Never enough

I opened my eyes and it was 10.30am, nothing unusual. I got up, made tea, got some cashew nuts and read in bed for about half an hour.

She opened her eyes and smiled.

I finished my tea, brushed my teeth again, and went back to bed.

When I opened my eyes again it was nearly 3pm. Panic stations!

We ate a late lunch and went for foot massage. After that finished it was already 7pm. Dinner and shopping for dept lunch prizes later and it was time to go home.

Sometimes I wish we could have more time together. Sigh.

easy does it

Saturdays normally are quiet days in terms of weblogging.

We were real sleepy but she had to go to work, so little me slept on. Went to the supermarket and bought a whole lot of stuff, then went back home to sit in front of the powerbook.

She finished working mid-afternoon and we took a bus ride out. Walked round the crowded crowded place.

Dinner at a new place that served stonegrilled food. They served the food (I had sirloin, she had sirloin & lamb chop) on a piece of rock that’s supposed to be 400C. We took it out and cooked it bit by bit so it wasn’t too welldone.

Fun way of cooking, the only complaint was the meat was too trimmed so didn’t have enough flavour. Otherwise, not too expensive and definitely worth trying again.

She wanted to go to the fortune teller, even though it was quite late (but they opened late), so we took the train and bus. It’s the one where a bird picks a card and the fortune teller would interpret based on the question asked.

Afterwards we had some dessert, by the time we got home it was past midnight and into Halloween night.

day of improvement

It’s been quiet at work, then Friday comes along and I expect an easy day and we have an IT disaster. Just great. Spent the morning running around and dragging people out of bed to fix our problem.

Month end drinks was Halloween theme, had a bit of wine, that’s all.

Was able to leave and meet mm by 6.30. Had a simple dinner — just what we like, simple, just us, being together, yum. Walked for a while, home by 10pm. Shower, she’s watching TV, I’m online.

And in about 10-15 mins time I’ll log off and we’ll retire to bed and snuggle.

I’m feeling mighty fine.

future posts

One of the requirements on bullko.com is to display future dated entries. Say you’re planning an event that’s spread over 2 weeks and you want people to see what events are on which day, even in the future, so people can plan. That’s how.

As more and more people use the likes of MT and WP as cms this is becoming important. MT does it, I tried on quiet thoughts with no problem. WP initially didn’t, until I searched for it in the support forums.

First, show the entry in the main body.

In wp-blog-header.php find:

if ($pagenow != ‘post.php’ && $pagenow != ‘edit.php’) { if ((empty($poststart)) || (empty($postend)) || !($postend > $poststart)) { $where .= ‘ AND post_date <= \”.$now.’\”; } Add // before the $where: if ($pagenow != ‘post.php’ && $pagenow != ‘edit.php’) { if ((empty($poststart)) || (empty($postend)) || !($postend > $poststart)) { //$where .= ‘ AND post_date <= \”.$now.’\”; }

Then, make sure it shows in the calendar. In templates-function-general.php in the wp-includes folder, find:

AND post_date < ‘” . current_time(‘mysql’) . ‘\”, ARRAY_N);

change to:

AND post_date <> ‘” . current_time(‘mysql’) . ‘\”, ARRAY_N);

A bit further down, find:

.”AND post_date < ‘”.current_time(‘mysql’).”‘ “

change to:

.”AND post_date <> ‘”.current_time(‘mysql’).”‘ “

Nifty.

gym time

In honour of me (finally) joining the gym I’m creating new category.

So, i joined the gym downstairs from the office and went there during lunchtime with my colleagues. There was a circuit training class they were attending so I went too. Oh boy, I’m dreadfully unfit, man.

Did the bikes instead.

I signed up for a year, actually 14 months, cos I get 2 months free. I want to make this work.

And, I’m having salad today.

attending to ourselves

By the time we woke up — or more accurately, got out of bed, it was late, real late, cos when we got out to town to eat, it was 2.20 and we had 10 mins to go until the afternoon tea special.

Then she went for a facial with her mentor while I had my hair cut. We’d arranged to meet 6pm at the crab shop. I finished at nearly 5 and originally just planned to hang out at HMV. But my neck was hurting so I did an hour at the massage place.

I got to the shop around 6.20 (SMS’ed to tell her my plans) and after a few phone calls, found out they were still on the other side of town. Sigh. Another hanging around waiting time, how are they part of my life.

Finally they arrived and we bought the crabs. The hairy crabs that are in season. Went to her brother’s place to steam them, we had 2 1/2 each. Very nice, but very high in cholesterol, so have to be careful. Had them with warmed wine, first time I tried, unusual but also real nice.

Just a bit of luxuriating.

don’t tell the IT department

Was discussing about info sharing with a colleague, the IT dept gave us a website of a project management software but when I looked at it, it was just glorified Outlook. Not what we wanted.

So what did I do? I paid $45 myself for another website, which my colleague named. So bullko.com was born.

What I had in mind was of course another weblog. But as others have demonstrated, weblog software are much much more than just blogs, they’re very valuable content management systems. And so they are.

With my newest obsession with wordpress, that’s how I built it in. I need to learn more about php but I managed the install fine, put in a few sample entries, went to Alex King’s to get a new style, tweaked the style and hey presto, a spanking new website.

The splash page image is from one of my Masai Mara pictures (one of the random dozen on invisiblecompany), filtered through a crayon filter in Photoshop. The quote I got from my Penguin quotations dictionary.

I still have to do the .htpasswrd file, and to figure out how to display post dated entries, but the skeleton is here.

Should I be proud? Should I?

coffee moods

I finished writing Coffee Moods, it’s over at hidden doors. It’s not the first fic I started but it’s the first one I’ve finished.

At only 2,300 words it’s a baby. Just thoughts in a coffee shop.

Before we went away I was writing this vamp fic set in the future, I was doing ok, slow steady progress — 1,000 words each update, like 10 days to 2 weeks. It’s kinda difficult, I mean how will the world look like in 150 years’ time, what will the demon population be like, are there slayers, do I follow Chosen, do I follow Fray, questions questions.

Anyhow it was that Sunday in London when I was on my own, being marginally depressed and isolating myself within my iPod. Then the shop assistants in the gift shop at Carnaby kept talking to me, but not in the annoying way shop assistants usually do, and I felt a kind of, I dunno, I really don’t know.

And when I went outside I was suddenly hit with this idea, of having a T who is still shy and insecure being noticed by other people while on her own. To have her think about her relationship again.

Originally I wanted more insecurity, more doubts, may be even trouble on the horizon. But I want to post it eventually and I have to comply with the rules so it’s not so fat ot.

Started actually writing it in my head in London, but really writing the words was on Friday. And it’s finished in 4 days. I should be happy about it.

paying respects

Visited the graveside of my grandparents and 2 great-grandmothers. My sis brought her daughter so we were telling her that she was visiting her great-great-grandmother.

I feel privileged to have the oppurtunity to pay my respects to them. The cemetary is getting bigger and the last few times we’ve visited, they play soothing music / hymns over the loudspeaker. It’s got a nice atmosphere.

I “gave permission” mm to spend the day with her friends, so we didn’t see each other. I’d like to think we don’t have the sort of relationship where one needs permission from the other to spend time outside the relationship. We both want us to have an open relationship and we have our own free time.

I’m glad she has other friends and keeps in touch with them. Imagine having to be with me 24/7, enough to make her blechy, hee.

tours and all

My parents want to go on a trip to Shanghai, so I went with them to investigate tours. I hate going on guided tours, I hate being in a group, not having control of where I go, when I go, what to eat. Plus the obligatory stop at shops that sell nothing I want but gets commission from the tour company, and having to tip the guides.

But I guess for some people it’s the convenience of not having to plan, of having other people cart them round.

So we got a bunch of brochures and then we went to a fast food place to look at them. Then Mum and I went looking at electrical stuff, and we had dinner at a hotel buffet.

europe trip day 15: day flight

not the way to go. I couldn’t sleep.

Watched a lot of films, amongst them Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I wish I can write dialogue like that.

Had some crisps, too much chocolate and cup noodles. My mind wandering, I came back to my Carnaby Street story.

Lots on her mind, she was very distant, I couldn’t get much out of her. Best not to hassle her.

Very tired when I got home.

europe trip day 14: our last day

So that’s 2 weeks. It’s not long enough I tell ya.

Our last full day. But we were stuck cos she was “on-call”, ready to disappear at a moment’s notice, cos of her mentor and her work and her case. I should be supportive, I try my best to be supportive, I want to be supportive. But, but, it’s my holiday too. Sigh.

So we had to be reasonably accessible to central London. That ruled out Brighton, which we’d talked about going. Or anywhere out of the way like Bluewater. Or Southend.

So we ended up at Brent Cross. Oh let’s hear it for good old reliable Brent Cross. I had salt beef sandwich (what happened to going to Brick Lane?), we hung around Smith’s reading books, and that was our day.

Dinner back at the delicious Turkish place at Primrose Hill.

At the end she didn’t get her phone call. But that was too late.

europe trip day 13: house prices

We had 2 appointments today, with 2 different agents. Saw about 8-10 places around St John’s Wood and Maida Vale. One at Primrose Hill. The conclusion — everything too expensive, nothing outstanding. Saw some good decoration, so old and not so good, brand new conversions and the usual big mansion blocks. It’s exciting to wish.

Late lunch of pasta at Caffe Uno. Then we had to scram cos of parking.

Went to Chiswick High Street. Too windy to do much walking but again, juse being together. Finally managed to find Abbey National to update my book, had tea at Burger King (more than half the price of Starbuck’s, it’s just tea).

Dinner at Chutney Mary’s. It truly deserved its title of best Indian restaurant in the UK. Beautifully decorated, very good food. We shared a starter plate of bbq variety — meat, liver, kidney etc, then we had a vegetarian platter and osso bucco. Both were drool worthy. But wait for dessert — chocolate fondant with orange lassi, pour the lassi over the pudding, bite into the sponge and feel the chocolate inside invade your mouth. That was one dessert I want to learn how to make.

A truly memorable evening. I wasn’t mad anymore (well, I hadn’t been mad since last night :)).

europe trip day 12: a very lonely day

She spent the day meeting her mentor. I drove her out to his hotel near Harrods, dropped her off reluctantly, then headed my own way to the West End. Parked at a side street off Hanover Square, seriously debated whether to get a haircut, then had lunch of lamb & apricot pie and a pint of ale at the Woodstock. So windy it was difficult to sit outside and read the papers, but I didn’t want to sit inside.

Walked all along Oxford Street, contemplated esayinternet for a long while, settled for HMV. Headed down Regent’s Street and ended up at Carnaby Street. With my iPod and funny mood and conversations with shop assistants I came up with an outline for a story. Kept turning it round and round in my head, yes it could work.

The usual haunts, Covent Garden, Chinatown. Spent over an hour at Forbidden Planet, at its bigger and better premises at Shaftesbury Avenue. Read so many new books, discovered Watcher’s Guide vol 3 is out, Tales of the Slayer vol 4 is coming out 1 Nov, almost bought a bunch of on discount BtVS comics.

Time to head back, we’d arranged to meet outside the hotel at 6pm, so I got there 15 minutes early. Went up to Harvey Nichol’s foodcourt so that 15 mins would pass quicker. Then stood at the hotel entrance slowly getting colder and colder. Started to get really annoyed. If anyone asked me what I hate, it’s people who are habitually late. I can forgive once or twice because of traffic or what not, but I don’t know how many hours and days I’ve simply wasted, standing at tube stations, at bus stops, in the lobby of office buildings (I’m now an expert at godiva chocolate and calvin klein underwear), time that was forever lost, what price can I place on that?

I went back to the car and called with a curt message. I’m not sorry for the tone, nor am I sorry for hanging up abruptly. There’s only so much I have patience for.

I called our friend and told her we’d be late. Leaving me waiting, that’s one thing. Leaving other people waiting, I have no words.

Anyway the long and short of it was, I was in a foul mood when she finally turned up. I know she has a good reason, but part of me thinks, am I not also a good reason?

We drove up to our friend’s place and had curry at this local place that had very bad service. What a palaver.

So not, that wasn’t the best day of my life.

europe trip day 11: the move across town

Finally we decided to get out of the nowhere hotel. Packed our stuff into the car and found ourselves homeward bound. Except there is no happy ending, the Marriott near home was full, so we opted for Travelodge. Eventually ended up at the one at Kew. A bit nearer town and back in “our” side of London.

Since we were literally on the A4, we drove out to Bicester. And bought a big ol’ nuthing! Ha! Had lukewarm baked potato and tea, just being together was great. Then at the end, discovered the Carlucci’s at the bottom end, shades of Bluewater again. Next time.

Tried making a reservation at Chutney Mary but they were full, so drove back to Camden Town. And received the first truly big shock — L’Ecluse was gone! Gone! The staple in our lives for over 10 years, where we’ve seen its ups and downs. Gone! I’m still in shock.

It was Saturday night, we didn’t have much idea of where to do, so I suggested the Greek place at Primrose Hill. Which turned out to be also fully booked, and so obnoxious neither of us wanted to go back. We ended up eventually at a smaller Greek/Turkish place a few doors down, that had charcoal grilled lamb. What a discovery. It was very very delicious. We had a starter of olive stuffed something and hummous, for main course we had one of lamb rib, another of regular shish. And both came with rice and veg and were yummy. Our night was saved. We’ve found another heaven.

europe trip day 10: west and east

Drove over to St John’s Wood today to go to the estate agents. Boy was it a nightmare to park, as usual. Set up appointments and then had a tea and cake break before driving back over to Lakeside. The trick was to avoid the congestion zone meaning driving along a very slow moving Euston Road. Then we hit total blockage coming up to the Dartford Tunnel, so boring.

Lakeside had been renovated, less gloomy than I remembered. We hit the shops but came away mostly empty handed, until we reached Marks and Spencer’s, where we spent a good hour. Bought some clothes, hehe.

M&S dinner — chinese style chicken wings, fruit, dessert. Yums. Brings back memories.

europe trip day 09: things change

She wanted to go househunting and I’d sort of promised. But we woke up and it was a rare sunny day and I didn’t feel like spending it in strangers’ houses. So I asked if we could go to Whitstable instead and of course she agreed. She could never resist me.

The advantage of living in East London is, we were so close to the A2. No need to trek all the way across town, now with congestion charge. And sooner than normal, we were there.

It’s so strange that we discovered Whistable only when we’d left the UK. Before, we headed straight for Margate, at most stopping at Canterbury. How many seafood lunches misssed? And seafood we had, a very nice fish pie, very fresh oysters, a rather disappointing hot mixed seafood main course, and a totally great lemonn tart. I had a traditional beer, she had an English white (pretty decent, surprisingly).

We walked around the town centre a bit, visited the small shops. She bought a pair of shoes and we bought some sweets from a traditional by-the-jar sweet shop.

Half an hour to Margate and boy has it changed. We were disappointed at how run down it’d become, the amusement arcades not offering much anymore. We did the rounds, then headed back.

Went to Sainsbury’s and bought salad, bread, eggs, ham. Pizzahut for a small pizza. That was our dinner, at the hotel room, cozy and happy. I was still missing Zurich and was still waiting for the “home” feeling to come back.

europe trip day 08: from the nice to a shock

So our flight was mid-afternoon, so we had the whole morning, as long as we set off for the flughafen at 1.30pm it was fine.

Time to give Zurich its turn. Didn’t drive, took the tram, first stop Globus, to look at the beautiful kitchen stuff. I told her that I could have anything, anything on that floor and I’d be so happy.

Then to another highlight — chocolate at Sprungli at Paradeplatz. Difficult to believe it was my first time, usually when I’m at Paradeplatz it was to get the tram home, not much thought of lingering and getting anything to drink. It was really fabulous. They so need to export their chocolate abroad.

Walked down to the lake and up the other side. Finally couldn’t resist the temptation to walk into a Navyboot at the Niederdorf. She bought a handbag of unstated quality, I drooled at the shoes.

And all of a sudden, we were back at our friends’ place hauling our suitcases down to the car. We were really leaving, and I’d never felt so sad. It was like leaving home. And a part of Zurich, will always always be home.

It was a shock to be in London. First of all, after a week of sunshine and clear skies we were faced with the usual British grot. Then Hertz gave us a Japanese station wagon which she didn’t want to drive (too big), finally we got our Focus but it was 3-door and I was too tired to argue anymore.

It was strange not to have a home or someone’s home to go to. We booked the Ibis hotel, out there near Docklands. But getting there was a big gigantic boring hassle. Huge traffic jam at Embankment, bumper to bumper till Liverpool Street. Then another solid mass out by Isle of Dogs, I had to do a U-turn and get into the Isle of Dogs itself. We didn’t know exactly which Ibis it was and of course, ended up at the wrong one. When we eventually found the right one it was quite late already. It was at ExCel, a new exhibition centre all the way near City Airport, totally in the middle of nowhere, not even a local high street to have dinner, we ended up eating at the hotel.

The room was clean but very basic. The bathroom was well designed though, the shower was small but with inwardly opening glass doors and wooden decking there was no squick factor. All bathrooms should be designed that way.

europe trip day 07: 3 countries, 1 day

We drove up to one of the highest points on the Route du vin, Wihr-au-Val-, but didn’t see anything interesting. Doubled back towards Colmar and stopped at Eguisheim, where I visited before. A larger place, almost a town, built in 3 concentric circles, with a well marked vineyard trail.

Did some souvenir shopping — teatowels, some of the distinctive houses. The ovenware were interesting, but too heavy.

Made our way east towards Freiburg. That’s in Germany. Again it was a drive through and no stop. If we had time, may have stopped at Titisee. Our destination was Schaffhausen though.

The funny thing about Schaffhausen. It’s very near Zurich, straightforward train journey. Most of us who had visitors would tell them to go there, unfailingly. Which was why I held off visiting until there were overseas visitors.

This was my 3rd time, and the Rheinfalls looked the same, the small rock still jutted out in defiance of the raging waters. Still not seeing how it’s the largest waterfall in Europe. Hmmm.

The drive back to Zurich was a different way than I thought, and then all of a sudden we were back in Germany, then back in Switzerland. What a strange road.

Cooked at home. Grilled asparagus, lamb kebab, Eton Mess.

Our last full day in Switzerland. Neither of us wanted to leave. Sigh.

europe trip day 06: a good vintage

Where next.

East this time, to Alsace. Yes, another country, this time France, less than 2 hours and we were in Colmar. Really, French drivers are not as nice as Swiss drivers.

Headed straight to the tourist information office to book accommodation — a booklet lists available accommodation along the wine route and the lady at the desk will help us call and collect the payment. All very convenient. We stayed at a simple b&b at Ribeauville, typically small French rooms but comfortable. No aircon but a ceiling fan, which served its purpose neatly.

The Alsace region consists of a vast collection of tiny villages, more like hamlets, scattered along the hillsides. Strasbourg to the north, Colmar in the centre and Mulhouse to the south. Get off the main road and drive along the windy smaller roads and all along the road are vines, lots and lots of them.

We stopped at a secluded spot and tried some of the grapes, very sweet, really nice. Mostly they produce white wine — Tokay Pinot Gris, Muscat, Riesling, Gewurztraminer. The red — Pinot Noir — was really bad, worst than plonk. But some of the whites were great, we liked Gewurztraminer the best, sweet, easy to drink, and very very pleasant.

What you do, go into a winery or shop and they will let you try out their wines, take your time and taste and then buy. Some proprietors are more knowledgeable and friendly than others. We bought a little, added bread, pâté, cheeese, had a really great indoor picnic dinner in our room. Nothing to watch on French TV, went to bed quite early.

europe trip day 05: achtung deutschland

It’s only an hour and a half’s drive from Zurich to Romanshorn, which we made easily. We were on our way to Bodensee with our friends. Pleasant drive, the roadside full of apple trees, the temptation was to just stop and pick a couple for ourselves.

It was a short ride on the car ferry, then we headed for Immenstaad. A bit of traffic but we made good time for a late lunch at the yacht club. Service was sloooow. On the way to the pier we came across a couple of fruit stalls, unmanned but with tempting apples, plums, pears and all sorts. Only EUR2 for what looks like a kilo of apples, which we did buy, plus another bag of plums. So neatly arranged, but there was the trust factor also. On the other hand, it’s such a small sum of money why even think of cheating?

After lunch we drove onto Meersberg and visited the cobbered street and took in a bit of the castle. Reminds me of Stein-am-Rhein, both tourisy, both dependent on the lake/river, both with cobbled streets. Another car ferry back to the otherside and we came back to CH via Konstanz.

europe trip 04: high altitude

We set the alarm early to try to catch the sunrise. She was indeed up and about (in a pleasantly unexpected reversal of our usual roles), but I was really tired. But I also managed to get up around 7.30am to be greeted with a cloudless view, with the morning sunshine gradually bringing more in from the darkness.

Breakfast was typical fare of cheese, bread, boiled eggs and cold meat, but even these tasted better cos of our great mood.

There were so many alternatives to choose from and so little time, at the end we decided to go up to Klein Matterhorn. A couple of cable car rides later we were there, and it was great. The first venture out to the viewing platform was a bit of a shock, it was cold. Couldn’t move too far too fast without being out of breath, and a little dizzy too. Of course, we were at high altitudes, so not as much oxygen.

Most of the other passengers in the cable car were there for skiing or boarding, I was so jealous. The run from the cable car was a long straight one down the glacier and it looked like so much fun. Sigh.

We made our slow way back down the valley, by the time we reached the middle station the shortness had all but disappeared, and we took even more photos. 3 cheers for digital cameras I say. A last walk through the village, a short wait for the train and we were back in our car.

I’d suggested we went back to Zurich via another route, through Ticino, looking at the map it seemed manageable, albeit a bit far, I was determined to try it. It was a long way, up and down some very steep inclines. Plus we drove through Italy, literally, we didn’t stop. The border checkpoints were almost invisible, and all of a sudden I was driving on an autostrada! Then shortly after, we were back in Switzerland.

I’d initially wanted to aim for Bellinzona or Lugano, but it was getting late and we ended up in Locarno. No big, it was still very nice. The difference in temperature was fairly pronounced, we enjoyed a short walk around the lake, had an outdoor dinner of pizza and risotto, then headed back to Zurich.

europe trip 03: I made it!

For most people, there’s no better image of Switzerland than the Matterhorn. Its distinctive shape, the way it rises head and shoulder above Zermatt’s village and valley.

It’s my first time to visit. Yes, correct. For various reasons I never made it (time, lack of company, traffic), so this time round it’s the place I really really want to add to my visited list.

It’s a long drive from Zurich. We stopped at Interlaken for lunch — touristy, but we ate at a nice friendly place, my favorite kalbsleberli and rosti. Drove up and down a couple of unexpectedly steep passes, experienced the car-train at Kandersteg and finally reached Täsch, the closest a car can reach Zermatt.

Täsch is basically a road that is flanked by car parks and petrol stations, there doesn’t seem to be anything else. The underground car park next to the station was small and full of badly parked cars, we had minutes to spare to get the ticket and onto the train for the 15 min trip to Zermatt.

The train station was a bustle of activity — people, dogs, electric taxis. The tourist office had accommodation a plenty, for all classes. They gave us a computerised list of what’s available within our price range, we chose the one we liked, and there’s a special phone that links directly to the hotel for enquiries. It was done within 30 mins. Talk about efficiency.

The village map shows every single building together with its designated number. For instance the Hotel Bellerive, where we stayed, was something like #116. Can’t remember exact cost, around CHF180 for 2 I think. Modern bathroom, clean everything and a view of the Matterhorn on our balcony. What more can we ask for? There was a cloud that wouldn’t budge from the peak but it was still amazing.

At the end we didn’t visit the church but we walked past the neat and not scary at all cemetary many times. Window shopped on the main street and bought some drinks and snacks at the Coop. Dinner at the Café du Pont — more bratwurst and I had a beer.

Not too much to do after dinner, but we were tired, at least I was, cos I was out like a wink.