Another lunch outing

We did Mizi’s last time. So this time me and the MO decided to head out to Breeks Cafe in Gurney Plaza. I dunno why it’s called that, because breeks is actually a Scottish term for trousers—perhaps the owner is Scottish or has a sense of humor.

Breeks Cafe at Gurney Plaza, Penang

We enquired and the waiter told us there was no set lunch available, although they had a signboard outside saying there was. Anyway, we ordered just main courses and drinks…MO had an iced mocha coffee and I had a maraschino coffee—it resembled something that we could have ordered at The Coffee Bean next door, but it was cheaper. This was where I played with my laptop a while ago.

The Coffee Bean at Gurney Plaza, Penang

It wasn’t long before our food arrived. MO had the Pacific Dory Fish with mushroom sauce.

Pacific Dory Fish, and our drinks

And I had a Grilled Cajun Chicken with BBQ sauce. Portions were pretty reasonable.

Grilled Cajun Chicken in BBQ sauce

The damage came to around $20 USD. Not too bad, but I think I’ll opt back for Mizi’s next time. We decided to work off some of the food by going to Gurney Plaza for a bit. The shopping malls here are all decked out with Christmas decorations and stuff, but with the hot sun beating down it’s set to be another festive scorcher—not a drop of snow to be found!

Interior of Gurney Plaza, Penang

Life Music

Someone help me, I’m getting soft!

Alright, I confess—maybe it was that sojourn at the Coffee Bean last week that triggered the sentimentalist in me. After listening to them playing all those Christmas songs sung by the likes of Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Judy Garland, Nat King Cole, etc. I emerged feeling a wee bit woozy, but it was a nice, warm feeling inside me (and yeah, maybe the Ice Blended Coffee contributed to it too) Anyways, what better way to express it or let it out but through music, and so here’s my own personal recording and arrangement of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. This song was first sung by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis. The lyrics were criticized as being too depressing in its original draft, so songwriter Hugh Martin made several changes. Here are the tweaked lyrics, in case you want to sing along with my playing:

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yuletide gay,
From now on, 
our troubles will be miles away.
Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.
Through the years 
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.


I recorded all the backing tracks myself, putting in a sad muted trumpet first, followed by another solo trumpet. And I have another confession to make—I had actually wanted to modulate a half-step higher near the end, from C major to C sharp major. But as I was recording it, I detoured to A flat major instead. It sounded different but I liked it, so I left it in. Hope you enjoy this performance of mine.

If you’d like to listen to my piano-only version, it’s online here.

May the coming Christmas season fill all our hearts with love, peace, and joy.


Coffee Bean for me!

In contrast to my blogging episode at Starbucks a few weeks ago (the latte was watered down, Internet connectivity was poor, and lots of children were running around) I decided tonight to cross over to the Coffee Bean for some web surfing away from home. And what a difference! I ordered a nice Ice Blended Hazelnut coffee with cream (very nice aroma and thick), I was alone in the air-conditioned section and the wireless connectivity’s excellent. And LOL, they’re already playing Christmas tunes in the background.

Speaking of Christmas, I can hardly believe that 2009 will be drawing to a close in a month or so. I’ll be accompanying the E & O Nightingales when they sing Christmas carols for the lighting of the Christmas Tree in the hotel lobby on December 1. This will be my 5th time doing it—I still get an adrenaline rush on the actual day…will post some pictures if I can remember.

Awww, Bing Crosby’s singing “White Christmas” as I’m typing this—that song always gets to me when I hear him sing it (yeah I’m such a softie) No more Christmas presents for me, since I’ve already acquired my Dell Studio 15 laptop and my Canon PowerShot SX120IS digital camera. And dang someone’s singing “The Christmas Song” over the speakers—I like these tunes when they’re done in a mellow style.

Right now a close friend of mine is celebrating her birthday, while another friend should be expecting her baby daughter anytime now (edit: she has given birth to a healthy baby girl). It’s so nice to have Windows Live Messenger to keep in touch with my close friends—I feel as if the miles don’t matter any more. I’m sitting back and chuckling at how difficult it was to keep in touch with my parents, for example, when I was studying in Arizona in the early ‘80’s. Snail mail (aka air mail) used to take roughly 10 days, and the only other forms of communication were the Western Union telegram and/or calling them on IDD. If only we had email and instant messaging then!

Okies, time to pack it up and head back home. And if you’re a Starbucks fan, I apologize…each to his/her own tastes, right?