April 2006 Archives
We went to visit her sis today. It was hot and I was sweating lots when we got up there, but then there was a breeze and it got better.
Had afternoon tea, walked around the shopping centre, went for foot massage, dinner at seafood restaurant. It’s late and I’m full.
It’s been a while since we spent more than 24 hrs together, apart from vacation. She’s been here since last night.
I woke up obscenely early, luckily she was able to sleep in a bit. Went out for a late lunch at a nice dim sum place (very nice!), went to the computer centre, then took the bus to the church where she was baptised. Attended saturday service again. Funny, I got on the bus without thinking, and 1/3 of the way there it occured to me, why was I going to church with mm? hee. I think she tricked me. :)
She stayed for meetings and I went home afterwards. I have a pile of ironing to do but I didn’t feel like it.
Hee. I had my first firefox crash on the macbook just now. But I’m not worried, gmail crashes firefox sometimes, it’s the java stuff. And since I have crash recovery I get back to the state I was in before the crash. I mean, that’s one of the reasons for using firefox, right? Oh, and more secure, faster, easier to use and generally more superior too.
I was trying to play some of the .avi files I had on the dell on the mbp but all I saw on quicktime was a blank screen. I had the presence of mind to realise I needed divx codecs, but even after installing and even fixing the .avi files on divx doctor, all I got was sound.
Still not worried.
A little googling pointed me to a very useful guide to how to get the right plug-ins.
First, download the binary of xvid/avi import components, making sure it’s the intel version.
Then, download the binary of ac3 codec, again picking the intel version.
Open both sets of dmgs and copy the BIN files to library/quicktime and that’s it.
Apple announced the 17” macbook pro. Sigh. Pretty. And 5x faster than the Powerbook G4. I’m not annoyed that they announced a new machine a week after I bought mine because I wouldn’t have considered the 17” anyway.
I booted up the mbp and the dell at the same time tonight. I had a conference call and needed webex, hence the need for the dell. I have totally neglected it btw, soon I won’t need it at all once I get either Boot Camp or Parallels working.
Anyway, I had the airport on, firefox loaded and beginning to check gmail on the mbp. Meanwhile the dell was still going through the bootup routine and only 1-2 icons had been loaded on the task bar.
There is no comparison.
I’m all caught up now, there are postdated entries going back to 4 April, scroll down to read.
Played my first game in the inter-departmental basketball league. Hadn’t played since college. I sucked majorly.
My arms ache. My shoulders ache. My thighs ache. My back is killing me. I’ll feel the effects tomorrow. But I enjoyed it.
Our department secretary says I’ve lost weight. I hope it’s true and not because of the black clothing. I’ve been keeping up with walking home, though today it was late and I didn’t take the route that included the 167 steps. I feel a little fitter. But because of the 2 India trips, my digestive system is still up the creek.
Most software is set up, except for the faulty adobe CS2 suite. Bookmarks from all the machines (iMac, pb and dell) are imported. Just downloaded the Korea pics.
Life with the macbook is already domestic bliss.
I hate the thought of having to go to work tomorrow.
I had writing group chat this morning, but it was quick, not many people attended.
Met mm for a late lunch at the steak place. Something about having steak at 3pm amuses me, but I was hungry.
After lunch we walked around the market, it was very crowded. It was basically to kill time till we could go to the church that mm got baptised in last week. I took her round the back way. Did I mention that I grew up in that area, my school is opposite the church so I know the area quite well?
Long time since I was at saturday anticipatory mass, it wasn’t as crowded as the main sunday mass but the turnout was impressive. For me, it was just another ordinary mass, but mm was clearly affected by it. When she came back from having taken the holy communion she was filled with emotions. I wish I could empathetise but it’s different for me.
She had meetings, the ones for newly baptised people. Originally I was going to hang around that area to wait for her, but she said I should go back to her place and wait. I took the bus and got off to change to another one. Then it occurred to me to pop by the computer centre near the bus stop to get a card reader and a USB hub. Ended up getting tons of software, which meant waiting for more than half an hour for the delivery.
Still had a little time to rest before mm called. We met at the restaurant nearby to her apartment and had a late dinner. We haven’t spent time together like this for a while, it was nice.
Met mm at HMV. I was there early and she was a bit late. Then we had high tea because I was hungry. Then we went to the computer shop for the main purpose of coming out.
I got my new macbook today.
It’s a work of Art.
I was gonna stay home and rest. Then got distracted by the silly idiots from yesterday coming back into chat. Between the two of them they logged in using 5 usernames and started talking between themselves. It was disruptive. Then they started saying rude racist things, and that’s when one of the ops in the room kicked that person out. Got the forum moderators into the room and explained the situation.
They were stupid kids. Apparently on some of the junior boards being rude is rebellious and the accepted means of communication. And as soon as they showed up I logged in via snak, which gave me a log of the convo. Plus their IP addresses were showing, so who were they trying to kid? They’re banned from the chat now.
After the excitement I was gonna stay home and rest but I needed a haircut and realised I can’t go tomorrow as the shop closes on a Monday.
So I trudged off to get my haircut at the usual place. Then went to the supermarket. Bought a “five types of salmon sushi” for dinner.
mm got baptised tonight.
I got to the church around 6.45pm, the mass was supposed to start at 8pm but we were advised to go early to get seated. There were lots of people there already.
Her brother and sis-in-law arrived, and we decided to find seats elsewhere, we found some at the side of the church, so we weren’t facing the fathers, but it was nearer. Pretty good seats. I sat with her parents and her brothers, all in the family.
The mass was long, much longer than usual. Lots of singing. Plus, it was Easter. There were 140 potentials there getting baptised but the fathers and staff there made sure they were done efficiently.
I managed to get a clear picture of mm bent over the basin for baptism, even though it was a back shot it was rather good. The other pictures of confirmation wasn’t as good, let’s home mm’s dad took better ones.
The mass finished 3 hrs later, so it was past 11pm. Then everyone wanted to take photos of the group; with the fathers; in their little groups. People walked up to the “stage” which I always thought was off-limits.
Her brother drove us home. mm will be going to CC for mass tomorrow morning. But I won’t be going.
Woke up this morning and the person in my writing group who was supposed to post today was sick, and couldn’t post.
We mobilised quickly, got one of the writers who was supposed to post in 2 weeks’ time to swap; and put together a quick “we interrupt your regularly scheduled programming” announcement. It was great teamwork.
In chat this morning were a couple of newbies, teenagers. Came in and went crazy with the emoticons, so we put them on ignore. They whined and complained that we weren’t talking to them. So we did … raised a conversation topic and asked everyone to discuss. Then they complained that we were using big words. OMG that’s so hilarious. One of them in particular was rude and tried to shock. We worked pretty well together as a group to let them know in no uncertain terms that their behaviour was unacceptable.
I mean, come into a chatroom for the first time, the most important thing to do is to listen for a while to get a feel of the participants; and then be polite and respectful. It’s the internet, but manners are important too.
The baiting was so fun that I stayed home and didn’t get a chance to run my errands before needing to go out again.
Sat at the lounge for an hour trying not to fall deeply to sleep. Promptly slept as soon as the plane got going though. Again was woken up in Bangkok.
Got home mid-afternoon. No food. Argh.
So tired I took a nap and didn’t wake up till around 9pm.
Was at the other office. Had a conference call but the other party didn’t show up. Had a meeting with the staff there. Then we decided to have a half day. Went back to the hotel and I watched TV and surfed.
Dinner at the restaurant next to the Marriott. Lots and lots of seafood! Crabs, king prawns, pomfret, prawn currry. And a bottle of wine. We splurged out.
No sleep tonight, plane leaves at 4.50am.
Met some vendors, did training, answered email. Another routine day in the Mumbai office.
Left late again. Took my colleagues to Crawford Market to buy wine and nuts and mangos. Then a very long traffic jam car journey to the Marriott, at the top end of the city. Two hours or more?
I didn’t even feel like dinner, I had the 2 bananas in the room, that’s it.
Boring day at the office, trying to get work done. It’s actually a holiday for them but most people have come in. Ordered lunch in, vegetarian curry, fish, naan. Excellent food.
Left quite late, around 8pm. Went to the pashmina shop from last time and bought a whole lot of pashminas for everyone.
Then to the Chinese restaurant next door. Three of us had tiger prawns, mixed veg and claypot rice.
This time instead of a “direct” flight where the plane stopped at Bangkok and we didn’t need to get off the plane, I had to physically change planes. Actually it was changing airlines. So I was in the lounge at Bangkok for what seemed like 3 hours before getting on the last leg to Mumbai.
This time I felt totally comfortable. The car that came to pick me up was great, the driver was uniformed and wore a cap! Staying at the Oberoi again, everything is so familiar.
I have one day before I have to fly again, it’s a big rush.
Repack my luggage.
Catch up on posts.
Do loads and loads of laundry and hope they dry before tomorrow.
Go for massage because my back hurts so much. I don’t really have the time cos of all this stuff that needs to get done, but I need to sort it out.
I’m all stressed out.
The morning was spent at Namdaemun market where we found some areas and stalls we didn’t see last time. Like the market where there were stalls selling nothing but kimchi.
Had lunch at a restaurant along that alley that was full of restaurants. Tofu soup, seaweed rice and stuffed pork innards.
Went back to Myeongdong and circulated the blocks several times. Had green tea at a very posh and lovely teahouse, trying to kill time. We decided to go to the airport early, had dinner there and visited the duty free shops. I was a bit bored (sorry, mm) and had a big hankering to find the internet area but resisted. Late afternoon flight, but the time I got home it was midnight.
The whole set of photos (143 photos) are at flickr.
Took the subway one stop to Namsangol Park & Heritage Village. I thought there’d be an entrance fee but it was free. Nice peaceful park, not too large and good for walking. There was one section where they buried a time capsule to be opened in 40 yrs time.
Another part of the park was a replica of a traditional Korean village. The houses were real, and for a change there was furniture so we could picture what it was like.
Long, tiring walk to Dongdaemum market. mm bought some shoes, but I was pretty tired. Eventually we went back to Insadong to continue exploration, it seems we like it there best. More shopping, mm bought more shoes and we both bought some cheap t-shirts. She also bought a multi-coloured woollen scarf which I promptly “borrowed” lol.
I like Insadong, we discovered a small shopping complex that had quite hip stores, and art too.
Back to hotel to drop our shopping off. Then to a restaurant behind the hotel where we had raw beef with pears (ages since we had that) and hot pot. Pretty good. Afterwards we walked the food off before going to the Korean Sauna. First we had to go inside a hot oven to sweat, then after resting we were led to the spa area. It’s like the Japanese version where you shower then try out all sorts of different baths. Middle-aged women scrubbed, washed and massaged us, it was an experience. Was like 1am when we left.
Oh, it was my birthday today.
Took the City Tour bus from the stop opposite our hotel. It’s one of those hop-on-hop-off affairs so we plan to use it as our mode of transport today.
The bus took us to Namsan and Seoul Tower — places we’d never go on our own. Our intended destination was Changdeokgung Palace but it got obvious that the bus wasn’t going to get us there in time for the 1pm tour. So we stayed on the bus for one more stop and went to Insadong.
I love Insadong, it’s a quaint little street with art galleries and antique shops. Another place I visited last time. We went to the same tiny family-style restaurant I stumbled into last time. Sitting on the heated floor, communicating with the ladies who worked there in sign language. We had a most wonderful lunch of all sorts of dishes — fish, soup, steamed egg, tons of kimchi, tofu, pork … everything in small plates arranged all over the table. KRW20,000 each, IIRC.
More walking around Insadong, but there wasn’t enough time to fully explore before we had to make our way to Changdeokgung Palace to join the 3pm tour (we had to join a tour as that’s the only way visitors can go in). Nice palace, but empty buildings. I think I’ve see too many historical buildings in my life, it was nice, nothing exciting.
After the Changdeokgung we hopped back to the bus and went to Itaewon, which is supposed to be vibrant and full of shopping. We didn’t like it, it had too much of an even more downmarket version of Camden market to it. Luckily we had the tour bus ticket and spent half an hour walking around before catching the next bus back to the hotel.
We got off the bus and noticed a local restaurant right by the bus stop and decided we should have dinner there. We interpreted the Korean menu using a complicated series of guesswork and comparisons with photos on the walls. We had miso bean curd set and a clear beef soup. VERY nice. And cheap too, KRW5,000 I think.
Lots of walking, I was tired.
We decided to go to Korea for our birthday trip this year. This is a backdated entry.
Flight was late, we were both very tired on the plane, mm more so. I was actually more hungry so I stayed awake for the food service. Plane arrived at around 5am, by the time we got out to the bus area it was almost 6am. Even though the language was incomprehensible, getting the airport bus tickets was straightforward, soon we found ourselves on the comfortable bus with recling seats. And fast asleep.
Got to the hotel early, and they let us check-in. Woot! We stayed at the Sejong Hotel which is just behind Myeongdong and convenient.
We unpacked and decided to rest for a while. Because we were so tired it turned out to be a 3 hr nap, which was probably a good thing. We went out around lunch and explored the streets of Myeongdong. I was in Seoul for business 18 months ago and remembered some parts, though it took me a little bit to re-orientate myself. We had lunch at a restaurant that only sold chicken, and there were only two types — roast or ginseng. We had ginseng chicken, one each … small chicken.
After lunch we walked to the Catholic Cathedral where a couple had just finished their ceremony. We sat around for a little while, then the lights went out! Must be saving energy since the ceremony finished. We left the cathedral, walked through Lotte Hotel to City Hall. Totally unplanned but we caught some changing of the guard ceremony at the Deoksugung Palace.
From the Deoksugung, we walked to Namdaemun Market. There were all sorts of stalls including food, snacks, clothing, scarves, shoes, kitchenware. We were tired, so we went to a basement café that was straight out of the 1950s. It was quiet though, and we both fell asleep a little.
Bought lots of seaweed snacks and mm bought some scarves. Went back to the hotel via subway, fell asleep for an hour again (lots of napping today!), then went out to a nearby restaurant where we had an all-you-can-eat barbeque dinner of beef and pork. They kept serving us food and we were very full. We also shared a bottle of rice wine.
Read our brochures for a little bit, then went to bed.
Happy birthday, mm!
We didn’t see each other during the day, I was at work as usual and I forgot that she took the day off and called her office. Luckily her secretary reminded me. Ooops.
Busy at work but I finally got away and home for packing. There wasn’t time even for the work travel agent to bring the India tickets round for me so I had to pick it up from a strange location at the airport. But I jump ahead.
We met at the in-town check-in and got sorted. Then to the airport so I could pick up said India ticket from the waiting area for limousine transfers.
Flight was at midnight, we were quite tired.
You’re probably tired of reading about walking. I mean, it’s walking. One of the most boring activities around. And it’s not like I’m doing a vast amount, or taking up walking the sports (yeah, like I want to sway my hips around and pump my elbows and do this weird bow-legged walking action).
I changed my route today. I took the slightly longer route that included a steep flight of stairs — 167 total. Heh, doesn’t sound too many. I didn’t feel as out of breath when I got to the top, compared with the first time I went that way. I hope that I can increase my speed up those steps.
In a way, I’m enjoying the weather, it’s still coolish though it’s beginning to get warm and humid. OTOH, I want the pool to open. I suppose when summer comes I’ll stop walking and go swimming instead, it’ll be way too hot then.
Since I’ll be traveling next week, my parents and sis took me for early birthday lunch today. It was at a Japanese restaurant about 20 mins walk from where I live. It’s a conveyor belt sushi place, more posh than some of the others, on Sunday brunch they do a AYCE buffet. I had mainly sashimi, didn’t want to stuff myself with rice though their sushi rice was of very high quality. Had some dumplings and tempura and cold soba too. Quite nice though I’d prefer more choices and definitely more hot food.
Sis and baby had a painting birthday party but Mum and I did some food shopping for dinner and went back to sis’ apartment. I played with her laptop all afternoon, doing the same stuff I’d be doing at home. I also downloaded firefox, an anti-virus and an anti-spyware program for her. Ran the virus check, it was fine; the spyware program unearthed the usual list of squatters.
They came back around 5.30pm and we had dinner at their place. After dinner we had the Haagen-Dazs ice cream cake that they bought me, very nice.
I haven’t been eating a lot recently and now I’m very full.
I saw blurb for the April fools challenge a couple of weeks ago and have been thinking about it. This challenge is where you specify yourself how many words you want to write in April. The only criteria is to go on their forum and say “My goal is xxx words.” You can write anything, in any language … the idea is to set a challenge for yourself.
Not going for the 50k like nano, don’t think I have time. I’m beginning to get some of the motivation and inspiration back, so I think that time permitting, the next few months will be okay for writing. I think 20k is workable.
Came across this in a couple of LJs, to review your own stories for 2005. I know it’s a bit late.
Stories I wrote :
- 7 CMs: Educating Dawn, Indulgences, French Nature, Juste Milieu, Working Lunch, Heatwave and She’s Here
- 5 challenges: Blanked, Home & Away, All the Time in the World, Song of the White Lady and Sex & the Clean City
- 2 collaborations: Earth and Highland Fling
- 1 finished long fic: The Amazing Kitten Race
- nano: I got the required 50k within 2 weeks, but lost most of the story in a flash drive accident
My favorite story: Earth for its impact and power. All the Time in the World for its sweetness and because it’s a continuation of CA and because of how quickly I wrote it.
My best story: Earth, it touched on a subject a lot of people don’t want to think about, let alone read in a fic. All too often fics are fluffy and idealistic, and of course they have a happy ending. Nothing wrong with that, most readers want to read to escape, not be reminded of RL. I know Earth was a difficult read, but my hope is that it managed to affect people, make them think, in ways that an ordinary fic couldn’t.
Best received I think was Episode 10 of KR, where they went to Sydney and dressed up as Smut Bunnies. Everything worked that chapter, like maru said “the stars were all in alignment.” Of course having a kickass co-writer was the reason.
Story most under-appreciated by the universe, in my opinion: KR. It had a dedicated following, but was probably too clever / obscure / fact-heavy for mainstream tastes. Towards the end, the snark and snark-on-snark may have gotten too inside joke-y.
Most fun story: hard to say, I can’t write fun or humorous. Blanked I suppose, I had a good time writing it and the humor worked.
Sexiest story: strangely enough, it isn’t Highland Fling although it’s basically a sex romp. I would say, Working Lunch. There wasn’t any actual sex in the story, they sat across each other in a restaurant for the entire story, but the intent was clear.
Hardest story to write: Earth. Reading it caused all sorts of emotional responses (my beta read it once, cried rivers of tears, and said she won’t read it again until I have the entire series finished), think about how it was to write. I had to pull on all sorts of personal experiences to write it.
Looking back, did you write more fic than you thought you would this year, less, or about what you’d predicted? Much much more. This was my first year writing, and I never in my wildest dream thought I’d write so much. Sometimes I think I’m burning out.
What genre/topic/fandom did you write that you would never have predicted in January 2005? A short story from Dawn’s pov; a reality show crossover; so much smut.
Did you take any writing risks this year? What did you learn from them? Difficult to say, considering everything was something new for me. The riskiest was probably getting a group of the best active writers together and collaborating on a series. Elemental turned out to be of such stellar quality, beyond everyone’s expectations that it’ll be hard to repeat.
Do you have any fanfic goals for the New Year? Get myself out of my current bout of writer’s block. Don’t put so much pressure on myself to write, which is the main contributing factor for the block. Try to finish Lamplight.