Sunday, December 30, 2007

Good coffee

Since Rizal of Café Salemba wrote today about good coffee (with economics spin), I feel obligated to share my happiness to finally find the good coffee I like - Taster's Choice from Nescafé. This is one of those things I haven't been able to find since we moved to KL.

Last week when I went to Singapore and had the time to do things I usually don't when I have to go there, Tari and I went to Mustafa Shopping Center. We spent some quality time until 2 AM at Mustafa (kids are with their cousins and grandma). I went home with my Taster's Choice. She got her iPod Nano. We were both happy.

Yeah, I'm not that sophisticated.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

At-the-moment-addiction: Scrabulous

Yup, I have some free time towards the year-end. And I use some of them to play Scrabulous - kind of online Scrabble - on Facebook.

What's good about playing online is that all players need not be online at the same time. You can check how the game progress at any time. Which is also not a so-good thing if you're playing with someone who travels a lot. (this can be mitigated by playing more than one game at a time)

Since we can try words, it's amazing to find out a lot of new "words" out there. Like my friend's favorite, ZA, which doesn't appear in Merriam-Webster dictionary. (it may be defined as South Africa's country code, .za, or a short version of pizza)

Or XU, which means "a coin formerly minted by South Vietnam equivalent to the cent".

Currently, the highest-scoring word listed in the global statistics page on Scrabulous is worth 1,778 points - "OXYPHENBUTAZONE". (as a comparison, my highest scoring game was 305 points.)

Cool, eh?

There are many websites that assist players to find such words, like Scrabulous Dictionary, Scrabble cheat-o-matic, More Words, or WordNavigator. Some consider this as cheating.

Scrabulous was founded two years ago in India, and debuted in Facebook last July. Players can play either on Scrabulous website or on Facebook. While we can play against any friends in Facebook, we can play against anyone on Scrabulous website.

It even sells merchandises online. Like this thong.

Perhaps for some fanatics...

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Studying aboard

Ever thought of furthering your education? Forget about the conventional MBA or Ph.D. Try studying aboard (yes aboard, not a typo of abroad) with the Scholar Ship.

What is The Scholar Ship?
The Scholar Ship is a recognized academic program aboard a transformed passenger ship hosting both undergraduate and postgraduate students on semester-long voyages around the world. Participants from diverse cultural backgrounds come together to co-create a transnational learning community that develops their intercultural competence and fosters lifelong friendships.

It offers both undergraduate and postgraduate studies, in areas like International Communication, International Relations, and some more.

What I can't get out of my mind, however, is the fact that there are many ways of communications. Like verbal and non-verbal. And in one semester, students have more than enough time to practice both... and any relations that come with it.

There are tons of examples - and theories, I believe - that prove being together for a period of time may spark something among the participants.

My wife and I, for instance, sort of met in a summer stay program. Or Rob and Amber, from the TV show Survivor, who got married a couple years ago. And all the flings and affairs that happen at work, in business trips, during study exchange programs, and in other "opportunities".

Knowing that these will happen, the program should consider expanding its core and elective courses beyond international communications and relations. Students will surely have a lot from the semester-long practice to analyze during case study discussion.

Two that top my mind are:
  • Social psychology, with Interpersonal Relation as the core subject.
  • Biology, with concentration in human anatomy.

Submit your application here.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

On tex mex food in KL

Finally after more than two years in KL, we found a decent Tex-Mex food at Las Carretas in Damansara. It's been two Sundays in a row, and we've tried quite a few - Chimichanga, Quesadillas, Fajitas, and Nachos. And so far two Margaritas and a Boca Chica on the house. Good service.

Prior to this, it's been limited to Fajitas and Nachos from places like TGI Friday and Chilli's.

I'm not a big fan of Tex-Mex food, but it's one that I can easily take. Tortilla + salsa, I'm happy. Cheese nachos - great! (now I remember where all these fats came from).

Next - Taco, Enchiladas, and Burrito.


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Saturday, December 15, 2007

LCCT, low cost redefined

Some companies really take low cost to the limit. In this case, it's KLIA's LCCT - Low Cost Carrier Terminal.

I wonder why an airport was so overcrowded, chaotic and messy at 5 AM. So bus-terminal-like.

Perhaps there's really a bus terminal somewhere at the back.

After all, the name is Low Cost Carrier Terminal, not Low Cost Air Carrier Terminal. So we should expect any types of carrier at the end of the gates. Bus, cabs, or even becak. And the services that come with it...

And here's how the cost structure is probably like with regards to LCCT and Air Asia:

Standard air fare price

- decent customer service
- knowledgeable airport personnel
+ (more) inefficient passenger flow
- lots of luggage-scanning equipment
+ four times the queue length
- jet bridge
+ umbrellas when it rains

= LCCT air fare

- 10kg baggage
- in-flight food and drinks
- 10cm of leg room

= Air Asia fare

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