kecap Manis Calamari x2, Beef Rendang x2, Chicken Curry x1, Black Pepper Chicken x1 and one piece of Roti Canai each. Pretty standard Malaysian food (except the Black Pepper Chicken which is Chinese), so I was pretty happy that everyone got to eat the kind of food that is so familiar to me.

Overall it was a really fun day and a great night; I haven’t had a chance to catch up with friends at all these holidays so it was nice to see everyone again. To see the other side of the story, that is, from the perspective of the group that greeted us at the restaurant, read Belle’s or Sandy’s blog.

Also, don’t forget to check out the photos at my Flickr, also named The Passenger Seat. Also, keep a look out for my Tumblr, A Scent Of Evergreen, where I have constantly been uploading photos, too.

I don’t think I’ll blog for a while after this, due to studying and such. So until next time (which could be far away), do take care.

PS. Oh, and nice job to Rohan again. The last title was the song “Symbol In My Driveway” by Jack Johnson, from his album On And On. This blog’s title is taken from the Fall-Out Boy song with a similar title, omitting the “(After)”.

group

Flickr Set: Janet’s Dinner



too much food

Wow, what a hectic night. Well, it’s only because of one thing:

MasterChef.

masterchef

Most of you watched it tonight and boy, what a crazy episode and verdict, and the previews looked epic also.

I haven’t blogged about MasterChef since probably my third blog ever, back when all twenty contestants were still in the competition. I’ve followed the entire competition (missing out some episodes due to exams, basketball and other commitments), and it’s pretty much one of the most interesting reality shows I’ve ever watched. It seems that the rest of the country agrees with me, too, since the show has received top ratings and views for the past few weeks.

Anyway, so today’s episode was quite a thriller. I won’t go through what actually happened since I know most people watched it, but it’s the verdict that everyone’s talking about. I don’t think anyone saw it coming that Chris would be going home tonight. He was tipped to win, and most thought that he would at least be in the finale. I think what really swayed it tonight was the presence of Donna Hay (whose cookbooks and magazines are in many places around my house, owned by my mum) and the fact that there was that huge emphasis on the cookbook.

So basically Julie didn’t completely plate up any of her dishes- they were all missing some key elements, whereas Chris and Poh finished quite comfortably (more so for Poh). If the cookbook was not mentioned at all today and it was just regular judging, Julie should have gone home for sure. Her dishes were not complete, her chicken was a bit overcooked and Matt said her cake was a bit granular and not rich like it should be. And she’s done this consistently in the competition- she’s been stressed and panicky in almost every round, and I don’t think she has ever finished comfortably or without mistakes. Is this really chef material? I thought they were looking for a master chef who could perform well in the kitchen, under pressure. I don’t think Julie can do that at all. Chris, on the other hand, has the emotional capacity of a brick, as exemplified in his “brick” pocket/filled thing he made tonight. He would be a great chef for the kitchen. He’s always cool and calm and he’s been super consistent throughout the entire competition. His downfall tonight was that his dishes were not up to scratch and he didn’t woo Donna Hay like Julie did with her story of children and family. Yes, a lot of people who watch the show, as well as the contestants (bar Julia, ew), hate Chris, but is MasterChef really about finding the “master chef”, or is it about finding someone who the public likes and who will sell books for their franchise? He’s also got a great, straight vision for his future in food, so that should’ve worked to his advantage. That being said, his set plans and clear vision means that he probably doesn’t need to win the competition to get where he wants to go. I’m sure he’ll open his beer-mason’s restaurant regardless of his elimination.

But if the competition is about finding someone who can sell and who the public likes, then there probably isn’t a more fitting couple for the finale. Poh has been everyone’s favourite ever since the beginning. She was the only Asian in the top 20 (which appeals to most of us), and she has had some crazy, wacky, creative ideas that have been really interesting. Her style is so different to all the other contestants, and she’s young and not bad looking (yes, this is up for debate), so that all works to her advantage. And then there’s Julie. Every Aussie home cook mother can relate to her, and so she’s got that huge fan base. Her cookbook actually does sound really good (as opposed to Poh’s “Food from Mars”), so props to her for that. I still think it was a bit cheap to bring her children and family into it; that always gets the tears going.

All in all, I’m definitely gunning for Poh to win. Her style is just so much more interesting, as opposed to Julie’s regular home-cooked meals that my mum can cook. And also, I can’t really relate to Julie’s story of being a mother with kids and all that.

As a side note, but still on the topic of food, I cooked Spaghetti Bolognese from scratch (i.e. without using pasta sauce) for my family for dinner tonight. Quite proud of that, since I’ve never done it before.

Anyway, apart from MasterChef, there are actually quite a few other things I want to blog about. Notice the “categories”, so to speak, in my blog header above? Well, in the next few blogs I’ll be covering a few of those. I actually continued writing about the other things just then, but it’s way, way too long so I’ll post those over the coming days. I don’t want to hurt your brains too much.

So, expect a blog probably tomorrow where I will talk about the various films and such that I’m seen over the past few days.

But until then, take care.