5 exotic tropical fruit sandwiches

tropical sandwiches

I call this the Silat Buah Edition of my continuing bread story! smirk

1. Mangosteen sandwiches

mangosteens

It’s the season for mangosteens now. Mangosteens season is the end of the year and the smaller ones do not have seeds, making it perfect for sandwiches!

mangosteen sandwiches

It’s a refreshing experiment but to be honest, not all that good.

2. Starfruit sandwiches

starfruit

I saw this jar of local government FAMA produced belimbing (starfruit) jam on sale once and bought a tub of it. I then sauntered over to the fruits section and got myself 3 starfruits.

I decided to slather the starfruit jam and then cut starfruit slices on top of it to make a starfruit sandwich with real fruit.

starfruit sandwich

I had to choke it down – the jam is crappy and almost inedible, full of sugar and a weird flavoring that has little to do with starfruit. Another one of my failed experiments. I still can’t bring myself to eat the jam – it’s still sitting in the fridge after another try on it’s own. Vile stuff.

3. Jackfruit sandwiches

jackfruit

You can get the fresh ones at SS2 night market. I found it much better than the ones at the local hypermarket. It’s one of the more expensive fruits around at over RM 9 / kg. I just slid the fruit between bread since it’s quite flavorful by itself.

jackfruit sandwiches

It should probably be noted that seeds should be taken out before inserting into bread. It’s pretty good – especially when paired with cream cheese spread!

4. Durian sandwiches

durian

It might be heresy to some to use the precious durian as a sandwich filling. It’s expensive (recently bought a Holo durian for RM 33 with less than 10 seeds, costing over RM 3 each) so I used the more common D24 strain (RM 6 / kg) for this experiment.

I thought since it works so well with glutinous rice (seriously, durian and mangoes are perfect with glutinous rice) I reckon it might be okay with bread.

durian sandwiches

Nope, I still consider it a waste – I had to use about 4 seeds to gather enough flesh for a sandwich – it’s good, but durians deserve better treatment.

5. Jambu sandwiches

jambu

I saw this juicy local fruit at RM 8 / kg from a local roadside stand and it turned out to be one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever made! :)

fruit sandwiches

The secret is chunky peanut butter.

Jambu with chunky peanut butter has a very complex texture – the pure water squirting out of the fruit, the stickiness of peanut butter and the chewiness of bread. The flavor profile is amazing too – kinda like eating an apple with peanut butter (used to do that as a kid).

This is the tropical version – salty and buttery and sweet with refreshing bursts.

I did a lot of tongue-in-cheek sandwiches for fun but this…

jambu sandwiches

…this is the eureka moment, I discovered something I’ll really continue eating. It’s truly a great fruit sandwich! :)

Happy Blogday – 10 years of sixthseal.com!

sixthseal 10 anniversary

This blog has been running for an entire decade! I totally forgot about the 19th April blog anniversary where I usually do my annual roundup until Cynthia texted me all the way from Australia.

This is supposed to be up on the 19th of April each year and has been since 2003. sixthseal.com started in 2002 and this is my favorite post to write as it shows how much it has grown since it’s inception. :)

cynthia

I was planning to do something a bit special for the 10th blogniversary – the idea thrown out on the SixthSeal.com Facebook page was to write a completely new post featuring everyone’s favorite “guest author” – veritas. However, that idea has been scrapped – I’ve not been active in that scene for a long time except for a couple of discreet incursions and I think it’ll be counter-productive to what I’m trying to do with my life.

Further reading: A MapleStory from a Lvl 2X Swordsman

It’s filed under Satire/Parody and one of my favorite posts. It’s quite obvious what I’m talking about but I surprised myself by sustaining the metaphor for that long.

cooking pig tongue

Thus, without further ado, here’s my favorite posts from the blog year (think of it as a fiscal year) in chronological order:

Kiwi fruit rice with yoghurt
25th April 2011
This is in here coz it was a major milestone for me. My then-girlfriend moved from Miri to KL to be with me and we’ve been doing a lot of cooking together. This is one of the quirky breakfasts that I make. We’ve broken up but still remain good friends. :)

australia

The best of Northern Rivers in Australia
3rd June 2011
I flew over to the Northern Rivers region where I met people really big on organic food and low food miles and ate at their restaurants. The main event was Casino Beef Week – a cattle extravaganza in a small little town in Australia called Casino. I’ve never been to a cattle auction and street parade before and I loved the experience.

Skydiving and sea kayaking at Byron Bay & Beyond
28th June 2011
The next bit was skydiving and sea kayaking. I also ate a whole lot of good breakfasts which I really miss from my uni days in Melbourne.

Epic weekend: An impromptu trip to Ipoh, dodgy hotels, losing my wallet and my car bumper
12th June 2011
A little bit closer to home, I went on a road trip with a friend to Ipoh and promptly lost my wallet and the rear bumper of my car. It was totally unplanned, I went out for drinks with Bonnie and somehow we ended up in Ipoh. I’ve cut down a lot on my alcohol consumption since then and while I’m not a teetotaler, I drink quite a lot less than what I imagine a social drinker downs. :)

ipoh

Chilling with Christy at Colmar Tropicale, Bukit Tinggi
6th July 2011
This travel streak was promptly followed by a trip to Bukit Tinggi with Christy. I actually spent my 30th birthday here and this is the second time I remember being at Colmar Tropicale, although my dad mentions that we’ve been there when I was a kid.

The real reason Judas betrayed Jesus (and how evangelism started)
19th August 2011
A post that I wrote in a couple of minutes that turned out better than I expected. It’s filed under Satire/Parody and the best post I’ve ever written in that category hands down is Newsflash: Another clinic hit by notorious doctor shopper veritas. This doesn’t even come close but it’s good enough for government work.

(although I’m quite fond of The OMG! I stepped on an electrical socket adapter! FAQ too)

sic race track experience

Driving at the actual Sepang International Circuit!
15th September 2011
My first time driving a car at the Formula One circuit in Sepang. I met a friend which I later met up with in Penang too! The experience of driving at high speeds on an actual competition circuit is exhilarating!

Tim Ho Wan Dim Sum Specialists in Hong Kong
10th October 2011
I went to Hong Kong and Macau with my ex-girlfriend (the very same one mentioned in the first recap post). We had a lot of fun exploring with no itenerary and ate at the famous (and cheap) dim sum place opened by a Michelin 3-star chef. Locals wait in line for an hour on average to eat their divine baked BBQ pork buns.

me

Making big decisions in life – from someone who learned the hard way
10th October 2011
My life story for those of you who doesn’t know about my dark past. It’s a true story about addiction and redemption. I wrote it for Prudential and the entire article can be read here.

Chef Martin Yan Chinese food wine pairing banquet @ Mandarin Oriental
4th December 2011
This is the person who got me interested in cooking. If you’re an 80’s baby, you’ll remember the show Yan Can Cook. I finally met him in real life and he’s exactly like his on-air personality. :)

I got to taste his cooking too!

Meeting childhood idols are always good – kinda like talking to Ron Jeremy in SEXPO, Melbourne during my first year blogging. That post is NSFW due to the photos.

napbas

Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards – NAPBAS 2011 recap
18th December 2011
I was nominated for Best Lifestyle Blog. I didn’t win but it’s nice to be recognized for my efforts. :)

I also had an interview with Linora of Red FM prior to that.

It was a lot of fun to be on the radio and seeing how stuff works on air.

Merry Christmas from Bali!
24th December 2011
I went to Bali for Christmas and had a blast!

bali christmas

Babi Guling in Bali
1st January 2012
Forget the commercialized chains – for the best babi guling in Bali, head over to Denpasar and eat where the locals eat! :)

Happy Chinese New Year 2012 everyone!
22nd January 2012
It’s my favorite time of the year – firecrackers, drinking and family reunions!

chinese fireworks roll

The 2012 Chinese New Year firecrackers and fireworks roundup!
8th February 2012
This is MY SECOND FAVORITE POST to write during the entire year. What I do is get a bunch of fireworks and firecrackers during Chinese New Year – take photos and video it and post it up. I write about the pyrotechnics and if there’s only one post you’re going to read in this entire roundup – read this one! :D

The story of the little gangster that could
10th February 2012
This is a photo story I wrote for my ex-girlfriend’s brother. I was the subject of their high pass photography experiments too and the the photos turned out great. I wrote two versions too – one exclusively for the newly launched SixthSeal.com Facebook page.

betrayal

My Valentine’s Day
15th February 2012
I got together with a girl I met while having breakfast at TDH. You all know the story.

My girlfriend just moved in with me!
29th February 2012
She moved in with me not 2 weeks after. I was totally in love and thought this was the one, that I’ve finally met someone that I can settle down with.

cleaning

I even hired professional cleaners to sanitize my studio apartment, something I’ve never done for anyone.

My girlfriend just broke up with me…
11th March 2012
It didn’t work out. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Okay, I’m tired of saying that so I’ll just say that it wasn’t my fault. It was doomed from the start and I was the last one to know about it. It really hurt and it took me a long time to recover from such a short relationship but I’ll like to think I’m wiser now.

You live, you learn. :)

I’m flying high on the trapeze!
18th March 2012
I had a lot of fun at the flying trapeze in Club Med, Phuket. In a few short days, I learned how to do a knee hang back flip and my crowning glory was being a flyer and timing it just right so I can be caught by one of the Circus GOs. It felt like I was an actual trapeze artist in the circus! :)

Happy Easter and the search for God
8th April 2012
I’ll end this with a slightly cryptic post about my spirituality and the changes I’ve made since then. It’s safe to say that it’s not a temporary thing, I am getting some serious things done with my life. :)

It just hit me that one year has just passed by since I last wrote this and I hate to use this cliched term but time really does fly!

My other social media sites:
Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/sixthseal
Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/sixthseal
http://www.facebook.com/SixthSealcom
YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/sixthsealdotcom

On the home front, I’m still single (and available). I’m looking for the right person but I still haven’t found her so I’m just going to let fate run its course.

Here’s the list of blog anniversary posts I’ve done since sixthseal.com came online on the 19th of April 2002:

2003: sixthseal.com 1st Birthday
2004: sixthseal.com 2nd Birthday!
2005: sixthseal.com 3rd Birthday!
2006: sixthseal.com 4th Birthday!
2007: I was in rehab. There are (officially) no posts in 2007.
2008: I just got out of rehab. There is no 2007 recap to be done. :)
2009: Seven years of sixthseal.com
2010: I was in New Zealand at the time while my mom underwent an operation for lung cancer. I am pretty sure I still wrote the blogniversary post, but I’ve been having a bit of problems with the archives so let me double check on that.
2011: Happy 9th bloganivarsary sixthseal.com!

sixthseal 10

Happy birthday sixthseal.com! You have come a loooong way since the days of blogging in a cramped room in Melbourne with a webcam as a camera.

Here’s to 10 more years of sixthseal.com – it’s something I’ll like to show my children, a “Hey kids, this is what dad used to be like” kinda thing but I’m sure I’ll still be blogging then. :D

Thanks for reading everyone! It just won’t be the same without you all. :)

I’m flying high on the trapeze!

flying-trapeze

I got to experience the flying trapeze at Club Med, Phuket – it was a natural calling, being attracted to all things with an adrenaline factor in it. It’s one of those things that looks easy but it’s actually quite hard. I was at the flying trapeze almost every single day, aching in muscles I didn’t even know I had, wanting to perfect my technique and be a flyer.

flying trapeze training

The Circus GOs (Gentle Officers) are really big on safety so they see if you can actually do it – hang on a trapeze and then pull your legs up to hang upside down on a slightly raised training trapeze – before they let you go up the real thing.

the real trapeze

This is the real thing.

It’s high but they have a safety net and lots of contraptions to ensure that you don’t fall. This here is my first attempt – a 3:30 minute video where I managed to hook myself on the flying trapeze – it’s very long and rather funny, so I’m posting it up, but the rest of the painful journey is on the SixthSeal.com Facebook page.

trapeze club med

You have to let go and trust that the trapeze will hold you (and your hands and legs won’t fail you) while you hook your legs over the bar and then back into the holding position. There is actually an “audition” of sorts – they won’t let you be a flyer unless you can pull it off perfectly within the stipulated time-frame.

I also managed to do a back flip landing where you swing your legs in and out until you achieve the inertia required to rotate a full 360 degrees in mid-air backwards before landing on the net.

flying trapeze knee hang

…but here’s what I got my certificate for – being a flyer. It’s all about timing, doing things when it’s asked of you without hesitation. I was one of the two that made it (the other girl who managed it was not an amateur) so it actually looks easier and has a higher drop-out rate than you imagine. You need to be interested and dedicated.

I only managed it on my second try, I nearly reached the catcher’s hands on the first try but nearly isn’t good enough.

chalk

Basically, what you do is use chalk to powder yourself up to your elbows (this is to ensure a better grip for the catcher) and hang upside down on the bar on your knees. When you look backward and see the catcher, he/she grips you and you let go of the bar. There’s an element of trust in it as well, which I have in spades – I always trust that there will be no rocks under the sea when I go cliff diving – and the fear of heights, which is why a lot of people don’t get past the basic hook, but I managed to do it.

My entire body was sore every single day and I had cuts and abrasions all over by the time I achieved this but it was all worth it.

kelly

A big thank you to Kelly, Kelsey, Kory, Phil, Hsein Ming, Dennis – all my Circus GO instructors in the Phuket village of Club Med – for being so patient with me. :)

I was so ecstatic that I was on a pure adrenaline high for several hours. It was liberating. Watching the video again made me feel that I can do whatever I want to if I set my mind to it. It was the highlight of my trip. :D

The 2012 Chinese New Year firecrackers and fireworks roundup!

fireworks roundup

Yes, it’s that time of the year again! :) This is the annual Chinese New Year fireworks and firecrackers roundup for 2012. There’s a lot of quirky fireworks this year – gift hampers, old firecrackers which I haven’t seen for decades and fountains which goes up over one and half storeys high! :)

cake fireworks

Sibu has a fine selection of retro firecrackers and fireworks this year. However, the ever popular multishot fireworks cake barrages are the most prevalent and there are multiple places selling it openly…in the morning, despite the massive RELA and police presence due to the recent murders. Well, that’s Sibu for you. :)

All Chinese to English translations kindly furnished by my dad.

Chinese firecrackers (RM 100)

chinese firecrackers

We have here one of the old skool Chinese firecrackers – the extremely noisy ones than produces massive amounts of smoke and tons of red paper.

12kg firecrackers

This weighs 12 kgs and is unique in the sense that it has a large firecracker braided *on top* of two rows of smaller firecrackers, making a formidable stack of 3 in the string.

chinese fireworks roll

However, I can’t bring myself to use the word “smaller” with this since even the smaller firecrackers are about 6 times the size of Shun Lee Hung firecrackers.

chinese firecrackers roll

See the grandma walking past? She was followed by a woman who told her in Hokkien “Ah Ma walk faster, he’s letting off the big firecrackers.

…and being the neighborly sort I told them not to worry, I’ll let them pass before I light it and CNY greetings were passed. That’s the spirit! :)

I was standing quite far away (about 2-3 meters) coz my dad was holding the digicam and I had to walk back to him, but some of the firecrackers went past me, showering me with Chinese New Year cheer (and the possibility of grave eye injury). I like!

smoldering firecracker paper

It was still smoldering on the ground after it finished its barrage. I let this off on the morning of the 1st day – woke up early just to do this. :D

Fireworks cake barrages / repeaters

fireworks cake repeaters

These are the aerial firework barrages which comes in a “cake” configuration. It has several tubes which launch the projectiles into the air. It’s very popular in creating a sustained barrage (which is why some people call it that) of aerial fireworks and depending on the artisan’s imagination, can range from being mundane to impressive.

However these things has two major flaws:

1. Susceptibility to wind conditions

It is advisable not to let these off during high wind conditions. The initial propellant that shoots up the shells sends it from 75 – 150 feet (depending on the primer). However, the aerial shot itself is quite light and wind can send it in a totally unpredictable direction (usually diagonally) and limit its apogee, which can be quite disastrous. I’ve seen one send shots that explode 12 feet above and let me tell you, that is quite an experience since it’s supposed to go off 10 times that distance.

It had us all watching nervously and asking if anyone has a fire extinguisher and telling cars not to pass.

fireworks exploding

2. It can explode on the ground if poorly constructed

I actually wrote an article about it. One of my firework cakes exploded on me.

Despite those flaws (everything has a downside), firework cakes are probably the greatest invention since sliced bread in pyrotechnics. :D

Beautiful Mountain and Rivers (RM 220)

20kg fireworks cake

This 2 feet long, 68 shot beauty comprises of multiple artillery barrages that has mortar sizes ranging from 3” to 1”. It produces a rather nice finale and it’s this year’s crème de la crème of fireworks cakes in my stash – it even beats the more expensive ones above with the fanning effect (angled mortar tubes).

fireworks cake launchers

It was at the stroke of midnight that I let this one off so there is a lot of competition from other sources. However, you can see the effects of this aerial barrage quite well. :)

The finish was amazing, I love the “sparkling rain” kind of effects for an ending.

Well worth the RM 220 I spent though as you can see this class of fireworks barrages is not exactly meant for you to see (the optimal viewing angle is too high) so maybe if you live down the street, you’ll appreciate it more.

Celebration (RM 35)

fuse

This is a fast 36 shot fireworks cake barrage. It’s simple, effective and quite awesome. It sends up to 6-7 aerial shots in a row up which explodes in a burst of color up in the air.

It’s over in a few seconds but classic. :)

Glowing Beautiful Woman (RM 25)

barrage fireworks

This 200 shot baby is quite impressive despite the small mortar tube size and height. It’s 1/9 the size of my largest fireworks cake and it’s easy to dismiss this wonderful piece of carefully arranged barrage. Fireworks cakes are like flower arrangements…the mediocre ones are blah but the good ones is a work of art. This is the latter.

200 shot fireworks cake

It doesn’t go very high but has a nice mixture of spinning whistlers, star bursts, and sparkling rain – it’s quite fantastic. I bought several of these and I’m glad I did.

It’s well worth the price, I’m grabbing more next year if I see it. Highly recommended!

Stepping Up (RM 35)

This one is representative of the general small fireworks cakes. It would be nice if it didn’t blow up on the ground though.

Stepping Up was the multi-shot fireworks cake barrage that blew up on me. I had to pick up pieces from 25 meters away.

Prosperous Family

repeater fireworks

I don’t know the price to some coz it was a gift or a throw in after a large purchase. This is one of them. The retail price should be around RM 35-40. It has a variety of different effects and launches it quite high up – you can tell from the size of the fireworks cake and mortar tubes.

I like the part in the middle where it “fans” out the aerial shots and the ending. Nice.

…and yes, we let off the cakes in the middle of the road in Sibu, which is why you shouldn’t drive on CNY eve at midnight. All the locals know that but just in case you’re visiting, be home by 11 pm or wait till 2 am. :D

Fireworks gift hampers

fireworks gift package

This is another unusual development this year. It’s priced at RM 85 and comes with a smorgasbord of fireworks – mostly directed towards children.

fireworks gift box

There are:

The total price of the items inside exceeds RM 85 commercially. It’s quite a good gift for kids, and it has a lot of nostalgic fireworks inside. I like the variety and there’s even one multi-shot cake/fountain inside.

Fountains

fountains

This is a typical example of a fountain. It’s a small tube about the size of a salute (e.g. Thunder King) that you set on the ground and light with various effects.

The color on top of the fuse shows what it’s going to look like.

Desert at Night

desert at night

I don’t know which category to put this in as it is quite atypical. It’s a fountain with very nice effects and it has 7 aerial repeaters built in.

Thus, you get a combination fountain and aerial shot cake. :)

Cone fountains

cone fountains

Violets and Crimsons

Pretty mediocre. This came out of the fireworks hamper and is the smallest of the fountains. It’s barely taller than my lighter.

Volcano (RM 20)

volcano

Very impressive. This retails for RM 20 for singles and it slowly shoots up to a very respectable 1 ½ storeys high.

It’s worth the display. :)

Soaring Spirit

I wouldn’t buy it myself but it came in the gift hamper. Interesting display.

Conic Fountain (RM 20)

conic fountain

I bought a pack of this for RM 20 – it contains 5 fountains and it’s supposed to have a different effect for each.

I found out the hard way when I let one off which is a plain fountain and another when my two year old niece was watching where it had loud reports. There is no sign of what you’ll get – you have to light it to find out.

Tube Fountains

tube fountains

Krakatoa Fountain

This cylindrical fireworks fountain has height going for it but ultimately only has one effect.

Butterfly Flower

It’s quite typical of a fountain, nothing to write home. I couldn’t find the fuse at first and just lit the entire paper on top before floundering around with it. I also used the tube for something else. More on that later. :D

Box Fountains

box fountains

Large Golden Flower

It’s quite mediocre.

Peach Flower in Spring

This is quite good actually! It starts with a screaming effect and just when you thought it was over, it keeps on going to another effect. I like. :)

Windmill / Spinners

spinners

Da Feng Che

da feng che

This is supposed to be attached to a stick but I broke the stick so I lit it on the ground. Haha!

wheels fireworks

Honestly, I’m not sure it’s even safe to put on a stick coz I vaguely remember accidents from my childhood from the wheel actually spinning off the stick and flying off due to the rotational speed.

One of the fireworks I played with as a little kid. It has a dual (single?) fuse e.g. the fuse burns simultaneously into *TWO* tubes. That’s the interesting bit.

Ground Bloom Flower

This US made spinner is a fast one with various effects and colors. It’s a typical example of a spinner. I liked it.

Salutes

Thunder King

crazy bang

There’s a new batch of Thunder Kings this year which is quite a bit smaller than the original ones. I made a loudest firecracker comparison.

Chinese firecracker

I wouldn’t call this a salute per se – it’s just one of the firecrackers that dropped off the roll. I’m just showing how large and loud it is compared to the typical Shun Lee Hung firecrackers. Old skool is gold skool. :)

Triangle Firecrackers

triangle firecrackers

This is very, very old school. It’s a simple firecracker that contains flash powder wrapped into a triangle shape – the construction is easy and you can get bags containing 100s for little more than spare change. There are some strange imports this year though – Triangulinor which is definitely not from China.

It’s loud and effective. Fun to play. I had some fun playing fireworks with the neighborhood kids with this and one of the first videos I filmed back home was with my dad above. That’s what Chinese New Year is about. Family, friends and fireworks!

Hope you’ve all had a great Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fatt Chai everyone! :D

A typical day in Macau

macau ferry

Board ferry from Hong Kong to Macau

new world first ferry

Puke on the ferry

macau immigration

Spend 2 hours clearing immigration

macau complimentary shuttle

Get accosted by representatives of various casinos and board one of their free shuttles

macau casino

Lose an insane amount of money

pork chop bun

Eat a pork chop bun to try and cheer yourself up

senado square

Walk aimlessly around Senado Square

grand lisboa

Contemplate suicide, settles for shaking fist at Grand Lisboa

hong kong

Return to Hong Kong

Happy 9th bloganivarsary sixthseal.com!

It’s the sixthseal.com 9th anniversary today! :D

9-anniversary

Yup, that’s 9 solid years of blogging – something of an achievement, I’ll like to think.

It has become somewhat of a tradition to do a recap of sorts, followed by the best posts of the previous year (from the 19th of April 2010 to the 19th of April 2011) – the blog year – something like the fiscal year – instead of the Gregorian year. :)

I started blogging back in April 2002 – I was still in university in Melbourne then and decided it was a good way to let my friends see what I’m up to instead of emailing each of them individually. I was studying computer science so the first incarnation of sixthseal.com does not have a CMS per se but is updated via HTML (no CSS back then) code written manually.

I changed to Movable Type a few months after and only switched to WordPress recently. I started blogging about basically everything and anything I find fun. I think it was the first blog at the time which had daily updates with photos. I even had a webcam turned on 24/7 so that anyone who logs in can see a snapshot of my room or me every 5 minutes – yes, even when I sleep.

I wanted to experience all that Australia has to offer so I went travelling a lot and I attended a lot of events. I covered everything from the Melbourne Open tennis match to concerts. However, it was during one exhibition – SEXPO 2002 – a sex lifestyle exhibition that I realized the potential of my blog. I got an email from the organizers after I posted the coverage asking for my permission to link my post from their official sexpo.com.au website.

They also wanted to give me a media pass for next year so I could gain access to the backstage and get many other privileges.

Unfortunately, there was a server incident where sixthseal.com went down and I didn’t have the backups so you’ll notice that the posts are all missing comments. T_T It’s one of my biggest regrets but hey, at least the posts are (mostly) intact.

sixthseal.com is one of the longest running blogs in Malaysia – it has just reached it’s 9th anniversary on the 19th of April 2011. That’s 9 years of blogging almost every day! It has become a way of life to me and more than that – it has become an extension of myself, my most prized “possession”. I have come to think of it as a “son”, a legacy that would carry on, hopefully forever.

It’s like a diary – a life journal where I can look back and see what I was doing at what year. I want to be able to show my children that too. In fact, I’ve already found myself doing that – if I can’t remember what date I did something or when something happened – the first thing I’ll do is to search my blog. :)

It’s kinda ironic – the blogger behind sixthseal.com is 30 and taking hair treatment sessions at Svenson while the actual blog has only turned 9 years old. Oh, and Svenson just told me that everyone reading sixthseal.com can drop in for a free consultation at any of the Svenson centres nationwide – call ahead at 1-800-22-8333 to make an appointment – do it before it’s too late! Thanks for the blogiversary gift to the readers! :)

The best of 19th April 2010 – 19th April 2011

uncle

4th May 2010
O HAI! I IZ AN UNCLE!
I am an uncle! :D

23rd May 2010
How I lost RM 35,000 in Genting
I am broke. :(

17th June 2010
The entire process of eating rat in China
Gastronomic adventures in the land of possibilities!

1st August 2010
Fraser’s Hill travel report
Travel closer to home.

22nd August 2010
Cliff diving in Ton Sai
Adventure in Thailand!

2nd September 2010
Love The Way You Lie
The best video I’ve ever done – thanks to Cindy for co-starring in this!

dog head

15th September 2010
Eating dog meat in Hanoi, Vietnam
More unusual culinary delights! ;)

24th October 2010
Microdermal implants – my third nipple
More body piercing fun!

14th November 2010
A warning about Amsterdam Coffeeshops
Ahh…Amsterdam! :D

24th November 2010
South Korea and North Korea DMZ
My second trip to Korea!

28th November 2010
Pub food in London, England
My first trip to Europe within 6 months. Heh!

dark side of georgia

13th January 2011
Where the wild things are
Part of my trip to Tbilisi, Georgia! This is my second sojourn to Europe.

25th January 2011
Broodje haring, Hollandse Nieuwe and herring in Amsterdam
A more wholesome Amsterdam experience.

16th February 2011
The most romantic Valentine’s Day ever!
Getting in a relationship with Jeanie. :)

19th February 2011
2011 fireworks and firecrackers review
The annual firecracker and fireworks roundup!

niece

24th February 2011
My niece’s 1st birthday!
I am an uncle! :D

27th February 2011
Polly’s wedding in Tangkak, Johor
Going to Johor for a wedding. Good times…

It was a year of travel for me – I’ve been to a lot of places inside Malaysia, went to Europe TWICE (first trip was a more traditional experience while the second involved the lesser travelled Latvia and Georgia, Korea, Vietnam, heck, there were so many I can’t remember all of it!

However, you’ll notice that there are periods which mean more to me – it’s usually the times when I travel or during the CNY period when I’m home with my family. This really makes me miss Sibu. I started and (nearly) ended with posts on my niece – those were the highlights of my year. Here’s to my niece – Kara. Your uncle loves you. :)

Happy 9th birthday sixthseal.com – you have become something like a son to me. :)

Microdermal implants – my third nipple

microdermal implant instruments

Microdermal implants uses surgical grade titanium to anchor an interchangeable stud under your skin. It’s done by creating a “pocket” under your skin and it’s a lot easier to heal than the previous surface bar piercing that I have. I shall do a quick n00b drawing to show how it works.

microdermal diagram

Basically, it needs to be anchored towards something, in this case, my ribcage. There is a long titanium anchor that goes up and a shorter one that goes down. The first time you do it, it’s best to have a flat stud so it won’t rub too much against your clothes.

microdermal implant draw

It’s a lot easier to get piercings in high school and university coz you don’t have to give considerations about work. However, now that I’m working, piercings (except for the usual orthodox ones) have to be concealable under office attire.

microdermal implant measuring

Michelle calls it my third nipple. smirk

Fresh says it looks like someone just hammered a nail in my heart but it’s actually straight in the middle of my body. Frankie of Zoo Body Piercing measured it so it would be right in the center of my body.

microdermal implant look

The procedure is fairly simple – a small gauge needle (which is a large needle – the higher the gauge, the thinner it is) is used to make 4 incisions under your skin. The top part of the anchor is pushed in followed by the bottom part.

microdermal implant done

I didn’t find it painful but then again your mileage may vary since everyone has different pain thresholds. I actually like pain so it was quite enjoyable for me.

Microdermal implants takes only 3 months to heal and costs RM 250. You have to really take care of it during the first few days though. However, my approach towards body modification is always LITHA (Leave It The Hell Alone) and it usually works for me.

microdermal implant us

Thanks to bff Lainey for the recommendation! Zoo Body Piercing also does branding – my next project! =D

Eating dog meat in Hanoi, Vietnam

dog head

How much is that doggie in the window? *woof woof*

The one with the waggly tail?

dog head me

How much is that doggie in the window?

dog paws

I do hope that doggie’s for sale!

thit cho

Eating dog meat is popular amongst certain demographics in Hanoi, Vietnam. The place to head to is the row of shops bordering Red River. It is full of mom-and-pop shops with names like thit cho. Thit cho literally means dog meat in Vietnam.

dog meat butcher

It looks like a butcher shop and not a restaurant since all the dog chopping action is happening on the ground floor, but fear not, there is actually a place for people to enjoy a nice meal of canine meat upstairs.

chopping dog meat

I chose a platter of mixed dog cuts to experience the texture and taste of man’s best friend – it’s served with a dipping sauce which tastes like fermented shrimp paste (cincalok) and turns into a vivid shade of purple when my guide mixed it.

cooking dog meat

My guide is a motorbike driver you’ll find loitering around in the Old Quarter – it’s the best way to get around! I negotiated a return trip for VND 5,000 + 1 Beer Hanoi and I get to choose the thit cho place. Pro tip: You should always have the final choice when dealing with local drivers coz they might have kickbacks from certain outlets. I chose the one that had the most locals upstairs – a rowdy bunch that kept on chanting something before drinking their vodka.

dog sausage

The portly woman who owns the place did not appear to be very friendly (she viewed my camera with considerable suspicion) but after one of her staff passed me a piece of dog meat and I ate it before giving her the thumbs up sign, she warmed up to me considerably and led me upstairs. The price for dog meat should range around VND 20,000 to VND 30,000 per 100 grams.

dog meat shoes

You take off your shoes and sit on the floor with a piece of newspaper being the communal dining place in lieu of a proper table. It’s customary to drink vodka with dog meat but I didn’t want to get fucking sloshed and then lose my way in a dodgy part of town so I went with the ubiquitous Bia Ha Noi instead.

dog meat seating

Most people choose a selection of mixed cuts. This is an interesting dish as it comes with pure cuts from the dog (without further cooking) and a mix of dog sausage (which gives a totally new meaning to the word “hot dog” smirk).

dog meat stew

There is also dog stew available – it tastes pretty good but after a while it got a bit cloying due to the amount of oil they use in cooking.

deep fried dog meat

Deep fried dog! Not too bad, but I prefer pure cuts.

dog meat meal

The entire meal (inclusive of beer) only costs VND 180,000 (RM 28) – a fucking bargain if you ask me.

Q&A time!

eating dog meat

I bet most of you is going to ask me this – what does dog meat taste like?

Well, dog meat tastes like dog. I’ve had dog meat in Korea but the dog meat in Hanoi tastes better since it’s not infused with a multitude of flavors. I particularly liked the pure cuts of dog – some parts like the thigh is nigh impossible to eat due to the huge bones and the tough skin and fat, but some cuts are easy enough to chew though.

dog meat upstairs

Dog meat has a very interesting taste to it. It is very odoriferous so people who don’t like mutton probably should stay away from it. You can literally taste/smell the dog as you chew it.

dog meat dip

There’s also a layer of fat between the skin and meat that imparts a very vivid flavor to the dog meat.

dog meat cuts

I love the taste – it’s like a cross between castrated pork and mutton. The meat is tough and the skin is chewy but it’s an experience unlike any other.

dog heads

The canine culinary experience is a must try for everyone with an adventurous palate. Mmm…dog meat.

Love The Way You Lie

working

I love this song to bits! I’m a huge fan of Eminem and when Cindy suggested that we team up to do Eminem feat. Rihanna – Love The Way You Lie, I was more than intrigued. The first time I watched the video, it provoked a very strong emotional response. It’s just one of those music videos you wish you directed. Pure ingenuity distilled into a 5 minute AV clip.

I’m very proud of the final production but let me just ramble on about how this materialized. I have watched this video countless of times and gotten the gist of the story behind it. It’s has a theme that most of us can relate to and the powerful message behind it acts as a warning against how relationships can go really bad and raises awareness of domestic violence.

movie shoot

The all star cast features Eminem and Rihanna singing with inter cuts to scenes of Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan (best known as Charlie from Lost) – a chronological mashup of how they met and their current situations and attempts to salvage it. Megan Fox donated all her earnings to SOJOURN – a charity for battered women and their children. It is ultimately about empowering women.

Anyway, back to our filming, I realized that we hit a snag coz my sunburn from Krabi was starting to peel really bad at the time. It had to be peeled off before we can start filming so I started with the storyboards.

sunburn

The camera angles are replicated almost exactly as in the video and although there were some scenes that we cannot do e.g. setting myself on fire (it requires heptane to be even remotely safe) and the bar fight (don’t have a breakable bottle prop) we managed to somehow do the video and still remain true to the original.

There are multiple shots from multiple angles and it took 5 hours of shooting to complete the video. I tried to edit the video myself but Windows Live Movie Maker does not have the capacity to do this so I engaged Haze Long to help me with it. She’s really good considering there are over 100 video files and managed to capture the essence of what we wanted.

The spitting scene in particular was rather hard to do – it appears that normal saliva does not propel in an arc that we wanted so Cindy used water inside her mouth to do it instead. She has the exact same outfit as Megan was wearing in the video and had to dry it with a hairdryer several times due to the number of takes we had to do.

cindy drying clothes

Special thanks to Fresh for being our videographer!

I present to you – our finished production:

It was a lot of fun to do this project and see it come to life. I am very proud of the final cut and even though it was a lot of work as well, the satisfaction of doing a video that came out as good as this is nothing short of nirvana.

Here are some outtakes from the video:

This is how we know spitting doesn’t look good on video.

I had to blow out Cindy’s candle while not appearing in the frame and what made this really funny was Fresh’s deadpan comment at the end. Heh! We both laughed so hard.

The reason we did this video is to participate in the Arthur’s Day Man of Action contest. This involves you getting creative (like our video – we did the parts in between so it sounds like Eminem and Rihanna is singing about us) and filming a music video involving your favorite artist or band.

Just post the video on YouTube and the video link at the Guinness Malaysia Facebook page with your name and video title (it must start with Arthur’s Day 2010:) and you’ll get a chance to win a trip to Dublin to visit the famous St James Gate Brewery and have a pint of the black stuff – it’s as fresh as it gets, any closer to the source, you’ll be drowning in the vat. ;)

Oh, and each and every qualified entry will automatically win two passes to Arthur’s Day (which requires no further introduction)! Everyone knows about the legendary Arthur’s Day and you don’t want to miss it – I went to the last one and enjoyed it thoroughly. Arthur’s Day to me is an outdoor concert with great music and smooth pints of Guinness. It’s the ambience that pulls me rather than the lineup! You can purchase your tickets at the site.

There’s also a Man of Vision contest going on where you play Robert Langdon and decipher clues in an image at the same site!

Anecdote: The original video has Dominic’s hand with “Cindy” and a 555 number. We used “Megan” for this video as a tribute to this coincidence.

Watch it in full screen for the best experience! You want to go to Ireland? The winners will be announced 21st September. You’ll have to top this video to do it, else watch out for blog updates involving titles like “Top of the morning” when we win the contest. ;)

Cliff diving in Ton Sai

cliff diving

This is perhaps the primarily reason I went to Krabi. We went from Ao Nang to Railey and took a boat to the Phi Phi Islands as our route. Cliff diving is only available in Ton Sai, which is a short longboat ride away from Phi Phi Don.

Cliff diving is a very unregulated sport – basically, you do it at your own risk. You’ll have to place full trust on the guide too coz he’s not jumping and you’re sure you’ve seen rocks underneath the cliff.

cliff diving swimming

What cliff diving is all about:

1. Chartering a longboat to take you to Ton Sai
2. Finding a suitable cliff and swimming from the longboat to the cliff
3. Climb up the razor sharp rock face to the jump off point
4. Leap off the cliff into the water below
5. Swim back to the longboat (unless you see a pool of red slowly spreading, then don’t bother, coz you’ve jumped into rocks smirk)

The first one we did was 10 meters. The longboat stopped and I swam to the cliffs with the guide who showed me where to jump. I didn’t bring my digicam along coz I figured it won’t survive the 10 meter plunge.

cliff diving climbing

I really, really wish I did coz the cliff that you have to climb is fucking dangerous. It’s not rocks, it’s more like razor sharp outcroppings – millions of them – which is where I cut my hands too. There is no path per se, so if you slip you’ll be impaled by the sharp rocks. It looks like this:

cliff razor sharp

No joke.

I was a bit wary coz the guide was pulling my (third) leg about injuries to the family jewels. He claimed his balls hit the water hard at a 10 meter jump and insisted I protect it. :(

The 10 meter cliff dive was from an outcropping of rock and the view down is fantastic. You get a thrill from looking down, not knowing if there’s rocks underneath and then jumping.

I urged my travel companion to try it as well and she did, much to my surprise. Kudos! She figures she can only do “crazy shit” like this with me so she might as well do it while she’s there. smirk

I wanted more so I asked the guide to bring me to the 30 meter point, and off we went!

It followed the same routine of swimming from the long boat -> climbing up a jagged razor sharp cliff that I swear will cause serious injury if you misstep -> the jump into water. I was at the 20 meter point and wanted to climb further up.

My guide won’t go. He said it was too dangerous and despite me insisting on going on and paying him more money, he still won’t do the precarious climb to 30 meters. I offered him 500 baht extra (RM 50). It’s a no. He pointed to the jump site. It was a 20 meter jump off a branch of a tree.

This is one of the MOST ill conceived on-the-spot, “Hey, let’s make something up” seat-of-the-pants shit I’ve ever seen. I looked at my guide incredulously. He was dead serious. I was going to climb out off a cliff at 20 meters to a branch of unknown integrity and jump from it.

Call it a leap of faith. smirk

I did it, landed badly (if you see the video, you’ll notice it took me a while to resurface coz it knocked the breath out of me). I still have chest pains to this very day. Crap.

I still insisted on going for the 30 meter jump though but the guide was vehemently against it.

The reason?

cliff diving guide

He’ll get into trouble if I die.

(and I thought we had chartered an unlicensed longboat that would agree on anything)

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