more quiet

Woke up a little later today, relieved that I got a little more sleep. Still not late enough, I know, complaining about wanting to sleep later doesn’t work, I could have just gone back to bed. But I didn’t.

Finished off some of the salad and handrolls from yesterday for lunch. For someone on expense account I’m the model of frugality.

Watched some football on TV, not something I’d normally do. Chelsea vs Barcelona, followed by Arsenal vs Southampton. That, or it’s golf or some very old film.

Was having trouble with the aircon, either it’s too stuffy, or if I turn it up a fraction it’s too cold. So I was forever jumping up and down to adjust the thermostat. Finally had a brainwave — turn it on at the higher (stuffy) setting, then turn the fan on higher. Yay! It works.

Mid-afternoon went to the gym again. That’s unusual, twice in 2 days. Did 20 mins on the cross-trainer, some equipment. Arms and legs are sore but it’s a nice feeling. Still can’t get the crunches right though.

Went over to the foodcourt across the road, had stuffed tofu in soup and ice kacang. Plus a watermelon juice, it all came to SGD8. Yes, I’m in a frugal mood today.

She went to visit her sis today with her mum. We plan to go again when I’m back. I know how she misses her sis, I wish I can be there to be a cuddly comforty bear.

quiet

It’s quiet without mm. I don’t feel like going anywhere, doing anything, I’m all on my own.

Woke up at usual work time, which is frustrating, cos I was looking forward to sleep. The Powerbook is on, but that gets too quiet after a while.

Went for a foot massage at the normal Kenko, they were full so I went for lunch first. Had Japanese set meal of soup and seafood. The soup was in a little pot that is kept hot by a little fire, looks cute but tastes only so-so. The Japanese stall is next to the Korean stall, may be she’d like to try the Korean set there when she comes over? Sigh, is it wishful thinking to want her to come visit?

Went to the sushi place behind Carrefour and bought a sashimi set plus handrolls for dinner. As per usual I emptied the fridge first thing so there’s space.

Was very good, went to the gym for an hour. Did the crosstrainer, some lifting, some crunches. Still not very good at the crunches, need to get better. Need equipment. May be pool tomorrow, dunno.

Nothing on TV tonight, so it’s Powerbook and me. It’s too quiet without her. She’s missing me too, I read her post. I don’t know how to make us both better …

flying off

Flying again today, for 2 weeks, not much rest but I’ve seen mm for every single day since I came back friday :). Woke up this morning together, mmm. Skived off in the morning, decided to stay home and not go to work.

Oh yeah, something funny last night. As I was just entering my front door, my mobile rang, it was our dept secretary. Guess what? The 2 of us have been so busy that we’ve totally forgotten to have the agent issue the ticket! And I’m flying the next day! Luckily, this is the age of technology and it’s e-ticketed and I checked in online. Without a ticket. Went to check-in with just my passport, that’s it.

There were 2 mandarins in my kitchen this morning, but I didn’t feel like eating them. So, yeah, I took them with me. Funny thing is, they’re both from Singapore — I brought them back last time, hahaha! There’s also this small carton of milk that’s been in my bag since the first trip, I’m going to have to use it up, cos it’s flown enough times already.

Not a full plane, I like these Airbuses, they’re 2-4-2 so not so crowded. The meeting that was scheduled tonight was cancelled so yay, I can stay in.

I just came back from Carrefour, got some discounted sushi and sashimi, juice and salad. Way better than room service if you ask me.

So, she can’t visit this weekend :(. May be next one then. I miss her already.

It’s here

The nano book arrived. I got off the taxi from the airport, dragged my bag up the steps and the porter at the management office told me I have a package.

I collected the rest of my mail and when I got home I showed mm the package and asked her to guess what it was. She got it in one.

It’s here!

The white edges of the cover showed up, I wonder why they told us to use their template if it was going to be like that. Otherwise the formatting is great, the font may be a bit too large, the margins too. Well, it just makes it easier to read.

I read the first chapter, it’s a different feel, reading it on the screen or on a bunch of printed A4 paper. The feel of reading it in book format is completely different.

Like it should be better. I haven’t read it in nearly 2 months, and I must say, in book form and re-reading it now, it’s not that good. The whole chapter needs to be re-written and tightened up.

But I’m not going to. I don’t intend to publish it. I want to leave the rawness and blemishes there, keep the energy and the knowledge that I wrote all of that within 10 days.

flying around

Training week was hectic, we learnt 4 different types of reporting tools, some are quite hard to grasp. Didn’t get enough opportunity for hands on exercises, that’s why.

Most evenings were spent with my colleagues, usually out for dinner. Had East Coast seafood, shark’s fin at Chinatown, and stuff like that. So by the time I get back to the hotel it’s past 10pm. Not a lot of relax time, sigh.

It’ll be better next trip cos I’m on my own, not so many needs for ‘entertainment’. Yeah, back in Singapore on Wednesday for 2 weeks. Feel like I’m forever on a plane.

in the dark

I was a bad student today, doing something else during training. Our PC training room has 12 desks and I was sitting at the last row, while the others listened during the training. Got a bit bored and distracted so I was looking at website stats — I’m getting more hits, over 200 some days. Still puzzled at the hits from obviously spam sites, the poker, viagra and annoying other sites that show up on the log, I think it’s MT Blacklist doing me a fantastic favor. Added more to my blacklist, I hate these spammers.

Checked email after lunch, had to use webmail cos we don’t have enough machines, but that’s fine.

Went to Lau Pa Sat for satay with my colleagues. One has her husband and young boy with her for visit, it was a nice dinner. Had a couple of mugs of beer, it’s a while since I’ve had beer, I now have a headache. I was right to cut it out.

gmail

When the whole thing started, I searched around for gmail invites, but none of my friends or even colleagues in the IT dept had heard of it, much less have a spare invite.

Some kind soul on the nanowrimo forums sent me one, so I joined the ranks. Problem was it doesn’t work on Netscape 7, which is what I’m still using on OS9. Of course one of the advantage of going on firefox on OSX is it’s all clear.

I was surfing round yesterday and was reminded of the spooler, where people with unwanted invites put them in a pool for people who want them. Last few times I ambled by, there weren’t any, but currently they have over 170k. I wonder if google did a big splurge, or if it’s already old hat, anyone who wanted one has one. I dunno.

Anyway I set a couple accounts up and got mm one too.

firefox!

I finally figured out how to get internet on OSX. Go to System Preference > Network. Configure using Built-in Ethernet, use PPPoE, enter username and password. Go to Internet Connect under Applications X and login.

Took me a wee bit of trouble to download firefox 1.0 (only had 0.9.3 previously), but this is the first post on OSX, via firefox. YAY! At last.

Don’t quite like the faded colours and large menu fonts on OSX. And Verdana looks different, more square, more squished.

But it’s worth switching, though it’ll take a fair bit of getting used to.

good day

It’s the Year of the Rooster. Happy Lunar New Year.

Didn’t sleep very well last night, woke up disgustingly early, before 9am. Turned the powerbook on while she slept on happily, woke her up after 11am and she came out to join me in the living room, but fell asleep on my lap.

Had a simple lunch, then went out to walk around. Majority of shops were closed but not some restaurants, supermarkets and fruit stalls. Just strolled around, enjoying each other’s company.

After a little debate, we bought sushi, sashimi and snacks and went home. Caught up with Apprentice episodes. Opened a bottle of sake.

It was so nice, so easy.

She felt a little drunk after the sake and got me worried for a while. Luckily she recovered after sleeping it off for a bit. Phew.

home

Did I find a present? Yeah right, I’m so telling. Nope, my lips are sealed.

Anyway I’m home, it was tremendously hot all the way back and the first reaction I got when I got in was yuck, it’s h.u.m.i.d., everything feels clammy and damp. Dehumidifier in action straight away. This is ridiculous, now I’m going to have to do a bunch of trashing cos things may not have kept in the damp. I know my clothes and shoes are in lousy condition already.

The other observation was how little mail I got over 2 weeks. Only 2 bills, a stack of bank statements and of course the stupid junk mail. But only 2 bills? Strange.

And the lulu book hasn’t arrived yet. I wonder when it will, cos I’m going back to Singapore on Sunday already.

not in a rush

Heh, I’m writing this in Changi Airport again. Woke up early this morning, had breakfast, but didn’t feel like eating a lot, just had 3 cups of tea. No taxi queue, no traffic, so I’m early, flight’s at 1135 and it’s 0950 and I’m all checked in and through Immigration.

Luckily there’s usually plenty to browse around here, and of course the many many free internet stations. Hee.

Nothing out of the ordinary when I left the office yesterday, I gave each of them a red packet for good luck and it was like, see you on Monday. Boring.

Yeah, no rush. Have a whole hour to see if there’s anything I can buy for mm.

inside the hotel day

I did not leave the vicinity of the hotel today. Couldn’t sleep last night cos of the constant buzzing of some stupid insect that was hanging around my ears, stupid stupid stupid. Woke up and it was nearly 11am, just as well cos I didn’t plan to have the big breakfast today. Instead I had an eye on the buffet at the Italian restaurant at the hotel. SGD48, which is not too bad. For an extra SGD30, there was even free flow prosecco, for only one person it’s hard to drink so much though.

Food was great, all sorts of antipasti — parma ham & melon, grilled veg, octopus, salad, cold meat, carpaccio. A nice seafood selection of oysters, prawns, lobster, mussels. And salad too, spinach, mushroom, pepper, tomato, dressing on the side, nice.

There were hot dishes but I didn’t try, mainly lasagna and chicken. The main course was served, I had squid ink pasta with scallops and tomato garlic sauce. Pasta was just right, though a tad too salty, and the scallops were good.

Mousses, fruit, cake, chocolate sponge for dessert. They had cheeses though, but padana and pecorino wouldn’t be my choice for a cheese spread.

May be it’s the location, or the fact that it’s a bit expensive (I mean, a bowl of noodles at the food court upstairs is less than $4), apart from me, there was only one other couple. Shame.

Took about 2 hours for the food to feel totally settled, so I went to the gym again. This time I managed to get the cross trainer to work, then did a few (too few lah) sit ups and machines. It was much more crowded than yesterday, but the sauna was again underused.

No need for dinner, finished the salad I bought at Carrefour yesterday.

Posted Part 14 of CA and watched the comments coming in. I’m bad.

So, all in all, an eventful day even without venturing outside.

a little work out

Woke up at 10am, went down for breakfast, ate enough so I didn’t have to go for lunch. Had sausages, fried noodles, hash brown, waffles, french toast, poached egg (but too much vinegar in the water got absorbed into the white), watermelon and papaya. Wow.

Went to Carrefour to buy the “lo hei” ingredients. Not expensive, just over SGD10 for a pack that’s supposed to be enough for 10 people, though the portions are small. Bought some biscuits and lapis cake. Plus a plate of sashimi, 2 tubs of salad, milk and some juice. Quite a lot to carry, cos they gave me this gigantic bag that is, well, gigantic.

By the time I got back to the room I’d started dripping, so I took a shower. Hooked up the laptop, ate the sashimi.

Around 4pm decided to go downstairs to the gym, which was virtually empty. Did 20 minutes of brisk walking and tried playing with the machines. Some are better than the others, didn’t like the shoulder press but some of the other weights machines are ok. Tried doing more crunches but positioning very bad. Then showered and used the sauna.

Now my arm muscles and shoulders are a little tired. Think I’ll go try it out again tomorrow.

mellow

I was walking around the Esplanade today and on a whim, decided to see what’s on. There were 2 concerts, one Beethoven, the other kd lang. I did end up getting a ticket, no prize for guessing which one.

kd of course.

What a voice. Accompanied by her own band — a fabulous jazz piano, a solid bass, a subtle drum and master guitar. And backed up by the local chamber orchestra.

Can I just say fabulous jazz piano again?

She sang some old favourites, Miss Chatelaine, Constant Craving, Simple, Don’t Smoke in Bed. Plus some from the new album, which are covers of other Canadian artists. A couple from lesser known artists, but she really shone through with Neil Young’s Helpless and oh my god, Hallelujah. So different from Jeff Buckley’s version, and sounding so good live.

A bit of banter with the crowd, silly ballerina dancing and lots of applause. The concert was too short, including 2 encores was only 90 minutes (no intermission), and it was quite expensive at SGD90. But it was interesting and I don’t regret coming.

mix up

My ex-colleagues took me for “lo hei” yesterday. Translated literally it means mix happiness, or mix up! The other name for it is “yu sheng”, meaning raw fish, or sashimi lah.

It’s a uniquely Singaporean concoction invented by 4 master chefs in the 1960s, the main ingredients are raw fish, salad (carrots, cucumber, ginger, picked onions) and various oils and sauces. The trick is to say one of those nice prosperity blessing phrases at each stage of preparing the dish, eg when putting the fish in, say “year year get fish”, like that.

Look at the nice pictures.

Nowadays in restaurants there’s a variety of fish, from the “normal” salmon sashimi to abalone to lobster. Even vegetarian versions without the fish.

Then after everything’s been put in the salad, everyone stands up and toss the salad as high as they can, while again saying these blessing phrases. It’s fun and tastes good too.

24 hour writathon

From writers weekly, via tannagh.com, a website I came across on the wordpress support forums today while looking for examples of people using WP as a cms, to display entries and articles like the way I use MT for the non date-based sections here.

This grabbed my attention:

Think NaNoWriMo was tough? WritersWeekly has a 24-hour version.

For the pleasure of spending $5, prospective writers can register for a 24 hour short story contest run by WritersWeekly, a freelance writing ezine. The contest starts noon (Central Time) on 9 April and only 500 people can participate.

Unlike nanowrimo, this one actual has prizes — top 3 prizes are cash $200 – 300 plus some goodies. There’re also 20 honourable mentions and 60 randomly drawn prizes. So the chances of taking something away is quite high, especially if not all 500 participants manage to submit.

The topic and wordcount requirements are emailed to participants at the beginning of the contest, to prevent people pre-writing. That’s cool.

So now the dilemma is — should I enter? What will I be doing that weekend? Isn’t it that week we planned to go away? Can I write on the fly like that?

Looking at the WritersWeekly website more closely (first time I’ve heard of it), it’s owned by a POD company that charges writers like a few hundred bucks for the privilege of being published. With the recent comments on the nano forums about people’s dubious regards for this sort of enterprise, it kinda leaves me a bit skeptical of the company. But then again, it’s just a competition, I can disregard what the parent company does, right?

Eep, it’s already nearly 50% full.

liquid refreshment

As part of the room rate this time, I get breakfast, plus 2 bottles of water and 2 cans of soft drinks everyday. Thing is, I’m used to going to the supermarket first day I arrive and getting lots of drinks.

So now, the hotel room is full of drinks. I have more bottles of water than I can drink, I have juice, and coke and green tea. Even though I drink more than many people, it’s still hard to get through them all.

At final last I think housekeeping has figured out I want diet coke, not normal coke. So my usual diet coke at lunch, all I need is to come back to the room before lunch to get it. There’s no fridge in the office so it needs to stay in the minibar to keep cold.