January 25, 2011

The Black Magician Trilogy


The Black Magician Trilogy is a trilogy of fantasy books by renowned Australian author, Trudi Canavan.

I have never heard of her until 3 years ago when I was browsing for a fantasy novel in Dymocks over in downtown Brisbane.  When it comes to novels, I tend to be very picky and would spend hours at a book store before I'm satisfied with one that I'd acquire.  I was very intrigued with the first book, Magicians' Guild that I ended up buying the whole series in KL.

Trudi Canavan is an accomplished Australian fantasy writer but her books are not considered high fantasy in that they are not too complicated to read, unlike other books of the same genre in the market.  Literary works by established authors like JRR Tolkien, Robert Jordan, and George RR Martin may be a little hard to follow by newcomers to the fantasy genre but The Black Magician Trilogy is simplistic, minimalist and very easy to read, even to those who are indifferent to the fantasy genre on a whole.

Another interesting thing about the series is that the basis of the story and the theme of the action are based on the medium of magic, unlike most other fantasy novels where emphasis is on sword fighting with bits of sorcery thrown in.  There are critics who comment on the similarity between Harry Potter (JK Rowling) and Eragon (Christopher Paolini) with Sonea, the young protagonist of The Black Magician trilogy but I consider HP and Eragon as teen fiction while TBM is more focused on adult or mature themes of love and betrayal, among other things.

All in all, a very good read for fans of and newcomers to the fantasy genre.

January 16, 2011

Fullhouse Lifestyle Store and Cafe


Last Thursday, I had lunch at Fullhouse Lifestyle Store and Cafe which is located at Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, Kuala Lumpur.

It was my first time there courtesy of my very knowledgeable (in terms of food) colleague and what a pleasant surprise it was.

Interesting Menu
Outdoor Section
The things I liked about the place include:
  • Affordability - reasonably priced lunch sets
  • Choices - the cutesy ala carte menu is quite extensive
  • Location - the branch at Jalan Yap Kwan Seng is conveniently accessible for those working in the heart of KL
  • Ambiance - a cosy feel to both the indoor and outdoor sections
  • Service - surprisingly very professional staff and waiting time is minimal
  • Deco - the indoor decoration and the outdoor landscaping are easy on the eye
Set Lunch
The downside, though, include:
  • Parking - limited parking spaces for patrons
  • Music - or the lack thereof



Overall, it was a fun dining experience and the food was not bad considering the price charged.  I've now got it permanently etched on my list of weekday lunch time options.

January 12, 2011

Peeved


Everyone has his or her own pet peeves.

So do I, naturally.  I think I started developing them as soon as I could harness the powerful human emotion of annoyance.  My list of pet peeves has evolved over time - it has got longer.

Currently, the list comprises the following acts that are capable of inducing immeasurable amounts of displeasure at any given time...
  1. Service without a smile - I'm not talking about kopitiam servers and the like but so-called professional service consultants particularly at corporate offices, boutiques and various other establishments.  Maybe their remuneration is not commensurate with their ability or requirement to just be pleasant.  Or perhaps they have come across too many clients who are not worth expending the effort.  That's beside the point.  The service charter or mission statement serves a purpose, and so do they.
  2. Lack of courtesy - People just don't hold the lift or leave the door open for others anymore.  The words, 'Please' or 'Thank You' or 'Excuse Me' are hard to come by these days, let alone, 'Sorry'.
  3. Road abusers - This phenomenon is quite commonplace in KL.  I get disturbed by drivers who tailgate at dangerously high speeds, do not utilise signal lights, incapable of differentiating between overtaking (from the right lane) and cutting off (from any lane), hog traffic, and do not adhere to traffic lights.  Polite gestures such as giving way at junctions or at least leaving clear the yellow boxes are non-existent.  Let's not even get started on illegal double parking.
  4. Body odour - I know this is possibly a medical condition that may not be rectified, but there are products in the market designed specifically to address this issue.  Anti-perspirant, deodorant, cologne, perfume...chlorox, maybe?  I go to the gym a lot and there is no greater killjoy while working out than having Mr/ Ms BO stretching out the sweaty arm pits at the next machine... you get the picture.
  5. Dining etiquette - I'm not talking about kopitiams or mamak stalls.  Proper fine dining places require a more refined method of savouring the food along with the ambiance and, of course, enjoying the company of your companion.  The mood just dies when unscrupulous diners converse beyond the acceptable range of decibels.
  6. At the movies - I absolutely detest people who come in late and can't find their seats, those who can't switch off their phones and people who have this tendency to kick the chairs in front of them where I'm sitting on.  Then there are parents who do not adhere to the ratings and bring their children to watch movies inappropriate for those below the stipulated age levels.  While I'm at it, the GSC Card promoters can be really persistent and over zealous.  Their cinema advertising leaves a lot to be desired as well (the one with the fake Obi-Wan and June Li, along with the annoying couple).
  7. Hustlers - Particularly when it comes to drinking.  You know what I mean.  They derive pure satisfaction from seeing others lose control.
  8. Telemarketers - I know they're just doing their jobs.  But since the advent of the local Data Privacy Act 2010, our telephone contact should be strictly confidential.  No external third party should be able to source our telephone numbers for the purpose of soliciting sales.  There is nothing more disconcerting than having people call you during office hours mumbling incomprehensibly about a product that you don't need. 
  9. Road blocks - JPJ enforcement officers conduct road blocks at the most inconvenient of times and places for the purpose of...you and I both know.  All this results in massive traffic jams and partial loss of daily allowance.
  10. Traffic jams - Need I say more.
What are your pet peeves?