Thursday, November 24, 2011

Big Bad Wolf Books Aftermath Sale (24th-28th November 2011)

For those who followed Mommy's adventures and hoards at the recent Big Bad Wolf Books sale, you can surely expect Mommy to go for the aftermath sale as well. Well, yes indeed, being the bargain hunter that Mommy has always been! This aftermath sale's objective is to clear out all leftover stocks from the recently-held sale in MAEPS, Serdang. And the good news is that all books are sold each at nothing more than RM5!

This aftermath sale is held at South City Plaza and starts at 10am. Mommy had an unpleasant encounter with one rude and bossy aunty driving a big four-wheel drive when looking for parking in the mall. The parking lot is where people round their cars to look for empty parking lots and here is one rude aunty who is ever-ready to honk fiercely! Then to get out of her way, Mommy diverted slightly towards a section where there is a no-entry sign so that she can head into the correct path and speed all she wants at the parking bay. For that, the rude aunty also has to show her bossy side by giving another fierce honk at Mommy as if saying that Mommy has no right to divert the car to the no-entry direction! Bugger! This is what Mommy has to say to the rude and bossy aunty who seems to think she's all so important and grand - "If you think your time is so precious such that nobody can be in front of you, then why go for this kind of sale? Better go for book stores like MPH, Borders or Popular during their normal business hours where there's no long queue and no crowd! Some more you can afford to own a big four-wheel drive vehicle, why have to come fight with poor people to buy cheap books!?"

Putting the unpleasant parking encounter aside, there was already a long queue at the sale even at 10+am. To avoid the queue, Mommy went to Watsons first to buy something before heading back to the sale. Luckily by then, the queue had dispersed. There were really lots of people there and the walking pathways between display tables are very narrow, so it was quite difficult to walk from one display table to another. And because of the extreme crowd, Mommy only concentrated on the children's section and did not at all bother to venture to the other genres' tables. Most display tables have their books all turned haphazardly. Despite the chaos, Mommy still managed to find some decent books for Juan Or.

These books (10 books altogether) each at RM2. Eight of them are Scholastic books. Mommy is happy to have found some books on Scooby-Doo, Bearenstain Bears and Fluffy the Classroom Guinea Pig. The book at the far bottom right is a postcard book. It contains 30 pull-out postcards. Maybe Juan Or can use them next time when writing to pen-pals (that's if he wants to have pen-pals!).

Here are another 3 books, each at RM3. Two of them (Duck Soup and the one with choo-choo train picture) are hard-cover books and the Safari one is a fact-cum-sticker book.

So total price is RM29 for 13 books, but because Mommy has OCBC credit card, Mommy got extra 5% discount, so paid only RM27.55.

How about the queue? Well, the queue was HORRENDOUS! Mommy started queuing at 11.35am, but only got Mommy's turn at 12.45pm! So this sale is definitely not advisable for people who are not fit, sickly or who are in their middle and late pregnancy (depending on the pregnant mum's fitness level) at least during the 'hot period' of the sale. Imagine standing on your feet for more than an hour to get your turn and in low-oxygen condition some more! You have to be fit to survive in this sale!

How about parking fee in South City Plaza? It's only RM1 for up to 12 hours of parking - cheap!

Would Mommy ever go for another Big Bad Wolf aftermath sale in the future? Highly unlikely.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cameron Highlands Apartments for Rent!


Juan Or and Little Sprout, holding hands as they walked up the hilly tea plantation at Boh's Tea Centre at Sungei Palas, Cameron Highlands. 

Not too long ago, Papa, Mommy and Juan Or had organized a one-day big family trip to northern Perak to visit the beautiful cave temples. However, after further discussion with Little Sprouts' parents, we finally decided to go to Cameron Highlands instead to enjoy the mountainous view and the fresh mountain air. However, in as much as we would like to stay overnight in Cameron Highlands, we could not do so because the hotel stay (let's say minimum 3-star type) for 7 adults and 3 kids would not come cheap! The cost of hotel stay for 7 adults and 3 kids in just one night can easily come up to RM800 to RM1000!

Just yesterday, Mommy discovered this Malaysian travel website called iBilik. This website offers apartments, homestays and budget hotels for short term rental in Cameron Highlands at affordable and economical prices. The good thing about the accommodation is that they are fully furnished, can fit a variety of maximum number of people (maximum from as few as 2 people to as many as 15 people!) and most of them offer cooking facilities as well so that you can still enjoy home-cooked food (and save money!) even though far away from home. And their rental prices are very attractive too, ranging from RM180 per apartment per night for maximum 10 people to RM320 per apartment per night for maximum 15 people! But of course if you are looking for more comfortable accommodation akin to villa, this website also offers RM750 per family villa per night for maximum 4 people, which is still cheaper than actually staying in a hotel-type villa. So if you are going for vacation as a big family and staying overnight, then Mommy recommends browsing this website for good accommodation offers.

Well, had Mommy discovered this website earlier, we could have gone for overnight stay in Cameron Highlands without having to burn a big hole in the pocket!

Friday, November 11, 2011

What Would Puss in Boots Do?

Does this feline character look familiar to you?

Puss in Boots

There you have it, it's Puss in Boots in 3D version! For those who have been following Mommy's blog for some time, you can probably guess it's another blogging contest held by Nuffnang and United International Pictures Malaysia.

In any story, there always are the bad guys causing some havoc and chaos, and then the hero (and/or heroin) comes to save the day! Imagine Mommy in the form of this cute kitty with big doleful eyes.....

....small-bodied, yet saves the day!

The question of the day: How to defeat the bad guys if Mommy takes the roles of Puss and Kitty Softpaws (Puss' female feline partner)? Here's how according to sequence:

1. Go find the Wizard of Oz and ask for his help to make money that has magical power. The magic money is only workable on the named bad guys whereas anyone else not named will not be affected by the magic money. What magical power does the money have? Anyone named during the spell-making of the magic money will be turned into mice the moment the money is touched. If Wizard of Oz is reluctant to make the magic money, never mind, Puss can give him the big, doleful eyes look. Otherwise Kitty Softpaws can give him her female feline charm! What if Wizard of Oz still resist? Never mind, go find Merlin to do the job. What if Merlin also rejects the job? Never mind, go find the local bomoh to do it - chances are, at least one of them will fall for Kitty Softpaws' feline charm! ^_^

2. Once the magic money is at hand, just scatter them on the road where the bad guys are known to be around. The bad guys are sure to come to pick the money! Tell Mommy, who doesn't need money to use? Everyone needs to use money. Even the bad guys are no exception!

3. The moment the bad guys touch the money, they turn into mice! Voila! Then Puss and Kitty Softpaws can pounce on them and have a feast of their lifetime!

Simple, eh? Just use some wit and feline charm to do the trick - nice and clean! ^_^

Oh and by the way, Juan Or is sure to be happy and thrilled to see Humpty Dumpty in action too! Humpty Dumpty is Juan Or's favourite nursery rhymes character.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Happiest Moment

This is Mommy's favourite photo - the photo that captures Mommy's happiest moment.

It was Juan Or's infectious laughter and giggles that makes Mommy's happiest moment - something that Mommy wants to capture forever. Well, you may be wondering now what made Juan Or so happy that made Mommy so happy too. It's none other than seeing monkeys swinging around at close range in Bukit Melawati, Kuala Selangor!

Though this happiest moment was just as simple as watching the monkeys swinging around, nevertheless, this is the story behind Juan Or’s infectious laughter and giggles.

Juan Or was about 1 year 1 month old when his walking ability became somewhat established. What started to be like the Frankenstein walking style.....

(animation credits from Animation Playhouse)

......improved by leaps and bound to be more and more like how a human kid walks. With his walking skill getting more and more polished, so did his appetite for physical adventure. He began to explore (and imitate) jumping, skipping and whatever ‘funny’ leg movements that he saw both on the television screen and also in real life.

One ‘leg activity’ that Juan Or particularly liked most was jumping on the bed, most probably because of the springing sensation it gave. Mommy had warned him countless times before not to get too carried away with ‘the activity’ lest he falls down and hurts himself. However, the countless warnings all fell on deaf ears. Mommy even resorted to teaching him about the consequences with the nursery rhyme on monkeys jumping on the bed which sounds like this:

Five little monkeys jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said
"No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"

Or if you prefer to hear the nursery rhyme in the form of song and video, here is one from You Tube. 

As if to mock Mommy, Juan Or would merely laugh out loud and parrot the nursery rhyme as he continued his jumping. Mommy wondered when he will ever learn. *Sigh!*

Then, one day, in the midst of feeling high from the springing sensation, sure enough, true to Mommy’s word, Juan Or tumbled down the bed. Crash, boom, bang! – he fell down just like nangka busuk (rotten jackfruit)! If falling down the bed (and landing on the hard floor) was already bad enough, nothing could be worse than having to fall onto a kiddy stool just next to the bed and getting a cut near the lips before landing on the floor! 

There was blood all over his mouth, both Juan Or and Mommy went panicky but luckily Mommy managed to control the situation. Mommy carried Juan Or to the bathroom to rinse away the blood stain and then used handkerchief to press on the wound to stop the bleeding. 

Many weeks went by since the bloody incident. The wound healed, but the ‘wound’ in his memory did not! Whenever Mommy read him the monkeys-jumping-on-the-bed nursery rhyme, Juan Or would cringe his face and shouted “Scared! Scared!” Whenever Mommy showed him pictures of monkeys in his kiddy books, he would give the same reaction. Poor boy! Now he seemed to associate monkeys with bad fall! *Sigh!*

Then one day, Papa took us for an outing to Bukit Melawati, Kuala Selangor. Our main reason for going there was to get up close and personal with the real monkeys, but of course knowing that Juan Or was phobic towards monkeys, Papa and Mommy kept the monkeys a secret. Instead, Mommy told Juan Or all about the tram that ferries visitors up and down the hill – the one children would prefer to call as choo-choo train! Boy was Juan Or excited to ride on the tram!

Well, we reached the part of the hill top where trams would normally stop the visitors. As expected, the monkeys came in flocks to ‘busybody’ around because the visitors had food to offer. Bold ones would openly come forward and ‘beg’ for food whereas the more timid ones would merely swing around or watch from a distance and only pick up food that were thrown to them. 

What about Juan Or? Much to Mommy’s surprise, Juan Or seemed to have ‘forgotten’ about his phobia for monkeys! Was it because of watching the cute monkeys swinging live? Or was it because of the natural beauty of monkeys that can be seen so up close and personal? Whatever the ‘magical factor’ was, what was clear was that Mommy did not do anything special to break his monkey phobia and that Juan Or was obviously enjoying watching the monkeys! Maybe something in him realized that it was not the monkeys that caused the bad fall, but rather, it was recklessness and getting too carried away. 

Whatever it was, Mommy was happy that the mental wound is gone for good and that Juan Or is able to enjoy the beauty of nature without associating it with his past traumatic experience. Seeing and hearing Juan Or laugh and giggle are the simple things that make Mommy’s life so happy, beautiful and rewarding. When Juan Or is HAPPY, Mommy is HAPPY too! 

By the way, all the photos here were taken using Mommy’s handphone camera. Mommy has long been yearning to upgrade Mommy’s photography tool. So this “Happy Photography  Contest” held by Olympus and Nuffnang is a good chance to make the yearning a reality – a chance to win Olympus’ new range of PEN Lite.....

and PEN Mini digital cameras that come with high DSLR image quality.

So here it goes:  

HAPPY Juan Or = HAPPY photography = HAPPY Mommy!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Juan Or at the Premier Screening of The Adventures of Tintin in Secret of the Unicorn

Thanks to Nuffnang and United International Pictures Malaysia, Mommy won a pair of passes to watch the premier screening of The Adventures of Tintin in 3D on 2nd November 2011, 9.30 pm at Golden Screen Cinema Midvalley Megamall!

Papa, Juan Or and Mommy reached Midvalley pretty 'early', i.e., at about 6.10 pm because that's about the best time to look for parking since Midvalley office workers are most likely to be driving out by then. Since the show would only start from 9.30 pm, we had a lot of time to kill in Midvalley......

Juan Or got to have his static ride on his favourite Thomas the Tank Engine and the Troublesome Truck!

We went to see Transformers toys too at several toy figurine-specialized shops (Anime Tech, Comic Mart) at Megamall's top floor, but didn't buy anything as their prices are not competitive. We went to Toys R'Us to see too but there were not many varieties left.

Finally, by 8.15 pm, we headed for GSC to collect the passes. Well, there was already a long queue of Nuffnangers even though there was no sign yet of Nuffnang staff nor a Nuffnang counter. And guess who we met there? It's none other than Juan Juan and her mum from My Little Sprouts! By the way, Mommy met Isaac Tan from eXperiences too (via introduction from Juan Juan's mum).

It wasn't too long after queuing that Mommy got the passes plus two "I (heart) Nuffnang" badges. Juan Or was very eager to wear the badge and even insisted that Mommy should wear too!

By around 9.15 pm, we were allowed to be seated in the screening hall and the 3D glasses were distributed upon entering the hall. Juan Or treated the glasses more like a toy - wore it and made funny faces!

Since only two glasses were distributed (but there were three of us), Mommy made it a point to stand by with a pair of cardboard 3D glasses taken from Juan Or's 3D book of dinosaurs. Mommy wasn't exactly sure whether such cardboard 3D glasses are compatible for warching such 3D movies, but no harm trying, right? Anyway, the cardboard 3D glasses were meant for Juan Or to use whereas the proper 3D glasses were for both Papa and Mommy to use! ^_^

Finally, the show started and guess what? Juan Or refused to give Mommy back the proper 3D glasses! He insisted on using the proper one and that Mommy should use the dinosaur one! *Faint* Mommy made several futile attempts to coax him into giving Mommy the proper glasses with each attempt ending with Juan Or making faint crying sound. *Cunning boy!* So what to do? Mommy used the dinosaur one while he used the proper one! On several occasions, Mommy caught him watching with the proper glasses being lifted up to his forehead (in other words, he was watching without the glasses!), so Mommy insisted that he give it back for Mommy to use. Guess what was his reply? With an almost crying voice and pleading tone, Juan Or said," Cannot see without glasses!" *Double faint*

So at the end of the day, Mommy watched 3D Tintin without any 3D glasses for about 90% of the time, 5% with the proper glasses on and the remaining time with the dinosaur glasses on. Without any 3D glasses, the subtitles are of course double image, but the pictures are not too double image - still a manageable view, though. With the dinosaur glasses on, the subtitles still look double image, but the pictures are a little better off. And of course with the proper glasses on, the 3D-ness is very good! The only downside to Mommy about wearing the proper 3D glasses is that it adds extra weight onto the short-sighted glasses that Mommy is already wearing, thus giving a heavy and uncomfortable feeling or pressure on the nose bridge. Looks like watching 3D is definitely not for Mommy, but for Papa, the 3D experience was heavenly (he didn't seem to experience the heavy-nose-bridge symptom)! 

How about the Tintin movie? Well, it was an enjoyable show despite some tug-of-war-of-glasses inconvenience  with Juan Or and some brief sleepy spells due to tiredness from work plus the tensed waiting period (before the show started). Personally, Mommy felt it could have been better for the producers to have a non-3D version as well to cater to different needs of their viewers. Here's a trailer of the show: