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Movie: Mama (2013)

Mama (2013) is a horror movie directed by Andres Muschietti and produced by Guillermo del Toro.

Synopsis: Five years after a father kidnapped his two young daughters, their uncle, Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) finally found the girls, Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lilly (Isabelle Nélisse), in the cabin where they have been living for the past five years. Lucas and his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain) manage to obtain custody for the girls with a deal made that the girls' doctor, Dr. Dreyfuss (Daniel Kash) can continue to monitor the girls' progress. Both girls are seen talking to walls and are extremely vicious upon human contact. Lilly can hardly speak and walk. Both girls continue talking about the presence of someone, or something, as "Mama".

I tell you, horror movies with creepy, haunted children are the spookiest kind of horror movies.

The deranged "Mama" ghost is the perfect scare factor that every time she appears, you wouldn't want to look at her at all. "Mama" the ghost or Edith when she was still alive, was a mad woman stricken by grief. Now that she's dead and became a ghost for more than a century, she's an angry ghost, harming everyone who comes between her and the girls. 

I find that this movie is far more chilling in its quieter moments, especially when the girls seem to be so comfortable with the on-and-off presence of Mama. That actually adds a sense of foreboding. 

Megan Charpentier is perfect as Victoria and Isabelle Nélisse as fiercely devoted little Lilly to Mama will scare you silly with her charming smile, awkward silence, and occasional defiant acts. 

Speaking about horror movies with spooky children, I browsed through my blog and found a list:

If you are a big fan of horror movies, don't miss watching this one and get spooked by Mama!

Note: Not for the faint-hearted.


Nasi Beriani Gam @ Restoran Meka, Kuala Terengganu

Nasi Beriani Gam (Ayam)

Biryani, biriani, buriyani, beryani or beriani is a set of rice-based foods made with spices, rice (usually basmati) and chicken, mutton, fish, eggs or vegetables. The spices and condiments used in biryani may include, but not limited to, ghee, nutmeg, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, onions, and garlic. [via]

I love the sweetish vegetables and potatoes curry that comes with the rice. Most meals in Terengganu, including goreng-goreng stuff, are on the sweet side. I guess they use quite a lot of sugar or kicap manis.

Their teh-c is so pale! But I love my tea full of milk and without sugar, so I love my cup of pale teh-c. Teh-c, nasi beriani, and vegetables curry. Marvelous! 


Restoran Meka

Address: 66/16, Ground Floor, Taman Seri Intan, Jalan Sultan Omar, 20300 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu.

Note: Nasi Beriani Gam is only available every Sunday and Wednesday. Be at the restaurant by 12:15pm to avoid massive crowd and to get your plate of steaming hot nasi beriani fresh from the kitchen!

By the way, their Rojak Ayam is fantastic too!

Thanks Mah Mah, Yeh Yeh for bringing us here.


A recap of sorts

Alas, I don't know what to write.

But I feel like writing something about my blog's "growth" and "development" since 2007.

*** 2007 ***

Joy 'N' Escapade was born on 17 August 2007. It started off as my online ranting space, so to speak, as some blog newbies did, I believe.

*** 2008-2009 ***

My dear blog kinda lost its steam for about three months in early 2008 before picking up a steady speed again with 1-2 posts per day from April 2008 till December 2009.

I mainly blogged about food and movies. Yeah, I know, boring stuff. And maybe one or two heartbreak stories too, I couldn't really remember. I might have written about work and some articles for the clients I worked with at that time.

I don't drink, smoke or party, so no partying posts.

Joy 'N' Escapade remains true to its purpose and nature until today - my online journal - no niche, just life and its meaningful anecdotes.

*** 2010-2011 ***

Then I met him, my husband-to-be, in 2010. Things changed. I started Project 365 (2010) to capture all wonderful moments with him. It was fun. So I continued with Project 365 (2011). Here are the archived posts from Project 365 (2010-2011).

In these two years, as I grew up, my blog grew up too. Less rants, less projections of negativity, and more lovely things to talk about. Blog posts doubled. Blog readers too.

Oh, and I gotten engaged in December 2011.

*** 2012 ***

Then came 2012, an exciting year crazy with wedding preparations. So you could guess I wrote a lot about my wedding and related stuff.

I wasn't very keen to continue Project 365 for the third time, so I started Project Reflect 52.

June 2012 was our wedding and honeymoon month. When the excitement finally sort of tapered off, I began to blog less. :P

In fact, I only wrote when there were meaningful events in my life.

*** 2013 ***

This year, 2013, I plan to start a Project Bump 40 or something like that. But, I can't start anything yet until there's a bump you see. So, I've sort of "weaned" off blogging and gone back into an indefinite losing-steam mode.

But, there will still be random posts about food, movies, and books.

It's okay, once the project starts, Joy 'N' Escapade will see light again!



The Elvis @ Fatboy's, Publika Solaris Dutamas

The Elvis

Bacon stuffed pork patty, grilled bananas, and creamy peanut butter on honey oat buns.

The entire burger is too huge for me and it's just nice to be shared with the hubby for brunch on a lazy Sunday late morning.


Movie: The Tower (2012)

The Tower (2012) is a South Korean fire-fighting disaster movie directed by Kim Ji-hoon, who also directed another big-budget action movie, Sector 7 (2011). 

Synopsis: President Cho (Cha In-pyo) is the owner of Tower Sky, a super-luxurious residential skyscraper complex in Central Seoul. On Christmas eve, he plans to organize a "White Christmas" party for his tenants and VIPs. One of his employees is Dae-ho (Kim Sang-kyung), a security and maintenance operations manager who has a secret crush on Yoon-hee (Son Ye-jin), a restaurant manager of the same building.

President Cho's perfect "White Christmas" includes two helicopters spraying snow all over Tower Sky. Disaster strikes when one of the helicopters crashes into one of the towers and the building begins to catch fire rapidly. Everyone runs for their life including Dae-ho who's trying to rescue his daughter Ha-na, Yoon-hee, and other colleagues.

At the same time, legendary firefighter Young-ki (Sul Kyung-gu) and his team members make their way into the inferno to bring the blaze under control. Dae-ho and Young-ki have to work with all their strength and courage to save the lives of thousands. One will survive, and one will make the ultimate sacrifice.

This is a very impressive South Korean movie. The following excerpt from a review by summarizes it all. Note: Contains spoilers.

"It is to director Kim Ji-hoon's credit that the film never has a dull moment despite the formulaic script. Right from the start, he confidently demonstrates his ability to navigate seamlessly between the various points-of-view of the various characters, and that adroitness proves useful in maintaining a tense and taut atmosphere throughout the movie. He also keeps the movie well-paced and easy to follow, with the first half focused on extinguishing the fire from within its source and the second on evacuating as many people as possible before the weakened tower collapses under its own weight. 

Within that two-act narrative, Ji-hoon engineers some truly gripping sequences. The helicopter crash is the first of the money-shots, and by deftly combining actual images with CGI, it amply demonstrates that the Koreans have caught up with Hollywood in terms of visual effects. Besides the spectacle, two particular scenes stand out – the first where a ragtag group of survivors make a perilous crossing from one tower to another using the sky bridge, whose steel and glass structure is at risk of collapsing; and the second where who's left of the same group pack themselves into an elevator and attempt to free-fall it down around 60 floors to escape the crumbling tower."

In short, this is exactly what you expect from a big-budget disaster movie - taut suspense, thrilling sequences, and overwrought emotions. If you like to leave the cinema high in adrenaline, you have to watch this movie.


Hakka Lui Cha @ Puffs Garden, Damansara Uptown

I'm adding Hakka Lui Cha @ Puffs Garden to my Lui Cha collection.

Address: 15, Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Uptown (if you know where's the famous Village Park Nasi Lemak restaurant is, you will be able to see Puffs Garden)

This is one of the best that I have had so far! There are three types of green leafy vegetables, including my favorite cekur manis and chives! The rest of the ingredients are cabbage, long beans, fried tofu, pickled radish, peanuts, and sesame seeds.

I don't mind having this bowl of lui cha for lunch every day! :D


Kim Harrison's 9th & 10th book of The Hollows series

Kim Harrison's "Pale Demon".


Condemned for black magic, Rachel Morgan has three days to get to the annual witches' conference in San Francisco to clear her name. If not, she'll be trapped in the demonic ever-after... forever.

But a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy traveling 2,000 miles in one car is a recipe for disaster - not even counting the assassination teams waiting in ambush... or the demon they unleash in St. Louis.

Now, after centuries of torment, a fearsome creature walks free, craving innocent blood and souls - especially Rachel Morgan's, who'll need to fully embrace her own demonic nature to survive. And even that may not be enough.

Here's the list of Kim Harrison's books that I owned.

Kim Harrison's "A Perfect Blood".


Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other.

Pulled in by the FIB to help investigate, former witch-turned-day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth: others want to create their own demons, and to do so they need her blood.

She's faced vampires, witches, werewolves, demons, and more - but this time Rachel's toughest challenge might be humanity itself.

Here's the list of Kim Harrison's books that I owned.


Movie: Here Comes the Boom (2012)

One teacher still believes in fighting for his students.

Here Comes the Boom (2012) is a sports-action-comedy movie directed by Frank Coraci.

Synopsis: Scott Voss (Kevin James) is a lazy and uninspired 42-year old biology teacher at Wilkinson High School who's trying his best to date the school nurse Bella Flores (Salma Hayek). One day, his colleague, music teacher Marty (Henry Winkler) almost loses his job when the school decides to cut off the music program due to budget cutbacks.

Voss attempts to raise the $48,000 necessary to keep the music program alive. While working as a night instructor for a citizenship class, he meets Niko (Bas Rutten) and finds out about mixed martial arts (MMA) fights. He learns that the loser gets to win a lot of money. As a former collegiate wrestler, Voss is convinced that he could join the fights to raise money and save Marty's job. In the end, Scott gains something he never expected as he becomes a sensation that rallies the entire school.

I usually avoid this movie genre - an underdog who rises against all odds and inspires people despite how silly or impossible the situation is. I find it unbelievable because it's not gonna happen in real life. So why bother?

But, after watching this movie, I find that having massive feel-good influx is good for the soul. Yes, in real life Voss would have been killed while contending with those trained-for-life MMA fighters.

However, if we are willing to put aside common sense and just enjoy the moments of how a selfless act could produce so much positive impact to the life of people around you, you will feel so inspired.

Note: The movie has notable air of authenticity due to real Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) branding, e.g. Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg as themselves (commentators) and cameos from real-life UFC fighters.

In summary, I'd say this is a heartwarming sports-action-comedy movie that will keep you engaged - laughing at the funny moments and biting your lips during Voss' fights - from beginning till the end. In the end, you will have lots of feel-good mojo.


Burger-ized @ Burger Kaw Kaw, Mayang Oasis Food Court, Taman Mayang Jaya, PJ

Thick, succulent beef patty + a slice of fried beef bacon + a slice of cheese + lots of lettuce and onions drenched in mayo and chili sauce

Fried chicken breast + a slice of turkey ham + a slice of cheese + cheese sauce + lots of lettuce and onions drenched in mayo and chili sauce


You might find these links useful:

Mayang Oasis Food Court
(SS26/9, Taman Mayang Jaya, 47301 PJ)

Burger Kaw Kaw menu


Hakka Lui Cha @ Restoran Ho Boh, Taman Kinrara

I'm adding Hakka Lui Cha @ Restoran Ho Boh (河婆擂茶馆) to my Lui Cha collection.

Address: No. 21A, Ground Floor, Jalan TK 1/11A, Taman Kinrara, Seksyen 1, Jalan Puchong.

When I order lui cha, I usually choose brown rice for a healthier, fiber-packed meal. However, I should have ordered the large version. The small one is not that filling. :D

By the way, the flat greenish pancake looking thing is actually Lui Cha Fried Egg. It tasted so-so.


Movie: Upside Down (2012)

Upside Down (2012) is a romantic fantasy sci-fi movie set in an alternate universe.

Synopsis: Adam (Jim Sturgess) is an orphan living in the slum-like world of 'Down Below'. As a child and throughout teenage years, he meets and falls in love with Eden (Kirsten Dunst), a girl from 'Up Above', an inverted prosperous world. Both worlds - directly opposite each other - have their own gravity and are separated. Going up is strictly forbidden and the only connection between the two worlds is through the "TransWorld". An unfortunate accident happens, separating the two lovebirds for quite a long time. One day, Adam catches a glimpse of Eden on television. Since then, he begins to plot his way of getting back with her.

Here's a little bit of explanation about Adam's and Eden's worlds. Their planet is unique from other planets as it is the only one that has dual gravity. According to the movie, the dual gravity has three rules:

1. All matter is pulled by the gravity of the world that it comes from, and not the other.

2. An object's weight can be offset by matter from the opposite world (inverse matter).
3. After some time in contact, matter in contact with inverse matter burns.

These three rules will explain a lot of scenes in the movie before you start wondering and asking questions about the real law of gravity.

As a romantic sci-fi, this movie is basically a Romeo and Juliet story with a modern twist. Well, they are trying to prove that love is a more powerful law than the law of gravity. Even when two persons are forcefully separated by the law of gravity, love shall prevail. Yada, yada, yada. I'm not trying to be cynical... but I really don't buy the idea of such hyped-up power of love.

Putting love aside, I do like the mind-boggling and beautifully rendered visual effects that give this movie its spectacular feel. The seamless integration of 'Up Above' and 'Down Below' in the same scenes / frames is undoubtedly unique and awesome.

All in all, this movie is quite entertaining. It doesn't have the power to move you to tears because you will be busy admiring the visual effects.


Chicken, mushroom, carrot soup with macaroni


Chicken breast (cut into chunks), 4 dried mushrooms (soaked and quartered), 2 medium carrots (chopped into large chunks), a few cloves of garlic (peeled and lightly pressed), 2 small onions (peeled and quartered), 2 handfuls of macaroni for 2 persons


Bring 2.5 bowls of water to boil, add onions, garlic, and chicken breast. When the chicken breast chunks look cooked, add in mushrooms and carrots. Let them boil on high heat for 15 minutes. Reduce to low heat and simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Switch off heat after 5 minutes.


Cook macaroni in salted, boiling water. Check occasionally to avoid overcooking. Switch off heat after macaroni is cooked (easily pierced with a fork). Drain.


Divide macaroni, chicken breast, mushrooms, and carrots into 2 serving bowls / plates. Ladle hot soup over and serve immediately.


Snap, shop & win 4D3N stay at Hong Kong!

A contest by HK Station, Sungei Wang Plaza for everyone who wants to go to Hong Kong!

Travel-bugs, don't miss this awesome opportunity to satisfy your wanderlust! :)

SNAP, SHOP & WIN your way to Hong Kong from now to 31 January 2013! Snap your shopping experience with HK Station and you stand a chance to win 4D3N stay at a 4-star hotel with return air ticket for 2!

Hurry, click to join! -


Happy new year 2013!

Some resolutions that I think are doable.

Do not fear change. Change fear. 

Powerful reminder. Time to do dissolve fears, especially the fear of the known (yup, you read that right). The fear of the unknown is not as bad as the known. Think about it.

I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.

Lovely reminder. Do something I like, not what I'm compelled or obliged to do.

My New Year's resolution: READ MORE BOOKS.

Absolutely true! Reading is therapeutic, calming me, keeping me sane in my own world. I have been extra quiet lately, I speak only when there's a need, not wanting to make unnecessary enemies.

Ma'am, step away from the computer.

Haha! This may not be very easy but I manage to do this on most weekends nowadays. I just refuse to turn on my laptop whenever I'm off working hours.