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FIFA World Cup 2014 is finally here, this is the one month where sleep becomes overrated, and football fever is at an all time high. Sure, staying up all night watching the game might not exactly be a form of sports for the spectators like you and me, but it happens only once in four years, so we don’t have to have an excuse right?

Long live football, and long live coffee!

Stadium Astro #OlaBola World Cup Party
Stadium Astro #OlaBola World Cup Party

Last weekend the good people at Astro threw the Stadium Astro #OlaBola World Cup Party just for the football fans among the bloggers. The venue was at Hongdae Moon, located at the rooftop of One City Mall, also one of the taller buildings at this side of USJ.

This was my first time to this relatively new mall, and I really like the concept of having restaurants and hang out places located on top of tall building with great view and unhindered, natural wind.

our hosts Reuben Kang and Jun Yong
our hosts Reuben Kang and Jun Yong explaining the apps

Our host of the day were the duo of pint-size funny man Reuben Kang as well as Astro Supersport TV Host and Miss Malaysia Tourism 2012/2013, Jun Yong.

They did a mighty fine job introducing to us the various Stadium Astro and Astro on the Go, Astro GO 2014 FIFA World Cup and OlaBola Football Predictor mobile applications that are specifically created just for FIFA World Cup 2014  which I will elaborate later in this same article.

OK, abang Nara and I did not win the football prediction game
OK, abang Nara and I did not win the football prediction game

After a bit of explanations, the real fun begins. Together with a few other bloggers, I was invited to play a couple games on the stage with the hosts.

Abang Nara and I partnered up with Jun to go against another team in playing the Ola Bola Football Predictor game.

the venue at One City Mall had quite an awesome view too
the venue at One City Mall had quite an awesome view too

Ola Bola Football Predictor is a pretty interesting application you can use during the actual World Cup game itself.

For example, during crucial events such as free kicks, corners, and penalty kicks, you make predictions on the outcome of those events to accumulate points when you get it right. The champion of Football Predictor gets to bring home a foosball table!

The game is free on Apple App Store / Google Play Store

the Astro apps you should check out

Of course, that isn’t the only mobile applications available from Astro for this World Cup season. There are a few more you should definitely check out if you’re a football fan.

Astro on the Go, watch from anywhere and not just the living room
Astro on the Go, watch from anywhere and not just the living room

First and foremost, Astro on the Go, an application that features all 64 FIFA World Cup matches live on your mobile device (iPad, iPhone, and Android devices) as well as on the web.

30 of the 64 LIVE matches will be available for free for all Malaysian while customers can purchase single games on pay per view basis for RM6 each as well. You don’t need to be confined to the TV to watch the games live, you can literally be anywhere with an internet connection.

Astro on the Go is free for download on Apple App Store / Google Play Store and via my.astroonthego.com 

Astro GO 2014 FIFA World Cup app
Astro GO 2014 FIFA World Cup, check out all the stats!

For the more serious fans, there’s Astro GO 2014 FIFA World Cup application and web player.

This is one serious application for Astro Football Pass customers where all 64 LIVE matches are shown through 6 multi-camera feeds. You can basically be your own producer/director, choosing whichever angle/replay, and check all the match statistics and information in real time. In fact, there are over 4,000 Video On Demand Clips in the app.

Naturally, the application can be found on Apple App Store / Google Play Store and web player via StadiumAstro.com.

Stadium Astro application
Stadium Astro application

If you’re a fan of fantasy football, check out the Stadium Astro Fantasy #OlaBola Edition. You can be a football manager and create your own dream team, transfer player, join leagues, and earn points and rewards based on your player’s performance during the World Cup.

Stadium Astro

Stadium Astro

The best thing is that you stand a chance to win actual prizes if your team comes up on top. Check it out at fantasy.olabola.stadiumastro.com. The website works both on mobile devices and on your computer.

Whose side will you take?
Whose Side Will You Take?

For something a bit more fun and less serious, head on to olabola.my to use the Whose Side Will You Take web application. Here you can make a face-painted photo of yourself and set it as your Facebook profile photo and be a part of the largest face-painting drive in Malaysia.

I’m going Dutch! So what’s your team?

Another year, another Xmas party at SS3. This was the 9th Xmas party we had at my place since I moved here, with the exception of 2010.

As every year, we had a bit of food, plenty to drink (thanks to Carlsberg Malaysia for a case of Carlsberg, Asahi, Kronenbourg Blanc, and Somersby each), and a fun filled gift exchange program.

xmas eve party at KY's, 2013
xmas eve party at KY’s, 2013

This year, we used our gas grill for some pork chop that I marinated, and set up another charcoal grill for our Muslim friends.

Party got started at around 8, and we were lucky that the weather cooperated despite Accuweather forecasted a bit of thunderstorm, so thank you for lying again, Accuweather!

we had a non-halal and a halal grill going on
we had a non-halal and a halal grill going on

There were a lot of new faces as well as returning friends to the party this year.

Those who were here before:

KY, Haze, Horng, Yuki, EeLaine, Suan, David, Winnie, Michael, Lance, Melissa, Ruby, Douglas, Yee Hou.

it took Fresh 8 tries to finally get her gift - a water gun
it took Fresh 8 tries to finally get her gift – a water gun

And the new faces who joined us this year:

Evelyn, Dennis, Pearl, Pearl’s bf, Ruby’s guy, Suching, Pauline, Kelly, Sheng, Min, Shah, Angel, Fuad, Ecky, Sat, Sliz, Jon, Latha, Lisa.

So it was 14 + 19 = 33 people, right around our average every year, a big thank you for everyone who made it. For those who missed the party, next year ya!

my gift was MyKuali white curry mee, was a hit!
my gift was MyKuali white curry mee, was a hit!

As usual, our gift exchange had some different rules to the norm:

  • every participant contribute a gift worth over RM 30, and then draw a number from the box
  • smallest number start by picking and unwrapping a gift
  • next number can snatch the opened gift, whereby the person who lost it gets to choose another gift, or snatch another opened gift
  • you’re not allowed to snatch the same gift you had before

Kelly, SuChing, Ecky, Haze, Angel, Dennis, Melissa, Eelaine
Kelly, SuChing, Ecky, Haze, Angel, Dennis, Melissa, Eelaine

Just to mess up with the guys, I actually gave a pretty good gift this year – 16 packs of MyKuali Penang white curry mee instant noodle. Arguably the most sought after instant noodle on the market right now, it exchanged hands 6 different times and finally ended up on Winnie’s possession.

Ruby's guy, Sheng, David, Shah, Sliz, Ruby, Horng, Min
Ruby’s guy, Sheng, David, Shah, Sliz, Ruby, Horng, Min

The biggest victim of the night was Fresh, she took 8 tries before finally settled on the water gun that she can use to torment Cendawan, all her other gifts (snatched or opened) were taken by other people, so many highs and so many disappointments, hahaha.

Douglas, Suching, Pauline, Pearl's guy, Yee Hou, Lance, Melissa, Fuad
Douglas, Suching, Pauline, Pearl’s guy, Yee Hou, Lance, Melissa, Fuad

Some of the other highly saught after gifts include a bottle of Jack Daniel, a Joker figurine, a pair of wide angle & fisheye lens for smart phone (I got it!), a pack of Somersby apple cider, nanodots magnet toy, a bag of bacon, number 8 magic ball, tumbler, tictac, and more.

It was a fun night and I hope everyone enjoyed. The men in blue never came this year, breaking a tradition of sort.

See you guys next year!

Thanks to the good people at ROYCE, I got my hands on a few limited edition chocolates slated for their upcoming ROYCE Maccha Fair (available from 1st August, 2013 for limited time) a short while ago. Since Lance invited us for his almost-birthday BBQ party at Genting last week, I took the opportunity to bring those chocolates some 1000 meters above sea level for sharing.

ROYCE Maccha Fair chocolates and the bunch at Genting
ROYCE Maccha Fair chocolates and the bunch at Genting

I’ve previously wrote an entry on ROYCE chocolate and was impressed with the quality of this chocolate maker from Hokkaido, therefore I was quite keen to sample this latest offering.

While many choose to buy chocolates in duty free shops, ROYCE is one of the very few brands that have their outlets in various malls around Klang Valley (check location here), offering a wide range of chocolate products.

To me, the only downside is that they don’t serve coffee on location since these two goes so well together.

ROYCE Maccha Almond chocolate, Kerol as the model
ROYCE Maccha Almond chocolate, Kerol as the model

Anyway, lets talk about these Maccha Fair chocolates.

The Maccha Almond chocolate is pretty self explanatory. Roasted almond coated with green tea flavoured chocolate on the outside. There is something about nuts that always goes well with chocolates, and I think this goes extremely well with beer too.

Lance & Haze with ROYCE's Prafeuille Chocolat
Lance & Haze with ROYCE’s Prafeuille Chocolat

ROYCE’s Prafeuille Chocolat made by having fragrant green tea sauce sandwiched between light-textured chocolate and mixed with powdered green tea leaves. A box of this contains 30 pieces of chocolates, all individually wrapped.

The taste of green tea is very strong and suppresses the aroma of chocolate somewhat. Whisky did not go well with this, but I believe coffee would be lovely. Kinda reminds me of those minty chocolates you get for Christmas, except this one tastes a whole lot better. Perfect for those who loves green tea, but if you just want the taste of chocolates, this might not suit.

Michael enjoying some ROYCE Nama chocolate - Machha
Michael enjoying some ROYCE Nama chocolate – Machha

Then there’s the Nama chocolate, ROYCE’s most famed product. This is one of the smoothest and tastiest chocolate you can get. Laced with a hint of liquor with perfect balance between the aroma of green tea and fragrances of chocolate, this was pretty much everyone’s favorite of the night, including myself.

If calorie intake and money isn’t a problem, I want ROYCE Nama chocolate to be in my fridge at all time. So good!

You can find locations of Royce’ stores in Malaysia from http://www.e-royce.com/english/shop/shopintheworld/malaysia.html and their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ROYCEMalaysia

it was Lance's birthday BBQ celebration, did it like a rock star
it was Lance’s birthday BBQ celebration, did it like a rock star

Well, the chocolate was just desserts for this awesome BBQ party that we had. Lance made us plenty of awesome BBQ goodness, which includes lamb rack, steak, bacon, mushroom with cheese, chicken, salad, clam chowder, and more.

The birthday cake for the boy was a pavlova cake from Alexis at Bangsar, which is of course, one of the best pavlova cakes you can get (Serai serves pretty good pavlova too).

plenty of drinks, meat, and good times with friends
plenty of drinks, meat, and good times with friends

Mike’s job for the night was handling all the alcohol related drinks since Ahfa was unable to join us on to night. We had great fun as always, and as always, looking forward to the next session!

And it was another Xmas Eve Party at SS3, a yearly tradition that we’ve had since 2004 (except for 2010), if you’re counting, this was the 8th time on the same venue with the same concept – plenty of drinks, a bit of food, and a tricky gift exchange program by midnight.

The idea is for everyone to have some fun counting down to Christmas day, and at the same time an excuse to have a few drinks and mingle among like minded friends.

xmas eve party at SS3, 2012
xmas eve party at SS3, 2012

Carlsberg Malaysia was kind enough to sponsor us some beer for the night – we had 2 cases of Carlsberg, Asashi Super Dry, and Kronenbourg Blanc each. Thank you Pearl, Calvin, and Serin!

I made full use of the Jagermiester freezer and Carlsberg beer tower I won from the Jagermiester Halloween Party a couple months ago.

I made some bergedil, haze marinated pork for bbq, Fresh made santa berries
I made some bergedil, haze marinated pork for bbq, Fresh made santa berries

Other than the beer, we prepared some food for the night. Haze marinated more than 3 KGs of pork for BBQ and prepared a small slab of roast pork, I made some bergedil, and Fresh prepared her little cute Santaberries.

It wasn’t a dinner event, so these were just beer food.

Jeniffer & Jenine; Fooi, Sam, Kerol, Terence; Shany & Desmond, Eiling, Horng
Jeniffer & Janine; Fooi, Sam, Kerol, Terence; Shany & Desmond, Eiling, Horng

Guests started coming in just slightly before 9 pm. In fact, David and Michael actually went to my place while we were out having dinner, talk about being too punctual.

Fresh, Huss, Janine, Winnie & Terence, KY, Erin, Yuki, Martin
Fresh, Huss, Janine, Winnie & Terence, KY, Erin, Yuki, Martin

The returning party goers were:

KY, Haze, Horng, Yuki, Kim, Gareth, Terence, Kerol, Ruby, Michael, Li Ling, Lance, Eiling, Yee Hou, Firdy, Zess, Shiang.

Fiqa, Eiling, Ruby & Desmond, Terence, Vindy, Cherlyn, Desmond, Terence

Fiqa, Eiling, Ruby & Desmond, Terence, Vindy, Cherlyn, Desmond, Terence

New Faces were:

Fiqa, Huss, Fresh, Erin, Martin, Jennifer, Janine, Winnie, Fooi, Desmond, Sam, Geoffery, Shany, Cheryn, Vindy, David, Gary

So that was 17-17 with a total of 34 people, a pretty nice turn out despite a few notable absence due to work, travel, and family commitments. You know who you are, and we hope to see you next year.

David, Yee Hou, Desmond, Michael, Kerol, Horng, Firdy, Gary
David, Yee Hou, Desmond, Michael, Kerol, Horng, Firdy, Gary

We had another fun filled gift exchange program with the following rules this year

  • every participant contribute a gift worth over RM 49.90, and then draw a number from the box
  • smallest number start by picking and unwrapping a gift
  • next number can snatch the opened gift, whereby the person who lost it gets to choose another gift, or snatch another opened gift
  • maximum of 3 snatching sequence per round

The most snatched gift was a sweet Puma Ducati bag from Fooi that’s actually retailed at over RM 300, Lance went home with it. Other memorable gifts include portable air bed, Chinese liquor, ice cream, Thor’s Hammer bottle opener, a couple of salami from Australia.

Terence ended up with a pair of blue lingerie, who would have thought, right?

Gary, Geoffery, Horng; Yee Hou, Fresh, Yuki, Haze; and finally, the drunken man
Gary, Geoffery, Horng; Yee Hou, Fresh, Yuki, Haze; and finally, the drunken man

The men in blue visited us by around 2 am and that’s when the party was winding down. The ending of this party is almost exactly the same as the one in 2008 where we had a dude in Afro K-O-ed on the floor. It was a blast.

See you guys next year!

I was initially going to skip this party, until I saw a pretty awesome costume idea off Reddit (my number one time waster these days). Decided to give it a go and thanks to Siao Ling, I got a pair of invites to the Jagermeister Halloween The Beginning Party at Carcosa

Jagermeister party and my silly costume
Jagermeister party and my silly costume

A day prior to the party I drove around the neighbourhood a bit and found a couple empty cardboard boxes for my prop. I spent probably about an hour and a half to build this costume with another RM 6.90 spent in buying some safety pins, and utilized half a roll of duct tape too. Together with a couple of pillows, a pair of riding gloves, and some plastic bags, the costume was done.

Every house should have some duct tape and WD40, these two things will solve 90% of all household problems.

we partied hard! Ee Laine, KY, Haze, Michael, Elle, Fooi
we partied hard! Ahfa, KY, Haze, Michael, Elle, Fooi

Haze did everyone’s make up here, the only one missing was Terence, who decided to ffk for a few hours because lame reasons. Fooi looked decent in here but he eventually went full retard due to too many shots of Jagermeister.

the loot - a Carlsberg beer tower and a Jagermeister mini fridge
the loot – a Carlsberg beer tower and a Jagermeister mini fridge

My costume was one of five that won the prizes – a Carlsberg beer tower and a very sweet Jagermeister mini fridge. These will be very useful for the next x’mas party. I also had most photos taken with me in my life time, felt like the bride in a wedding night, it was glorious!

Thanks again Siao Ling for the invites!