January 2006 Archives
For once I woke up later than mm. It was almost 11am when I turned over and found an empty side of bed, then gradually the sounds of the tv in the living room filtered through. We had taro cake for lunch, and dismissed the idea to go see the film, we’ll do that this weekend.
She decided to assemble the home entertainment system that has been sitting in its box the the longest time. There were wires everywhere! It took a while, cos we had to dismantle the vcr and dvd first, then connect everything. It’s complicated. And stopping all the time to test and make sure we have the connections right. Finally after 2 hrs we did it. Yay! Now mm has surround sound.
She went downstairs to the market to buy dinner — crabs and mini-whelks. A small portion of sashimi for the salad. We shared half a bottle of sake too. It was great.
I’m home finally. After 4 days away. It was really great to be at mm’s, though I did miss being home a little, I have to admit. I had left the dell on so I could keep grouper and bt going, but it’s gone a bit kablooey so I had to reboot. Stupid PCs. I’ve decided to buy the macbook for my birthday anyway.
Originally we had tentative plans to see the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but she wasn’t feeling well so we stayed in all day. It was bloody hot — the sun was out full force and I had to move from my perch on the couch to the shade. I was almost tempted to turn the aircon on! It’s supposed to be January, grrrrr.
Late afternoon I ran over to the supermarket to get the ingredients for our dinner. Last night we opened a bottle of Côtes du Rhône and it was so plonkish we couldn’t drink it — so we had to find a way to use it up. I wanted a whole chicken but it wasn’t available so I bought whole legs. Garlic, carrots, potatoes and a tin of chopped tomatoes completed my purchase. I cut the chicken up into pieces, marinated slightly with salt, pepper & olive oil and browned them with garlic. Added diced carrots, tomatoes and the red wine. Simmered on low heat till reduced to at least 1/3. The potatoes I did my usual par-boiled cubes then roasted till crispy. Pretty okay, though the chicken fell apart and it was more like minced chicken.
Felt like ice cream, so I checked out the tubs in the freezer. Hmm. Still taste okay, but they’d been in the freezer for too long and it was more like vanilla ice. Not too bad.
Lunar New Year today. Went to my parents’ for lunch — we had a mix of all sorts of our favourite foods, though nothing “cohesive” that would be considered a proper menu. I mean, we mixed steak with abalone and vegetable stew and carrot cake and the yu sheng salad from Singapore. Who cares, it’s only the three of us.
I spent most of the time before and after lunch fixing Mum’s PC. Sigh. Stupid PC. She had a ton of spyware that was crippling her IE. Hee, I half considered not fixing it so she could use firefox instead, but she plays some games off msn. I showed her how much faster and safer firefox is. Tidied up her start menu, got rid of redundant icons, general cleanup, downloaded a bunch of security software, that sort of stuff.
By the time I got back to mm’s it was almost 5pm. I stopped by the market and bought 4 giant tiger prawns — “big head prawns.” I made surf & turf for dinner - sirloin steak, prawns, potato cubes, mange tout beans and mini corn. A big plate each. Hee.
Early lunch for us, almost brunch. Then again, steak and beans is a large brunch.
Went to the flower market, which was very crowded, even though we went fairly early. Bought some flowers, but not so many. I got quite hungry, so we stopped for pork chop roll. Afterwards I picked up the duvet covers and bedsheets I had on order.
Bus back to her place to take a rest and dump the stuff we bought. She had dinner with her folks and I had dinner with a couple of friends — we had hotpot at a posh hotel restaurant. Quite expensive actually. Originally wanted to go to dessert at this chocolate place but it was full. Instead we ended up with a bar/deli place where they had an evening special of cake and glass of wine or liqueur coffee. I had a banoffe pie and house red — heavy but yummy.
It was past midnight when I met mm at the park to go to the fair. I hate crowds and it was late, but she wanted to go, so it was fine by me. man, that crowd! We weren’t moving by our own accord, it was like a sardine tin and people behind us would push us forward. The stuff on sale were the usual tacky worthless toys — balloons, inflatable toys, cheap decoration. Why people want to go get jostled by people and wet from the rain I have no idea.
Someone at work sent me this. Yep, the whispering game is in force, full force.
I’m now at the stage when I’m re-sizing the NZ trip photos. They’re huge — the onces from my camera are 3,456x2,504 px and naturally the file size is astounding. So with 1,650 photos, how does one scale them down to a manageable size and not have to do them one by one?
Photoshop Actions to the rescue. I could simply record the action (select image size —> set width to 800 —> close and save) and run it under File>>Automation. I wish it were smart enough to recognise the difference between portrait and landscape pics so it automatically makes the longest side 800px, but it’s a small thing.
I’m at 1,000+, just finished the Franz Josef Glacier set. Then I need to figure out where to upload the pics. Comcast has PhotoShow, which looks great but I think the file is only available for 30 days. Yahoo photos, hmm, boring. Ofoto or photobucket. I’m definitely leaning towards flickr. Or use iPhoto and the same plugin kottke uses … it looks great.
Forgot to mention re: sunday shopping. We spent a fair bit of time at Louis Vuitton, where mm had her eye on the multicolour monogrammed speedy 30. It’s quite a big bag but it looks nice in her hands. Bit too expensive for our taste, but she deserves something nice for herself occasionally.
Reminds me of articles I read about the opening of the Louis Vuitton Megastore on the Champs Elysées last October, where artist Vanessa Beecroft put on a “performance” of 40 naked models wearing nothing but string and LV shoes, draped around the shop’s display of bags and cases. Classy.
D. Keith Robinson wrote about “the items or ideas that can spark off a serious idea storm.”
A creative person is someone who can make something from nothing; who expresses originality and have oodles of imagination. Despite popular belief, creativity is difficult for me. I have zero artistic and musical cells, and it’s a wonder that I am able to write. I keep discussing it with my writing group friends, that I am clueless about my own creative process. I can’t analyse my writing style or method because I don’t have one. I must be using a part of my brain that I can’t consciously access.
I am not an idea generator. I function best when some other (more creative) people have come up with fresh ideas, then I can help build on them. I’m way better at execution. Which is why I am able to enjoy the type of writing I do now, since the setting and characters are already familiar.
So what inspires me?
- movies and books and music, the usual suspects
- when I’m travelling, like on the bus or driving
- talking, brainstorming or joking with my friends
- the moment just before I fall asleep in bed
- this one is unusual, but is proven to work — in the bathroom
On the subject of creativity while in the bathroom, here’s a neat gadget, a waterproof notepad that can hang on the shower wall, perfect for those flashes of inspiration that always hits us when we have no access to paper or keyboard. From popgadget.
My dept went out to celebrate promotions tonight, our boss’ idea. We left at 6.15pm and everyone had a really good time. Ordered lots of snacks — chicken wings, chips, satay, garlic bread, salad. Boss was having red wine so a few of us joined the red wine brigade. People started leaving at around 8-ish, but me and a couple of others stayed. In fact we stayed till way after Boss left (I paid for the remainder of the drinks / food) and had a whale of a time. I think we were all pretty smashed, we kept calling this other girl who used to work in our dept and were yelling at her down the phone.
I got home at 11.30pm, turned on the hot water and then the computer. But 3 minutes on the laptop and the words were swimming, so I took a shower and hopped directly into bed.
Yeah, I had 5 glasses of red wine. No wonder.
I went to church with mm this morning. Got out of bed at 8.20am on a sunday morning. I wanted to make the effort, since it means so much to her.
The chapel at the Catholic Centre was small, and almost full when we got there. She’s in the choir so I had to sit on my own. Luckily the lady directing traffic found me a seat near the choir, actually it was just behind them, I was settled.
Good service. The Irish father talked about the story of the reluctant prophet Jonah and how he was supposed to have survived 3 days in the belly of a whale. Sometimes I gotta laugh at how people who wrote the Bible treated these stories as if they’re real. It’s a metaphorical whale, people. But still, a good story.
I like this church. They sing everything that is singable. The atmosphere isn’t pretentious, everything is efficient. But I’m not sure if I’ll go as often as I should. She has choir practice afterwards and that meant hanging around for 1.5 hours when I’d much rather be at home and online. I’m pretty sure my temper will get bad if I have to hang around every week.
We had a nice lunch then went clothes shopping. Honest honest, this must rate as one of my least favorite activities. My shopping M.O. is know exactly what I want, target the shop(s), zoom in and get out as soon as possible. I couldn’t manage spending 50 minutes in every shop, trying clothes over and over again, and asking the sales people all sorts of questions. I can barely talk to the sales assistants, let alone ask them anything.
Fruitful shopping trip though, she bought a really fantastic blue striped sweater and a few other tops. All were on sale, that was good. I didn’t have any energy to find anything for myself.
When we finally reached the foot massage place I was so tired, I almost fell asleep straightaway. I was asleep for most of the 1.5 hours though. After the foot massage we tried the ear candle massage. It’s our second time and it was pretty comfortable afterwards. When the therapist held the burning candle in my ear, I heard gentle crackles and pops, she was giving me a face and neck massage at the same time. Yeah, I fell asleep again.
Dinner was Indian food. I’m still tired.
A recent interview with Bret Eatson Ellis. It’s a long article which I have to read carefully another time, when I’m less tired.
I must have read Less than Zero a million times. Well, not a million. May be 30. More often when I was young and when it first came out. It had a quiet sense of rebellion / impending doom / coolness to it. It was the first and only book I wrote a student newsletter review on (I have the review on hardcopy, hence not linked here). American Psycho gives me the chills every time I read it. Haven’t read his more recent books as many times. I like his style of writing, it’s subtle and he uses an economy of words.
I really need to get back to reading books.
mm and I had dinner with her mum tonight, just the three of us. It was really nice. I loved being there, even though I tend not to say a lot when I’m in the company of her family. Her family is very different from mine, meals are boisterous affairs and they joke around and talk at the top of their voices. My family is the complete opposite, we rarely talk and tend to eat quickly. Hence the difference in our personalities: I’m already a lot better now, at least I talk and socialise a bit. It’s fun, whenever she sees me, especially on a friday when we haven’t seen each other for a week, it’s like a dam opens and she pours out everything she wants to tell me. It’s so sweet.
I planned this website to be a small scale personal project. I didn’t sign up for an expensive hosting plan and I’ve always thought that I have more than sufficient for my needs. 500MB storage and 7GB transfers a month seemed to be numbers I’d never reach.
I’ve had this since September 2003 now, and I’ve managed to keep it small scale. Imagine looking at the site stats today — 120MB used, 380MB remaining. But the shocker — 3.4GB transfer, 3.6 remaining. My usual bandwith hardly get over the 1GB mark. Look at the red graph at the bottom right.
When did I start using almost half my bandwidth????? No. of visitors is as low as before, 100ish a day. What happened to the bandwidth usage? It must be the images and movies I’ve been posting because number of visitors and pages haven’t changed significantly.
Bonuses were announced today, hence the rich banker joke. From here is the city news.
A rich banker and his wife are having dinner at a very fine restaurant.
A stunning young lady comes over to their table, kisses the banker, says that she’ll see him later, and walks away.
The wife glares at her husband, and demands to know who it was.
“Oh,” replies the banker. “That’s my mistress.”
“Well, that’s the last straw,” says the wife. “I’ve had enough. I want a divorce.”
“I can understand that,” replies the banker. “But remember, if we get divorced it will mean no more shopping trips to Paris, no more wintering in Barbados, no more summers in Tuscany, no more BMW in the garage and no more yacht club.”
Just then, a mutual friend enters the restaurant with a very attractive young female on his arm.
“Who’s that woman with Giles?” asks the wife.
“That’s his mistress,” says the banker.
It all goes quiet … “Ours is prettier,” she finally replies.
I watched 5 eps of TLW s2 today, 3 of them in the afternoon while waiting for mm to call so we could meet for dinner. I wish we had a group of supportive friends like that, of course without all the drama and over-drama of a tv series.
We did food shopping and walked around a furniture store. Then simple dinner before going home again. I mentioned that I could go over tonight, but we decided not to, cos tomorrow’s a work day. Perhaps one day this week I’ll go over to try the Mon-Thurs special buffet at “our” Japanese restaurant.
Been listening to my iTunes on shuffle. I think I’ll rip the rest of my CDs. Previously I picked out songs I liked, but I think now I’ll get the whole CD.
Jilly tagged me for this over at LJ. Ground Rules: The first player of this “game” starts with the topic “5 weird habits of yours” and people who get tagged need to write an LJ entry about their 5 quirky habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next 5 people to be tagged and list their names.
- The tv must be turned off at a certain channel.
- No one is allowed to step on the area rug in the dining room. Of course they’re already shoeless, shoes are not allowed inside the apartment.
- Clothes are classified as indoors and outdoors. Indoors clothes cannot be worn outside.
- I pick out the vegetables and eat them first even in a mixed dish like a stew or fried rice.
- All bottles, jars, cans etc must have their main labels facing out.
Who to tag? I don’t have 5 readers. Sad isn’t it. mm, terra — if you’re reading this, feel free.
In honor of the nano that mm bought for sf which is happily charging on my laptop, something I came across, via popgadget, a neat accessory for the nano.
Available for pre-order through tunebuckle for $49.95. It looks nice enough, nothing spectacular, my initial reaction was kinda meh. But there’s something about the model, the mid-riff and the pose that screams HOT! to me.
Heh. A new meme. list the cities I’ve visited in 2005. I don’t think I have them all, I’ll try to remember.
Surfers Paradise, Australia
A bunches of places between Sydney and Brisbane
Hmmm. Not as many as I thought. Considering 2004 I would have had London, Zurich and various places in Switzerland, Alsace, Kenya, Seoul, Taiwan as well as the usual suspects.
My usual reaction to telemarketers is “where did you get this phone number?” followed by a diatribe on how I did not give permission etc. That’s on a good day. On a bad day I’d swear at them, then hangup.
So this new method, of asking them questions, like having them spell their name, ask about how much they earn, do they get dental plan … is cunningly hilarious, as are the comebacks when they get upset.
I wonder if I’ll have the patience though. I think I’ll end up reverting to my usual rude-o method.
One in five Americans believe the best way to get rich is to win the lottery, while 11 percent say inheriting money is the way to go, a survey showed on Monday. Asked the most practical way to accumulate “several hundred thousand dollars,” 21 percent chose winning the lottery, compared to 55 percent who thought saving something each month for many years was best, according to a survey by the Consumer Federation of America and the Financial Planning Association.
Dude, the odds of winning the lottery are … kinda hopeless. Just randomly googling “lottery odds” gives me (from the lottery site):
|Hong Kong Lotto||10,737,573|
Time to move to Ireland?
This is about 2 months old already, but I read it again just now and it struck a chord. I don’t know why.
“Hey! Remember—I am the Holy Spirit. A lot of people think Jesus Christ is my father, but that’s not it. Read the Bible. Christ was born of the Holy Spirit.” Thumping her chest with her thumb, she says, “I’m his mother. My name is Patty.”
Like I said somewhere, I’ve often wished I were more spiritual and introspective. But I don’t know why I want that.
We feel closer after our vacation, hard to say goodbye at the end of a weekend. So now today it’s sunday and I’m at her place. I’ll go to work from here tomorrow.
We touched on the subject of where to live, and whether we can live together again. We joke about too much furniture and mortgages and different hobbies. We want more closeness and intimacy — I always say trying to cram 5 days worth of expectations to 2 is always hard — yet we like the independence and mutual respect. It’s still an open subject. And good to know that we’re not alone.
Writing group chat this morning was … interesting and different. I guess with a growing group of people, the usual people dynamics interactions will happn.
She was out with friends, we didn’t meet till 6pm. We went to a food/product expo. Bought lots of noodles, biscuits and new bedding sets. There were bargains to be had.
Part of the area was food court too, we tried snake soup, stewed venison, pumpkin pudding. Nice stuff. By the time we got home it was almost 11pm. I’m going to bed, a little headachey.
The plan was for me to go over tonight, but since I was sick, mm has graciously said she’d come over instead. She brought frozen scallops and cooked them with noodles. Simple but delicious.
Thanks, mm honey.
I felt sickly today, with a killer migraine. On the way to work I felt carsick in the bus. That never happens, like ever. I have decent enough car and sea legs. I had a conference call at 10am but that was postponed, so I headed home.
I took the laptop outside to the living room and watched the travel channel. Next thing I know, it’s 3.30pm. I think I fell asleep for 2 hours, without even knowing it. argh!
Didn’t eat a lot, the headache is baaaaad.
I was looking around to see if I can find the html character for the command symbol and came across an article on how the command symbol came about.
Originally they used the apple symbol to invoke menu commands but one day, Steve Jobs declared.
“There are too many Apples on the screen! It’s ridiculous! We’re taking the Apple logo in vain! We’ve got to stop doing that!”
After we told him that we had to display the command key symbol with each item that had one, he told us that we better find a different symbol to use instead of the Apple logo, and, because it affected both the manuals and the keyboard hardware, we only had a few days to come up with something else.
It’s difficult to come up with a small icon that means “command”, and we didn’t think of anything right away. Our bitmap artist Susan Kare had a comprehensive international symbol dictionary and she leafed through it, looking for an appropriate symbol that was distinctive, attractive and had at least something to do with the concept of a menu command.
Finally she came across a floral symbol that was used in Sweden to indicate an interesting feature or attraction in a campground. She rendered a 16 x 16 bitmap of the little symbol and showed it to the rest of the team, and everybody liked it. Twenty years later, even in OS X, the Macintosh still has a little bit of a Swedish campground in it.
Susan Kare rocks.
⌘ is the BEST SYMBOL! Oh, btw, it’s 8984.
I did NO work today. Yeah, lots to do, to catch up. But I couldn’t get into anything. I even came home for lunch.
Received an email from imation that they’d take a look at my flash drive. I finally found the receipt, I would’ve kept it.
Did backup for the website, it’s been a while. One of the files kept giving me type 2 errors, and since it’s a category archive, I skipped it. No clue why it’s bugging the memory.
Otherwise, a lazy day.
Saw Harry Potter 4 today. I was trying to finish the book in NZ, knowing we’d see it when we came back. And throughout the film, I had the the feeling I know the story. And at the end … yep I’d read the book, I’ve just forgotten about it. Ooops.
Dinner at her place, she cooked. mm is such a great home cook.
I don’t want to go to work tomorrow.
We had an incredibly quiet New Year’s Day. She went to church in the morning and bought chicken wings back for lunch. Yes, incredibly boring, but it’s what we like.
I tried writing a short story in the afternoon while she napped on my couch. We both realise we should be going out but we didn’t want to move. Eventually we had to, since we were decamping to her place tonight.
Had dinner at our usual Japanese restaurant, not set menu like usual, we ordered à la carte — crab in fish soup hot pot, unagi hand roll, sashimi, deep fried chicken [I don’t know what it’s called, cartilege?]. I had a glass of choya.
Walked to the cinema, bought tickets for Goblet of Fire for tomorrow. Walked back. It was really nice.