December 2012 Archives

in being healthy |

running2012

metric: total 740.08km, average 7.13min/km
imperial: total 459.86 miles, average 11.36min/mi

It started very well, training was good, I ran a good marathon in April. Then I got lazy and busy. All the more reason to set better goals in 2013.

in challenges |

tw124sevenstars

All done except installing the magnetic knife holders which I couldn’t do without a hammer drill. The will was there, the equipment wasn’t. The easiest task was surprisingly limiting my soft drink consumption, considering a few years ago I was on 2-3 diet cokes plus at least the same number of soda waters a day. The hardest task was finding the time to meet up with mm 4 times, not including the 4 days we went on holiday together.

health

  • set up training plan for Feb HM race — done
  • run / walk / bike 50km — done 50.15k run, 10k hike, 10k bike = 70k total
  • weights or bw training x8 — 9 done
  • foot or body massage — done, went for foot massage with mm

food

  • non alcohol days x8 — 11 done, thought I’d have more but between Christmas, wine, mulled wine, cider and whisky…
  • one soft drink day x8 — 26 done, easier than expected and some days I didn’t have any at all
  • fruit or juice x24 — 27 done, I love this one, it reminds me how much I enjoy fruit
  • vegetables x24 — 29 done

home

  • move back home — done
  • finish unpacking study — done
  • finish unpacking kitchen — done
  • install knife rack — this won’t happen, needs drilling and I need to buy / beg / borrow a hammer drill
  • test oven — done
  • (bonus: cook something with oven) — done too

misc

  • go to at least one of my niece’s activities — done, went to her school’s christmas concert, and we spent lots of time together
  • bbmm date x4 — done, it was quite difficult to do and we only just managed 4, not including the 4 days holiday
  • update CV — done, now I need to update linkedin
  • port LL to Scrivener — done
  • codecademy javascript course units x4 — done


in being healthy |



I had a 12k long run scheduled today, but I didn’t go: 1) it was raining very heavily and 2) my sis at the last minute asked if my niece can come over and play. Instead of doing nothing, I did some weights. Lunge jumps are new, I like them better than regular lunges or woodchopper lunges. And they are hard to transition smoothly. These, plus pushups, are the parts of the set that make my heartrate go up. Nice.

in about me |

2012serpentine10kstart

Every year I do a top 10 best pic set, so I was sorting through my pics. Currently I have over 3,200 pics on flickr tagged with 2012, and that doesn’t include the Prague, Provence, Paris and Olympics pics which means I probably have close to 4,000 total. The sorting task will take a little while. Wow, I’ve done lots and been to lots of places in 2012. This was the first pic of 2012, taken at Hyde Park at the start of the Serpentine New Year’s Day 10k. Sigh. I miss London.

in habitat |

homerenovation

Before filing all the receipts and stuff away, I put the cost of this renovation project in google drive. There are small expenses I must have missed, like hooks and shower curtain, stuff like that. Plus travelling costs. All told, rounded up it rounds up to £12k or $20k. Nothing immediately obvious, the project was mainly for basics like new windows, new cutrains, new kitchen (cabinets, sink, worktop, hob, oven, the works), paint, 2 new air-conditioners. Furniture unchanged, some of them have been around the world twice, proving their value several times over.

in being healthy |

runningmedals01

My new filing cabinet arrived (yes, the delivery people worked Boxing Day) so I’m even better organised. It sits right next to my desk and before, I used the space for a calendar. Been thinking whether it may be a good place to display my race medals. Hmm. Anyway, these are just the more interesting medals: 3 marathons, 2 HM and the BUPA 10k.

in eating and drinking , family first |

christmas turkey christmasdessertdram

Compared with the enormous christmas feast I cooked for myself last year, this year’s christmas was very simple in comparison. Mum ordered a whole turkey and I got a container of already shredded white and dark meat. I had that with some failed sparkling cranberries (didn’t dry sufficiently, good as accompaniment though), courgettes and cherry tomatoes I had in the fridge. Finished with a slice of panettone, some chestnuts from the yacht club yesterday and a wee dram of Ardbeg.

Met up with the family for dinner at a curry restaurant. Parents had laksa, Sis and Robert and Gis had gado gado and stuffed tofu. I had green curry chicken with roti canai. Enough to take home for another meal.

in family first |

presents

We all gathered at Sis’ place to open presents. Sis gave me a whisky, a cool survival tool and hand warmers. My niece gave me a water bottle. Parents gave me turkey and a panettone.

Every Christmas Eve at the yacht club they have carols and mulled wine. The mulled wine was more like warm grape juice, which went down well in the chilly evening. Carols was fun, they even had the traditional yacht club version of the 12 days of Christmas.


in being healthy |

running201212

Did an easy 10k, even though I got interrupted by phone calls in the middle. According to nikeplus I’ve done exactly one full marathon in the last 30 days. Hmm. I should be doing this every week, or at most every 2 weeks. The only good stat is that I’m above average.

in eating and drinking |

mywhisky201212

I now have the last of my whisky collection, mm brought the bottles she’d brought back and been holding for me. Over 30 bottles, plus a bunch of miniatures, occupy 2 shelves of my display cabinet, some of my sideboard as well as one borrowed shelf of my TV cabinet. Amongst them:

  • bunnahabhein 25
  • ardbeg corryvrechan (and a 10)
  • laphroaig px
  • bruichladdich F in bordeaux cask
  • highland park 12, 18, 1994 and St Magnus
  • redbreast cask strength
  • arras filled from cask at the whisky exchange
  • yamazaki 12

Not just whisky, there’s a bottle of pyrat rum, a bourbon cream from buffalo trace, belvedere vodka, pear liqueur from Switzerland, the world’s best beer, a strange tomato liqueur from Japan. Not to mention tons of wine from Provence and that bottle of masi amarone 1996 that I got from Verona.

in eating and drinking |

waffleicecreamhome

Dinner with Sis’ family at a restaurant called Home. Slow service, okay food. Pasta, lamb chops and some wine. For dessert Sis had affogato with amaretto and my niece and I both had a waffle. Should have asked for no chocolate sauce, just ice cream. Quite nice and freshly made.

And the world didn’t end. It was supposed to be at 7.11pm our time (11.11 UTC), and we were smack in the middle of eating.

in challenges |

tw00bike

Back from long weekend at spa resort town. Rented bikes, went hiking, walked across a rope bridge.

health

  • set up training plan for Feb HM race — done [post]
  • run / walk / bike 50km — 22km run, 10k hike, 10k bike = 42k total
  • weights or bw training x8 — 5 done
  • foot or body massage — done, went for foot massage with mm

food

  • non alcohol days x8 — 9 done
  • one soft drink day x8 — 18 done, easier than expected
  • fruit or juice x24 — 17 done
  • vegetables x24 — 20 done, not hard to eat veg everyday!

home

  • move back home — done
  • finish unpacking study — done
  • finish unpacking kitchen — done
  • install knife rack — this won’t happen, needs drilling and I need to buy / beg / borrow a hammer drill
  • test oven — done [post]
  • (bonus: cook something with oven) — done too

misc

  • go to at least one of my niece’s activities — done, went to her school’s christmas concert
  • bbmm date x4 — 2 done
  • update CV — done, all I needed was to change my address, phone number and a couple of dates
  • port LL to Scrivener — done, just need to do a post on it
  • codecademy javascript course units x4 — done, didn’t like the course, switched to html/css track


in in the news |



It’s that time of year. This is google’s year in review: what the world searched for. Powerful stuff.

in going places |

tw255potnoodles

A day of travelling. Early breakfast and the lady owner took us to the station to catch the 8.39am train that mm so diligently and persistently booked against a lot of competition. Reached Taipei at just after noon. We deposited our suitcases and went to eslite bookstore to browse around. Lunch of noodles at their foodcourt too. Then to Sogo to visit the supermarket and to buy sausages. Flight was at 9pm, so there was plenty of time to get to the airport, even with getting lost whilst looking for the airport bus terminal. We again had exit row seats so we were comfortable. Was pretty late getting home though.

in going places |

tw166coast tw213plates

The morning was spent at the east coast. A nondescript cave with bats followed by a nice hour or so climbing the rocks on the coast. Just something so simple brings so much pleasure. Watching the waves pound on the rocks, feeding the fish with bread. Nature at its best.

After lunch of noodles, we rented bikes and headed out on a bike path next to fields and behind houses. Nice ride, very easy. We went on a bridge that spanned the eurasian and philippine geo plates, and there was even a sign that showed where the 2 plates met. Shopping after we returned the bikes — whisky and local sweets for souvenirs as well as a favourite activity of ours: visiting the local supermarket. Waited at a stinky tofu place before it opened at 5pm with other people. Dinner of noodles again.

More spa at night. This time it was a millipede, also in the bathroom. Also only seen by mm. Yikes. That’s the peril of living so close to nature but we are both too much city folk to enjoy this sort of experience.


in going places |

tw047swallowgorge tw097waterfall

Self drive car hire turned out to be challenging so we ended up hiring a car and driver for the day to go to taroko national park. The driver was good, he’s a hiker himself so he knew all the places to go. We stopped at the famous (and quite crowded) swallow grotto, then after lunch did a little hike ourselves to the water curtain cave. 2km through tunnels and along the river, good hike. The cave itself was fun! We brought flip flops and rain ponchos. so were able to walk inside and play with small water columns that leaked from the roof of the cave. Too wet and dark for pictures though.

tw121sevenstars tw137mktsausage

After the national park we headed to the seven stars beach on the east coast. It was just coming up to sunset so it was pretty. We looked for distinctive rocks for a bit. Dinner was at a night market were we had bbq cuttlefish, filled toast and sausage hot dog (a meat sausage in a rice sausage acting as the bun). More spa at the hotel, downstairs at the big one after mm saw a cockroach in the bathroom! We had to get the friendly Indonesian helper to battle the beast. Scary.

in going places |

tw005hotel tw026hotelspa

I had airmiles that needed to be used up by January, so we were plotting on where to go. Settled on hualien county on the eastern coast of Taiwan. Woke up at 4.30am to catch the 7.30am flight. 30mins delay, which for a flight that was only over 1hr was impossible to catch up, so we were late. Got the airport bus to the main station, queued up to collect our tickets and went in search of food. There wasn’t enough time to sit down so we got a couple of nice bento boxes.

The train journey to the town of Yuli took 4.5hrs. Nice scenery but we were glad to reach our destination at last. We are staying at the new life spa resort. They had to come fetch us, it’s on top of a steep road 15mins drive from the station. We had dinner at the hotel of home-styled food. There is an in-room spa but we made use of the one outside instead.


in habitat |

hkhome019oven chickencauli

New kitchen means new oven, amongst other things. Tried testing it yesterday, and was alarmed that it didn’t turn on. Called the contractor who, to give them credit, came as soon as they finished on their other job. Turned out, the fuse in the plug had blown. Easy enough fix, and now I know how to remove and re-install the oven. It’s white, btw, not sure why the pic turned out blue.

Nothing fancy as its first meal, just dinner. Herb roasted chicken leg with curry cauliflower.

in habitat |

cleaning

Even though I shipped cleaning stuff like fairy liquid, ariel and swiffer; storage stuff like foil, clingfilm and ziploc bags; even toilet paper I hadn’t used up — there is still a lot of household items to buy. I don’t have a car, and I didn’t want to use delivery, so it means going to the supermarket and buying whatever I can carry in one trip on the bus. So far I’ve bought: comfort, kitchen roll, washing up sponges, kitchen cleaner, bathroom cleaner, rubbish bags, insect spray, air freshener, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel. And that’s fitting out cleaning and bathroom items.

Fitted out the fridge and freezer too. Milk, cheese, eggs, ham, chicken, frozen veg, ice cream, coke zero, olive oil, condiments all had to be purchased and hauled home. No need for snacks, s&p and tea bags, those came on the shipment.

Amazing how much stuff it takes to fit out a home, and I didn’t start from scratch. Been quite a busy shopping bee.

in being healthy |

running20121212

8.40km 1.01.45hr 7.21min/km (11.49min/mi)

Back to the scene of the original crime, I suppose. I started running 4 years ago. Before all the marathon training, before all the injuries, I ran as fast as a beginner would. Faster than now anyway. Initially I just ran around the block, sometimes taking the long way round, before I discovered the Bowen Road jogging trail.

Co-incidentally, I’ve been away 4 years. During that time, I’ve ran along the lake in Chicago, along the Thames in London and along the seafront in Brighton. Today’s run was back on Bowen Road. I ran 6km on 12 Dec 2008, and I could imagine the beginner runner me of 4 years ago running along the same path. Ah, nostalgia.


in habitat |

hkhome019fridge

It’s about time I went home, my own place. It’s great to stay with parents’ but I just spent a large amount of money putting in a new kitchen, new windows, new paint and new aircons, so I should enjoy them as soon as possible. Took the rest of my stuff in a suitcase and got the bus. No curtains yet so it will be brighter, ah well. First things: boil water, turn on the fan (the dyson will do), put fridge magnets on fridge. The kitchen is too small, so the fridge is outside next to the bar table.

in challenges |

nz127christchurch-bw

I’m on holiday on the 15th, so to change it up I’ll do 10 day updates.

health

  • set up training plan for Feb HM race — done
  • run / walk / bike 50km — 10km done, need to stick to plan
  • weights or bw training x8 — 2 done
  • foot or body massage — done, went for foot massage with mm

food

  • non alcohol days x8 — 6 done
  • one soft drink day x8 — 9 done, will continue throughout month
  • fruit or juice x24 — 7 done
  • vegetables x24 — 10 done, not hard to eat veg everyday!

home

  • move back home!
  • finish unpacking study — done
  • finish unpacking kitchen — done
  • install knife rack
  • test oven
  • (bonus: cook something with oven)

misc

  • go to at least one of my niece’s activities — done, went to her school’s christmas concert
  • bbmm date x4 — 2 done
  • update CV
  • port LL to Scrivener — imported, need to re-organise chapters and add character / places cards
  • codecademy javascript course units x4 — 2 done, not liking this course at all, may switch to html/css track instead


in being healthy |

higdonHM

My next race is a half marathon on 24 Feb 2013. I’m going to follow the Higdon novice 2 plan, although I know I will miss some dates. I’m already behind, the plan started on Monday and I missed most of the week. Anyway, I did 5 miles today to sort of make it up. Very slow 5 miles (8.26k), and my ITBS flared up again. Slowly does it.

in eating and drinking |

hknamahbakedalaska

There is a type of steak diner here that serves acceptable steaks as well as SE Asian food like curries, satay, sambal and the like. It also has standards like pasta, noodles and sandwiches. Went there after the concert on Friday. I had the rib-eye dinner (soup, steak, coffee or tea), sis had baked garoupa and rice, little one had spag bol.

Sis spotted that they had baked alaska on the menu so we ordered it, none of us ever tried it before. 20 min wait, then the waiter brought over this white bombe, poured alcohol over it and lit it. Nice!

The inside wasn’t quite what I expected. There were a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream, some sponge and a sprinkling of canned fruit cocktail. The outside meringue was very foamy, Sis said it was like edible bubble bath. Would have preferred it to be more browned and crunchy. Overall, I quite enjoyed it. Too big for the three of us, there was enough for 6 or even 8.

in family first |

GSIS EPD christmas concert 2012

My niece’s school christmas concert, at a converted church near her school. Very talented kids, singing, playing music, dancing. There was a small orchestra, and the Year 5 program was a bunch of them doing a great xylophone relay. Primary school kids, so it was a little chaotic, kudos to the teachers for controlling and organising them.

in techtalk |

wifi

Finally, the technician came again and I’m all connected. It goes to show Apple’s advancement, when I first got broadband and cable, in the late 1990s, they were the only company I could use to connect my mac (an ancient Performa relic, wow!) and their customer support hotline only knew to tell me to force quit and rebuild desktop if I had problems. I learned to troubleshoot and fix problems myself. Today, the technician had no problem setting up the wifi network on my second machine (a less ancient first gen mbp). I’m connected.

Also opted for a few tv channels — discovery pack, BBC pack, AXN (for TAR) and WarnerTV. There’s Fox, Universal, Sony and Warner channels, all separate.

in outside interests |

angry

I already have 4 driver’s licences, so I’m pretty sure that when we go on holiday next weekend and want to rent a car, one of those licences will work. But apparently, it’s better to get an international driver’s licence, so okay. I tried the government website, and found the page that has a online form for the said licence. Happily filled it out, and then…all it did was to complete my details on a pdf which I had to print out and take to the transport department! I could have printed the blank page out and hand filled the boxes quicker. That is not an online form.

So, I asked mm to print the form for me and toddled off to the transport dept office. The queue for the international driver’s licence was the same as for regular licences, so it was pretty long. About half an hour later, I finally got to the window. I handed in my form, 2 photos and payment to the friendly official. The official checked the details, glued one of the photos on the licence (yes, using a Pritt stick), and then…told me to go to another window to wait for my licence. Um, it’s right there in your hands, ma’am.

It turns out, another person at another window had to re-check and then stamp the licence. How did the paperwork get from one window to another? The official at the first window placed it in her in-tray, and every 10 or so minutes, another worker walked around all the windows and hand-delivered the paperwork to the final window. I kid you not. Picked up by hand and delivered to a desk 20 feet away. Of course, the paperwork was sitting on both in-trays for a while, I know because I can see it.

Kind of incredible, how government processes haven’t come out of the 19th century. Although, all the officials were helpful and cheerful, a bit like labourers who are happy in their slowpoke ways.

in techtalk |

line

So, sms turns 20. Lots of OMG being sent in celebration. I much prefer texts than calls, much less intrusive, gets to the point quickly, no need for greetings or small talk. Arranging a dinner with someone over the phone:

me: hello
them: hello
.
.
[small talk]
.
.
me: so how about dinner?
them: okay.
me: when?
them: oh, let me see, I can’t do Wednesday. Thursday I have piano lessons, Friday I have a conference call. Saturday?
me: no, Saturday I have lunch with my sis
.
.
[another 3 minutes discussing when both are available]
.
.
me: so, where?
them: I dunno, where do you want to go?
.
.
[another 5 minutes deciding on where to go]
.
.

Texting goes:

me: dinner, fri or sun? you say where
them: sun better, Jap place
me: ok cu

On the phone, there is the temptation and tendency to talk more, discuss, argue. With texting, speed is the driver. Decisions are made faster, even taking into account time needed to think of a response. It’s more immediate and more convenient. Problem is, it’s being taken over by spammers and trigger-happy vendors like banks.

I only text people who are, um, less progressed on the tech adoption curve. The others have all migrated to whatsapp, I got a quote from a contractor via whatsapp, and the van guy I hired to move the fridge asked me to whatsapp him my address. Agreeing and arranging dinners with friends are done through group chat. Mainstream media finally caught up, the guardian had an article about whatsapp as if it were the newest thing, hahaha.

Increasingly, I’m using line with mm, basically because she likes the cute stickers. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a sticker is worth a whole line of text. Line is free, they make money through in-app purchases — additional stickers, games, other novelty stuff one would expect from a Japanese product. It has VOIP too, we’ll try it out one of these days.


in eating and drinking |

hkdimsumminiburger hkdimsumminicheung

Mum and I went to this dim sum place that has the dinkiest dim sum dishes. The prawn dumplings were 2 per basket as opposed to the usual 4. Everything was managable small sized. We ordered these mini one bite shrimp burgers with wasabi mayo, very nice. And the cheung fun was cut up and presented nicely on a glass plate. For dessert we had mango pudding that came in these small cups, even smaller than tea light holders, more like a sake glass.

in mind babble |

img

Spent the entire weekend not going out. Didn’t do much. Read 3 books. Played on the wii, maintained level 2000+ on wii tennis. Pretty unproductive, snerk.

in challenges |

badly drawn doodle

A monthly challenge is a good way to get back to some semblence of normal, otherwise I’ll just procrastinate. Same type of goals as usual, but I’ve adapted the win criteria somewhat. Walking is okay this month, and since I’m still at parents’, vegetarian days become ensuring I get lots of veg.

health

  • set up training plan for Feb HM race
  • run / walk / bike 50km
  • weights or bw training x8
  • foot or body massage

food

  • non alcohol days x8
  • one soft drink day x8
  • fruit or juice x24
  • vegetables x24

home

  • move back home!
  • finish unpacking study
  • finish unpacking kitchen
  • install knife rack
  • test oven
  • (bonus: cook something with oven)

misc

  • go to at least one of my niece’s activities
  • bbmm date x4 — at last I can do this! 4 years living on different continents not conducive for this type of goal
  • update CV
  • port LL to Scrivener
  • codecademy javascript course units x4


about

This page is an archive of entries from December 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2012 is the previous archive.

January 2013 is the next archive.

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