October 2011 Archives

in family first , going places |

praha270eggshop praha280market

Breakfast was, at all places, the sausage stall in the square. We had the whole morning and part of the afternoon, and wanted to go back to the market square we saw yesterday. We were looking for small souvenirs and found some nice simple fridge magnets. Bought some sweets and fruit too.

Watched the not very exciting hourly chime of the old astronomical watch and had lunch at a restaurant on the square. Mum had ham and I had boar goulash with hash browns. Walked to an Aldi’s to get sausage. Then back to the hotel to collect our luggage, but not before getting more of those yummy minicakes from the supermarket. I like our hotel location, it’s perfect.

There was a line for the shuttlebus so we thought we’d get on the next one and get to the airport early. I had some money left over and we bought more sausages at the airport for Mum to take back to Papa. We both enjoyed the trip and the plenty of good food. By the time we got home it was quite late but not too tired. Took 250+ pics: full set at flickr.

in family first , going places |

praha147castle praha160church

I’d brought tea bags so we had tea and bread for breakfast in our room. Then we braved the metro and the #22 tram to the top of the hill to Prague Castle. The castle grounds is huge, with many buildings. Most of them were on a ticket, and we opted not to purchase it. The only building that didn’t charge is St Vitus Cathedral but the queue to get inside was too long. It was nice enough to walk around the castle and enjoy the architecture.

praha200castleview praha220river

The view, once we got to the other side, and looking down into the city, was spectacular. The day was a bit hazy, otherwise it would have been postcard perfect. The walk downhill was nice too, at the foot we came across a hot dog stand that had this huge delicious sausage. Mum loved it. There was an outcrop underneath the bridge with a really nice view of the river, great photo ops.

praha261goulash praha263sausage

A slow walk back to town and we ended up at a small pizzeria “V Laznich” where Mum had sausage again, and I had the goulash with dumplings. There were only a few tables, but the service was very slow. Ah well, plenty of rest for the rest of the day walking. Crossed Charles bridge again, this time able to see clearly the religious statues and the crosses. Very symbolic. By the time it was almost 5pm and we reached a street market by accident. Bought fruit, and then yogurt and bread from the supermaket as a light dinner. Another good day.

in family first , going places |

I took Mum to Prague, 3 days 2 nights. Investigated package deals, and easily settled on BA holidays, since I didn’t fancy flying easyjet. More research on tripadvisor and I decided on staying at the Marriott. Booked a minicab from home, £30 to T5. Had breakfast at, of all places, wagamama. Flight was uneventful and fast. For probably the first time in my flying career we only took hand luggage. My research showed that aside from taxis the best way into town is by minibus. It’s been something like 10 years since I’ve visited Prague and it is much, much more advanced now. English is spoken everywhere. The bus stop was clearly marked and when we got into town we discovered, to our delight, that the Marriott is literally across the road!

praha014cake praha032ham
praha040opera praha073clock

It was in the afternoon, so we had time to explore. The first place we found was a Billa supermarket just a few doors down from the hotel. Talk about convenience. We bought these minicakes, which completely filled the spot for further exploration. A few more minutes and we were at Republic Square. More food awaits, this time a street stall that had huge whole ham joints smoking over real wooden fire. Had to try, had to try. Delicious.

Energised from the food, we explored around town. Managed to see the Opera House, Old Town Square, the astronomical clock and the narrow streets that radiated out from the old town square. I even bought a hard rock café polo shirt.

praha084cartour praha096absinthe

Lots of new sights and shops to explore. These vintage cars were part of an offering for tourists to be driven around town on the open top vehicles, very cool. There were small craft shops, lots of touristy souvenir shops and we came across an absinthe bar that looked positively bohemian. Very fitting, since the word bohemia was originally used to describe this region. Much as I would have liked to sample the absinthe bar, I was with Mum, so that was out of the question.

praha107porkknuckle praha108ribs

I did reward myself with a large beer at dinner, which would prove to be my default mealtime drink here. Dinner was at a restaurant in the old town called “U Kocku” where the menus came in 6 language and had pictures. We had the set dinner of tomato soup and a choice of meat for mains. Mum had the pork knee and I had the pork ribs. The picture suggested that the knee would be served, knuckle style, on metal swords. Alas, the swords were missing and it was just a rather large roasted meat. Tasted nice, but a lot of meat. The ribs were good too, but needed some sauce.

Utterly full now, we walked towards Charles Bridge, intending to walk off a little of the dinner. We ended up crossing the bridge to the other side and then slowly walking back to the hotel. I bought another beer at the supermarket and Mum bought scads of cereal bar and yogurt. We also got bread for breakfast — with a supermarket nearby there is no need for expensive hotel breakfasts. An excellent, excellent day.

in family first |

Took half a day off to run errands with Mum. Got her registered at the surgery; got a couple of Prague guidebooks for the weekend; changed our addresses at the bank. The second aim was to go to Whole Foods. Somehow it didn’t excite her as much as the Chicago Whole Foods, may be because it’s smaller and with different products. We had an early dinner there of pizza, tostada and gelato.

in easily amused |


Been playing wordsmith with mm. Because of timezones, we can only play during certain hours when we’re both awake, but it’s been fun. Sometimes when we’re on the phone we go through each other’s letters and come up with words. Scoring doesn’t matter. It’s just another method of maintaining ties and feeling close.

We tend to keep to simple words, but I find out that there are different rules and single words that are high scoring include quixotry and caziques. Don’t even know wha they mean.

in eating and drinking |


Mum has a list of things and places to eat, one of which is salt beef. So I walked over to Brick Lane and got salt beef bagels for our dinner tonight. Had that with heart warming soup from NCGS, very tasty with tomato, pepper, carrot, courgette and lentil.

in in the news |

I’m not hindu, but I’m still fascinated by all the colours of diwali which literally means, festival of lights.

in being healthy , eating and drinking |


So, the more facebook friends we have the more developed our brains are in certain regions: memory, emotional responses and social interactions. Hmm. I have almost 900 friends in my “public” account but less than 100 in my real name account. So, fail here.

Another study shows that faster walkers have higher life expectancy. Hmm. I’m not a fast walker, mm always leaves me behind. Fail again.

At least I’m not a total failure: beer contains silicon, which helps prevent osteoporosis. Yet again, it’s all about the beer.

in how the day went |


A rare beautiful, sunny, cloudless sky in London. Took Mum to the Southbank. The queue for the London Eye was very long, she was happy just to see the attraction. It was crowded along the river, but not too suffocating. Lots of street performers and people just strolling like us. Walked from the bottom of the London Eye all the way to the Tate Modern, with a couple of breaks. Early dinner at my favourite real food festival stalls underneath the festival hall. We had polish sausage with new potatoes, organic 21 day aged burger, I had a cider and Mum had an apple & carrot juice. Bought some jars of lemon curd and chutney; and some more of the dry aged beef to cook at home.

in family first |


Mum and I both woke up early, don’t know why. We made good use of the unexpected couple of hours by going to the post office to get some errands done. Then I got a zipcar and we went to brent cross. Had a late lunch of surprisingly good grilled chicken at nando’s. We had a whole chicken, garlic bread, chips and unlimited soft drinks for £18.95. I drank 4-5 glasses of coke zero and the chicken was a decent size. We’d go back again.

Bought some stuff at Boot’s. Hopped over to Lakeland and walked through the whole shop. Walked up and down every aisle at Tesco too. Very satisfing day of errands and semi-essentials shopping.

in eating and drinking |


I was trolling around teh interwebz and came across a couple of references to a sandwich shop at London Wall called assenheim 56. It’s about 10mins’ walk from the office so I dragged SM over there. Perfect for a friday afternoon. First thing that hit me as I was walking down the street is the delicious smell. Second thing was the queue, which stretched to the neighbouring shops.

Having done my research, I knew exactly what to expect with the special ordering method. First of all, there are 2 sides to the shop. The sandwich, salad and pasta side is on the left and there is no line, just walk up to the counter. The grilled chicken is the one with the long queue. Customers are served in batches of 10, we lined up and remembered our numbers as the chef called out. Then it was a matter of picking from: rice, vegetables and potatoes. “Number 1?” “Rice and salad, please.” The salad is already prepared and in the box. Whether we wanted dressing, tabasco and sauce were the next stage of ordering and the required response was the same as with the accompaniments. It was very organised and we were amused by the whole experience.

The chicken itself came fresh from the grill so it was nicely charred and moist. De-boned leg is probably my favourite cut. The chimichurri sauce was lavish. The rice and salad were good. The whole meal came to £7, which we thought was on the expensive side. If it were a little cheaper, we’d be there all the time. I guess if it were cheaper, the queue would be all the way to the moon.

Anyway, we decided to go for something to eat once every week or so, to break up the monotony of bringing in our own lunch.

in techtalk |

video link: http://youtu.be/IcKTJvzwhZc

Apple stores closed yesterday for a few hours in honour of Steve Jobs. Around the world there were countless tribute to Mr Jobs. This is what I saw in Chicago.

in easily amused |


Via digg and a bunch of sharing on facebook, here’s what actually happened to Stonehenge. Pigs invaded, angry birds to action. In other news, a new angry bird may be coming.


in being healthy |


I can’t remember this happening last year. This year I can’t seem to stop snacking. Problem is of course that I’m not consuming the same number of calories as when I was training so the danger is weight gain. Ah well, another reason to get back to training soon and now I see why people fret about the downtime between training cycles.

in being healthy |


5.15km 30.26min 5.55min/km

Hal Higdon, who I saw in person at the marathon expo, says,

Generally, it takes a minimum of two to three weeks for the body to recover from the strain of running 26 miles 385 yards. Return too quickly and you increase your risk of injury. Some experts suggest resting one day for every mile you run in the marathon, thus 26 days of no hard running or racing! Others suggest one day for every kilometer, thus 42 days rest. Often the determining factor is not how quickly your body recovers, but how quickly your mind recovers, since you temporarily will have lost your main training goal.

I briefly thought about going running yesterday. Glad that I did today after work. Just a 5k, which really, after 42k, is nothing. It was a good run, I went out faster than usual, because I knew I had enough endurance. Ended up being sub-30, and I’m not tired or sore. This is the pace I should aim at achieving on all runs.

I wore the chicago marathon t-shirt, although it was too dark for anyone to notice it. Not too many people out this evening. I planned out the training for Brighton. 18 weeks start 12 December, earlier than I thought / hoped. It’s gonna be a long, cold, tough winter.

in arts and media |

video link: http://youtu.be/M7mfXA0SEo0

I spent most of today catching up on Strictly Come Dancing. The ballroom, set decoration and program sequence are almost identical to Dancing with the Stars, even the theme song is the same. Different people in British accents of course. The hosts are Sir Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly who are both better than their US counterparts. There are 4 judges: Len, Bruno plus a lady called Alesha and a guy called Craig. Alesha does the typical “rah rah, you’re great!” role and Craig criticizes technique and doesn’t smile. He gave people scores of 1 and 2 in week 1. Celebrities are the usual actors, singers, breakfast show hosts, boxers, footballers, “legendary” celebrities, politicians etc.

I’m up to week 2. Jason Donovan and Holly Valance (heh, Neighbours!) are the front runners and very impressive. But to my surprise I found myself rooting for short, chubby, cute, campy Russell Grant.

in eating and drinking |

tandis001mezze tandis002lamb

Went to dinner with JA and RM at tandis at chalk farm. For starters we had a very nice mixed mezze selection of yogurt with spinach, chicken salad, hummus and grilled aubergines. For mains we had 3 different styles of lamb kebab: cubes, flatted and minced. All were nice, big portions too. Including 2 bottles of wine and a sparkling water it came to £35 per person, pretty good.

in |

My favorite beer? On tap? You shouldn't have!
photo courtesy flickr user Lachlan Hardy

Survived my first day back in the office. Nothing new, the usual stupidity and incompetence. Had to drag SM out for a beer after work. Went to the nearby Latino place and had a couple of San Miguels.

in going places |

video link: http://youtu.be/DeWMFKomkzg

I booked a taxi to go directly to the airport. Flat rate of $53 which wasn’t too bad. Was at O’Hare ridiculously early so I spent a good chunk of time at the food court and bar. Had a Uno pizza and bud light, oh so very American.

They were offering upgrade to upper class for $1,700. I mean, really? I did pay for the upgrade to premium economy which was good enough. Unlike the trip to Orlando the seats on this flight were newer and more comfortable. Actually regular economy on the way over was fine too. I watched source code which was quite good. The story was improbable, but the execution made it believable. Then I watched the bbc adaptation of Sarah Water’s The Night Watch. I was confused with the characters at first, because I wasn’t familiar with the actors. I already know that in the book the timeline is reversed, with the past coming after the present. It’s the sort of drama the Brits do so well, and I’d like to watch it again (with no character confusion) to catch the nuances and emotions better.

Flight arrival, immigration and baggage reclaim were uneventful. By the time I got to Paddington it was 8.45am and not surprisingly the taxi queue was long. I had considered doing zipcar but I’ll go to Tesco with mum next week anyway. Got home, unpacked, walked out to the supermarket. Talked for 1 hr with mm in the afternoon. I’m sure I’ll go to bed early.

in eating and drinking |


Yesterday, my last full day in Chicago, was spent resting my tired legs, uploading marathon pics and generally not doing a whole lot. Walked out to Walgreens for some last minute stuff. And passed by shawn michelle’s handmade ice cream store. I’d read reviews of the place and had always wanted to try whenever I drove past. They weren’t ready when I walked by before lunch, so when my friend M came to visit I suggested that we went there.

They gave us free samples, lots of them. I decided on vanilla and honey cinnamon graham cracker. Very nice. M had banana and butter pecan which also looked yummy. Now I’m sorry I didn’t start going there earlier.

in wheels in motion |


I’m on foot today. With all the excitement with the marathon, I also took the car to the dealer yesterday and they bought it back. The price is…better than nothing, less than I wanted. But I don’t have the time, and the more I procrastinate, the more it depreciates. Sigh. At the end, I had 3,660 miles on it. Two years of which about 1 year I wasn’t in the country to drive it. It’s still in perfectly pristine condition. Cry.

in being healthy |


Went over to Niketown on Michigan to get my marathon finisher’s shirt. Hmm, orange. They also had finisher’s cap but I’d bought one already at the expo. I shouldn’t buy so much stuff anyway, trying to downsize.

Lots of people wearing the race shirt today. Also a fair few wearing their medals. In public. On the street. While shopping. Not something I would do. I wore it to the car, and I did take it to work to show people. Each to their own, I guess. Don’t want to take away other people’s achievement.

in eating and drinking |


Like some sort of hardcore idiot I’d organised a conference call for 9am. When I got in at 8am I saw an email request for it to be rescheduled because of people’s unavailibility. Sheesh.

So I said sod it, I’m going to treat myself to breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s. This famous diner is across the street from the office. I didn’t feel like omelette, otherwise I would have had their signature dish served in a skillet. I had french toast with sausages instead. Yummy.

in being healthy |

chimarathon2011005lake chimarathon2011016start

42.2km 5:38:14hr 8:01min/km | 26.2miles 5:38:14hr 12:55min/mile
overall: 29,985 / 35,558
gender division: 12,145 / 15,404
age division1,017 / 1,363

mile 0: start
It took less than 30mins to drive up to town, then 15mins to navigate around the road closures. I parked at Grant Park North, wanting to be nearby and in a car park that I know. By 6.30am I was in the Bank of America tent, which they laid on for customers. There was water, gatorade, bananas, cereal bars, bench seating and most importantly, private portaloos.

As I was walking towards the start corral, the sun came out. Lovely view of it coming up on the lake. It’s gonna be a glorious day. I had signed up with the 5:15 pace group (12mm) so I found my way there. Saw my colleague K, and we lined up together. She is injured and wasn’t going to finish the race, but I said I’d walk with her for a bit.

We were lined up so far behind that we could barely hear the national anthem and the announcements. Took about 18mins to get to the actual start. I did walk K for about 100m, then she dropped out, limping. It’s disappointing for her, to DNF on her first marathon, but at least she crossed the start line and it will be the start of a longer journey for her.

chimarathon2011020theatre chimarathon2011026flag

miles 1-3: the loop
This is the best part of the race. Legs are fresh, crowds everywhere, perfect for absorbing the atmosphere. I had my headphones but didn’t put any music on. I don’t often run without music, but I find I’m not missing it. Speedwise I was going slowly, with the sheer number of people it wasn’t feasible to run fast anyway.

Ran past all the familiar landmarks. My favourite shot from last year was in front of the Chicago theatre so I did the same shot this year.

miles 3-7: towards lincoln park
It got quieter up la salle into Lakeview. There was still lots of shade, running was comfortable. Mile 4.5 was where the supporters from the Moody Church were stationed. They had music and gave everyone a high five. I’m afraid to admit that I’m not sure which denomination the church belongs to (not Catholic, that’s all I can say) but they provided much needed encouragement at a point in the race for which I’m grateful.

Feeling strong into Lincoln Park. I remember last year I had to stop at the aid station near mile 6 to wrap up a blister. This year I stopped there again to tape up the KT tape which had fallen off. Didn’t last long. By mile 7 I’d ripped it off. It was also in Lincoln Park that I saw a guy running with an American flag. He passed me, so I sprinted past him to get the shot.

chimarathon2011035boystown chimarathon2011037japan

miles 7-12: boystown, sedgwick, back to the loop
Up towards mile 7 was by the LSD, where K cheered me on last year. I thought about her, probably back at the start watching the runners. Almost to mile 8 was the northermost point of the course where it turned back at Addision. Lots of crowd there.

And then it was fun for the next 2 miles. The atmosphere at Boystown can never be beat, lots of spectators dressed up, the ROTC troupe was there, it was like carnival. It was at that point that I lost my sunglasses attachment. I spent 10mins looking for it, but it was pretty impossible. Sad, but I had to continue.

Shady down Sedgwick, which was good. Japanese drummers provided support. The stretch down Wells was okay. I was trying to see if I was feeling ok. About 1/3 done and I felt like I had 2/3 in the tank. Sponges and something luxurious — I think it was the La Salle Street Church that had a sign out front that bathroom facilities were open to runners. Oh man!! Talk about not needing to queue up for the portaloos and having a real bathroom. I know I seem to be obsessed with bathrooms, but if you’re out for 5hrs constantly drinking, toilet breaks become strategic.

chimarathon2011041sears chimarathon2011043halfway

mile 13.1: halfway
Entering the Loop again brings back the strong crowd support, especially at the 2 cheer zones underneath Sears Tower. Cross Wacker and there was the 13.1 sign. HALFWAY!! Time was about 2:40. Slow, ah well. People were shouting “Spiderwoman!” close to me, and I turned around to see that yes, Spiderwoman was running behind me. She passed me at 13.1 and I stuck close to her until around mile 14.

miles 13-19: the hard slog
Ah. Mile 14. When there were hardly any crowds, the sun began beating down and for me, that was the toughest point. I realised that I probably didn’t have 50% in the tank and it would take some digging. Not the wall as such, but I slowed down a lot. I also finished my pack of chomps. I’ve been taking gatorade and water from every station, so energy-wise I was doing okay.

My friend M met me at between mile 17-18 where they were giving out gels. I took a couple and saw her next to a water hose. Ran through the hose, but she didn’t mind giving me a hug even though I was soaked through. I was feeling a little miserable at that point and seeing her gave me a push. Thanks, M.

chimarathon2011047pilsen chimarathon2011050mile20

miles 18-21: pilsen, halsted
Mile 18-19 was down a very hot Ashland. Most people around me were walking. Turning into 18th Street was a vast relief. The Hispanic neighbourhood of Pilsen was out in force, welcoming us. Lots of cheers, music and I got the BEST gift all race — an elderly lady at the side of the road gave me a cola-flavoured ice lolly (American: popsicle). It was absolutely delicious, thirst-quenching and gave me the energy to start running again. Thank you, Ice Lolly Lady.

And then, mile 20 came up. Instead of the wall, I got my second wind. People say a marathon is actually 2 races: a 20-miler followed by a 10k. As I reached the “second” race, I felt really positive. I can run 10k. I run 10k easy. I was going to make it.

chimarathon2011052chinatown chimarathon2011054turn

miles 21-26: chinatown, the long way home
Feeling good coming up to Chinatown. The second hardest part of the course, between miles 22-24, wasn’t too bad for me. I found the 5:30 pace group and followed them for about half a mile before dropping off. I was watching the clock and realised that I probably wasn’t going to make 5:30 so I may as well conserve some energy. Coming north on Michigan I passed a few people, then slowed down somewhat in the South Loop.

mile 26: mount roosevelt
I read somewhere that coming up to the right hand turn at Roosevelt to start kicking because of the uphill incline. I felt nice and strong and managed to pass quite a few runners. Hopefully the official photos look okay too. I tried to keep my mouth closed and to look halfway decent whenever I see a photographer.


mile 26.2: finish line
200m, 100m and there it was: the finish line. I was almost sprinting to the line, and saw on my garmin that the time was 5:38. Exactly the same as last year. The iphone battery had died at mile 22, and I didn’t have a backup on the nike+. Not bothered. I know I’ll get my time from the official site.

It was a long walk down the chute. Got a heat blanket, water, gatorade, free beer, , banana, a pack of snack and an official photo. Headed to the BoA tent for more food, drink and to use the portaloo. Lined up for 10mins for another free beer. There wasn’t a lot of food available — hot dog, chili and gyro. None of which I fancied so I ate a whole pack of mini cereal.

chimarathon2011033vol chimarathon2011036sign

volunteers, organisation, supporters
There are not enough good words in the world to describe how I feel about the volunteers. Fantastic, wonderful in every way. Every single one had a smile and a cheer for us. I stopped at every station except the last one and to see the mountain of cups with gatorade and water. And always someone clearing up. Like I said, wonderful.

The organisation too. There’s a lot of talk about moving the race back a week or two to avoid the heat. It got hot out there today, although thankfully it was dry. I’m sure the organisers will make the right decision. A race this size, there will always be someone not satisfied. For me? The organisation was flawless, from the expo, crowd control at the beginning and end, making sure there were enough supplies, aid stations were spaced out well, the results were out the same day. I have zero complaints.

The supporters. Wow. Hundreds of thousands on the street, cheering for someone they know or for complete strangers. I had a couple of friends, K and M, and it helped me a huge amount. I was told I’m really good at exercise. A complete stranger gave me an ice lolly. Kids waved at me and gave me high fives. At one point we were clapping with the music from a band at the side (can’t remember which song). This is why Chicago is one of the best marathon experiences in the world.

I finished my second marathon. Who would have thought? I don’t feel like a marathoner, but technically, I am. I think it’s because my time is so slow. Everyone I meet have been so supportive, because to finish is an achievement. I wear my finisher’s medal proudly. Tomorrow I will go to Niketown and buy a finisher’s t-shirt.

I didn’t get into London 2012 but I’m confirmed for Brighton the week before. I’ll train for that, and then I’ll have to be very disciplined and not sign up for more. It’s imperative that I focus on speedwork. Halfs are fine, but no fulls.

Finally, my thoughts go out to the family of Captain William Caviness, who collapsed and later died at the race. He raised over $2000 for charity and was a real hero. This year’s race should be dedicated to him.

in being healthy |


Getting my marathon gear ready for tomorrow. From top: spibelt, sunscreen, knee braces, garmin, small towel, headband, last year’s hat, phiten, shorts with bib, headphones, kt tape, pace tattoo, shirt, iphone, ipod, gu, cara card, sunglasses, gear check ticket, money/credit card/ID bundle.

Not in pic: keys, shoes, backpack, bank of america wristband (for getting into the special customer tent), other iphone, blackberry, spare shirt. Some of that will stay in the car.

in being healthy , in the news |


The obsession began a week or so ago, but every Chicagoan knows that it’s pointless to try to predict the weather here. But less then 36hrs from the start, I think I can officially start obsessing.

It’s been hot the past week, so it’s no surprise that the forecast is warm but not extreme. Probably better early in the day than last year, and then it will get hot towards the end. Another reason to work on speed next year rather than marathon distance races. The article, and the people on the rw forum say,

this is nothing drastically different than what they’ve been running in all summer and what they’ve been training in

Sigh. Except that some of us have been training during a


summer that is coldest in 13 years.

in techtalk |


I’m still quietly sad at Steve Jobs death. Can’t wait for the biography to come out. It’s being released early on 24 October.

in techtalk |


The first mac I used was a mac plus; the first one I owned was an LCIII; the first ipod I owned was the cigarette case model (pre-windows). I got news of his passing on whatsapp on my iphone. I’m typing this on my macbook air. Without Mr Jobs, the world would not be what it is today. Thank you.

(This is the bb tribute theme. What power CSS.)

in money business |


I lost about 13% of the value of my US portfolio this year. Sigh. Since inception the cumulative ROR is about 18%, although it was up to 30% at one point. Not happy, but nothing I can do. The holdings are fine. I have mainly US large caps in this portfolio — apple, amazon, oracle, home depot. There’s some cash left over, which my FA suggests that we put to work. Hopefully this will remedy the situation somewhat.

This is just my US portfolio. I’m guessing the total hit globally is more than 13%.

in eating and drinking |

chibayou01 chibayougumb03

I was walking back to the office after sorting out my car registration when I came across a food truck selling gumbo, jamalaya and cajun food. Having read about food trucks I wanted to try it out. Had the chicken gumbo which wasn’t very impressive. It was a few bits of chicken and a lot of soup, with a slice of bread on top. Not worth $8. May be I should have tried something more substantial. I’ll give it a second chance if I’m ever out that way again.

in wheels in motion |


…is that I don’t want to sell it
…but I can’t keep it, cos I don’t live in the US anymore
…my ex-colleague was going to buy it, but then backed out
…so it’s been sitting idle for almost a year
…the battery is dead dead dead, I had to go get a new one
…I’m going to be more $$$ out of pocket because now I have to renew registration and insurance
…I love the little car, but I need to sell it

in going places |


I had plenty of time at Heathrow. Had breakfast, talked to mm, made my way to the gate. The flight was full but wasn’t too bad. They fed us plenty and I watched a couple of films — Super 8 and The Green Lantern. Landed early, at 1.30pm. As usual the line at immigration was long and the luggage was already on the belt when I got out. I had about a 30min wait for the bus, which was good cos I could get some fresh air. These are good buses, and Car picked me up at the station. Pizza dinner. Everything is just like it was, feels like coming home.

Why the pic of a Metra train? It was the first pic I took in my first personal trip to Chicago in 2006. I don’t count the 2000 overnight trip because all I saw was the hotel and office.


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