Pâtisserie de Lydie

Ever wonder how it feels like to be showered with top quality French Patisserie? Delightful French-styled macaroons, meringue, crème brûlée, and pain au chocolat at its finest and freshest ingredients. Well, I’m lucky enough to live with one Nigella Lawson!

Lydie the gourmet, my french housemate has brought the french food and culture to its best. Her exquisite french culinary and gastronomy style is simple, fine and yet delicate.

Here are two of my favorite recipes of hers:

Crème Brûlée

For about 4 persons :

5 egg yolks
110 gr sugar (I rather put 100gr)
50 cl liquid cream (min 30% fat)
one vanilla stick
some brown sugar

1) Open the vanilla stick to extract the seeds. Mix with the cream (put the empty stick as well) and warm up slowly
2) Beat the egg yolk with the sugar till it gets “white”
3) Add the hot cream slowly and stir
4) Pour through a sieve (filter/strainer…) and avoid froth as much as possible
5) Pour into the cups and bake 75 min at 105°C (Thermostat 3). The cream should be wobbly and will get firmer by cooling down
6) Either let cool down first and finalize just before serving … or right when getting them out of the oven: put some brown sugar on the top and place right under the grill of the oven (leave the door open to avoid further baking). Get out once the sugar caramelized

Moelleux mi-cuit au chocolat

90 g butter
110 g cacao
3 eggs
70-80 g sugar
40 g flour (optional)
190 degree for 10-15 minutes

Bon appétit!

Maple Story

Our love across the universe is traveling through five continents (Asia, Oceania, North America, Africa and Europe) and is reunited in this glorious Christmas and are able to witness and celebrate the transition to 2013. Hallelujah to our 16-month anniversary!

Honestly, what more can we ask in our inauspicious relationship?

Admittedly, aside from all guilty carbon footprint that I left behind as a result of my extensive travels as you can see above, 2012 has been the most intensive year I’ve ever had. I’ve made some drastic decisions, committed myself in a seem-to-be impossible love, graduated as an environmental engineer without being able to tell the difference between a synchronous or asynchronous generator in wind turbine, seen one of the most beautiful desert sunset in World, tandem sky-dived from 13,000 ft, bungy-jumped for the first time, swam with dusky dolphins, inked again, picked up french lessons, sang with my loved ones, ate caterpillars, kissed a girl, made my first snowman, snowshoed, and……. I’m loved!

The fortune cookie tells that 2013 will be a year full of love and laughter!

Happy 2013!

Ubuntu

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My arrival on “Land of the Brave” has been positively invigorating and needless to say as this is my first time in the African continent, I don’t know what to expect. Before my departure, Namibia has never appeal to me or has caught much of media attention as much as the Central Africa due to much poverty and HIV/AIDS.

Truth to be told, Windhoek has surprised and charmed me with her very own way. I’m aware that I’m still a beginner when it comes to traveling and expanding my horizon, therefore with a tad little of beginner’s luck, I could go really far.

If there’s anything that I can help to draw you a picture of Namibia, it would be somewhere between Mongolia and New Zealand! The vast land, desert, landscape, sand dunes, rich wildlife as bonus and beautiful tribal people just excite me to thirst for more.

So, here I’m in Namibia, situated at the southern Africa just above South Africa and between Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Well, this is beginner’s luck! Little did I know the click language originated from this region.

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Mr Mario

As the boyfriend was sharing with me on how human being’s talent and destiny can sometimes be so easily determined by our folks during our last breakfast’s conversation left me kind of bewildered. Well, he left for India and have had led me with no choice but to think of some futile INTERESTING stuffs to keep me occupied in our lonely little apartment.

Correctly speaking, say in a medieval context, we humans can be destined to be as philosophical as a poet or to be designed to have an inventor’s complex mind to solve quantum mechanics.
So can a think tank who’ve had just issued a 1000-page report on climate change perform a 1.9 m Michael Jordan’s slam dunk?

He got me into thinking if we human beings can be classified as a generalist rather than specialist! Well, someone who can put together Moonlight Sonata and put up a bloody lawnmower at the backyard at the same time.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. — Robert A. Heinlein

I’ve been telling people all my life that I’m a ‘Jack of all trades but master of none’ and today I feel as though I’ve came to a point of enlightenment knowing that there’s something called INTEGRATED HUMAN. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not even close to constructing a lawnmower or playing the Fur Elise, just the philosophy or concept of it got me all hyped up though I have to emphasis that it’s the implementation and not the definition that counts.

So an ‘integrated human’ is an individual strives towards development which encompasses physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. They recognize their body as a part of their person (not the sum). They are consciously trying to maintain the level of health necessary to have a positive impact upon the world.

I’d like to share with you these guiding principles which I find pretty amusing:

Physical

Physical Fitness
Flexibility
Agility
Nutrition
Healthy body, healthy mind
Hand-eye coordination

Mental

Thirst for Knowledge
Critical thinking
Researching skills
Willpower to do physical and mental work to get things done
Awareness
Philosophy of Liberty and Abundance, not Greed and Theft
Knowledge or intuition of how the world works
Follow the golden rule, treat others as you would wish to be treated
Forethought, good judgment
Open minded
Able to work independently
Able to cooperate with others
Focus, concentration, mental discipline and positive inner dialogue

Emotional

Emotions are controlled, they do not control
Empathy and Compassion
Respect for one’s self and others
Independent
Cooperative
Mindset of sustained sufficiency, rather than consumption of resources
Able to honestly change mind based on facts, not hung up on ego attached to something
Self assured, not dependent on what others think
Resilient “survivor” personality, able to thrive in challenging conditions
Accepts other people as they are, no one can force another to change, individuals can only change themselves
Looks past the superficial surface of things to try to see the core, the true nature
Can take direction
Can give direction

Spiritual (different than but compatible with religious)

Intuition, informed by knowledge
Meditation, yoga or reflection

Source: Opensourceecology

I have definitely a lot to learn and improve in order to achieve the state of ‘integrated human’ but hey, I’ll strive to be a better me, girlfriend, daughter and a better citizen! And I still don’t have to know how to fix a car, boyfriend. 🙂

Now, C’est ça l’amour!

When giving is NOT buying

I love Christmas. It’s a season of hope, renewal, love, inspiration, joy and contemplation. It’s about giving and sharing.

Being in Beijing, well in a country which originally doesn’t really have anything to do with this celebration or meaning, it has definitely a lot to offer. The lights, Christmas trees, Santa Claus, billboards, jingly decorations and snow man portray nothing of any sort of the birth of Jesus. This is definitely not surprising coming from a City where there’s not a single sight of a standing church.

Unlike in many western countries, where the smell of mulled wines, cookies, waffles and bakeries lurking in the winter air, the Chinese smell OPPORTUNITY in the air, well which is literally translated into MONEY. Whether it’s the money-burning shopping spree from the consumers or the cashing-in sound of the register, it spells ECONOMY.

This is unquestionably a trend of globalization, no? One World?

This is purely an excessive crapload of commercialized and propagated consumerism. People just want to find reason to buy. Oh, Christmas Sale? People can save thousands on this season? Listen, people save when they DON’T buy what they DON’T need.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of giving, especially to our loved ones, but not the twisted and manipulated picture painted by greedy corporations. We shop for months, getting into debts, rip apart the packaging one morning, forget it the next day and chuck them in the closet and shelves collecting dust. Do we need more cluster? C’mon it is about giving, or buying?

The focus here is certainly on buying not on sharing.

Christmas is NOT about wish-lists, shopping, overconsumption, frenzied malls, consumer debt, environmental waste, excessive fancy wrappings, and bunch of endless needless stuffs that goes with it but it is the time for family, friends, eating cookies, laughing at each other, gossiping, tightening bonds, reunion and reconciliation.

Giving can be in many forms, with a little thought and creativity; we can give our loved ones gifts which can leave little footprint to our environment but large footprint to our hearts.

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2012 my dearest ones!

Thank you 2011.

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The “Popcorn”

This is Yungang Cave, 1500 years old.

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A place with 51000 Buddha statues and statuettes.

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A 6-hour train journey from Beijing to Shanxi province…

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Damn the 2 full bags of POPCORN in Datong, we missed our train back to Beijing and ended up seating in front of the toilet. 🙂

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A place, where the friendly local delicacy is rabbit’s head has brought thousand smiles to our faces…

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On the other note, chapter two has unfolded…

Thank you for everything. *love*

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Love Affair

There are some days when we’re awake, there’s a great gush of contentment that kicks in, bringing in a big broad smile to our face to welcome our day.

Today is one of those days where it feels so natural to think simply and presently. There’s no smog, no rain, solely the goodness of sun throwing incredible beauty to its vicinity on a cold autumn Monday morning. I felt nothing but gratitude for being alive, for seeing the sun shine again. It’s clearly a reminder that the sun will always shine again no matter how big the storm or particularly SMOG it might be.

On a day like this, it’s easy to see how we forget to stay present, be happy, and reacquaint ourselves with trust and faith – things that were once a natural part of us.

It is the joy of smiling for no apparent reason, and yet for thousands of reasons.

I breathe. I give. I receive. I love. I am loved. I am healthy. I have fresh food. I’m present. I’m excited. I’m trusting. I’m grateful.

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I’m falling more and more for this city bit by bit.
I fell in love in Beijing.

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I LUB YOU, MIIIIIISSSSIAAAAOOOOOOOOOO says my lover.
She’s a two and a half year old girl, Ping. I’ve been home staying with a Chinese family for almost two months now. This family has been so kind to me.

For years, I’ve learnt that giving is purely a personal selfish act to grant me keys to my contentment and happiness. The more I could give and offer the happier I’m – which is only partially true. In other words, I’ve came to realization that, being in that place of receiving where we can validate the giver’s blessing is one of the greatest gift one could ever have.

Whenever I feel that I’m unable to receive, I’m reminded that I’m actually denying someone else the pleasure of giving.

This totally makes sense!

I’m counting my blessings, on every single day!

Travel Bug

Germany-Malaysia-Indonesia-China-Mongolia

Hamburg-Kuala Lumpur-Shah Alam-Ipoh-Melaka-Denpasar-Kuta-Ubud-Yogjakarta-Solo-Beijing-Ulaan Bataar

I can’t believe that in merely less than a month, I’ve traveled to all these places. Darn, I’m bloody happy!

I can’t believe I was in Ubud with bunch of lovely happy people, paddy fields and c’mon it’s UBUD, say no more!

I can’t believe I was in Borobudur, Prambanan and I love the Indonesians! I miss their guitar, singing, food and everything!

I can’t believe that my dream to hop on into Trans-Siberia Train came true!

I HAVE TO SAY THIS!

FUCK! I’M FUCKING LOVING MY LIFE!

30 hours from Beijing to Ulaanbataar.

I was ecstatic and still is.

Gobi Desert, Horse and Camel Rides, GER, surprise me please.

THANK YOU LIFE!

Sail away

I’m sitting here in my room that I’ve lived for almost 3 years, now empty as it was before. I have this tinge of melancholic feeling that I couldn’t really figure out yet how to describe. As I ran through my belongings, packed, unpacked, unpacked and packed again, I realized how much I’ve grown and changed as a person. The person I used to be, the things which seemed to be so important to me back then have awakened no interest to me anymore.

It’s hard to depart with certain things. They bring us back to the memory lane and the reminiscence is limitless. It’s like a catalyst. It triggers you, it says to you aloud shouting, “Hey you! You remember me? Remember you used to………? I’ve missed you!”

I’m left with none other than these three choices, to donate, to discard, and to dock after mulling them over for almost three days. Believe me, it was the longest 3 days, ever.

Donating is pretty easy, books, clothes, food basically anything which can bring benefit other people fall into this category. Let it go, let these things do its duty, let them be useful to other people I thought to myself. Why hold on to things which you know you’re not using it but keep wondering to yourself what if IN CASE you might somehow or rather, potentially need it ONE DAY?

Screw that ONE DAY; I want that you be useful to other people TODAY.

So these things were happily channeled to Oxfam and an Orphanage for charity.

Discarding is disheartening. It’s unbelievable how much of courage it took me to shake things off my hands. Again, if I don’t I’d never have enough space to fill in the imminent undertakings.

Docking takes strength. You need energy to restore and care to conserve them.

This is Life. Every day we are making these three choices.

Looking back, I’ve got to admit that I am glad of every decision I’ve made so far. I care that today I must live my life with all that I can give for the passion and people I love most.

I was taking a breezy night walk along my favorite area of the city with a friend earlier. We passed by my favorite bars, restaurants and coffee shops. I can’t help but have this huge sense of gratefulness and tears swelled my eyes. I love this city. I will miss this place and the people.

Thank you Hamburg!

PS: Happy Birthday Madiba! I dedicate this to you. 46664 will always be remembered!

It doesn’t matter I’m poked thrice today! Thank you Blood Bank Hamburg for the compensation, at least my pain wasn’t in vain.

A song entitled Hamburg, my City. Some sneak peek of this lovely city. 😀

World through our eyes

I fear growing up, discovering a wider perspective of everything. Being tossed in the world and society, questioning the purpose of our lives.

I fear discovering people’s sufferings and yet couldn’t comprehend individuals who enjoy inflicting pain on others.

This world is full with contradictions and yet the beauty of it lies in this art of complexity.

My little heart weeps with tear of joy every time I watch this video clip, to remind me that the World is full of Love and Hope.

Tak & Skål

We find love by loving, and not by talking about it.

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Fast Facts about Denmark and Sweden:

The Top Five Happiest Countries in the World, meet the Vikings, Blondes, Scandinavians…

1. Denmark

2. Norway

3. Sweden

4. Finland

5. Netherland

Danish : Micheal Learns to Rock and Aqua

Swedish: ABBA, Robyn, Shout out Louds, Lykke Li, and The Cardigans

Danish : LEGO, The little Mermaid, Ugly Duckling, Carlsberg,

Swedish : Volvo, H&M, (Sony) Ericsson, Köttbullar (Swedish Meat Balls), IKEA, Butter Cookies, Falcon, Julian Assange

Minimalism

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Minimalistic Feather from hinomori

 

Since the last five years, the idea of minimalism has slowly creeped into me unconsciously.
I’ve never intended to worship or assign myself into certain cults, categories or whatsoever. I strongly believe and digest the fact that it’s completely OK to be different!
Some say I’m a hippie because I listen to Bob Marley, smoke weed, support Greenpeace and preach about veganism.
Some say I’m a dreamer and shallow because I’m too engrossed in my perfect little world.
And to be honest, I still do not know what is the definition of a hippie.

Whatever it is, I’m proud to declare my official journey of becoming a minimalist today.

Live simply so others may simply live. -Dalai Lama

After Jonathan’s departure from life, I started seeing things in a bigger picture in many ways. I’m learning and training myself to let go of everything I fear of losing.

I packed my bags with little money and left for India for two months and experienced more than anything I’ve learnt in my two years of University. There’s life out there, without possessions, greed, scepticism but purely trust, sincerity and openness.

Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed, that is – Yoda.

I’m happier now than I ever was owning all of those things people told me would ‘make me happy’. The idea that my society has been hammering and drilling in me since young has proven utterly false over and over again.

Minimalism is all about having enough. It’s about having only what you need, no more, and especially no less.
It’s about finding happiness in what we have already, instead of chasing something that is always out of reach.

It’s true, in a big way, that minimalists have less. We have fewer clothes, shoes and accessories. We have smaller houses. We may have no possessions but we definitely have more of what life is made of. – Jessica, minimal student

Ask ourselves again, it is worth standing up, going against the flow and start making a change?

But does that mean we live unhappier lives?

Is it always worse to have less?

Footprints

Being raised up in a fairly conservative upbringing, I was thought to do things “safe” or rather “conventional”. You know, follow and obey! The autocracy of “Do as I said!” or “Because I said so!” howls! C’mon, the dog eats dog world thingy. I loathe it!

Probably it is the reason which has shaped me the person I am today. Of course, what I mean here is by not compelling to it.

Lately, I was triggered by confessions posted by a few friends regarding the whole situation back home. The unending social segregation, the denial of meritocracy, the unfulfilled promises misled by unscrupulous politicians, all in the name of fighting for our rights and justice in our place we could call HOME, where we belong.

And today I question myself, is there any ray of hope that our country would ever emerge from all these pettiness and progress as a nation to enjoy the fruition collectively?

These political propagandas used by various parties, groups and individuals to infuse ideas and beliefs based on our culture, status, religion, and social indifference are merely a provocation, for us as a new generation to fight for a better future, for those who are denied, outcast, marginalized and discriminated so that each and every one can live in a safe and healthy environment.

The battle between who is right or wrong, who has more power, status and money creates only hatred and dissatisfaction.

If we continued to constantly live in a discontent state, there’s no drive in us to serve because everything is unjust.

We believe that we are ill-traeated and envy our neighbours because he has more and better material possesions than us.

The idea consumerism = living to buy has caused more harm than we could ever imagine. We live in a so-called “happy” world as advertised on televisions and magazines. The energy used for production and manufacture, the depletion of natural resources, the environmental destruction and pollution, the violation of human rights, the exploitation of the poor and weak, the climate change are all generated by our over-consumption. Obviously, all these are not shown in advertisements.

What about start thinking how we can make a difference?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Have you ever wondered, when each time you flush your toilet, 7 liters of fresh water is flushed away? And we are talking about almost 50 % of the developing world, 2.5 billion people has little access to safe water and proper sanitation?

Have you ever wondered, each time you leave your room with the lights on, approximately 3 billion which half the world’s population have no access to clean cooking energy and 1.6 billion are without electricity provision?

Have you ever wondered, when each time you complain about doing your dishes almost 1 billion people in the world have no food on their plate?

Are we all too carried away in this rat race?

Now where’s your LV?

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Ohhh, I mean where’s your LOVE?

Maktub

Carpe Diem!

What’s on your Bucket List?

Dated 5th November 2006

1) Learn, pass and excel in German
2) Get at least 85 pointers for AUSMAT
3) Fly to Germany
4) Study Environmental Enginnering
5) Travel around Europe
6) Save money for my family to visit me
7) Study in Western Germany
8.) Work for UNESCO
9) Meet Nelson Mandela
10) Win the Noble Peace Prize just like Dr Muhammad Yunus
11) See Bush assassinated, murdered in a horrendous and appaling way
12) Adopt a Child
13) Work as a volunteer for the Third World Countries
14) Work for Green Peace
15) Mend the Ozon hole
16) Teach Malaysian to be more courteous
17) Be an environmental and world peace advocate
18) Fight for poverty and hunger
19) Fight for gender equality and racial discrimination
20) Form Kwa Foundation like Bill Gates

Updated 28th February 2008

1) Embark on a Hugathon. (HUG ME, IT’S FREE!)
2) See the Northern Light
3) Go work and volunteer in Africa
4) Engage in WWF and Green Peace

Updated 31st  December 2010

Smile more
Catch the Northern Light
Volunteer more
Learning by Doing
Give more
Learn Spanish
Get a Tattoo
Save more forest and orang-utans
Never say never
See more
Be the citizen of the World
Bungee Jumping
Sky Diving
Conquer Mount Kinabalu
Love more
Savour Balut egg
Learn Sign Language
Hug more
Meet Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela
Let’s zorb
Listen more, talk less
Get a Mandela Bangle
More Free Hug Campaign
Work with engineers without Borders
Care more
Be more engaged in Greenpeace and WWF

Top Travel List

Tibet, Nepal and Northern India
Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar
East Malaysia, Indonesia
New Zealand, Australia
Africa
South America

Updated 21st May 2011

Embark the journey of Santiago de Compostela
Be thankful
Smile always
Go on a blind date!
Play better Guitar
Go on a road trip and hitch hiking
Try magic mushrooms
Go backpacking
Watch Radiohead, Kings of Leon, Coldplay Live!
Random travels with no itinerary planned at all
Go swimming with dolphins
Dance like no one is watching (out of Rhythm)
Live in a different country for at least 6 months
Knit a scarf for my Mom!
Get Braces!
Build a treehouse
Witness a solar eclipse
Get a Vespa
Go stargazing
Plant my own tree and watch it grow
Learn Spanish and possibly Esperanto
Get bald/dreadlocks! 😀
Run a 42-km marathon
Experience Water rafting, Kayaking, Sailing, Scuba diving, Snorkeling
Get a driving and diving license 😛
Play Rugby
Go skiing
Get another Tattoo
Connect with teachers and friends from past schools and let them know how they have shaped my life
Be a mentor
Bungee jump, Skydiving, Parachuting, Paragliding, Ice climbing
Climb another mountain
Give a heartfelt surprise to someone
Enjoy and practice Yoga and Meditation
Make a difference in someone’s life
Visit Everest Base Camp
Perform a kind deed to at least 5 strangers without expecting anything in return
Write a book(blog)
Sing my favorite song to an audience
Experience a sunset and sunrise
Own a dog
Whip up the best meal ever for my loved ones
See the Machu Picchu, Sea Salt, The Great Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza, Taj Mahal, Great Barrier Reef, Cape of Good Hope, Hagia Sophia
Gain enlightenment
Bake a cake for someone special
Go deep into the heart of Mother Nature.
Go trekking in a rainforest
Camp out in the wilds
Visit a waterfall
Swim in an ocean
Love spring, summer, autumn, winter = Love Life
Read a book on a subject I’d never have thought of reading (Linux rocks!)
Fly a kite
Fall asleep on grassy plains
Try veganism
Go snorkeling and experience marine life up close
Go on a meditation retreat
Start a social movement
Watch cherry blossoms in Japan
Donate blood anually
Play Paintball
Be a Mother
Get closure on all my hurt, grievances and unhappiness of the past
Bury the hatchet with all the enemies
Sign a donar plegde
Organize more picnic outing
Visit a volcano
Fly in a helicopter
Tell my parents that I love them
Go on a cruise in the sea
Fall in love
Be in love!
Live in a rustic hut
Change the world 😀
Help someone in need

I might not be able to cross out the whole list, oh well who knows!

Bona Fides!

White Feather

I found it! It’s a sign!

Never stop believing.

I cut myself, got disheartened and am clinging to the edge of hope but I know along the way, they are feeding my soul and building me into the person I’m for today, tomorrow and eternally!

the noblest thing a human being can experience is acceptance of the mystery

The Warrior of Light sometimes behaves like water, flowing around the obstacles he encounters.

Occasionally, resisiting might mean being destroyed, and so he adapts to the circumstances. He accepts without complaint that the stones along the path hinder his way across the mountains.

Therein lies the strength of water: it cannot be shattered by a hammer or wounded by a knife. The strongest sword in the world cannot scar its surface.

The waters of a river adapt themselves to whatever route proves possible, but the river never forgets its one objective: the sea.
SO fragile at its source, it gradually gathers the strength of the other rivers it encounters.

And, after a certain point, its power is absolute.

Paulo Coelho

PS:  Tada! They are here! 😀 Joy of the Day despite of the many uncertainties and confusions I had to face today. And the good news is I have 3 books to giveaway!

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The Killers – Mr. Brightside (Jacques lu Cont’s Thin White Duke mix) from loutsos on Vimeo.