Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Barbie's armchair, writing table, closet, dresser
Barbie in the bathoom
Barbie in the gym
Barbie and her twin babies
Other doll houses belonging to my youngest sister Sumayyah. Only the boot (on the leftmost) came from England.
See the two Lego people? They're sitting on armchairs/single sofa. The thing in the middle is a fireplace with a clock on the mantel. There's also a fire burning away (the black lego is the firewood, the yellow lego on top of it is the fire) and two lights on each side of the clock. The thing in the middle of the room is the coffee table, complete with a flower in the middle. The yellow legos on the door and windows are the lights, and of course, there's a garden outside the living room. Pretty creative for a 9 year old and a 7 year old.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Harry enters his second year at Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In this book, Harry faces the heir of Slytherin who has opened the Chamber of Secrets. I don't like this book much because there was a part where everybody avoided talking to Harry because they suspected he was the heir of Slytherin. Only when Harry's best friend Hermione is attacked do they change their minds. Another reason I don't like this book much is the way Harry and his other best friend, Ron Weasley arrived at Hogwarts (by flying Mr. Weasley's Ford Anglia) because they started the new term with a whole lot of trouble due to their bad decision-making. But never mind...they're still immature here. But I loved the part where Harry fought the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets...considering the fact that he's only 12 years old.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, everyone in the wizarding world and the muggle (people who don't have magic) world are on the alert for a high-profile murderer, Sirius Black, who has managed to escape from Azkaban, the wizard prison. Extra precautions are taken to protect Harry since Black is believed to be trying to capture Harry and bring him to Lord Voldemort. Halfway through the story, however, Harry and his friends learn that Black is Harry's deceased parents' best friend...not only was he the best man at his parents' wedding, but they also appointed Black to be Harry's godfather and guardian should anything happen to them. Harry and his friends also learn that Sirius Black was framed by another old friend, Peter Pettigrew, so they have to save Black from the Dementors (the Azkaban guards). The method used by Harry and Hermione to save Sirius Black in here is really ingenious. Although its kinda disappointing that they weren't able to clear Sirius' name and prove his innocence, there's a reason for it all in one of the later books.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is my favourite book of the first four books. There's a lot more magic in this book, not to mention a number of useful spells which I wish were real (eg, Accio! No need to keep getting up to fetch that something you've left somewhere). In this book, Harry is chosen as one of the school champions in the Triwizard Tournament...but the mystery is, Harry does not even fulfill the age limit required to enter the tournament! So who submitted his name as a participant?? After successfully performing all three tasks, Harry and Cedric Diggory, another Hogwarts champion, tie for the first place and grabbed hold of the Triwizard Cup at the same time. To their surprise, the Cup is a Portkey (which is an object that can transport you to the designated place when touched) and it transported them both to an empty graveyard, the place where Lord Voldemort has chosen to resurrect himself. My favourite part in this book is the Priori Incantatem chapter, the part where Harry duels with Voldemort. The first death in the HP series also occurred in this book with the death of Cedric Diggory. When Harry returns to Hogwarts, he told Dumbledore that Lord Voldemort has returned. Unfortunately, the Minister of Magic at that time, Cornelius Fudge, did not believe in Harry's story.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the Ministry of Magic is trying very hard to deny rumours that Lord Voldemort is back by using the Daily Prophet to portray Harry and Dumbledore as crazy, etc. The Order of the Phoenix is an Order established during the time Lord Voldemort was still in power (Harry's parents were among the members of the Order before they were murdered). The Order was re-established to start planning various strategies to overcome Voldemort. One of their tasks in this book is to guard "something" in the Department of Mysteries in the Ministry from Voldemort. Towards the end of the book, Harry sees his godfather Sirius Black being tortured by Lord Voldemort via his scar, which somehow connects him to Lord Voldemort. So he rallies his friends and they all fly on Thestrals to the Ministry to try and save Sirius. However, it turned out that the vision was merely a trick to attract Harry to the Ministry, because Lord Voldemort wanted Harry to take a prophecy regarding Harry and him. A battle ensued between Harry & his friends and the Death Eaters. The other members of the Order turned up just in time to help them fight the Death Eaters. Unfortunately though, Sirius was killed in the fight. Sirius' death was a big blow to Harry, because he had now lost the man he looked upon as his parent. One good thing that came out of the fight at the Ministry is that the Minister and several other wizards turned up just in time to see Lord Voldemort before he disappeared, so now they have to accept the fact that Lord Voldemort is really back.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince starts by describing the deaths and terror faced by the people as Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters start killing Muggles and Muggle-borns. In this book, Harry takes private lessons with Professor Dumbledore - together, they go back into the memories of certain people to learn about Voldemort's childhood as they attempt to understand him. Along the way, they learn that Voldemort had created seven Horcruxes which are hidden in different hiding places to prevent him from dying. Harry follows Dumbledore to a certain cave by the sea to destroy one of the Horcruxes, but when they return to Hogwarts, they discover that it had been attacked by a group of Death Eaters. Dumbledore dies in this book, leaving Harry with the basic knowledge of what he has to do in the future to overcome Lord Voldemort. I can still cry each time I read the part describing Dumbledore's funeral, because Harry is now all alone - his parents, his godfather and now his headmaster have left him in their efforts to protect him from Voldemort.
I almost didn't want to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, because this is the last book in the series and that there will be no more Harry after this. But of course, I had to start reading the minute I bought the book. In this book, Harry sets out with his friends to find and destroy the seven Horcruxes created by Voldemort. The ultimate battle then takes place between Harry's side and Voldemort's side. I loved reading the battle part - it seems so much cooler and riskier to battle using magic instead of firing canons of dropping nuclear bombs on the enemy. Thankfully, JK Rowling created a "19 years later" chapter which lets her readers know what happened 19 years later. I don't think I'd be fully-satisfied otherwise.
JK Rowling has an exceptional style of writing regardless when she is describing sceneries or when she's playing with her characters' emotions. She is also quite witty and manages to keep her readers laughing (or crying) at all the appropriate moments besides keeping her readers hooked and wanting to keep turning the page to find out what happens next. Each time I re-read a HP book, especially the last one, I really appreciate the little details written in the earlier books which then play their own role in the end. And to be honest, I don't watch the HP movies anymore because the movie plots are too different from the actual books, so I don't see how they're going to portray the Horcruxes part and stuff. There are too many important details left out...but then again, movie-makers only have a couple of hours to cram in around 600 - 700 pages.
I have repeated all HP books countless of times...and if a new HP book was coming out, I'd read all the previous HP books and surf the HP websites in anticipation of the new book. Oh, the thrill of it! Too bad there are no more HP books coming out though. However, there are other HP-related books such as the newly-published The Tales of Beedle the Bard, which is a fairy tale book mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Even though HP is now over, all I have to do is open the cover of the first HP book to make him alive again. (Sorry if that sounded cheesy.)
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
But there are some happy moments though...gossiping on the school bus with friends, taking the rare opportunity of hanging out at KOMTAR or Prangin Mall on the way home from extra classes, and of course, meeting friends from other schools at tuition...some of whom I am still in touch with. I even finished high school successfully. So what's so bad about high school then?? Nothing much...but given the chance, I don't think I want to go through it again. University life is way happier. So far anyway.
Friday, November 14, 2008
"Her" would be Phillipa Ashley, the author of Wish You Were Here which I have just reviewed. Oh my god, I am still (pleasantly) shocked, stunned and definitely thrilled that she dropped me a comment, let alone the fact that she noticed that someone did a review of her book. I would like to extend my gratitude and a million thank-yous to Ms. Phillipa Ashley for making a reader happy. I know I probably sound like a demented and desperate fan, but I don't care. Nothing can spoil my day today! :-D
A million thanks to Ms. Phillipa Ashley for putting the link to my blog review in her blog. Need I mention again how thrilled I am?? ;-)
- Cooking dinner : 60 calories
- Making a bed : 94 calories
- Dusting : 120 calories
- Watering outdoor plants : 120 calories
- Washing the dishes: 144 calories
- Washing the windows : 144 calories
- Grocery shopping : 190 calories
- Ironing clothes : 190 calories
- Playing with the kids : 192 calories
- Vacuuming : 196 calories
I only listed the activities which we're more likely to do everyday, but if you'd like to find out more, just click here and here. Okay, now let's work out how much calories you've burnt in terms of food:
- 1 Starbucks cappuccino = 150 calories = 50 minutes cycling
- 1 jam doughnut = 250 calories = 30 minutes swimming
- 1 medium sized portion of chips = 270 calories = 40 minutes salsa dancing
- 1 croissant = 275 calories = 75 minutes housework
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The story is about Justin Hitchcock, a professor of Arts and Architecture, who decided to overcome his fear of needles and donate his blood (it was also because he wanted a date with the pretty doctor) in Ireland. In another part of Ireland, Joyce Conway had a traumatic accident and had to have a blood transfusion. Since her accident, she finds that not only has her eating habits changed (from being a vegetarian to a non-vegetarian), but she can also speak Italian and Latin besides knowing a lot about old heritage buildings. She also has dreams of people and places which she doesn't know, although they all seem familiar to her in a way. At first, she thought she was going crazy because of the stress she's feeling, but after several incidents, she discovers that the changes are due to the blood transfusion - her blood donor was Justin Hitchcock, and that somehow, his eating habits, knowledge, interests and even memories have been passed to her.
I really like the story...there are many moments of sadness, but it also has its hilarious moments, not to mention many moral values. Cecelia Ahern is one the few authors who write using the present tense, which is probably why you feel as if you're really "in the moment" when reading. What's most intriguing, however, is the fact that there actually are cases of heart transplant patients who acquire their donor's skills, tastes, etc after the transplant. Although I'm not sure exactly if there are also similar cases involving blood transfusion. From the psychological perspective, more research could be done to find out if blood transfusions and heart transplants can influence the patient's behaviour and mental processes. Hmm...have to keep that in mind if I want to do a research someday.
So how does the story end?? Ooohh...the ending is just so, so sweet. Read it yourself!
Monday, November 10, 2008
Then I remembered a lesson I learnt in my Arabic class which discussed verses 3 – 10 of Surah Yunus in the Holy Qur’an. Verse 5 mentions that Allah created the sun and the moon to move in its own orbit so that we (as the slaves of Allah) will know how to count the months and the years. So my Ustaz told us that the Roman calendar (tahun Masihi) is based on the sun and consists of 365 days a year, while the Hijriyah calendar is based on the moon and has 354 days in a year. That means that if we follow the Hijriyah calendar, we’d actually be older than we are now since it has fewer days in a year compared to the Roman calendar. Slight shudder there.
The shining sun
The glowing moon
It’s really beautiful and amazing actually the way Allah has paired and suited the perfect adjectives to describe His creations. Even I had to refer to a number of dictionaries and Qur’anic translations while writing this post. But then again, it shows that although we human beings are gifted with ‘aqal (mind), our knowledge will never, ever surpass Allah’s knowledge, unless He wills it to happen.
**Please correct me if there are any mistakes...Thank you.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
It's now the middle of the final exam season at IIUM (another valid reason to not update my blog), and I've only got one paper left - Islam & Psychology, which pretty tough to score. After that, I'm going home to enjoy my almost-six-weeks-of-vacation!! During which I will update my blog, insha Allah. Exams do not deter me from reading novels!
So anyway...please pray for my exams. Hope all of you have fun doing whatever it is you're doing.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Fortunately, the khatib repeated the sermon in English, and it turned out that he was talking about how Ramadhan is a month of good deeds, good behaviour, etc. But the challenge is: Can maintain carrying out the good deeds and good behaviour even when Ramadhan is over?? Since Ramadhan is a month of training, lets hope that we will apply and continue to practice all these good stuff even after Ramadhan.
On another note, we are now entering the last ten days of Ramadhan. How time flies! I think it's a big challenge today to accomplish our daily tasks, yet still try to perform tarawih prayers and other types of ibadah. But we should be grateful that we have it easier than the Prophet and his Companions who fought in the Battle of Badr while fasting. Or to take a more modern example, at least we have sufficient food (regardless whether the food is tasty or not...heh heh) for iftar and sahur compared to our other unfortunate Muslim brothers and sisters in Iraq and so on.
So lets try our best to increase our ibadah activities...and may Allah bless us all.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
It seems that we've just celebrated Hari Raya & Raya Haji, but all of a sudden it's Ramadhan again. I'm sure that most of us are already thinking about and planning for Hari Raya (myself included), such as what to wear, what kuih raya to order, etc. But to be able to celebrate Hari Raya happily, we have to first complete the fasting month. Because that's what Hari Raya is all about anyway...a day of victory for the Muslims who have successfully completed 30 days of fasting.
To me, Ramadhan is also a month of jihad - jihad with our own self (Nafs). Since all the Syaitans have been chained up by Allah, the only thing that can still whisper bad things to us is our own nafs. Like one lecturer always said, it all comes back to the soul factor. If your soul is good, it will motivate you to do good things, insha Allah. Check out this hadeeth:
Al-Bukhaari & Muslim narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
As mentioned in the hadeeth, all the gates of Paradise are open to us in Ramadhan. If we do 1 good deed, Allah will reward us with 10 good deeds. But if we do 1 bad deed, Allah will only punish us with 1 sin. There...isn't Allah the Most Merciful?
So let's all step up our efforts and increase our 'ibadah this month...may this Ramadhan be better than the last for all of us, and may Allah accept all our deeds and 'ibadah, insha Allah.
Happy fasting to everyone!
**If there are any incorrect facts, please let me know.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
The first week of semester is a rush of adding/dropping subjects and making sure your class schedule is just perfect (seeing as you'll have to live with it for one whole sem) in between going to classes. And as is customary for the first week of the first semester, the first few classes are spent with the usual briefing of the course contents and course assessment by the lecturers.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
This book is just so full of action, street shoot-outs and thick New York accents. Of course, it was written by another of New York Times' bestselling author, who was also the writer/producer of the TV series Law & Order. His other bestselling novel is Sleepers, which was then adapted into a movie.
Paradise City is about an Italian cop, Giancarlo Lo Manto whose father was shot to death by the Camorra, a gangster mob similar to the Mafia in Italy, when he was just 15 years old. His mother then moved him and his sister to Naples, Italy where he soon discovered that the Camorra was just as active as in Naples as they were in New York. He became a cop so that he could avenge his father's death by bringing down the Camorra.Gian is not the average cop - when he was initially assigned to the street patrol unit, he made friends with the homeless, hookers and pickpockets. He bent the law to suit his needs and soon built a vast network of information. His street eyes would drop him info on the latest (drug) drop spot or any Camorra-related crime which he would then act upon, putting big dents and causing big losses to the Camorra organization.
The current Camorra don, Pete Rossi, is getting angrier and frustrated with Gian, so he hatches a plan to finish Gian off once and for all. When Gian's niece goes missing in New York City, Gian cancels a much-needed vacation in Capri and arranges for a temporary assignment with the New York Police Department. He is partnered with Jennifer Fabini, a gifted officer with her own personal problems. Although Gian isn't the type to work with partners, he soon develops a respect for Jennifer as she is fearless and knows how to use her cop instincts. Together, they find out that the disappearance of Gian's niece is actually a kidnap plan to use her as a bait to lure Gian back to New York - permanently. In the end, Gian will have to face up to his number one enemy...but there are many twists and surprises along the way, including a dash of romance.
I just love the way Gian goes about the New York streets to find out the latest happening or info from his insiders. He also utilizes his street sense and cop instincts, and is always on the alert whenever a couple of shooters are hiding out, waiting to shoot him down. The climax of this book is definitely the last shoot-out which takes place in the middle of the street in broad daylight, involving 4 top shooters, Gian, Jennifer, and the surprising appearance of Pete Rossi.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
So that's why I decided to change courses. Haha...okay, I'm lying. I also changed courses because I can't stand Math anymore...which is kinda surprising considering the fact that my grandpa Wan is a great math teacher. Heh heh. High School math and Matric math are still tolerable...but majoring in math is insane! Unless you're a fan of math, I'm sure you'd agree. I mean, Algebra used to be a tiny chapter in the text book, but it's now a whole subject. Urgh.
So why change to Psychology?? To tell you the truth, I never knew much about Psychology, Sociology, Mass Comm...basically the arts sector. This is because Malaysians are quite narrow-minded when it comes to the career fields (another disadvantage of the Malaysian education system?). Here, the only "top" courses are Medic, Engineering, Law, and Economics. Try telling someone you take something other than those four courses, and they'll go "Ohh. I see.", like it's not really great and perhaps you're not really that clever to take those top courses. I know this because I was once in the Science field (and I got good results for my SPM), so once upon a time, I was one of those who looked down (just a bit, though) on these art courses. But since I'm now an art student, I've been trying to expose more of these courses to my juniors. And I have to say, their surprise and interest really encourage me.
In foreign countries such as the US, UK and Australia, the arts sector is well-established and is even considered as one of the "top" courses. In fact, the people there will probably say "Wow! I see!" (instead of the "Ohh. I see." you get here) if you tell them you're a psych major. And if I'm not mistaken, psychology is a science subject in certain countries. Among the courses offered in the arts sector other than Psychology are Mass Communication (my minor), Political Science, History, Sociology and Languages. Since I had to take an Introductory subject on each course (except the language), I have been more open-minded towards these courses because they are all useful in their own ways. I mean, if nobody took History, who'd be left to document the history in making?
But no offense to the doctors, engineers, lawyers and accountants out there...you guys are still a big contribution to the world. Luckily though, my family has an interesting mixture of careers - my sister is a Dentistry student, my Ummi's a lecturer, and there are several engineers including my Ayah (I guess you have to have a few of those), a few uncles are in the Syari'ah field (and now have successful careers...not just becoming an ustaz), a pilot, a Cabinet Minister's assistant, and my youngest Aunt is now into Culinary Arts. That's really interesting. Perhaps we can leave the Raya cooking to her and she'll whip up a few gourmet dishes.
Actually, I'm going to talk mainly about Psychology. I chose it because its about the human behaviour, which is something we all do and observe other people doing - unconsciously. Before I go further, I'd like to point out the difference between a psychic and a psychologist as I've noticed that some people are confused between the two terms. A psychic is someone who uses extra-sensory perception (ESP) to perceive things which are hidden from the normal human senses (eg; predicting the future); whereas a psychologist tries to understand why a person acts the way they do and the role these actions play in a person's social behaviour.
Other than studying people's behaviour, psychologists also study a person's cognition (thinking), emotion, perception, personality and interpersonal relationships. Which is why I really like it, because i've always liked observing people (but then again, who doesn't?).
Learning about a person's personality is really cool because you learn about a person's traits & characteristics which make him unique.From there, you can describe a person, explain his behaviour and can even predict his future behaviour. Most companies nowadays rely on personality assessment tests to help them find a suitable candidate for their company. Crime detectives do a case study on their suspects in order to study their profile and behaviour, like the case study done on the serial killer Ted Bundy.
For those of you who are interested in just the human part of biology, but don't want to torture themselves by doing medic should go into Psychology (please click here to learn more about the daily tortures which medic students have to go through. I find this blog interesting, funny yet so true). The neuropsychology branch combines neuroscience and psychology and relates the brain to behaviours. I also had to take a Physiological Psychology subject, and when I compared it to the Physio that my medic friends were taking, they were basically the same stuff. Except the psych students' exams are easier than the medic atudents'. Heh heh. But you still need to memorize facts and theories for exams, so I think the Engineering and Math students are luckier in that aspect. All they have to do is know/understand the formula and just apply it.
Psychology has a very good career prospect...at least in the US. Here, its just "Ohh...so you can be a counsellor!!" like its the most exciting thing to do in the world. Roll eyes. I just hate it when someone says that to me. C'mon la, there're many other careers like clinical psychologist, forensic psychologist, health psychologist, neuro psychologist, engineering psychologist, sports psychologist...please click here or here for more info. Or else, its "Haha...hope you don't become a psycho like your patients!" Argh...! For your info, people, its the psychiatrists who have a bigger chance of becoming psychos as they will be the ones who will actually treat the mental-disorder patients. Psychologists in the abnormal psychology area study the nature of psychopatholgy (the study of mental illness or mental distress) and its causes, which is then applied in clinical psychology to treat patients with psychological disorders. Examples of psychological disorders are anxiety disorders (eg; a specific phobia), psychotic disorders (eg; Schizophrenia) and even personality disorders (Please click here for more info).
In this ever-developing world, I would say that the demand for psychologists and psychiatrists are quite high seeing as the number of people who are on the verge of going crazy because of stress is always increasing.
As for me...I haven't exactly decided yet what I want to be. I'm thinking about child psychology, which deals with dyslexic kids, autistic kids and so on. It would be nice to make a difference in these kids' lives. If I wanted a career for the money, I'd be better off doing industrial/organizational psychology. But my parents always taught us that when we do something, make sure we do it for Islam...not just for the money or worldly status. You know what? I've got like, 2 more years to decide. Hopefully this coming new semester will help me choose the right career. If not, maybe next sem. Or the next sem after that.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
So what is the book about that got us so into it? It's written by Sophie Kinsella about Becky Brandon nee Bloomwood and her shopping addiction. She's a shopaholic who's always up-to-date with the latest fashion and accessories in the British edition of Vogue. And of course, the clothes that she buys are not the clothes in a typical store, but designer clothes and accessories. Becky loves shoes, and has a whole cabinet just for them. There are rows of Jimmy Choos and LK Bennetts, and her shoes are arranged according to colour and type. Among the designer labels mentioned in the Shopaholic books are Armani, Dior, Chanel, Prada, DKNY, Vera Wang, Yves St. Laurent, and LK Bennett. So you can pretty much guess how much she has to pay for her wardrobe. I checked out LK Bennett (which has really fab shoes!) because Becky seems to like LK Bennett, and a pair of high-heeled sandal like this:
costs £189.00. That's a discount price for their summer sale, but the original price was £349.00. Just for a pair of shoes. So Becky's credit card bills are usually red bills and she has to ask for an overdraft because she sometimes "overbudgets" and can't pay the bills off. Although I won't mind admitting that if I had all the money in the world, I'd buy Armani clothes, Prada handbags and LK Bennett shoes too. But the best thing is that Becky will always solve her own problems and gets herself out of the mess she's created in the most creative ways.
In Shopaholic Ties the Knot, Becky gets married to Luke James Brandon who owns a PR company in London and New York and is very rich. He's also a handsome, funny and romantic guy who's very patient with Becky. Except when she gets him into trouble too, which is when he loses his temper with her. Becky has a hard time choosing between a fairy-tale wedding at the New York Plaza planned by one of New York's top wedding planners, or a traditional wedding at home planned by her beloved parents.
It's a totally different scene in Shopaholic & Baby because this time, Becky is shopping for herself and her baby. So it's a whole new world of gynaecologists, shopping for prams and bassinets, Baby Dior milk bottles and Petit Bateau rompers. Check these pictures out:
(Anyone interested in checking out some really cute baby and toddlers' stuff can click here.)
Of course, the problem came when Becky discovered that her A-list obstetrecian was her husband Luke's ex-girlfriend. To be honest, the Shopaholic series are not really suitable for those who easily follow what other people do, because people like that will definitely buy designer things like Becky. The best thing to do when reading this book is to remind yourself that you live in the real world with other worthwhile things to buy instead of designer clothes. Unless, of course, you have a rich husband who's willing to spend a few thousand ringgit on you. Haha. Dream on.
Of course, now I'm having several flashbacks of the time Pak Ndak stayed with us in England. We took him hiking at Beacon Hill, we took him to our school, and goodness knows where else (which means I don't really remember where else. Haha.) But the best part was the games that he played with us in the evenings at home. One game that my sisters and I remember until now is the one where Pak Ndak lies face down on the carpet in the living room while me and my sisters would step all over his back and "massage" it. Luckily we weren't that heavy back then. Hehe. We really enjoyed his visit because apart from him, the only relatives who visited us back then were my grandparents on Ayah's side and Ayah's uncle & aunt who live in Singapore. We had a great time with them too and went sightseeing in London. Sigh.