Monday, February 25, 2008

.: Empty Void :.

There's still that empty void that I've been trying so desperately to fill...

After all that I've worked for, all that I've put in, all that I've endured....

I still feel this sea of emptiness...

And as I come closer to the end of my journey, I try so urgently to fill up this void... but so miserably fail...

Perhaps it's time I learn to let go, unwind slowly the things that matters to me...

It's learning to grip less and trust Him more....

Sunday, February 24, 2008

.: Happy Birthday Judy! :.

Wishing my friend of 10 years a joyful and blessed 23rd birthday today!

Once a year I get the chance

To wish you birthday cheer.

It pleases me no end to say,

I wish you another great year.

So happy birthday to you Judy,

From the bottom of my heart.

And may your good times multiply,

Till they’re flying off the chart!

By Karl Fuchs

.: First Time :.

I've had many first times this week....

First time reading a manga

So I've been over timing in office recently (mostly due to some ongoing restructuring in the Group that I've to prepare reports on). And I have this two workaholic colleagues who stays back equally late. So we kinda chat, and one of them, being a big, huge anime fan insist on introducing me to a few good animes. After much persuasion (and I could never refuse to try out new things), he pass to me two mangas - Bleach & One Piece (The Rubber Boy) the very next day.

I went home that night, and started reading Bleach. Well, the thing about manga is that you have to read it from the "back to front" unlike the conventional English books where you would read from "front to back". That I already knew, but what I didn't know is whether to read from right to left or left to right. It's kinda confusing really, and to add to that, in one frame there could be two or three conversation bubbles, so I don't really know in which sequence it should be read.

The next day, I asked that same colleague this;

"I've got a stupid question to ask... but how do you actually read a manga?" "I've been trying to figure out all night, and even flipped through the pages if there was a manual on how to read manga...."

He looked at me, eyes wide open, as if I've asked the most stupiest question (ok fine, perhaps I did - especially the manual part), laughed and said "It's actually common sense really."

Ok, so I've very lil common sense when it comes to this matter (he shouldn't have rubbed it in nonetheless *wink*)

So he explained to me very patiently and if I find the time, I will read it tonight.

Who knows, I might actually get hooked and become an anime fan too? *wink*

First time getting a Henna tattoo
Met up with Ah Ser at Ah Fei's house this week, for the last time before she flew back to Aussie. And she brought this henna dye and started practising her artistic skills, using our hands as canvas. Since Ah Fei is still in Uni, the back of her palm was decorated with flowers and other unidentified funny patterns (UFP). I wanted a simple one (coz I can't go to work with my whole hand decorated in henna dye. So I asked Ser to draw a lil snowflake on my wrist.

I kinda like it very much actually. Tempting me to get a real tattoo soon, but will see how it goes!

First time going to a Chap Goh Mei festival celebration

I was having dinner with my kor & his bubbly ex-schoolmate Jeremy in Amcorp Mall, at this Japanese Restaurant on 15th day of Chinese New Year (my mom didn't cook that day). The food was good, plus the have bottomless garlic rice, so it's good for someone who is a big eater as my kor is.

From what I understand, in Hokkien, Chap Goh Mei means 15th night of the Chinese New Year (Chap Goh means 15 in Hokkien). It's also known as Chinese Valentine's Day and represents the last day of the Lunar New Year celebration.

And just across of Amcorp Mall, they were having this big Chap Goh Mei celebration in Taman Jaya park. People young and old alike gathered there to celebrate this night. What happens is, the single maidens will throw mandrine oranges (with their details like name and contact number written in water proof ink) into the lake. And young single men with fishing nets (some were even hand made) would fish out these oranges from the lake.

Well, I would say for this case, there were some not-so-single women throwing oranges into the lake, and of course not-so-single men fishing out for these oranges. I mean, I actually saw a guy holding a fishing net in one hand, and his beautiful gf's hand in another.

But I guess it's more of getting into the festive of things, and having loads of fun!

First time helping a blind man to get to work

I was on my way to work when a saw a blind man with his walking stick somewhere nearby the Raja Chulan Monorail station. I approached him and asked him where was he heading. Apparently he was working in Hong Leong (for a good ol 10 years). So we walked there and had a good chat about work, the weather, the Chinese New Year holidays.

He thanked me as we he walked out of the lift at the 3rd floor.

I do not know if there was any pun intended, but he said "Thanks! See you around!"

First time changing my car tyre

My car type punctured a few weeks ago. And my dad insisted that I learn for myself how to change my own car tyre. So I took out the whole manual hand jack, and there I was working out my biceps/triceps muscle under the hot sun (my dad INSISTED that I MUST do it there and then) while he just stood there and look.

Was complaining that I didn't even had to learn all this during the compulsary BENGKEL session before I got my driving licence.

But somehow, I managed to complete the task. Kinda proud of myself actually! :)

But to be honest, if I ever had a flat tyre again, I will just do what I did the last time - call Lonpac!

.......Ah.... Indeed a week of many firsts!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

.: McCafe :.

Was having a discussion with my boss the other day. It was a real long one, stretching from 3.30pm to close to 6.30pm.

So there I was, clearing work related matters with him.

Consolidations. Equity swaps. Investments. Management funds.
(Don't want to bore you into more details, plus, it's kinda confidential *wink*)

So there I was, trying (note key word : trying) to sound intelligent. So I brought up this - investing in Starbucks shares would not reap high capital appreciation (if any). [I did some research the other day on Starbucks shares.]

He nodded his head, agreeing with my statement.

Mission accomplished - I've made an intellectual statement, which my boss (who is really someone in my company) agrees too..... *does a silly dance (in my head of course)*

Then he started to say - this is because he doesn't think that Starbucks business model is sustainable.

*The lil man doing his silly dance in my head stops*

Erm.. I don't exactly know what Starbuck business model is.

Then, oblivious to my blur stare, he started to mention about not having any competitive advantage over other premium coffee shops and that the barrier of entries for competition are relatively low.

I nodded to that - at least I know what competitive advantage & barrier of entries was all about.

And the he went on giving examples of competitions like - McCafe.


Erm - McDonald's cafe for coffee? That was my first immediate thought.

He looked up, saw that I was absolutely confused and started explaining to me bout the whole McCafe deal.

Damn. Should have done my thorough research first before I open my mouth to discuss anything with my boss again...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Last updated 12:24 a.m. PT

McDonald's challenging Starbucks with cheaper coffee drinks

When Charles Ruppert has a yen for a white-chocolate latte, he doesn't head to a Starbucks shop. He goes to a McCafe located in a McDonald's restaurant and pays 26 percent less.

"McDonald's got a real winner," said Ruppert, 55, a car-repair shop owner in Greensboro, N.C. Analysts think so, too: McDonald's shares will rise 18 percent in the coming year, UBS Securities estimates.

McDonald's, the world's biggest restaurant chain, has added the frothy drinks at two-thirds of its 13,794 U.S. stores since introducing a stronger brew in 2006.

Shares of Starbucks are down 24 percent in 2007, on track for their worst annual performance amid the slowest sales growth in more than five years at stores open at least 13 months.

McDonald's is "being extremely aggressive," said Peter Kwiatkowski, who helps manage $21.9 billion, including 1.3 million McDonald's shares, at Fifth Third Asset Management in Cincinnati. "They're a lot cheaper than Starbucks coffee in general, and they have the high quality to go with it."

Ruppert paid $3.31 for a 20- ounce cup of latte at the McDonald's in Oak Ridge, N.C., compared with the $4.48 cost for the same size at Starbucks.

McDonald's coffee is drawing new customers and spurring food sales, especially at breakfast, President Ralph Alvarez said.

"Coffee, by itself, is a very high-margin business," said Alvarez, 52. "But it doesn't compare to what we get selling a full meal."

McDonald's said Tuesday that August same-store sales climbed 8.1 percent, helped by coffee and breakfast items. Sales on that basis have advanced 7 percent in the first eight months of the year. Alvarez declined to disclose breakfast results.

The chain offers lattes, cappuccinos and iced brews in 9,000 U.S. restaurants where consumers order coffee primarily at drive-through windows, Alvarez said.

U.S. coffee sales through restaurants, cafes and other outlets may reach $29 billion by 2011, 50 percent more than last year, according to New York-based National Coffee Association. About six in 10 adults drink coffee, making it the second most popular beverage after water.

Starbucks controls 52 percent of the global specialty coffee market, Euromonitor International Plc said. McCafe is the fifth-largest, with 1.7 percent.

Word is getting out about McDonald's coffee. In March, Consumer Reports magazine reported a taste test of basic black coffee found McDonald's stronger blend beat brew from Starbucks, Burger King and Dunkin' Donuts.

Consumer Reports' "trained tasters" visited two stores of each company. McDonald's coffee was "decent and moderately strong," whereas Starbucks was "strong, but burnt and bitter enough to make your eyes water," the magazine said.

In the U.S., McDonald's coffee sales climbed 20 percent through June from the February 2006 debut of the stronger blend. Sales that include hot, iced and specialty blends are up 34 percent this year, it said.

Sales at Starbucks stores open at least 13 months rose 4 percent in both the second and third quarters this year, the slowest growth rates since 2002. Total revenue jumped 20 percent to $4.61 billion from January through June of this year.

Rising sales of McDonald's coffee prompted Marc Greenberg, a Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. analyst in New York, in June to reduce his Starbucks stock-target price by 14 percent to $32.

"The golden arches are doing coffee better," Greenberg wrote in an investors' note. He rates Starbucks as "hold."

Starbucks has set a goal of 40,000 locations. The company had 14,396 outlets as of July 1. In the U.S., it has 10,295, compared with almost 13,800 for McDonald's.

Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz has acknowledged the threat of fast-food chains, even though his company has 87 percent of the U.S. specialty coffee-shop market, whereas McCafe has less than 1 percent, according to Euromonitor.

Fast expansion and similar designs made Starbucks cafes lose the "warm feeling of a neighborhood store," Schultz wrote in a memorandum to top executives in February.

Starbucks now sells warm breakfast sandwiches such as eggs Florentine with spinach and Havarti cheese. It offers gourmet salads, including Asian sesame-noodle that cost $6.

Alvarez said McDonald's has no plans to offer the breadth of Starbucks beverages such as raspberry latte with soy milk and half the caffeine.

"If your only business is coffee, you better have all those options," Alvarez said.

"But we don't need 31 flavors, just enough variety to be considered a destination for coffee.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

.: Be My Valentine :.

You know that Valentine Day is just by the corner when :

  • Exceptionally big bouquets of flowers and balloons outside the florist shops

  • Chocolates & teddy bear displayed with an extra pricey price tag attached

  • Old couples already wearing Couple T-shirts (they look so cute in them)

  • Advertisements of Valentines Day on TVs, radios and billboards

  • Restaurants with their “V-Day Special Menu Sets”

  • Last minute shopping for V-Day gifts for loved ones

  • Reminder on your browser that it's your "last chance" to order flowers online now

  • TV shows of ol' corny movies

  • And you get sucked into all this mushy-dovey stuff and wish that you too can be a part of this....

Wishing all of you a Happy Valentine Day!

Friday, February 8, 2008

.: No Happy Ending :.

There are no endings, only new beginnings...

I'm not going to pretend that I've gotten over everything
I'm not going to pretend it doesn't hurt
I'm not going to pretend that life be back to the way it was
But I know that this is not the end,
In fact, it's a new beginning

Dedicated to the end of a chapter of my life,
And to the start of a new one....


This is the way you left me,
I'm not pretending.
No hope, no love, no glory,
No Happy Ending.
This is the way that we love,
Like it's forever.
Then live the rest of our life,
But not together.

Wake up in the morning, stumble on my life
Can't get no love without sacrifice
If anything should happen, I guess I wish you well
A little bit of heaven, but a little bit of hell

This is the hardest story that I've ever told
No hope, or love, or glory
Happy endings gone forever more
I feel as if I'm wastin'
And I'm wastin' everyday

This is the way you left me,
I'm not pretending.
No hope, no love, no glory,
No Happy Ending.
This is the way that we love,
Like it's forever.
Then live the rest of our life,
But not together.

2 o'clock in the morning, something's on my mind
Can't get no rest; keep walkin' around
If I pretend that nothin' ever went wrong, I can get to my sleep
I can think that we just carried on

This is the hardest story that I've ever told
No hope, or love, or glory
Happy endings gone forever more
I feel as if I'm wastin'
And I'm wastin' everyday

This is the way you left me,
I'm not pretending.
No hope, no love, no glory,
No Happy Ending.
This is the way that we love,
Like it's forever.
Then live the rest of our life,
But not together.

A Little bit of love, little bit of love
Little bit of love, little bit of love [repeat]

I feel as if I'm wastin'
And I'm wastin' everyday

This is the way you left me,
I'm not pretending.
No hope, no love, no glory,
No Happy Ending.
This is the way that we love,
Like it's forever.
To live the rest of our life,
But not together

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

.: Life Begins at Forty :.

They say that life begins at forty....

Anyways, wishing my boss David a very happy & blessed 40th birthday today!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

.: Watermelon Baby :.

I just love this picture so much. My lil watermelon baby! :)

Friday, February 1, 2008

.: Die-ed :.

My car battery die-ed last night. It was my fault. I did not switch off my headlights, and only realised it at 2.30am, after COD-ing and mamak-ing with friends.


It's the first time I did not remember to switch off my lights, it's not like it happens quite frequently (just to clarify some misconceptions that Eugene had - saying that "You should consider getting a jumpstart wire if this always happens.")

Called Lonpac and everything was all fixed up.

Moral of the story : Don't get too excited over COD4, you may forget to do the most simplest, obvious things - like switching off your car lights.

Record of the day : 12 kills in one game (Drew only had 8 kills in that game). Nice! :)
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