Recently in about me Category

in about me |

new 25 squares posted | all 25 squaes

recently staying in, reading
looking forward october travels
on my desk usb fan, chewing gum, wrist brace, water
gadget nothing new
new on idevice books, periodic table app, sniper games

stress level at least once a week I’m up between 2 and 4am
running running out of time to train for #chimarathon
location hiding at parents’ place
last holiday chicago, nola
bbmm new things happening soon, need to be supportive and prepared

food giant mangos, tiny watermelon
drink sports drinks, honey & lemon, no coke
transport walking
books trying new authors
entertainment mkr just finished

kit indoors t-shirt and shorts
world stock market collapse, serves them right
colour blue
covet house with fruit & veg garden
obsession panic about running

freesquare bored
like travel planning
hate heat and humidity
daydreaming dreaming is, after all, a form of planning
smell menthol crystals

in about me |

Time for another lookback post.

one year agotokyo trip planning

24-aug-2014 was a sunday; later that week we would be going to tokyo for a short trip, so the post was about trip planning. I made a list of places to go, let’s see how many we actually managed:

  • sukiji fish market — yep, twice
  • ginza — we walked past it, on the way somewhere else
  • shinjuki 新宿 for more shopping — don’t think so
  • shibuya 渋谷 for the iconic busy crossing, shopping at Tokyu Hands and Takashimaya — yep, interestingly our first time to the shibuya crossing, also found a farmer’s market and then visited the meiji temple
  • ebisu 恵比寿 for restaurants and izakayas — nope
  • roppongi 六本木 for bars and clubs — again, walked past
  • akihabara 秋葉原 for electronics — went past on subway
  • ueno 上野 for park and zoo — yep, this was a really interesting area, especially the discovery of Ameya-Yokochō アメヤ横丁 shopping and eating alley
  • asakusa 浅草 for a bit of history, culture and religion — nope
  • odaiba お台場 artificial island with a bridge, beaches, exhibition halls and shopping — nope

View post on

Another tidbit from the post was a pic of greater tokyo compared with london. Astounding.

three years agolunch at ledbury, dinner at hawksmoor

It was mm’s last full day in London after visiting me for 3 weeks. We were both really sad that the holiday was over. I was sad to see her leave, but I’d quit my job by then and I knew we’d see each other in a couple of months when I move back.

2012ldnled001 2012ldnled003

I took her to the ledbury for lunch. Borough market and vinopolis in the afternoon and then hawksmoor for dinner. I still think she preferred hawksmoor over the ledbury, and if I had to choose, I’d go for hawksmoor too. Ledbury dinner prices is sky-high but lunch is okay, around the same price as hawksmoor dinner. Still, we can say we’ve been to one of the best restaurants in London.

five years agobooks vs ebooks

A link to a newsweek article on books vs ebooks. Unfortunately 404 error means can’t find page anymore.

ten years agocrimson room game

No post on the 24th, nearest was 25-aug-2005 when I reported that I was playing this game that required finding 13 objects to escape from the room.

If you found:
0-6 items, your IQ is very low, total idiot
6-8 items, Low IQ, you are an idiot
9-10 items, you are normal
11-12 items, your IQ is high, above the average
13 items found and get out of the room, there are less than 4000 people in the world can do it.

I found 12. Sherlock gave me the game, sigh, I need to get back in touch with her. Original link no longer exists, but a little googling gives lots of options. It’s a flash game so I won’t play on the mba. The exact game isn’t an app, but there are now plenty of room escape apps available.

in about me , outside interests |

I’m vindicated. There’s science behind why this 100% introvert doesn’t like speaking, can never come up with a witty repartee and generally has lousy comic timing (or any sort of interaction timing). Another thing I hate is phone calls. The stupid phone rings, and we’re expected to drop everything and respond immediately, without knowing what the other party wants. At least with caller display, we know who is calling.

I don’t do voicemail. Even when I was at work. I had to be subtle about it, but I managed.


I was the first one in my family to ditch my landline. In London I was forced to sign up for a landline because BT bundles it with internet. I hardly ever answer the phone anyway, so landlines are useless to me. When I was in the mood and bored, I remember having a grand time winding up this PPI scammer who called, so much so that he hung up on me. Victory!

It’s truly the end of an era when this week, my parents cancelled their landline. Generally the older generations tend to hold onto older technologies because they are used to them. But as my dad said, when almost 100% of calls on the landline are telemarketers or estate agents, then it’s a waste of money to keep it.

My dad is a very very late adoptor of technology and even he has a mobile now, albeit an old nokia non-smartphone. I notice they still have the Pavlovian response to phone calls, mum gets all upset and uptight at missed calls, whereas my iphone is permanently on DND. Anyone who wants to reach me can whatsapp (no one uses text anymore). Even email is passé.

There a small tinge of sadness. We’ve had our parents’ number for over 40 years. Phone numbers used to be 6-digit, then 7, then 8. It’s a good number, but it’s time to let it go.

Now if only the government will pass legislation restricting telemarketing calls on mobiles, the world will be a better place.

in about me , going places |


Rainy day plus a late start due to laundry meant we spent the day in Florence instead of taking a day trip out to Tuscany. It means we only get to go to Siena this trip. I’m a little disappointed although mm preferred to stay in town.

Headed to south of the river to Piazzale Michaelangelo. A long trek up steps brought us to a wide open square with spectacular view of the city. The rain stopped long enough for the sun to peek out to give us even better views.

Quite a lot to see and do over there. There were 2 churches next to the square, a small church associated with a missionary and the basilica San Miniato al Monte which had a spectacular view to the city as well as an extensive cemetery behind the church. In front of the square is a small garden with roses and citrus trees, very pleasant to sit there once the weather cleared up.

Back to San Lorenzo market and Duomo area for last minute shopping. Dinner at our usual restaurant and florentine steak again. Back to the retreat house for our last night, packing and relaxing. We weren’t as agressive as before, taking our time everyday, so it meant we saw fewer sights than how we used to travel. Then again, we didn’t feel as rushed and it was sometimes nice just to sit at a café and watch the world go by.

The retreat house we stayed in Florence is the casa per ferie regina del santo rosario run by Sister Flora, Sister Lucia and others. I can’t recommend it high enough. Yes, it’s fairly basic. There is no TV in the room, no room service and other fancy stuff. I found it very peaceful and pleasant. We spent a little time this morning in the living room with the door to the garden open for fresh air and it was as good as life can get. They are actually on, the Sister was using the computer the other night.

Train to Assisi tomorrow. From the website, the retreat house at Assisi has no internet. Let’s see how we manage.

in about me |

The last time I put up 25 squares was november 2013. I must not let so much time pass between entries, except that my life isn’t interesting enough. Here is the latest. What is 25 squares? It’s 25 random current tibits about me.

recently travelling, reading
looking forward end of allergy season
in my pocket lip balm, ricola, camera
gadget desktop usb fan
new on idevice books, meditation app, run zombies all access season pass

stress level keep waking up in the middle of the night
running one year to train #chimarathon
location hiding at parents’ place
last vacation bbmm tokyo, seoul
bbmm happy, worried, want to be supportive

food giant mangos, giant peaches
drink water, more water
transport walking
books finished 101 books task
entertainment GBBO, masterchef, grand designs

kit indoors t-shirt and shorts
net citizen i did not do the ice bucket challenge
colour grey
covet quiet, countryside house with no neighbours
obsession challenges: 30in30, 101 in 1001

freesquare there are things to do by year end
like travel planning
hate pollution
daydreaming buy an island
smell heavy, muggy air

in about me |


It’s #tbt so I posted a 10 year old pic of the dolphin watch cruise at Port Stephens near Sydney. I’d almost forgotten about that trip! In 2004 I was travelling so much that it seemed like I spent more time at hotels than at home and the trips blurred into a giant foggy semi-memory. That trip to Sydney was part of a massive 3 week trip as part of the service centre set up. I managed to meet up with sherlock, her gf at the time and we drove up to Port Stephens / Nelson Bay for a dolphin watch cruise. It was my first time and it was very interesting.

The reason I can look back is because I have archives so I can see not only what I was doing 10 years ado but my general state of mind. Reading through august 2004 entries and doing a SB&T check:

  • physically I seemed to be suffering from back pain and eating out too much, not exerising
  • mentally I had to continue to be alert because of work, I had a lot of information to gather, analyse and present at the end of the trip
  • emotionally I was in a bad place, even now the loneliness and sadness came through — it was less than a year since mm lost her sis and our relationship was pretty rocky


Lots happened in the past 10 years. What I wouldn’t give to go back 10 years and have a talk with 2004!me. Or pick the brain of 2024!me. This is what the guys at nerd fitness are asking us to consider. Three things:

  1. something the current you would tell yourself 10 years ago:
    • don’t wait till you can’t bear to look in the mirror before getting your health in order; exercise, start eating healthier and watch the alcohol
    • work stress is not worth it; do the best you can, but don’t be lazy
    • things with mm will never go back to how it was, communicate positively and build for the future
    • keep a closer eye on your finances, you can be a bit more aggressive in your investments

  2. what your future looks like, being as specific and detailed as possible:
    • congratulations on another marathon PR
    • you won an award for your pics from the antarctic cruise (continent #7)
    • you finally get the recognition you wanted as a published author
    • the microfarm and the attached café restaurant are doing really well, and wow, new cookbook coming out
    • you and mm made some good property investments, and designed your new home

  3. what’s one thing the FUTURE you would come back and tell TODAY you so that you head down the right path? Actually I have two things:
    • learn more about mindfulness, just let things be
    • run. run more. don’t stop running

in about me , techtalk |

A few years ago, I thought about moving to tumblr, because it was it for a while and I was at a low point, trying to find a purpose:

What is the No. 1 reason that people quit blogging? Because they can’t find and develop an audience

At the end it was login problems that prevented the move so I’m still stuck on ancient MT4 on my own website. I know I have a few readers (*waves* thanks!!!) but mostly I think it has become an internal process. It’s almost like a daily task, and I admit sometimes I write a post for the sake of checking the one-post-a-day task on my invisible to-do list. May be that’s why I don’t have six million views a year, because who wants to read about something that occupies the same level of priority as brushing my teeth or mindful meditation.

Okay, that’s a bit harsh. Most days I try to think of something worthwhile or interesting to write. It’s still primarily writing for myself rather than readers (*waves some more*). I should pat myself on the back for maintaining a website for 10 years and almost 7 years of one-post-a-day.

That’s why I was quite excited when I discovered medium. For me, it fills a space somewhere in between my website and tumblr. It’s more public (at least before the recent collection changes, more in a bit) and for some reason I feel obliged to take more care about the craft of writing on medium. I had in mind that I’d crosspost more thoughtful and serious posts to medium, almost like writing for a magazine. When I post on medium, I imagine that I’m writing for my readers.

I was quite sad when I posted my most recent medium article and found that I could no longer submit to collections. Instead of posters being able to freely submit to any number of collections, they have changed it to only one collection and only if you are already the owner or a writer of that collection. Sigh. This is so disappointing. What I liked about medium was that all members were treated equally, that anyone can write anything and submit to any collection. The chance being discovered was equal. With this new change, it’s getting back to the age-old clique. The most popular collections will be of named and featured writers, while us peons will continue to languish at the bottom of the pit. As one prominent user lamented:

It turned a system that was beautifully democratic and turned it into a system of clique based collections that are closed off to the average creator. It’s like content communism.

My cynical view is that the ultimate end game is monetisation. They can charge to feature certain collections belonging to coporates and writers will clamour to be included in that group in order to get exposure. Imagine a Huffpo or Upworthy collection with millions of followers, who wouldn’t want their article to be a part of that?

Will I continue to post to medium? Perhaps. I’ve had to create my own collection. I’m the only writer, and I’m back to writing for no one / myself. It’s a copy and paste job, and my posts look pretty on their clean interface.

What then becomes of tumblr? My login problem has resolved, so it’s active again. I’ve noticed that I’m using it not as a blogging platorm, but to curate content.


Like many people, I have far too many social media accounts (am I spread too thin? That’s another question for another time). When I signed up for IFTTT i had to figure out how my online presence flows. Where are my active vs passive presences. How I use each site:

  • website: traditional blogging — personal thoughts, experiences, longer posts
  • medium: public writing — more “interesting” posts
  • twitter: random observation, log exercise, feeds to google doc for record keeping
  • instagram: started off as food pics, trying to expand and be more interesting, a little more social, keep an eye on niece
  • flickr: photo repository, not using for social purposes
  • facebook: community, sharing, keeping in touch
  • tumblr: curation for my own and other people’s content

Originally I wanted to curate everything to tumblr, then to facebook. I decided against it and made both tumblr and fb end points to the flow. There are certain things I prefer to curate rather than share openly. There are people on my fb friends list that constantly share cat (and worst, dogs, yuck) pictures, inspirational quotes and minute details of their lives. I don’t want to be the tool who does that. I may experiment a little though, not post for a while, over post for a while, crosspost. I doubt anyone will notice, it’s all an empty vacuum anyway.

in about me |

one year ago


Good timing, a year ago I just got back from the norway cruise and posted my trip highlights. Great memories of Copenhagen, Kiel, Geirangerfjord, Flam, Bergen, Oslo and Dubai. How will the glaciers in Alaska compare with the fjords of Norway as I prepare for the cruise next week. I’ve been a bit down and meh about the trip (not related to the destination because…Alaska) and looking back at the highlights of the norway cruise cheered me up a little.

five years ago


For the five year lookback I’m going to cheat a little. On 14-May-2009 the post was about coldplay’s latest album which they were giving away as a free download. Aside from gossip inches about chris martin, I hadn’t noticed a lot of news about coldplay in 5 years.

The post that was important that week 5 years ago was on 16-May-2009, when I signed the lease for my chicago apartment. I had been living out of suitcases in a serviced apartment for 5 months so it was particularly exciting to finally have my own furniture and stuff. I would call that place home for the next 18 months and it’s probably my favourite out of all the places I’d lived in my life.

ten years ago

I did not make a single post during May 2004. Those were the early days of blogging and I was travelling quite a bit. The closest was 26-Apr-2004 when I complained of gaining weight. Nothing new, but it would be a good few years before I finally got round to seriously losing that weight.

in about me , being healthy , outside interests |

The challenge is a fresh challenge

I thought I’d give medium a go. Medium has impressive pedigree, founded by @ev and @biz from twitter. I check out posts there a few times a week, and there seems to be a common theme, at least the articles I enjoyed—tight writing on a variety of popular topics by a tech-savvy group of contributors. The Atlantic summarised it as:

a place to read articles on the Internet. Medium is a blogging platform, like Wordpress or Blogger. Medium is the new project from the guys who brought you Twitter. Medium is chaotically, arrhythmically produced by a combination of top-notch editors, paid writers, PR flacks, startup bros, and hacks.

Certainly, it feels somewhat like early blogger (before it was google-ized), or even harking back to the wild, wild days of early livejournal (before it got bought for no good reason by sixapart and is now russian-ized). All packaged in an astoundingly clean and oh-so-easy to use interface.

The design and the way articles are grouped in collections means that writing at medium has a different feel to writing on my own website, on tumblr or on facebook. Here on the website, I write whatever I like, and I indulge in topics that may only be interesting to me. Yes, it means I jump from topic to topic and despite it being in existence for 10 years, it’s virtually unmarketable. I don’t do much on tumblr and facebook/twitter updates are as throwaway as yesterday’s lunch leftovers.

Writing on medium is one step up, I guess. Although its referral system works much like reddit, which means my post will likely languish at or near the bottom, I still have a responsibility to write a coherent post, in case it does get some attention. I don’t want to have a popular or even viral post with typos, for instance.


I’m not at a point where I can write about tech, or food, or travel, or current affairs. So I picked a topic that is on my mind and allows me some room for musing. So, well, here’s the post: The Challenge is a Fresh Challenge, took me about half an hour to write.

It’s not clear to me whether the post will be published immediately or whether it needs to go through a review process. I like the discipline. Find a suitable title, write a tagline, write the article. I agree with Slate’s prognosis:

If I didn’t care about getting paid or having a job and just wanted to write something, Medium is the tool I would use.

in about me , evidence of my insanity |

It’s spring. Let’s do another look back in time post.

1 year ago
Video link post about pro scooter riders doing tricks on scooters just like they are skateboards. Awesome. Watch:

I would very much like to have been good at skateboarding, but alas no. I also missed out on the free running / parkour movement. Sigh.

3 years ago
A post about spring, plus the obligatory flower pic. Nice tulip.

5 years ago
Wow, has it already been 5 years? That was the first time I went to a reading. In Chicago. At Women and Children First. I met these awesome people for the first time:


I consider them friends now, some I’ve kept more in touch with than others. I’ve bought every single book this group has published since 2009, and some of the books I read and re-read time and time again. I’ll say it again, an awesome group.

10 years ago
No post on the 21st, but bookended by two strange posts. A random post on the 19th about hair, and I don’t even remember the people I was talking about; and then on the 23rd a depressing, incoherent post about the state of our relationship. Wow, nothing has changed in 10 years.

in about me , family first |


Two years ago, I had one of the best christmas day ever. I started cooking early in the morning, put the guinea fowl, duck & pheasant ballotine from m&s in the oven together with my vegs. Dessert was stollen from Prague with sparkling cranberries and a dollop of marmalade. Aside from skyping with the family and a visit to my downstairs neighbour for tea, I had no other human contact for the entire long weekend.


Whenever I’m on assignment people always say to me, “don’t spend Christmas on your own” before proceeding to invite me to their christmas do (like my downstairs neighbour). Sometimes it’s great, sometimes I want nothing more than to be able to plan the day, make the food, enjoy the day, all on my own. It’s a quiet time of year, and I want to make full use of that quietude.

I’m also aware that not everyone share my sentiment. It is important not to forget family, friends, neighbours and strangers at this time of year, and it can be particularly hard on people who are lonely, away from home, sad or need the positivity that the spirit of Christmas brings.

I’m just comparing that London Christmas to the Christmas this year with family. No one seemed to be able to make a coherent decision and I’m not even sure our parents want us to have the gathering at their place. Some people live in delusion about the Christmas card picture of a family gathering in front of a fireplace with a huge tree and mountains of presents; others don’t offer any opinion, still others want something to happen but only if everyone else do the work and organisation. I guess it’ll be a pleasant gathering on boxing day. I’m hoping people can tone down their sense of entitlement or constant moaning. Boy, do I sound like the Grinch today.

in about me |

The occasional 25 random tidbits about me series returns. It’s something I used to do, but haven’t done regularly for a while. I think I’m more proud of the fact that these squares are done using css with no table in sight. Heh, geek in motion.

recently writing, reading
looking forward cooler weather
in my pocket new watch
gadget waiting for ipad mini
new on iTunes relaxing white, pink, brown noise apps

stress level better, can’t sleep occasionally
running once a week is not a routine
location still hiding at parents’ place
last vacation bbmm kansai trip
love of my life happiness is more time together

food persimmon, passionfruit, pineapple = tropical fruit salad
drink plum wine with lots of water
transport at home, not going out a lot
books catching up with a fb friend’s books
entertainment power thursday — 72 hrs, american ninja, the hero

kit indoors t-shirt and shorts
net citizen skype on saturday
color blue
covet long list of books to buy
obsession going Evernote crazy

freesquare missing my own bed and duvet
like peace, quiet
hate construction outside
daydreaming spotter new story
smell fresh, cold air

in about me , esoteric meditations |


It’s almost one year since I left London. I haven’t done a whole lot in a year, mostly sit around at home feeling sorry for myself. Not because I have nothing to do, but…I can’t quite put a finger on why I’ve been out of sorts.

It’s not financial. I’m still living comfortably on savings and if need be, my financial adviser and I have a plan to generate regular income. Financial worries are the biggest source of stress for a lot of people, and I’m blessed that I’ve not had that worry.

Definitely not because I’m not working. I’ve never liked going to work. I think most people don’t like it, so I’m no different in that respect. I have been lucky in work, that I’ve had significant achievements and assignments all over the world. I’ve been sort of looking, and there are a couple of opportunities that are gradually warming up. Not sure if I really want to go back to work though.

It’s not family. I get to spend time with them, and it’s the highlight of my day/week/month. I stay over at my parents’ and I don’t want to leave. I live a short bus ride from my sis and i find excuses to go over there all the time.

It’s a little bit relationship, but the relationship with mm has always been odd since we’ve had to deal with our circumstances and the choices we made. We are not the same two people 21 years ago, although I wish we could go back to that closeness. I have to remind myself that I was the one who went globetrotting, and she never had to wait. So I’m grateful that even though she has a lot on her plate she finds time to spend with me.

What mm did, when we talked last night, was accurately came up with why I’m so negative and uncertain recently:

you moved physically, but you didn’t moved mentally

Which hit the nail right on the head. I miss London. I miss Chicago too. I reference moving last September as leaving London and not moving to here. I can barely acknowledge where I am. Whenever I think about here, it’s all negative thoughts: I hate this place; the pollution, the weather, the overcrowding, the awful people. I can’t stand the sight of disgusting mainland tourists, let alone having to listen to them or come near them. I don’t watch local tv or follow local news. I don’t like my flat, it doesn’t feel like home even though I have my furniture with me and I’ve always said home is where my furniture is. I don’t feel comfortable living in the only property I own—perhaps that’s the reason, that I feel like I don’t have a choice but live here.

I can’t sleep. I haven’t been running. I haven’t been cooking at home. The solution, according to mm, is a mindset shift from reluctantly tolerating to accepting. It sounds simple, but I cannot find one good thing about HK that I want to accept. What to do, what to do.

in about me , in the news |


I shouldn’t have been surprised at the polarising reaction to Lady Thatcher’s passing. From sadness to street parties, from tributes to glee, and even lack of recognition from the younger generation. I didn’t expect such strong emotions, so openly expressed on social media. She was the first PM I remembered, and I was the right age to be considered one of Thatcher’s children. Miner’s strike, Falklands, Big Bang, yuppies, poll tax—I lived through them all. I thought she did what she believed was right for Britain at that time; some of it worked and some of it didn’t.

Personally, I benefited from that time so my regard for her is, accordingly, positive. None of my family worked in any of the industries that were union-driven or eventually privatised. I got my first mortgage, like many others under the “home ownership” spell. I still have those BT shares. She even made it okay to study chemistry at uni. I know, I know. There are areas in the country that still haven’t recovered, she never supported equality for anyone, and her ethos of extreme capitalism led to the unregulated greed that caused financial crisis after financial crisis. Like I said, some good, some bad.

Her story, as well as reactions to her policies and her death, is, in part, one of class. And so with impeccable timing, last week the BBC featured an article on the Great British class calculator. Apparently the tradition demarcation of upper, middle and lower class doesn’t work anymore, and there’s now people fit into 7 classes depending on economic, social and cultural capital. Taking the calculator revealed that I’m in the technical middle class:

a small, distinctive new class group which is prosperous but scores low for social and cultural capital. Distinguished by its social isolation and cultural apathy

Which accurately describes how I take the bus to Waitrose, buy expensive wine then go back home to drink it all by myself. There’s a big section on cultural that asks questions like if you visit museums or listen to hip-hop music. Didn’t do very well there. Seems to me that this calculator tries to define classes less by birth and education factors but by, dare I say, more superficial and “American” values like whether you own a house or have a large number of friends on facebook. Oh, I’m not trying to pick on Americans, but at times she seems to like America much more than Britain. Hmm.

in about me , family first , on the relationship front |


In the past, I’d be asked what I wanted for my birthday and I’d say something like “no need, don’t waste money, I’m too old for presents.” I’d end up getting cute gadgets that are cute but useless, or something else I don’t want, or at best, amazon vouchers. This year, since it’s the first I’ve spent with family (and mm) in person for a while, I reckon they’d want to get me something. So I decided to be specific instead of wishy-washy.

And I got what I wanted.

Mum got me a backpack, since my old one’s falling apart. Parents gave me a red packet of cash, exactly what I need. Sis and family were on holiday, so I asked them to get me a whisky from the duty free. She was creative and got me a oddly named anCnoc as well as a Nikka from the Barrel in its perfume bottle like packaging. A cocktail shaker too. Seriously, I’m not that heavy a drinker!

From mm I got a nice selection of diffusers, I picked the flavours myself. All in all, I’m pleased with my presents.

in about me , family first , on the relationship front |

bday2013enoteca01 bday2013cake01

Low key sort of birthday. Had lunch with family at Enoteca, a restaurant that can’t decide if it’s Italian or Spanish. They served pizza, pasta and small dishes. But the small dishes weren’t Venetian cicheti or Spanish tapas. Baked brie with toast, garlic mushrooms, risotto balls. Hmm. The Spanish influence came in the selection of sangria and chorizo pizza. Hmm.

Between us, we had mushroom pasta, lamb salad, fish & chips, the aforementioned baked brie with toast, risotto balls and parma ham pizza. A jug of sangria too. Okay, with the food confusion, it was still pretty good.

Sis brought a chocolate cheesecake which we all shared afterwards. Then she and mum went off to look for material so I took my niece back to her place and we played on my kindle for a while.

Rang mm, she picked me up and we went for a bit of a drive to one of the beaches. Little walk, then to a hotel near her home for a glass of wine. She’s been eating a lot and I was full from lunch so we just ordered a snack of crispy fried prawns. That was it for the day.

in about me , evidence of my insanity |


I had this sudden thought in the middle of the night, that I don’t need an apartment this size. It’s 780 sq ft gross, which is small by UK and US standards but a good size here. I remember mm saying that I only used 1/3 of the space I had in Chicago, which was true. And now I have space left over in my bedroom and dining room that sits empty. Over the last 2-3 years I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff — went from 4 bookshelves to 1, gave away furniture, shredded old paperwork, binned loads of clothes. I still have too much, I think.

I wonder how it’d feel like to truly downsize.

There are a whole slew of websites and experience sharing out there. It’s not just about getting rid of possessions, it’s adapting a change in attitude. I guess in the beginning it may mean throwing more stuff away, or something small like planting herbs in window boxes. Then may be it will grow to something big like buying a smaller place and renting this one out (financial security is a must have). The end goal? Less noise in my head, more focus, less anger, healthy body.

in about me |


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 about me , esoteric meditations |

It occured to me last night that right now, I’m essentially jobless and homeless. True, all I have on me is what was in the luggage — mba, kindle, 2 iphones, passport, money, certificates, clothes and shoes. But the situation only sounds dire because it’s a snapshot of my current state while I wait for my shipment to arrive, and get some rest before I start making contacts. Therefore the snapshot is only valid as a statement of fact as opposed to an indication of wider circumstances. In other words, context.

I’m an impatient person, but some things I can wait. If I’d sat through the marshmallow test as a kid, I probably would have been able to wait — the reward for waiting is so much greater. Well, I hope anyway, because apparently those kids grow up to be smarter and thinner. It’s called delayed gratification, which upon reading seems to be another name for listening to your head vs your instinct. The other factor is that the reward is so bluntly stated. Wait x minutes and you get two marshmallows. What would have been even more of an incentive is if the child waited another x minutes, the number of marshmallows will double again. That becomes a no-brainer. Some things in life are obvious, I learned from a young age that when given 3 wishes, the third wish is always 3 more wishes. I also operate better with a goal. Witness how my running has gone pearshaped because I don’t have a goal race. Effort, temptation and reward are all intertwined.

Some comments in the article give an interesting perspective that I never thought about. That the delayed gratification outcome will only work if the kid trusts or knows that the adult will bring back a second marshmallow after the prescribed waiting time. Interesting for me, because I’d never doubt it, as a 4 year old and now as an adult. Is it a class thing? An education thing? A glass half-full thing? Going back to the jobless-homeless analogy, there is never any doubt in my mind that if I wanted to, I can find a job. What does that say about me, that I’m a fool or I have too much self-confidence. The homeless angle is irrelevant, my apartment is long paid for and requires very little financial maintenance.

That said, the main reason I’m being so laid back and not doing much is more likely to be laziness anyway. Delayed gratification may be another name for “I can’t be bothered.” Hee.

in about me , habitat |


Been suffering from dull ear for a week, and today I finally couldn’t stand it any longer. Made an appointment with the nurse to have it syringed. She said that they don’t use syringes anymore because of the danger of perforation so she used modern probe-like equipment. The end result is the same, I can hear. The problem is, I didn’t realise the world was so loud! Just ambient sounds: the neighbours, the washing machine, Mum walking around the flat, the tv, birds outside, even the sound of my typing now, is annoying me. I live too much on my own, I take my peace and quiet too much for granted.

in about me , evidence of my insanity |


It’s coming up to one week till Christmas. Everyone is busy with buying presents, ordering turkeys, getting their tree up. I don’t need to worry about any of that. I can’t quite remember if I’ve ever spent Christmas on my own — I don’t think so — but that’s my plan this year. Oh, I’ll email greetings to friends, call mm and skype my parents, but that’s probably all. I don’t have anyone to give presents to, I’m not cooking turkey (although I do have something special ordered) and I never have a tree. It’s been stress free so far. I just have to make sure I have enough food for the 4-day weekend. Well, I never need to worry, there is plenty of food in my kitchen at all times.

People always say “you shouldn’t spend Christmas alone.” It’s okay, really. Last year I had the best Christmas present ever when mm came. It’ll be different this year. Not worse or better, just different.

in about me |


I know I’ve gained weight. It’s all the chocolate. I was very good in the US, until I got here and it’s all the old temptations again. Sigh. I haven’t been running since I came home even though there was time yesterday and today. There is a reason, but I don’t have all the information yet.

in about me , eating and drinking |


Perhaps it’s a sign that I’m slowly accepting that I’m here now, I made chicken stock today.

in about me , how the day went |

surfturf220110407 swedishapplecake01

My obligatory once a year day off. Weather was nice, 20°C. Spent the morning skyping with sis and mum, I’m glad we finally got round to fixing everyone’s logins. Mum kept worrying about image quality, but as long as I can see her, I’m not complaining. We even did a 3-way conference call. Talked with mm when she called too, told her about plans for the day and just chatted. It was nice.

Went for a very slow 5-miles around the park, then to the local shops to get some baking ingredients. Last year it was croquembouche, this year I made a flourless swedish apple cake. It was too moist and didn’t hold its shape very well, but tasted perfectly fine.

For dinner I made surf and turf. Ack, I did the same last year, so it’s a tradition now. It’s also supposed to be national beer day so I got a vedett beer from belgium to go with my dinner.

in about me |

Things I haven’t been able to find yet. I think I may be able to find them eventually, probably in a larger store, so I’m keeping a list.

  • crest — there’s scads of colgate and some sensodyne, but no crest
  • olive oil mayo
  • vegetarian burger
  • ricola
  • fresh beet — I see peeled, pickled beets but not fresh ones and definitely not orange ones
  • low calorie fresh juice, ie no Trop 50 (yet)

On the positive side there is so much I was used to and weren’t available in the US:
  • ribena
  • all the familiar chocolate and biscuits
  • single and double cream
  • good cheese

in about me , eating and drinking |


Woke up at noon, didn’t believe it when I glanced at the alarm clock, but the clock radio agreed. Slept for over 10 hours, which is okay, hopefully this gets rid of the jetlag. The ice on the road has mostly melted when I walked to the Tesco and bought more stuff. That was the only time I went outside today.

I wanted to make roast chicken, but found out that there is only a small baking sheet. I could have spatchcocked the chicken, but finally decided to make chicken stew. Carrots, celery, potatoes and 1/3 bottle of red wine. I took the skin and bones off, so the meat ended up shredded. I’ll use the rest to make a pasta sauce.

in about me , easily amused |

Been a while since memes did the rounds, I got tagged by Car for this one, and as one of the ones who will complete this. Haha, name and shame.

Three Nicknames

  1. watty
  2. bb
  3. [redacted]

Three Jobs I’ve had in my life

  1. squint (chemist squint, not forensic squint)
  2. private tutor
  3. VP HR

Three Places I have lived

  1. chicago
  2. zurich
  3. hong kong

Three Favourite Drinks

  1. coke zero
  2. tea
  3. red wine

Three TV Shows that I Watch

  1. amazing race
  2. survivor
  3. iron chef

Three Places I have been

  1. zorbed down a hill in New Zealand
  2. getting completely soaked underneath Niagara Falls
  3. went skiing in July in Chile

Three Favorite Foods

  1. sashimi
  2. rocket
  3. chocolate quinoa cake

Three Friends I think will respond

  1. no clue, I don’t usually tag people
  2. [see above]
  3. [see above]

Three Things I am looking forward to

  1. seeing mm more often since I’m only 11 hours away instead of 24
  2. 2011 running season
  3. macbook air

Three Things that are ALWAYS by your side

  1. iphone / blackberry
  2. computer of some kind
  3. water

in about me |


I grew up in London. People who know me IRL know this. I wasn’t born there, but it’s where I went to school, college and spent a large chunk of my life. 15 years ago, I moved away. Arguably it was to follow someone, but…well, the reasons don’t matter now. The past 15 years has seen me move around multiple times — to HK, New York, Zurich, Chicago, as well as a career that involved a lot of travel and progressively more responsibility and influence.

Things are coming full circle. I’m transferring to our London office. It was decided only a couple of weeks ago, and the schedule is tight:

  • wed 24th — last day in office
  • thur/fri 25/26th — thanksgiving
  • mon 29th — packing day 1
  • tue 30th — packing day 2, must finish by noon
  • tue 30th — fly out
  • wed 1st — arrive
  • thur 2nd — in office

I’ve been making lists. Packing, change of address, what to give away / sell in US, what to buy in US, what to buy in UK, housing criteria. Even though I get assistance from the company, I still have to organise myself and tell the relo people what I need.

I was pretty young when I left. There was no internet then, cellphones were brick-like in size, and there were only 4 channels on TV. John Major was Prime Minister and the Princess of Wales was still alive. So many changes. The challenge for me is not to get stuck in 1995 and think I know everything. I should pretend I’m moving there for the first time. And in a way it would be. When we first moved there, my parents did all the work, we just followed. But now it’s all up to me.

I have many thoughts about the past 2 years in Chicago, and my second American experience. It’s hard to articulate them right now, too many emotions racing through my mind. All I know is I will miss it here. Very much.

in about me |

Three visits and a small fortune later and I now have:

  • teeth thoroughly checked and cleaned
  • new fillings
  • one new crown — my first
  • 6 new caps
  • bottom teeth bleached (that was a freebie)

I figured, I never had braces or extensive treatment for my teeth, so it’s about time.

in about me |

I’ve always known that out of all my senses, sight is the one that I depend on most. I’m very weak on hearing — is there a hearing equivalent to dyslexia? Many times I hear people speak but can’t get the words or string the words into a sentence. The others are at best average. Sometimes at night when I go to the bathroom I keep my eyes closed and I’m able to move around with no problem. But that’s because I know the layout of the apartment.

What if I’d never seen it? What is it like to experience blindness?

If I’m in Atlanta this year, I’d like to go to the dialogue in the dark exhibition. This is a travelling exhibition originating in Germany that has already been to 22 countries and opened the eyes (pun not intended) of 5 million visitors to a one hour experience where:

visitors are led by blind or visually impaired guides through a specially constructed and totally darkened Exhibition, in which sounds, wind, temperatures, and textures convey the characteristics of common daily environments such as a park or cityscape.

in about me |

Business site wisebread asked would you relocate for the perfect job?

The answer is: I have, I am, and I’ll probably do it again.

It’s never been for the perfect job. The first time was way way back when mm and I left London. I count that because it resulted in a near perfect job for me. The Bank was very very good to me over the course of the next few years. Those moves weren’t perfect either, and I had to take a pay cut to move to Stamford, but it was valuable experience.

I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t take this job with half an eye on moving to Chicago. Though it was never promised, there was always the hint. Is it a perfect job? Hell, no. Where will I go next? Hell if I know.

And that’s the issue. I was born without a country (I was a resident, we didn’t have citizenship), and so I have to innate concept of where I’m from, patriotism and all that. And I can’t project more than 2-3 years ahead, either in terms of job or location. I know where I don’t want to be, and that’s it.

It’s been hard for mm and I. I guess that if things were different wrt society, it’d have been different for us. There’s no use going down that ‘what if’ route.

in about me , evidence of my insanity |

This one’s gakked from shoey. I haven’t done a meme since early September, seems like a good time for one. I’m glad I have a blog so I can look up what I did on a particular day.

  1. Where did you begin 2009?
    At home, getting ready to fly to Chicago. And posting about how i lost 15 pounds

  2. What was your status by Valentines Day?
    no change, my status won’t ever change I think

  3. Were you in school anytime this year?

  4. Did you have to go to the hospital?
    not for myself, but far too many times as a visitor

  5. Did you have any encounters with the police?
    none, unless I count meeting Trish and VK

  6. Where did you go on vacation?
    gcls and ptown; none with mm, but we’re planning a short trip during my home leave next year

  7. What did you purchase that was over £100?
    oh lots, because of the move — my car, iphone, small tv, netbook, ereader, sofa bed, kitchen bar table, weights and bench

  8. Did you know anybody who got married?
    shoey, the aforementioned Trish, and Kelly from work

  9. Did you know anybody who passed away?

  10. Did you move anywhere?
    yep, to Chicago

  11. What sporting events did you attend?

  12. What concerts/shows did you go to?
    the only ones I can think of are the two drag shows at ptown

  13. Describe your birthday.
    a non event

  14. What is the ONE thing you thought you would not do, but did, in 2009?
    buy a pc

  15. What have been your favourite moments?
    running in 6 races

  16. Any new additions to your family?

  17. What was your best month?
    dunno, they all blend into each other

  18. Who has been your best drinking buddy?
    postie, Chef, Ruth

  19. Made new friends?
    between the book signings, gcls, ptown and facebook, I am ending 2009 with a phenomenal increase in the number of friends as the beginning of the year

  20. Favorite Night out?
    in april, when i was staying with mm after my stuff got packed. not a special date per se, just being home

  21. Other than home, where did you spend most of your time?
    work, which is a relief because in 2008 the answer would have been “on the plane” or “travelling”

  22. Have you lost any friends this year?
    I don’t keep in touch with people, so i’m not as close to people from the ml-alumni anymore

  23. Change your hairstyle?
    for a couple of days, then it got uncomfortable and i switched back

  24. Have any car accidents?
    *knock on wood* no

  25. How old did you turn this year?

  26. Do you have a New Year’s resolution?
    they’re all running and exercise related

  27. Did anything embarrassing?
    apparently I was a bit friendly with the Karin Kallmaker while drunk, but I don’t remember it. what’s more, i didn’t have a hangover the next day, but Car did even though she didn’t drink

  28. Buy anything new from eBay?

  29. Get married or divorced?

  30. Get hit on?
    me? who’d be that desperate?

  31. Been snowboarding?
    only on the wii fit

  32. Did you get sick this year?
    a couple of bad coughs, and that pesky cape cod crud that truly did the rounds

  33. Are you happy to see 2009 go?
    yes and no. it was a year of change, of having to cope with a change of location and all the stresses that are associated with it. Add to it change in reporting line at work, and work itself getting very busy and intense. Missing mm more than I expected. On the good side, health was genrally good; running was good. 2010 will be a year of consolidation, i hope

  34. Been naughty or nice?
    i don’t think I know how to do naughty

in about me |

I couldn’t stand it anymore, my hair looked and felt awful. I’ve been struggling for over half a year to find someone to cut my hair properly and it’s been no luck so far. I’ve had a total of 2 people cut my hair regularly during my adult life, I wasn’t hopeful I’d find someone here.

The other day I was coming home from running and I remembered there was a newish place around the corner, on Broadway. So I went to make an appointment yesterday. Almost didn’t, cos they had a dog inside the shop!

I was pleasantly surprised today. The stylist was knowledgeable, the first person ever to actually take a look at how my hair grew and how it can look better. The one thing he suggested was for me to part my hair on the right so it flows with how it grows from the crown. Wow. I’ve always parted my hair on the left, it feels uncomfortable. But, actually, it looks good.

Unbelievably, people < a href=”” title=”truemirror”>study how the side that you part your hair is an indication of your personality. srsly.

in about me |

My cousin tagged me for this.

  1. What time did you get up this morning? 6.30am, had an early conference call

  2. How do you like your steak? rare

  3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? district 9

  4. What is your favorite TV show? amazing race

  5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? switzerland

  6. What did you have for breakfast? honey nut cheerios with skim milk

  7. What is your favorite cuisine? japanese

  8. What foods do you dislike? onions

  9. Favorite Place to Eat? a good japanese restaurant with mm

  10. Favorite dressing? prefer no dressing

  11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? hyundai tiburon

  12. What are your favorite clothes? hard rock café polo shirts, jeans, acupuncture sneakers

  13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? alaska, antarctica

  14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? was half full, increasingly half empty

  15. Where would you want to retire? here would be nice, but not sure if that’s what mm wants

  16. Favorite time of day? after dinner

  17. Where were you born? [redacted]

  18. What is your favorite sport to watch? football, handball

  19. Who do you think will not tag you back? not bothered

  20. Person you expect to tag you back first? not bothered

  21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? not bothered

  22. Bird watcher? nope

  23. Are you a morning person or a night person? night

  24. Do you have any pets? no

  25. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share? i bought a new car, started a new project at work, doing nano again this year

  26. What did you want to be when you were little? i had no idea

  27. What is your best childhood memory? playing at my grandparents’ toy shop

  28. Are you a cat or dog person? cats, even though i’m allergic; i’m petrified of dogs

  29. Are you married? i don’t know how to answer this

  30. Always wear your seat belt? yes, even in the back seat

  31. Been in a car accident? yes

  32. Any pet peeves? people who don’t respect my personal space, loud people, stupid people…people in general

  33. Favorite Pizza Toppings? ham & pineapple

  34. Favorite Flower? not sure, tulips? roses? zucchini flowers?

  35. Favorite ice cream? vanilla

  36. Favorite fast food restaurant? vending machine noodle shops in japan. oh here in the US? Jimmy John’s (thanks Car) and, um, McDonalds

  37. How many times did you fail your driver’s test? big. fat. zero

  38. From whom did you get your last email? someone at work

  39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? john lewis

  40. Do anything spontaneous lately? nope

  41. Like your job? sometimes

  42. Like broccoli? yes, but i don’t cook with it

  43. What was your favorite vacation? new zealand

  44. Last person you went out to dinner with? a bunch of us from work went to the buffet place at sears (ahem, not willis) tower

  45. What are you listening to right now? food network

  46. What is your favorite color? black

  47. How many tattoos do you have? none

  48. How many are you tagging for this quiz? none

  49. What time did you finish this quiz?10.10pm

  50. Coffee Drinker? no

in about me , all about people , my inner science geek |


click here and enter your name. Just do it. It’s awesome.

This is the Personas project from the MIT Media Lab. Basically, it takes your name and searches the web for some context around it. It then takes the words and sites it finds to build a profile of your presence on the web. Obviously if there are multiple people with the same name the profile will be a combination of all the names.

So I entered watty boss and it tells me that I’m online and social, but mostly it’s fame, which earned a big “huh?” from me. Does it mean I’m a celebrity? Paparazzi? Weird.

Now when I enter my real name it gives me:
So pleased!!! It means my effort in keeping my privacy has paid off. Phew.

Obviously the tool is searching for 2 words, not specifically names. So when I put in invisible company it goes through a lot of searches and gives an interesting restult. The process of the search is worth watching, and I screencapped a video.


in about me , easily amused |

I’m sure I’ve done similar memes before, but it’s been a while. And I’ve been tagged by a couple of people. So, here goes.

If you opened this, FILL IT OUT! Learn 37 things about your friends, and let them learn 37 things about you! Send back to me and to several more friends!

  1. Do you like Blue Cheese dressing?
    yep, though i will only put a tiny bit, i’m not very keen on dressing

  2. Have you ever smoked cigarettes?
    a few, when i was younger. now i won’t smoke one for a million dollars

  3. Do you own a gun?
    yes, i have a marshmallow shooter

  4. What flavor of Kool-Aid was your favorite?
    to my knowledge, i’ve never had kool-aid

  5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
    no, why would i be nervous?

  6. What do you think of hot dogs?

  7. Favorite Christmas movies?
    christmas movies are not a tradition

  8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?

  9. Can you do push ups?
    yep, though not as many nor as strong as i’d like

  10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
    the swarovski jigsaw necklace i bought at changi airport, mm has the matching piece

  11. Favorite hobby?
    being a geek

  12. Do you have A.D.D.?
    yep yep

  13. Do you wear glasses/contacts?
    it’s a necessity

  14. Middle name?

  15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment.
    a) guilty about using the wind, missing the mbp; b) can’t believe i ate a whole mcdonalds angus third pounder with mushroom and cheese with fries and chocolate milkshake; c) good hospital visit today

  16. Name 2 or 3 drinks you regularly drink?
    coke zero, tea, water

  17. Current worry?
    something at work

  18. Current hate right now?
    something at work

  19. Favorite place to be?

  20. How did you bring in the New Year?
    at home

  21. Where would you like to go?
    home. oh, i’m supposed to answer a location? antarctica

  22. Name three people who will complete this.

  23. Do you own slippers?
    yep, flip flop house slippers and a ton of soft toweling ones from hotels

  24. What color shirt are you wearing?
    navy blue

  25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
    never tried, doubt i’d like it

  26. Can you whistle?

  27. Where are you now?
    in the dining room at car’s house

  28. Would you be a pirate?
    no, don’t like masses of water where i can’t see the bottom

  29. What songs do you sing in the shower?
    i don’t

  30. Favorite Girl’s Name?
    jane, anything simple

  31. Favorite boy’s name?

  32. What’s in your pocket right now?
    i’m in shorts, nothing in the pockets

  33. Last thing that made you laugh?
    something i read

  34. What vehicle do you drive?
    no car yet, but if i did it’d probably be a golf

  35. Worst injury you’ve ever had?
    messed up my knee in a skiing accident

  36. Do you love where you live?
    i’m getting settled

  37. How many TVs do you have in your house?
    two, bear in mind there’s only one of me

in about me , easily amused |

More facebook meme madness, gakked from my cousin.

in about me , easily amused |

gakked from stacia’s lj.

Let others know a little more about yourself, re-post this as your name followed by “ology”.

in about me |

Car tagged me on fb for one of those write-25-random-things-about-yourself memes. Coincidence cos I just updated my version of 25 things. I’m supposed to tag the person who tagged me, plus 24 other people. I won’t do that cos I have 26 friends on fb and aside from the question of who to leave out I don’t want to meme-spam. That, and I’m not sure i can tag people on an imported note.

  1. i’m close to my family but i don’t see them very often
  2. we’re a small family, and certainly not the touchy feely type of family
  3. i’ve lived on 3 continents and travelled to 6, gotta get that pesky Antarctica checked off my list soon
  4. i’m moving to chicago…i’m excited and utterly petrified
  5. the cynic in me believes that the concepts of true love, happy ever after and soulmates are scams to give us hope…and yet i’ve been building my collection of romance books
  6. i’m officially in a relationship, but to all intents and purposes i’m single
  7. i live alone in a 2-bedroom apartment that i own outright
  8. it’s full of stuff; although, everything is well organised
  9. i don’t need 95% of that stuff, cos i spend most of my awake and home time at my desk with my mbp
  10. i have a website, 4 or 5 domain names, 3 flickr accounts, 2 twitter accounts, 1 each of youtube and vimeo accounts, 2 tumblogs, 5 yahoo accounts, 4 gmail addresses, 3 myspace accounts and 2 facebook accounts, all of which i keep active to varying degrees
  11. i own 149 swatches, 20+ pairs of sneakers and a whole stack of hard rock café polo shirts
  12. i can be described as a late early adopter
  13. i wish fewer people would switch to macs cos i don’t feel special anymore
  14. i’d like to learn photography and definitely need to use my EOS more — having the point-and-shoot permanently in my backpack has been bad for my photo skillz
  15. the last song added to my itunes is “Human” by the Killers — I’ll do a post on it shortly
  16. i sang in a choir in college and i played the piano as a kid but actually…i can barely hold a tune
  17. i find it hard to understand temperatures in fahrenheit, it takes me a second or two to convert, so forgive the delayed response
  18. prefer km, but miles is okay
  19. my aim is to run 10km in under 50mins (last 10km on new year’s day came in at 1.05)
  20. eventually work up to half marathon
  21. i have 8 full length stories in various stages of wip
  22. i know i could have been a) way more senior and b) way way way better paid long time ago, but i’m too lazy to be aggressive and ambitious at work
  23. all i want is to retire and stay home
  24. i don’t like people
  25. and yes, i have a big complex about telling people my real name

in about me , evidence of my insanity |

I added a new personal page. In case you don’t make it a habit of checking the about page, the personal pages are sporadic updates of 25 things in my life. Since I’ve kinda neglected to update them much this year, i figured that posting about a new page here will remind me to not let a whole year go by without updating. Here’s the list in, um, list format.

  1. flickr 5,401 photos, 7,483 views
  2. to do list buy stuff, organise move, try not to panic before moving
  3. in my backpack e-ticket, moving notebook, environmentally friendly shopping bag, iPod, camera
  4. gadget earbuds for ipod, crazy taxi game for PSP
  5. new on iTunes kanye, ne-yo, britney and jd’s band
  6. stress level i’m the human rms, i’m flying on sunday, i haven’t started moving … what stress lol
  7. running i can do 6, 8, 10k easy now. 8.8km/hr — need to work on speed
  8. city chicago
  9. last vacation hokkaido, seems so long ago
  10. love of my life what to do, i’m leaving again
  11. food turkey leftovers
  12. drink hot coke with lemon and ginger
  13. transport walking
  14. books sci-fi, fantasy disguised as regular romances
  15. film whatever was on the plane
  16. kit i can get into my old 501s again, woot
  17. net citizen omg i’m on facebook
  18. color black
  19. covet time to organise my life
  20. obsession the move
  21. freesquare met a fb friend who likes katherine kerr *and* ivy
  22. like getting into the running routine
  23. hate the uncertainty of our future
  24. daydreaming we both end up with jobs in london
  25. smell cold weather

in about me |

via mefi again, a tool to analyse the MBTI personality of your blog. This is what I got:


I’m INTJ, occasionally ISTJ. 100% introvert. We all know this. And this here tool is saying I’m ESFP, which is the exact opposite??? I don’t get it.

Well, actually I do.

What I write here can be described as light, light-hearted, and even…trivial. I don’t post about anything controversial or deep. There’s tons of pictures of food, music I found, anything mac related, or quirky stuff I come across. Occasionally there’d be a rant. Mostly, I keep to basically harmless stuff, not only because I am aware that this is permanent public record but because this is a place where I want to record some interesting stuff that I like. It is my little escapist heaven. No wonder the tool thinks the writer of this blog is entertaining and friendly. evil laugh

in about me , evidence of my insanity , my inner science geek |

OMG, why has it taken me so long to find it. I so have to start doing this!! via bb, over at quantified self, Alexandra Carmichael explains how she keeps a record of 40 different things in her life every day, and what she’s learned about herself from studying the data.

I track these things about my health and personal patterns every day:

- sleep (bed time, wake time, sleep quality, naps)
- morning weight
- daily caloric intake (each meal, total calculated at end of day)
- mealtimes

  • mood (average of 3 positive and 3 negative factors on 0-5 scale)
  • day of menstrual cycle
  • sex (quantity, quality)
  • exercise (duration, type)

  • supplements I take (time, dosage)

  • treatments for vulvodynia (a chronic pain condition)
  • pain of administering the vulvodynia treatment I take (0-5)
  • vulvodynia-related pain (0-5)
  • headache,nausea (0-5)

  • time spent working, time with kids

  • number of nursings and night wakings (I’m a mom)
  • weather
  • unusual events (text)

The mood factors I measure every day are:
1. Happiness
2. Irritability
3. Calmness
4. Sadness
5. Feeling beautiful / self-love
6. Feeling fat / ate too much

She used google spreadsheets initially, and this came out of a project of setting up cure together, a platform for open source health research.

I don’t think it’s difficult to set up a spreadsheet for this, and in a way I’m kinda sorta tracking some stuff in different places. I can see myself tracking things like:

  • time I wake up, leave for work, arrive at work, arrive back home
  • meal times and what i ate
  • calorie intake and expenditure (something that daily plate does well)
  • exercise — daily plate again, plus I now record my runs on both nike plus and twitter
  • weight
  • blog posts made
  • google reader posts read
  • books read
  • words written
  • IM convos
  • emails read and answered (home and work)
  • number of facebook requests received

Alexandra analysed her data by looking at correlation between moods and certain activities like exercise. I can’t quite see myself tracking moods, cos it’ll be “meh” almost all the time. My motivation for tracking will be for the sake of getting data and putting them into pretty graphs.

And no, I won’t be tracking
- sex (quantity, quality)

in about me , easily amused |
Your rainbow is shaded brown and blue.


What is says about you: You are a tranquil person. You appreciate the roughness of nature. You share hobbies with friends and like trying to fit into their routines. You feel closer to people when you understand their imperfections.

Find the colors of your rainbow at

in about me , easily amused |

gakked from candleshoe, which shows how infrequently I’m checking lj, cos she originally got this from zhyan, who is on my friends list. Anyway, there were a couple of missing questions, and I managed to google them, and found an even longer meme that contained some of this meme, but not the last part. Man, this is complicated, I’m sticking with shoey’s version.

  1. How old will you be in 12 months?
    why do memes always have to start with a personal question? The answer is no

  2. Do you think you’ll be married by then?

  3. What do you look forward to in the next 3 months?
    looking forward to, and dreading: moving to Chicago

  4. Who was the last person you called?
    SC, to organise my farewell lunch with people at my old company

  5. Who was the last person to call you?
    mm, it’s so easy now

  6. Do you prefer to call or text?

  7. Do you have any pets?

  8. What were you doing at 12am last night?

  9. Parents separated/divorced/married?

  10. When is the last time you saw your dad?
    at my niece’s birthday almost 3 weeks ago

  11. What happened at 11:00a.m.?
    at work

  12. How many states have you lived in?

  13. How many cities/towns have you lived in?

  14. Do you prefer shoes, socks, or bare feet?
    outside: shoes, inside: slippers

  15. What was the last thing you ate?
    fruit salad of apple, papaya, blueberries and persimmon

  16. Favorite ice cream?

  17. What is your favorite dessert?
    apple crumble

  18. What is your favorite TV show?
    amazing race

  19. What kind of jelly do you like on your PB & J sandwich?
    grape, I suppose — pb&j doesn’t feature in my diet

  20. Do you like coffee?

  21. How many glasses of water a day do you drink?
    just water, may be 2-3. including all the liquids, around the 8 required

  22. What do you drink in the morning?

  23. Would you rather kiss someone with or without a tongue ring?
    since I’ve only kissed one person in my life, and she has no tongue ring, i have no comparison

  24. Do you sleep on a certain side of the bed?
    yes, the middle

  25. Do you know how to play poker?
    in theory yes, in practice no

  26. Do you like to cuddle?
    mm likes leaning on me, does that count?

  27. Any plans for this weekend?
    haircut, shopping in preparation for Chicago, lunch with mm on sunday, running

  28. Do you eat out or at home more often?
    at home

  29. Have you ever drank?
    not until I was in my 30s, there was a period when I drank a lot, but now may be wine or beer occasionally

  30. Have you ever been in an ambulance?
    I think once, can’t remember, when I fell over and broke my forehead at school, that was when I got my stitches

  31. Do you prefer an ocean or a pool?

  32. Do you prefer a window seat or an aisle seat?
    window although my last trip I opted for aisle cos they were BA club world seats and the window seats face backwards

  33. Do you know how to drive a stick shift?
    yes. I’m not gonna make a driving stick joke

  34. What is your favorite thing to spend money on?

  35. Do you wear jewelry 24/7?
    i don’t wear jewelry

  36. Do you speak any other language?

  37. Can you roll your tongue?

  38. Who is the funniest person you know?
    can’t think of anyone now

  39. What is the main ring tone on your phone?

  40. Do you still have clothes from when you were little?

  41. What is the color of your bedroom walls?

  42. Do you like overly sensitive people?
    i’m not sure if i have the patience

  43. Are you single?
    supposedly no, but to all intents and purposes yes

  44. Who is the best hugger that you know?
    my niece

  45. Do you believe in love at first sight?
    no. i want to, but i’m not convinced it is possible and definitely i can’t see it happening to me

  46. Is there something you want to tell someone?
    to people in general: go away

  47. What brand of shirt are you wearing?
    an old X-files t-shirt, the colour and label has since faded

  48. What do you think about the person you got this from?
    calm, witty, knows what she wants from herself and life. i wish i had more time in London last week so i could have gotten in touch and meet up

  49. How many kids do you want to have?

  50. Do you have a good relationship with your parents?

  51. Do you wanna change your name?
    oh yes. unless absolutely necesary i don’t use my name, i can happily live in a world without a name

  52. What did you do for your last birthday?
    i stayed home and had a quiet day

  53. What time did you wake up today?
    before 6am, either jetlag or stress

  54. Name something you CANNOT wait to do:

  55. What is one thing you wish you could change about yourself?
    be less impatient

  56. Which hand do you like better?
    i’m right-handed but wish i were left-handed

  57. What are you listening to right now?
    nothing. i was watching Rachel Maddow’s podcast earlier

  58. Have you ever talked to Tom?
    heh, now this is when i think this comes from myspace. tom, don’t forcefully add yourself as my friend

  59. Have you ever donated money to a good cause?

  60. Least favorite month?
    july, cos it gets too hot

  61. What’s the last piece of clothing you borrowed from anyone?
    i don’t borrow clothing, the last piece would have been years and years ago from mm, probably a shirt

  62. Who’s getting on your nerves right now?
    people from work

  63. Most visited webpage?
    here, my greader, flickr

  64. Would you help your best friend fight if he/she is losing?
    i’d help her fight regardless

  65. What’s the worst day of your life?
    i’ve been quite blessed so far *fingers crossed*

  66. Have you kissed or been kissed by anyone in the past week?
    i kissed mm in the lift, in the lift lobby and in my office today — but this is highly unusual

  67. Do you disagree with a lot of things going on in the world?
    yes, too many cooks. too many incompetent cooks. too many generals and not enough foot soldiers. too many big egos and not enough doers

  1. Last cigarette: not cigarette, the cigar at Zurich Oktoberfest in 2001
  2. Last beverage: water
  3. Last phone call: mm called me to say she was ready for lunch…at 4.30pm, it’s been that sort of day
  4. Last text message: sis, when we were meeting up at the yacht club
  5. Last CD played: LOL let’s modernise shall we? last playlist on itunes was the running one for…running
  6. Last bubble bath: at one of the hotels this year
  7. Last time you cried: mm made me emotional at home a few weeks ago, i don’t want to go into why
  8. Last meal: our 4.30pm lunch, i had noodles

    List FOUR people you can tell pretty much anything to:
  1. [i struggled with this one, because i don’t have anyone i can tell anything to. certain people know a lot about certain aspects of me, but nothing about other aspects]

    Have You Ever:
  1. Dated someone twice? no
  2. Been cheated on? kinda
  3. Kissed someone & regretted it? no
  4. Fallen in love? yes, we were so very in love so very long ago
  5. Lost someone? yes
  6. Been depressed? yes but not in the clinical sense
  7. Been drunk and thrown up? yes, thankfully only twice

    Name SIX things you did in the past three days
  1. running
  2. walked home from the office today in lieu of running
  3. brought breakfast (ham & egg sandwich) and lunch (chicken pasta) to work
  4. set up a large scale webex for next week, which i will host
  5. completed the paperwork and made appointment for my US visa
  6. researched high quality earphones for my ipod

    List THREE favorite colors:
  1. black
  2. blue
  3. um, black

    List TWO things you want to do before you die:
  1. go to Antarctica
  2. write a book, a proper book not fanfic

    In 2008 have you:
  1. Been to school? no way
  2. Made a new friend? a bunch of work friends — my chicago team members
  3. Fallen out of love? no
  4. Done something you swore never to do? signed up at facebook
  5. Laughed until you cried? yes, but i can’t remember the occasion
  6. Met someone who changed your life? no, not unless i count the manager who asked me to go to Chicago
  7. Gotten close to someone? no
  8. Found out who your true friends were? i know already

    What do you think of:
  1. Bush?
    so many things to say about Bush, which can be summed up by an exasperated sigh and shake of the head
  2. Gay Marriage?
    probably warrant a separate, more thoughtful post. I just want to paraphrase a comment i read in the San Francisco Chronicle, where the commenter looked forward to the day when being gay is as big a deal as being left-handed

in about me , techtalk |

I did the unthinkable. I joined facebook, and myspace. Actually I’ve had a couple of myspace accounts for ages, but I never updated it. And I discovered one of them has been there since 2005. Wow. I updated it, but I’m quickly getting a tad bored of it.

The leap to facebook is even more extreme. I held out for the longest time, then I thought sod it and bit the bullet. Again, 2 accounts. Big firewall between them cos I have to separate my online life with my real life-life. So far I’ve been systematically adding friends, and others have friended me, it’s an all round friendly situation.

So, follow me, friend me, write on my wall. Follow the links on the sidebar here ————->

in about me , techtalk |


I’ve been thinking of which phone to get in Chicago. The heart says iPhone, but I hate the prospect of going through the whole pwnage process. The android G1 is tempting, as are the new blackberries. I will have a bb from work, so it may be weird to have two.

In any case, the thought is that a landline isn’t necessary so I will need more functionality and I know the plans in the US are not competitive, especially since I will only consider the GSM networks. Still, I doubt I’ll change my behaviour even if I get super-duper smartphones:

  • I don’t give my number out
  • I won’t answer a call if it’s a number I don’t recognise
  • Even if I answer, I will let the other party speak first and hang up if it’s not a legitimate call
  • I will not use voicemail, if it’s part of a bundle I’ll not activate it and certainly won’t respond

I don’t understand why when a phone call comes in, I have to drop everything I’m doing and attend to it. And calls where the caller ID isn’t displayed is plain rude. I mean, with most forms of direct interaction—be it a letter, email or ringing the bell at the door—I, the recipient, can usually see who is sending/initiating the contact. Why phones were developed without caller display is baffling. Even so, why stop at just displaying a number? Even with unstored numbers all callers should be forced to display their name and purpose for calling.

And now there is hope. A new invention, truecall, intercepts all calls. It has a pre-programmed white- and blacklist. If the call is from the whitelist (the inventors call it the star list) the call is let through automatically. If from the blacklist (or zap list), it is rejected. An unrecognised number will receive an automated enquiry that asks for name and purpose for calling. It will then ask you whether to let the call through or not. The white- and blacklists are remembered. £99.99, which I’d be willing to pay to be rid of nuisance calls.

The best way of hacking through and possibly getting a response will be to text me. I like sms, because it’s not intrusive, gets the message across, and is free of the needless small talk that is necessary in a phone call. I’m glad that my feelings are vindicated. wireless and mobile news reports on a Sprint-sponsored study that:

a text is far more likely to elicit a quick response than voice mail. In fact, those under the age of 30 are four times more likely to respond within minutes to a text message compared to a voice mail, and 91 percent respond to a text message within one hour. Adults 30 and older are also quick to text — and are twice as likely to respond within minutes to a text message as compared to a voice message.

The older you are, the less likely you will respond to a text. I guess it’s the resistance to change — older people have gotten stuck in the habit of listening to a human voice. Even though we all know that speaking is less concise. As giz pointed out:

Why listen to your friend Jane hem and haw about a good time to meet up [on voicemail] when you could’ve spent three seconds reading “Im in da city. U free 2 meet?”

in about me |

Even the NYT is into personality test memes. The one that interested me was yet another mbti type of test from the strangely named They encourage users to establish a profile and ask others to guess the peronality type with nothing but a username. Kindly pointless, but the profile setting was informative, if again predictable.

The filler-type bubbles are cuter than graphs anyway even though they don’t know how to spell extroverts. I wonder if I scored more than 0% cos there is a tiny bubble there, or whether that’s the smallest size available.

My personality tendencies in a nutshell:

You are very dependable and almost always follow through with your commitments. You feel comfortable with routine, but you are also quite receptive to new experiences. You are calm and logical for the most part, but some things worry you more than others. You fight for your own best interests and are comfortable expressing your opinions for purposes greater than others’ emotions. You live a quiet life and are reserved in your actions and behaviors. [very accurate so far]

About that Disciplined bubble… To always be responsible and dependable gets too heavy at times and you just have to shirk it all sometimes of and do something that is wild and crazy, like going to sleep WITHOUT brushing your teeth. [ABSOLUTELY NOT! Other impulsive things may be, but no going to bed without brushing teeth and cleaning face] Come and do your worst, dental bacteria! No one is arguing that you are not reliable; it’s just that you differ from your very high conscientious peers in that you also have some streaks of impulsivity and can make some spontaneous decisions, rather than lumbering through all of the alternative scenarios. Maybe you’re disorganized (God forbid), or perhaps you like to leave your dirty socks all over the house (the horror), or you’re a procrastinator (that’s the worst one of all). Whatever is the case, you are not conscientious to the extent that you bore people with your stodgy ways.

About those Traditional and Alternative bubbles… Openness is not one of your defining traits. This means that while you do value creativity and artistic expressions to some degree, you are also equally comfortable with conservatism and things that are more plain and simple. Depending on the context, you may be more interested in concrete ideas versus abstract thinking, and vice versa. It could also be that you are highly open in some areas, and more conservative in other areas of your life. Maybe you’re the type of person who has quite the vivid imagination and are chock-full of enthusiasm for different concepts, but prefer to stick to “safer” foods that you recognize. Raw fish anyone? NOT. [agree with everything except the last word. I know what the analysis is trying to say — it’s the reason why I can be a writer yet have zero artistic or musical talent, it’s just that my creativity is focused on one area]

About those Unemotional and Neurotic bubbles… To quote the Hershey chocolate company, “sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.” That pretty much sums up your score on the trait of emotional stability. There are times when you feel such intensity of emotions, mostly negative, that you just want to lie down and spend the day thinking about how you can score Prozac. In other contexts (like when you are on your meds), you feel just fine - calm, happy, ready to face the day. The emotions cancel each other out and you look like you are dealing with life fairly well statistically. Another possibility for your middle scores on emotional stability is that some things push your button more than others and when your buttons get pushed, you stress and freak. What’s that I hear? Is that your mom calling? For the most part though, you are the epitome of grace under pressure. [I think it’s a fight between caring and not caring. When I care, I care and when I couldn’t care less, I’m uncaring to the point of callousness]

About that Competitive bubble… Hello Oscar, the grouch. This would be your alter-ego, if you had one. Other media characters you may identify with include: grumpy smurf, grouchy dwarf, and Jack Nicholson with a golf club in his car. No, you’re not really that bad, you say to yourself. People just misunderstand the fact that you have a strong personality. Yeah, okay. You enjoy being argumentative, and find yourself using phrases like, “I’m going to squash you like a bug” even during a friendly game of Candyland with your five-year old niece. Wasn’t it enough that you already beat her at Old Maid? Had to finish her off, did ya? You might have trouble admitting defeat, even when you suspect that you are in the wrong. Being stubborn may win you a bunch of victories, but why is the person reading this over your shoulder nodding? [this is mildly surprising cos I never thought of myself as competitive or ambitious. Then again I won’t be where I am without lots of arrogance and directness which can translate to competitiveness]

About that Introverted bubble… Do you have difficulty remembering what your voice sounds like sometimes because you rarely ever use it? Do you talk to people at parties, or are you too busy hiding in a corner? Has anyone ever filed a missing persons report on you just to find you days later in the basement playing your one millionth game of solitaire? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be what psychologists call introverted. [not may be] Introverted people can mostly be found among librarians, scientists, and any other professions where an individual would never have to interact with another human being, ever. In fact, the prospect of having to deal with people may give you hives. What do you know, introverts, you may have a medical condition. You tend to be a hesitant person and have to mull things over for days, weeks, and even years before you act on whatever idea you have. If you wait too long though, opportunity might just slip away and you’ll never know what could have been. On the bright side, introverts are typically geniuses, mad geniuses with crazy hair, but geniuses nonetheless. [for genius, read sociopath mastermind]

in about me |


A while ago Car and I were chatting about the possibility of attending a writer’s conference next summer. I edited down the chat but the point is instead of looking at the exciting things I could get to experience at this conference, all I felt was fear. Fear of crowds, fear of having to interact with strangers, fear that I’d offend people by appearing stand-offish and unresponsive. Truth is I react badly with strangers, especially people who are harmless and just trying to get to know me better.

I already know I’m INTJ or occasionally ISTJ on the myers-briggs test. I also know that I almost always come out as 100% introvert, whether it’s some serious long test, or pseudo-humorous test.

INTJ -The Mastermind

You scored 0% I to E, 47% N to S, 52% F to T, and 21% J to P!

You are more introverted than extroverted. You are more intuitive than observant, you are more thinking based than feeling based, and you prefer to have a plan rather than leaving things to chance. Your type is best described by the word “mastermind”, which belongs to the larger group called rationals. Only 1% of the population shares your type. You are very strong willed and self-confident. You can hardly rest until you have things settled. You will only adopt ideas and rules if they make sense. You are a great brainstormer and often come up with creative solutions to difficult problems. You are open to new concepts, and often actively seek them out.

As a romantic partner, you can be both fascinating yet demanding. You are not apt to express your emotions, leaving your partner wondering where they are with you. You strongly dislike repeating yourself or listening to the disorganized process of sorting through emotional conflicts. You see your own commitments as self-evident and don’t see why you need to repeat something already expressed. You have the most difficulty in admitting your vulnerabilities. You feel the most appreciated when your partner admires the quality of your innovations and when they listen respectfully to your ideas and advice. You need plenty of quiet to explore your interests to the depth that gives you satisfaction.

Take The LONG Scientific Personality Test at HelloQuizzy

A more tongue-in-cheek test is the personality defect test. Still comes up with 0% extrovert.


You are 57% Rational, 0% Extroverted, 86% Brutal, and 57% Arrogant.

You are the Sociopath! As a result of your cold, calculating rationality, your introversion (and ability to keep quiet), your brutality, and your arrogance, you would make a very cunning serial killer. You are confident and capable of social interaction, but you prefer the silence of dead bodies to the loud, twittering nitwits you normally encounter in your daily life. You care very little for the feelings of others, possibly because you are not a very emotional person. You are also very calculating and intelligent, making you a perfect criminal mastermind. Also, you are a very arrogant person, tending to see yourself as better than others, providing you with a strong ability to perceive others as weak little animals, so tiny and small. You take great pleasure in the misery of others, and there is nothing sweeter to you than the sweet glory of using someone else’s shattered failure to project yourself to success. Except sugar. That just may be sweeter. In short, your personality defect is the fact that you could easily be a sociopath, because you are calculating, unemotional, brutal, and arrogant. Please don’t kill me for writing mean things about you! I have a 101 mile-long knife! Don’t make me use it!

Take The Personality Defect Test at HelloQuizzy

Heehee, I’m a sociopath mastermind. *evil laugh*

On this 100% introversion business, I know how to interact with extroverts — they are the ones talking and laughing and carrying on the conversation. It seems to me though, that introverts may know how to deal with extroverts, it’s not so easy the opposite way. There seems, at least to me, a lack of understanding of why we act the way we do. People take things so personally, it’s like if I don’t interact with them it’s an affront to their shiny personality when the truth is not the case.

So if I go to this conference, I may need to hand out this list of 5 things every extrovert should know about introverts.

  1. If a person is introverted, it does NOT mean they are shy or anti-social.
    It takes me a long time to warm up to people; I just can’t meet a stranger one minute and behave like we’re best friends the next. My natural state is looking inwards, and it takes time and more time for me to get in touch with external factors like the people surrounding me.
  2. Introverts tend to dislike small talk.
    That’s true. I can see the necessity, particularly to break the ice, but it seems so pointless and I get bored with it quickly. What I hate? The 20 personal getting-to-know-you questions. Okay, sod it, I dislike talking in general.
  3. Introverts do like to socialize.
    But in a different way and not as frequently as extroverts. I can do the socialising thing, even public speaking and *gasp* being charming — but only for a very short period of time. After that, I need to be quiet again.
  4. Introverts need time alone to recharge.
    There was a question in the personality quiz about how I feel after a big gathering — emotionally drained or emotionally charged. The answer is definitely drained. I can only take so many meals out, conversations, or functions. I told my mum I need to get mentally prepared even for family gatherings. I get antsy if they go on too long and I feel like I’m missing out on alone time.
  5. Introverts are socially well adjusted.
    You know what, I know about politics, etiquette, the arts and stuff. I’m just not very practiced at talking about them like I’m an expert, doesn’t mean I’m socially inept.

I like this commentary from the article:

It’s easy to understand why society tends to value extroverts over introverts. Human beings have lived in a tribal society so having to interact frequently with people came to be a regarded as a very good skill when it came to survival.

Trying to “turn” an introverted person into an extroverted person is detrimental because it gives off a subtle suggestion that there is something wrong with them, hampering their self worth and esteem when there is absolutely nothing wrong in the first place.

There’s nothing wrong with introverts.


[/leave me alone rant]

in about me , easily amused |

gakked from some random LJ — you know when you’re clicking on the search page and you look at someone’s lj and then you look at their friends’ lj and you repeat the process? Anyway, some of these questions are the same as yesterday’s.

  1. One of your scars, how did you get it?
    gall bladder removal operation

  2. What’s on the walls in your room?
    the poster of bibaushi primary school by shinzo maeda

  3. What does your cellphone look like?
    nokia 6300

  4. What music do you listen to?
    mainstream indie. okay, that’s an oxymoron

  5. So you know what time you were born?

  6. What do you want more than anything right now?
    to retire and write

  7. Who do you miss?

  8. What’s your middle name?
    no. I mean, that’s not my middle name, like I’d tell anyone my name

  9. The best TV show ever created.
    amazing race

  10. The last person you talked to?
    mm, not including the taxi driver on the way home

  11. Do you get scared in the dark?
    if I do, I snap myself out of it. I can’t afford to, living alone and all

  12. The last person to make you cry?

  13. Your favorite cologne / perfume?

  14. What kind of hair/eye color do you like on the opposite sex?
    um, why must it be opposite? anyway the answer is I have no preference

  15. Would you rather be smart or funny?

  16. Coffee or energy drinks?

  17. What is your favorite pizza topping?
    mushroom, ham and [small voice]pineapple[/small voice]

  18. If you can eat anything right now what would it be?
    fresh uni, fresh japanese seafood

  19. Who is the last person you made mad?
    probably mm

  20. Do you speak another language?

  21. What was the first gift someone ever gave you?
    I think I was 2 or 3 years old, my lovely great-aunt gave me smarties

  22. Do you like someone?

  23. Are you double jointed?

  24. Favorite clothing brand?
    anything casual

  25. What is your dream car?
    merc suv or a convertible mg. if I were realistic I’d say golf

  26. What color is it?
    silver for the merc; green for the mg; tornado red for the golf

  27. What’s your favorite kind of exercise?

  28. Would you fall in love knowing that the person is leaving?
    yes. with technology and ease of travel nowadays, it’s not a deal-breaker

  29. What is the best way to tell someone how much they mean to you?
    by actions

  30. Say a number from one to a hundred:

  31. Blondes or brunettes?
    no preference

  32. What is the one number you call often?

  33. What annoys you most?

  34. Have you been out of the US?
    um, I don’t live in the US

  35. Your weaknesses?

  36. Tater tots or fries?
    roast potatoes

  37. First job?
    research chemist

  38. Ever prank called someone?

  39. What were you doing before you filled out this?

  40. If you could get plastic surgery what would it be?
    get rid of all the excess fat and bits

  41. Why did you fill out this survey?
    no clue

  42. What do you get complimented about most?
    smart and organised

  43. What would you do if alcohol became illegal?
    doesn’t bother me

  44. What do you want for your birthday?
    new mbp

  45. How many kids do you want?

  46. Were you named after anyone?
    apparently my dad got my name off a character in a book

  47. Do you wish on stars?

  48. Which finger(s) is/are your favorite?
    *lost* why?

  49. When did you last cry?
    last weekend

  50. Do you like your handwriting?
    yes, though it’s small and almost illegible

  51. What is your favorite lunch meat?
    ham on the bone

  52. Any bad habits?
    don’t like people

  53. What is the most embarrassing CD on the shelf?
    80s love song compilation

  54. If you were another person, would you be friends with you?
    I’d try, but give up cos I never know if I’m liked or just tolerated

  55. Have you ever told a secret you swore not to tell?
    don’t think so, I don’t even tell non-secrets to anyone other than the person who told me

  56. Do looks matter?
    yes, but it isn’t necessarily beautiful vs ugly — different people have different tastes

  57. How do you release your anger?
    I don’t. it’s a problem

  58. Where is your second home?
    teh interwebz

  59. Do you trust others easily?
    no, but once I do, I do

  60. What was your favorite toy as a child?
    all of them, I grew up in a toy shop

  61. How many numbers are in your cellphone?

  62. Do you use sarcasm?

  63. Do you know anyone famous?
    not really

  64. Have you ever been in a mosh pit?

  65. What do you look for in a guy/girl?
    compatibility, smartness, someone I feel comfortable with

  66. What are your nicknames?
    at work they call me Dr [name]

  67. How many pairs of shoes do you have?

  68. Do you un-tie your shoes when you take them off?
    only if i can’t get them off untied

  69. Were you upset about Steve Irwin dying?
    sad for his death and family but not sad that he won’t be on tv anymore

  70. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

  71. Are you lazy?
    yes to the nth degree

  72. What are your favorite colors?
    black, blue

  73. What is your favorite band?
    difficult to name one: dcfc, starsailor, thirteen senses, ivy…and for oldies fleetwood mac

  74. How many wisdom teeth do you have?
    all of them

  75. Do you want everyone to answer these questions?
    like who reads this website anyway

  76. What are you listening to right now?

  77. Last thing you ate?
    chicken and squid ink pasta

  78. Last person you talked to on the phone?

  79. What’s the first thing you notice on the opposite sex?

  80. Favorite thought provoking song:
    radiohead’s creep

  81. Favorite thing to hate:

  82. Favorite drink:
    coke zero

  83. Favorite zodiac sign

  84. Favorite sport

  85. What is your hair color?

  86. Eye color?

  87. Do you wear glasses?

  88. Siblings?

  89. Favorite month?

  90. Do you like sushi?
    god, yes

  91. Last thing you watched?
    amazing race

  92. Favorite day of the year?
    whenever I don’t need to go to work

  93. Are you too shy to ask someone one?

  94. Summer or winter?

  95. Kisses or hugs?
    sigh. if only

  96. Relationships of one-night stands?
    relationships, sigh

  97. Who is the most likely to answer these questions?
    no one

  98. Who is the least likely to answer these questions?
    no one

  99. Create your own question
    photography or writing?

  100. is anyone in love with you?
    i think so, I hope so

in about me , easily amused |

This meme was posted by devilmiyu, the bigwig at the lost in shadows lj community — the group where participants of the online vampires game hang out.

  1. Are you currently in a serious relationship?
    yes. sort of. The serious bit is true but if you judge relationship by the things you do within the relationship, then I don’t know what the answer is

  2. What was your dream growing up?
    something boring like a teacher

  3. What talent do you wish you had?
    ambidextrous, invisibility

  4. If I bought you a drink what would it be?
    diet coke, or a beer if we’re feeling alcoholic

  5. Favorite vegetable?
    as the main ingredient: asparagus, artichoke, courgette; as an ingredient in a dish: tomato; salad: rocket

  6. What was the last book you read?
    book 5 of the Kristin Ashe mystery series by Jennifer L. Jordan [sidebar: I was one of the winners in a casual writing competition and as a prize Jennifer is sending me book 7, which is coming out this month]

  7. What zodiac sign are you?

  8. Any Tattoos and/or Piercings? Explain where.

  9. Worst Habit?

  10. If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride?
    only if you looked like you needed a ride

  11. What is your favorite sport?

  12. Do you have a Pessimistic or Optimistic attitude?
    increasingly pessimistic

  13. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?
    pool resources like food and water, offer support if you look like you’re panicking

  14. Worst thing to ever happen to you?
    I lost control of the brakes and the car slid backwards; if it weren’t for the door jammed against the car next to mine, the car and I would have fallen over a steep slope

  15. Tell me one weird fact about you.
    100% introvert

  16. Do you have any pets?

  17. What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly?
    see #15. I’d be friendly but wondering why you’re here and hoping you won’t stay long

  18. What was your first impression of me?
    helpful, in control

  19. Do you think clowns are cute or scary?
    I find them stupid actually

  20. If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?
    go back to my college weight

  21. Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?
    probably neither, I won’t get involved

  22. What color eyes do you have?

  23. Ever been arrested?

  24. Bottle or can soda?

  25. If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it?
    it’ll go into my investment portfolio

  26. What’s your favorite place to hang out at?
    my room

  27. Do you believe in ghosts?

  28. Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
    read, play on computer

  29. Do you swear a lot?
    not really

  30. Biggest pet peeve?
    people who are late

  31. In one word, how would you describe yourself?

  32. Do you believe/appreciate romance?
    I want to, but I’m quite disillusioned about the whole thing

  33. Favorite and least favourite food?
    favorite: seafood, sashimi, ham; least favorite: anything in the onion / spring onion family

  34. Do you believe in God?

  35. What do you like about me? Least like about me?
    I don’t know you well enough, but I appreciate all the work you’ve done for the group and the game

  36. Favorite music artist/band/group?
    hard to pick one; dcfc, starsailor, thirteen senses, ivy…and for oldies fleetwood mac

  37. Favorite movie of all time?
    star wars

  38. What TV shows do you watch on a regular basis? Why?
    amazing race and survivor cos I’m a secret reality tv junkie; a bunch of travel and food programs cos they’re totally enjoyable to watch

  39. Paper or plastic?
    I bring my own shopping bag

in about me |

After more than a year, I posted a new personal page. No big difference from before, indicating that either a) my life hasn’t changed from a year ago or b) my life is so boring that it doesn’t change.

Or may be, I’m not asking the right questions. Instead of what is in my backpack I should be asking myself why I carry the stuff I carry with me all the time. Instead of the most recent city (Chicago…again) I should be asking myself where else I’d like to visit.

Then again, I don’t think my way of behaving or living my life has changed for all the years I’ve lived on my own, regardless of where in the world I am. The ultimate goal is always the same — retreat home as much as possible, don’t talk to people, don’t tell them what’s on my mind, don’t let anyone threaten my safety net, don’t let anyone know I’m just pretending to be a normal human being.

in 101.1001 , about me |

Together with staying at home and not spending money, I enjoyed a silent weekend. I called Mum Friday evening and we chatted for about 15 minutes; the next person I spoke to was mm when I called to wake her up at 6.30am this morning. In between, no people interaction, what bliss. Last time I tried for a no-speaking weekend, Mum called on Sunday to invite me out to dinner and ruined it. She didn’t laugh at me when I told her she’d ruined things, she knows me well enough to know that I mean it when I say I want a quiet weekend.

I have poor verbal skills anyway, which perhaps is surprising since I have decent written skills so you’d think I know how to string a sentence together. I don’t mind talking to people I know or on topics I’m interested in, but not for any length of time. People who can’t.stop.talking amaze and irritate me. Yes, I mean you, the one who nattered and yabbered continuously for the entire time I was on the bus.

May be I’m anti-social. So what. When there is no talking, no harm is done.

All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

Lyrics from Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode. I found another video of them performing the song on the roof of the WTC but it creeped me out too much to post it.

in 101.1001 , about me |


I wanted to include this task in 101.1001 but I didn’t want to name it cos it’s deeply personal. It involved being disciplined and reaching certain milestones a certain number of times during one day (either a 24 hr period or from waking to sleeping). I’ve tried a few times before but have come up short. I’m glad I finally managed it.

in about me |

The Times is sponsoring a study on ethics. It’s a simple online quiz, where people pick words that are most like, or unlike, themselves. There is no right or wrong answer, just indication as to which moral philosophy is most like us.

The three moral philosophies - principled conscience, social conscience and rules compliance - make up our integrity, or moral DNA, which guides the way we live. For everyone the balance between the moral philosophies is different, depending on personality and experience.


in about me , all about people |

I joined another team for a 3/4 day team building offsite today. It was fun. Before the offsite, our facilitator asked us all to complete a DiSC profile because it helps to identify the type of person our co-workers are. DiSC stands for the 4 dimensions in this profile: dominant, influence, steadiness, conscientiousness.


I turn out to be high SC and low I. Generally it’s pretty true, that I’m predictable, systematic, self-reliant and can be inactive and realistic. There are altogether 15 different profiles depending on whether someone is high D or high C or high DI. My pattern is the closest to a Perfectionist. Which I don’t quite agree cos I’m not big on details and get bored easily.


There are some very funny descriptions for the dimensions.

Shopping for groceries:

  • the D is the impulse shopper. No list.
  • the i tells you where everything is in the store, whether you ask or not.
  • the S is prepared, has a list, and gets it done efficiently.
  • the C wouldn’t think of going shopping without coupons and a calculator.

Ask for something on their desk:

  • the D has a messy desk. They say, “it’s there somewhere — you look for it.”
  • the i says, “I’m busy right now. Give me a few minutes and I’ll get back to you.” They don’t know where it is, but won’t admit it.
  • the S has everything filed in alphabetical order or by color code.
  • the C says, “It’s the third thing down in that pile.” The desk may be messy, but they know where everything is.

in about me |

According to the Wired Geekster Handbook there are 6 types of geeks.

1. The Fanboy Disposition: Speaks mostly in lines from The Simpsons, Star Wars, Highlander, and Ghostbusters. Enjoys arguing about whether Batman or Boba Fett would win in a fight. (Batman.) Beliefs: The Force exists, but midi-chlorians are bullshit. Han shot first. Turn-Ons: Princess Leia in slave gear. Starbuck (male and female incarnations). Amazing Fantasy No. 15. Velour uniforms.

2. The Music Geek Disposition: Would be really happy to introduce you to music better than that overexposed crap you like. Always up for a show, but it’ll totally suck. Beliefs: MP3s are not as good as CDs, which are not as good as vinyl LPs, which are not as cool as wax cylinders. What your speaker cables are made of matters. Turn-Ons: A complete set of Sub Pop Singles Club 45s. VH1’s Behind the Music (hair metal only). 0.0 scores on Pitchfork. Vacuum tubes.

3.The Gamer Disposition: High DEX and INT scores, low CHA (thus, the lack of friends). Given to indecipherable insults (“I pwn3d u, n00b!”). Beliefs: The game Real World has a great physics engine, hi-res graphics, and convincing surround sound, but the learning curve is too steep. Girls should dress like Yuna in Final Fantasy. Turn-Ons: Spawn points. Haptic feedback. Pac-Man ringtones. Morgan Webb. Split-screen co-op.

4. The Gadget Guy Disposition: Sociable while waiting in line on launch day; ferocious in comments on Gizmodo. Seemingly unflappable in the face of early adopter’s remorse (aka Apple Newton Syndrome). Beliefs: I can fix that. There’s no god but MacGyver. The price will drop in a month, but I need it now. Turn-Ons: Unboxing videos. Backup batteries. Blue LEDs. Laser pointers. People who RTFM. Things that make loud clicking sounds.

5. The Hacker Disposition: Chronically crabby — then again, having such a superior intellect is a heavy burden. Paranoid tendencies. Beliefs: One shall stand, one shall fall. Sun allergy is a real condition. Cybersex: not utterly disgusting. Cory Doctorow is too soft on DRM. 2600 magazine has gotten too commercial. Turn-Ons: Trinity. l33t fluency. Narc-spotting at DefCon.

6. The Otaku Disposition: Alarmingly happy. Prefers to read right to left. Beliefs: Manga is a medium, not a genre. Furries aren’t loathsome. I can learn Japanese from Gundam. Lynn Minmay is the most annoying character in the history of anything. The next major anime release will be a box office hit in the West — this time for sure. It’s not all tentacle porn, OK? Turn-Ons: Tentacle porn. Dirty Larping. Dating sims. All things kawaii.


What makes me mildly unhappy is I can’t identify to any of the six types. And now I’m worried about my geek creds. Sigh.

in about me , how the day went |

Woke up at 11am. Could have slept more, but conditioning meant I got up, made tea, had lunch and the usual “awake” stuff. But I was still sleepy.

Played on the wii for a bit but all I wanted was to sleep. So I had a nap at just after 4pm. When I opened my eyes it was almost 7pm. Boy, napping in bed is different from napping on the sofa.

I don’t think I’ll have problems sleeping tonight despite all the hours of sleep. I’m tired and it’s cold. I took out the extra duvet last night so I’m on three duvets. It makes me feel like I’m hibernating in a very warm cave.

Wouldn’t it great if humans can hibernate? Just curl up in a warm place and slow down whenever we want, no need to bother about work or stress or the outside world.

First explored by NASA as a potential means to send astronauts far into space, the research had been abandoned for over 20 years as it was too ambitious, and difficult. Recently, the race to hibernate humans is on again, according to the Times. This time, the purpose is medical.

to equip ambulances with a clear saline solution called plasma expander that would be injected into seriously injured victims at the scene of a car accident. The plasma would rapidly send body temperature from 37°C to 10°C, slowing the metabolism, delaying the onset of shock and limiting damage from wounds.

in about me , going places |

It’s the end of the year and I’m supposed to do some introspection and review. Like list out my achievements, thoughts, regrets, surprises and all.


Look at the categories and tags here and you’ll see that Travel is the most popular topic. And I did a lot of it this year. I thought it might be interesting to figure out how much I have done, so I did a little summary of all the flights. The distances are actual miles between airports and calculated at webflyer.


Total is 99,700 miles or 160,450km. If it weren’t for stupid Delta and the cancelled JFK-ORD flight I would have gone past 100,000. In any event I’m claiming the extra 300 miles cos it’s within the margin of error. This is flights only and doesn’t include driving — add on an extra 6,000 miles or so for the couple of big roadtrips.

That’s a lot of miles, eh?

in about me | | comments (1)

I’m a straighter-than-a-straight-arrow person who is usually logical, organised and punctual — not surprising for someone who has a science background and works in a technical field.

And yet I can write a little. It’s been a source of puzzlement for me. I mean, I can’t draw to save my life and the way I react to art is an either/or: it’s pretty, or it’s not.

This all has to do with left and right brain behaviour.

left brain
uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies
right brain
uses feeling
“big picture” oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can “get it” (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking

I found a couple of simple tests. The Hemispheric Dominance test tells me that I use my left brain more — though it was 10 left and 8 right, closer than expected. The Art Institute of Vancouver confirms that — I got 56% left and 44% right, which is almost the same split.

Now to turn everything on its head. Instead of consciously doing tests that arguably I can influence the result, here’s one I came across via kottke: a visual test for left- or right-brainedness. It can get dizzy looking at it for a long time, so I’ll put it under the cut.

Look at the dancer. Do you see the dancer turning clockwise or anti-clockwise?

If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.

in about me , techtalk , workstuff |

I was chatting with Car (literally just 5 minutes ago) and she was telling me about the books I should be reading. I said I have little time for reading right now, cos of the 80-20 rule — I’m now at the time-consuming 20% part of the Great Website Redesign project.

She said, and I’ll quote:

80-20 rule? is that something you’ve made up in your anal little mind? lol

Oh my friend, it’s real alright. It’s called the Pareto Principle and was used originally to describe the distribution of wealth. In project management terms, it means that 80% of the work uses up 20% of time / resources.

As anyone who’s spent splodges of time putting the final touch on any project — baking, planning a holiday, building an office block — it’s the last litty bitty details that take up most time, energy and frustration. In terms of the website stuff, it means I’m spending time on the css details before moving onto the static pages.

I tried to explain all this, and the response was still:

car: I think that’s something you’ve made up
me: HA! it’s on wikipedia
car: oh whatever…it simply justifies your need to spend hours changing the color and margins of your website. LOL

Who’s a skeptic now? (Or she’s pulling my very anal legs.)

in about me |

I can’t sing.

I went for karaoke last Friday as part of a colleague’s farewell party, and again on Sunday with mm. And both times re-affirms it, I can’t sing.

And it’s fine.

in about me |
in about me , random words | | comments (1)
You Should Be a Film Writer
You don’t just create compelling stories, you see them as clearly as a movie in your mind.
You have a knack for details and dialogue. You can really make a character come to life.
Chances are, you enjoy creating all types of stories. The joy is in the storytelling.
And nothing would please you more than millions of people seeing your story on the big screen!

in about me |

Stole this from Jeanne’s LJ. I’m loyal, responsible and overly anxious. How did they know?

The Quick and Painless ENNEAGRAM Test

You chose CY - your Enneagram type is SIX.
“I am affectionate and skeptical”

Questioners are responsible, trustworthy, and value loyalty to family, friends, groups, and causes. Their personalities range broadly from reserved and timid to outspoken and confrontative.

How to Get Along with Me

  • Be direct and clear.
  • Listen to me carefully.
  • Don’t judge me for my anxiety.
  • Work things through with me.
  • Reassure me that everything is OK between us.
  • Laugh and make jokes with me.
  • Gently push me toward new experiences.
  • Try not to overreact to my overreacting.
What I Like About Being a Six
  • being committed and faithful to family and friends
  • being responsible and hardworking
  • being compassionate toward others
  • having intellect and wit
  • being a nonconformist
  • confronting danger bravely
  • being direct and assertive
What’s Hard About Being a Six
  • the constant push and pull involved in trying to make up my mind
  • procrastinating because of fear of failure; having little confidence in myself
  • fearing being abandoned or taken advantage of
  • exhausting myself by worrying and scanning for danger
  • wishing I had a rule book at work so I could do everything right
  • being too critical of myself when I haven’t lived up to my expectations
Sixes as Children Often
  • are friendly, likable, and dependable, and/or sarcastic, bossy, and stubborn
  • are anxious and hypervigilant; anticipate danger
  • form a team of “us against them” with a best friend or parent
  • look to groups or authorities to protect them and/or question authority and rebel
  • are neglected or abused, come from unpredictable or alcoholic families, and/or take on the fearfulness of an overly anxious parent
Sixes as Parents
  • are often loving, nurturing, and have a strong sense of duty
  • are sometimes reluctant to give their children independence
  • worry more than most that their children will get hurt
  • sometimes have trouble saying no and setting boundaries

A little more research on the nine types:

  1. One: Reformer, Critic, Perfectionist. This type focuses on integrity. Ones can be wise, discerning and inspiring in their quest for the truth. They also tend to dissociate themselves from their flaws and can become hypocritical and hyper-critical, seeking the illusion of virtue to hide their own vices. The One’s greatest fear is to be flawed and their ultimate goal is perfection.
  2. Two: Helper, Giver, Caretaker. Twos, at their best, are compassionate, thoughtful and astonishingly generous; they can also be prone to passive-aggressive behavior, clinginess and manipulation. Twos want, above all, to be loved and needed and fear being unworthy of love.
  3. Three: Achiever, Performer, Succeeder. Highly adaptable and changeable. Some walk the world with confidence and unstinting authenticity; others wear a series of public masks, acting the way they think will bring them approval and losing track of their true self. Threes fear being worthless and strive to be worthwhile.
  4. Four: Romantic, Individualist, Artist. Driven by a fear that they have no identity or personal significance, Fours embrace individualism and are often profoundly creative. However, they have a habit of withdrawing to internalize, searching desperately inside themselves for something they never find and creating a spiral of depression. The angsty musician or tortured artist is often a stereotypical Four.
  5. Five: Observer, Thinker, Investigator. Believing they are only worth what they contribute, Fives have learned to withdraw, to watch with keen eyes and speak only when they can shake the world with their observations. Sometimes they do just that. Sometimes, instead, they withdraw from the world, becoming reclusive hermits and fending off social contact with abrasive cynicism. Fives fear incompetency or uselessness and want to be capable above all else.
  6. Six: Loyalist, Devil’s Advocate, Defender. Sixes long for stability above all else. They exhibit unwavering loyalty and responsibility, but are prone to extreme anxiety and passive-aggressive behavior. Their greatest fear is to lack support and guidance.
  7. Seven: Enthusiast, Adventurer, Materialist. Eternal Peter Pans, Sevens flit from one activity to another. Above all they fear being unable to provide for themselves. At their best they embrace life for its varied joys and wonders and truly live in the moment; but at their worst they dash frantically from one new experience to another, being too scared of disappointment to enjoy what they have.
  8. Eight: Leader, Protector, Challenger. Eights worry about self-protection and control. Natural leaders, capable and passionate but also manipulative, ruthless and willing to destroy anything and everything in their way. Eights seek control over their own life and their own destiny and fear being harmed or controlled by others.
  9. Nine: Mediator, Peacemaker, Preservationist. Nines are ruled by their empathy. At their best they are perceptive, receptive, gentle, calming and at peace with the world. On the other hand they prefer to dissociate from conflicts and indifferently go along with others’ wishes or simply withdraw, acting via inaction. They fear the conflict caused by their ability to simultaneously understand opposing points of view and seek peace of mind above all else.

in about me |

I saw this on jillycoppercorn’s LJ. Tell me what you think of me.

I think the site’s really busy because lots of people are doing it, so you may experience “site overload.”

in about me , easily amused | | comments (3)


Seven Types of Intelligence - Which is yours?

I’m pretty pleased at this result in a silly grin kind of way. Except, um, I don’t like debating.

Other personalities — spatial, musical, kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, logical. I’m mildly surprised I’m not one of the last two.

in about me , easily amused | | comments (2)

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.

  1. The tv must be turned off at a certain channel.
  2. 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.
  3. Clothes are classified as indoors and outdoors. Indoors clothes cannot be worn outside.
  4. I pick out the vegetables and eat them first even in a mixed dish like a stew or fried rice.
  5. 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 about me |

From jillys LJ. Boy I wished LJ have trackback.

I remember names and numbers, but not faces. It seems that the majority of people are one or the other. I’m good at directions, map-reading, and remembering facts.

When I was younger most people only had one number — their home. Adults had work numbers, but obviously not most of my friends. I knew everyone’s number by heart. Then came faxes and cellphones and email addresses and various online handles. The personal data field in each friend/family member’s database grows larger.

Now with most cellphones and email programs, you don’t even need to remember these details. On my cellphone the display isn’t 12345678, the caller display will show “Mum” or “mm work”. I don’t even need to remember the number.

But I still do. I guess it really is the number person in me. I even remember the extension of many of the colleagues at my previous company, even though I left there 3.5 years ago. It’s bizarre.

I read about ways of remember long strings of numbers. My opinion is, if you have no head for them, you will never remember them, however hard you try.

in about me , easily amused , techtalk |

I spent like 4 hours updating my list on 43 things. In all honesty I had the old list on twinkler and received the email in January that 43things proper had launched. It only took me what, 10 months to get back to it.

Naturally my old list is gone, so I have to create a new one. The user interface isn’t as user friendly as I want — I can’t see the most popular entries, it take too many clicks to navigate, I can’t do mass delete or update on my list items and the re-ordering should be more intuitive drag and drop.

I tried using the script they provided to import it to the sidebar, but they use an ul, and the items are indented. Just didn’t look good on the page.

Did more digging around and found some interesting tidbit about an alleged conspiracy involving robot co-op (the parent company) and amazon. Luckily the great Jason came to the rescue. Oh, all that happened way back in February. Geez, bb, catch up.

I’m a little unsure about the social network aspect. Like I find 23 other people who want to buy a new camera, do I contact them and swap notes? I mean, we probably live in different countries, have different criteria and besides I know exactly which camera I’m getting. The cheers and mutual encouragement aspect might work, but there are so many other social networks and communities out there already.

They’re doing something new, 43 places. I’m playing round with it, can’t decide if a country or city a place. Like should I put New Zealand as a place I want to visit, or drill down and use Queenstown, Franz Josef and Rotorua etc?

in about me , mind babble |

It’s already the end of September, but why oh why is it still so hot?! I was standing at the bus-stop this morning and I could feel myself dripping. Literally dripping all over my face and down my chin and onto the concrete. I’ve never been this bad before, this getting very hot all of a sudden.

So stuffy today, and I can even see the pollution. Difficult to breathe, I’ve been on anti-histamine for a week now and just upped the dosage from once a day to twice a day. I remember 18 months in Switzerland and I never had to touch the stuff. Sigh. I need to get out of here.

Looks like it’s gonna rain at the weekend. Why does it always rain at the weekend? In a way I’m glad, cos it’ll get rid of the mugginess and the pollution and the heat. Gee, please get rid of the heat.

I goofed off this afternoon, on an excuse. Ended up watching dvds and tackling my Mount Everest of ironing. Ran my 4th load of laundry this week, by this time tomorrow there’ll be another mountain of ironing, may be Matterhorn sized, cos it’s only one load-worth.

Funny thing, I forgot to have lunch. Then I was in the middle of a bowl of peanuts and have drunk half a cup of tea and the dvd program was still running … I had the strangest urge to vacuum. I didn’t wait till the peanuts, tea or program had finished. I just hit pause and did the vacuuming. Strange.

I think I need to replace the aircon in my room, it’s very loud at night. Last friday it got so loud we had to switch it off and switch the one in the living room on and left the bedroom door open. I was supposed to have replaced that aircon 2 years ago, I guess it’s lasted longer than expected.

The little finger of my left hand hurts. It’s all the typing on keyboards. I’m sure the key arrangements on the laptop is not good for hands.

Sometimes, I feel kinda strange.

in about me , easily amused |

Another personality test, to see if I’m a nerd, geek or dork. According to the test:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

And my score?

PURE DORK 43 % Nerd, 43% Geek, 60% Dork

You scored higher than 13% on nerdiness
You scored higher than 59% on geekosity
You scored higher than 95% on dork points

It’s not as though you were some whiz-kid in school. Oh, sure, you probably did okay in some classes, but were probably awful in others. Certainly most people thought you were smarter than you thought yourself to be. And it’s not that you have some overriding passion, like computers or Star Trek that sets you apart for the crowd, though you likely share some interest in some of those sorts of things. You just like to be yourself, and want to express yourself for who you are.

And, really, there’s nothing wrong with that. Being who you are often invites scorn, and so it’s a difficult thing in a world that rewards conformity. Be proud of your dorkiness, for often it’s just another word for individuality. (I’d vote for you!)


in about me |

so I did one of those personality tests, yikes. And I’m a Realist. The available types are: Big Thinker, Counsellor, Go-getter, Idealist, Innovator, Leader, Mastermind, Mentor, Nurturer, Peacemaker, Performer, Provider, Realist, Resolver, Strategist and Supervisor.

So yeah, Realist is pretty spot on.

in about me |

For once I packed without using my list, just took a bunch of t-shirts, socks, underwear. Most of the contents of my suitcase this time are mugs for the SC girls.

Packed quickly too, it’s only a few days, no need to bring too much stuff.

in about me |

Quiet day, it’s a public holiday, so we got to sleep in. We had a noodle lunch then relaxed around the house. Was a hot day, didn’t want to go out, had a nap.

I got hungry in the afternoon but didn’t feel like eating any of the stuff she has at home so when we went out for dinner and when we were walking I felt so energy-less both knees were weak and by the time we got to the restaurant my left arm felt like lead too.

When I’m hungry I get VERY cranky, but this time I was too weak to be cranky. The food came by quickly. She gave me half her rice and let me eat most of the food, she takes care of me so, awwww!

in about me , techtalk |

I keep thinking I should update my personal page, you know, the 25 squares about myself that I modelled on Leslie Harpold’s system status page, even though she’s changed her format, I kept mine.

Apart from the faq, about and other tmi (oh, someone asked me what tmi means, obviously they’re not CSI versed, tmi = too much information) pages, the personal section is the only sectiont not MT powered, they’re just a series of static pages. I’m thinking I should MT them too but can’t be bothered.

Anyway, like I said, I keep meaning to update the page, cos it’s been there since early Jan. But I can’t think of anything special to say. May be I’ll leave it till April then.

in about me |

I hate that it suddenly gets humid and slightly warmer. I'm flying to Singapore (again) first thing Wednesday and I have a bunch of laundry and ironing to do and what happens? The Relative Humidity shoots up to 90%. The dehumidifier is on, while my poor clothes try their best to dry.

I can't pack properly, which gets me very angsty. Stupid weather.

in about me |

I don't feel the cold that much, I hate the summer heat but I'm okay with winter. I have scarves but I hardly wear them, I have woolly hats but I usually only wear them skiing. I can usually get away with wearing T-shirts and shorts at home much later than a lot of other people. I do have this Beneton blue checked shirt I only wear at home, in winter, when T-shirts are a bit too ambitious.

But my fingers get really cold and I can't type or use the mouse. So my ritual every winter is, get the blue shirt out and hang it on the back of the chair in my study and get my black fingerless knitted gloves out and put them on my desk.

I'm ready for the cold.

in about me , techtalk |

Over at 43things, I can save my list.

Alternatively, saved list then enter the key: 4WsGp6x64S27g/vMGc+u74/pww8=

No clue what it's supposed to do, or what 43things is about. Why must everything make sense?

in about me , evidence of my insanity , techtalk |

haven't played in a while. This week we'll choose one or the other of the following:

  1. bar soap or shower gel
    shower gel
  2. cd's or cassettes
    cd's, but the real answer is mp3
  3. television movies or documentaries
    tv movies
  4. wall calendar or desk calendar
    both, wall for the wall and desk for the, um, desk
  5. dsl, cable, or dial-up
  6. summer or winter
    winter, can't stand sticky icky hot weather
  7. city or country
  8. camping or stay in a hotel
    hotel, as many stars as I can afford
  9. gold or silver
    no preference, may be silver?
  10. fiction or non-fiction books
    fiction, well [small voice]fan fiction[/small voice]
  11. mashed potatoes or baked potatoes
    baked, with sour cream, a little butter, but then I'm partial to mash too, a bit chunky with lots of pepper
  12. ranch, italian, or catalina dressing
    none, don't like dressing
  13. solid or spray deodorant
    used to be solid, now it's liquid roll on
in about me |

All I could think of yesterday, stuck at the airport departure lounge waiting for the gate to open cos the flight's delayed so they could fix the plane's aircon, was how much I wanted to get home. A short flight but do much waiting . Plane, waiting for the luggage, waiting for the train, waiting for the taxi. Lines everywhere.

Most of all I wanted my bed. It's not the biggest, or has the best mattress, or the best linen, but it's my comfy bed that's all mine. A simple Ikea queen size pine bed with slats. A heavy hard mattress that I turn over whenever I remember.

Hotel beds are nice, clean sheets everyday, more pillows than I need, but it's not my bed.

Hotel beds are huge, even more huge than mine, but it's not my bed.

I miss curling up inside my 2 duvets, the same 2 duvets regardless of whether it's summer or winter.

I miss the feel of the sheets and the duvet cover on my skin. Oh yes my bed has one big rule, the wearing of clothing is optional and highly overrated.

I miss the clock at the side table.

I even miss the sunshine breaking through the curtains in the morning.


in about me |

I fight a constant battle with having enough clean clothes. The washing machine is on all.the.time it seems.

May be cos I don't have enough clothes? But that's not true I have a large closet.
May be cos I only wear a small percentage of my entire clothing collection. Probably.
May be cos I wear something only once, when it's taken off when I get home it goes straight to the basket, that includes times when I'm home but I'm due to go out again. Definitely.

I don't like the smells my clothes accumulate outside, particularly in restaurants. The material just sucks up the food smell and doesn't go away. Pretty gross.

Some clothes are not "allowed" to go outside, they are reserved for home wearing only, cos I don't want to spoil them. Not because they're expensive or anything, just too comfortable.

Whenever I travel I bring a ziploc bag full or washing powder and the bathroom rapidly becomes the airing cupboard.

Anyway I was especially pleased when I got a hotel room that includes 3 pieces of clothing laundered a day. So this morning I put my black polo shirt and a t-shirt in the little bag, filled in the slip and left it by the closet for laundry. And wow! They came back individually wrapped in plastic, ironed and with a cardboard backing. That's the first time that little blue t-shirt has been ironed, like ever! It looks so good I don't want to unwrap it.

I have enough for this trip, but I'm sure gonna use up my daily quota. Yes siree.

in about me | | comments (2)

... when I don't get home till late and by the time I finished dinner and showered there's precious little time on my own to read, surf.

... when people ask stupid questions that they should know the answer to.

... when I know I need to focus on planning our holiday but I don't have time.

... when there's another trip to Singapore between now and holiday time and I'm not even remotely prepared for that one.

... when I'm forever having to worry about laundry, watering plants and what to have for lunch.

... when I realise how much I've eaten in a day, and how little exercise I've done in, oh well, years.

... when it can't decide between staying hot or turning cooler.

in about me |

My 3 week trip comes to an end, and most of me can't wait to get back. My own bed, my own stuff. Between the Marina Mandarin and Swissôtel they've been kinda a home away from home. I can hook up my laptop and the desk faces the TV so my nights and weekends haven't been that different. Just goes to show I don't have much of a life.

I pay lip service to missing mm. No, that's not fair, I do miss her a lot. But things haven't changed in 3 weeks, I'm still anxious about not being sad enough, not missing her enough. I should be gut wrenched, I shouldn't be able to function. But all my feelings are toned down, mild, muted. I don't know what's going on.

On talking to sherlock about feeling grief, she said that may be I've processed everything in my head and so emotions pass by very quickly. That's the best, and most comforting, explanation I've heard for a long while.

in about me |

Me, I don't talk much. I'd much rather not open my mouth thank you very much. Other people talk enough what's the point of adding to the noise pollution we have to suffer in the world?

I do get amused by people who talk to themselves. Not the mumblings of Drunken Crazy Pete. Not the people talking to their cellphones. Isn't it strange that talking very loudly to a little black blob hanging off of a wire that is connected to your ear is no longer considered strange?

I mean the people who unconsciously verbalize everything that passes through their mind. Like the middle aged guy who proclaimed, "the bus is here" to nobody in particular. Or the old lady who asks "are you are boy or a girl?" no realizing how offensive or tactless her question is. Er, what do you want me to say? And why do you care?

in about me | | comments (1)

I read about increasing traffic and generally getting noticed and I think, why? No one comes here much. I don't encourage it. I don't have friends with websites let alone weblogs. I don't have many friends anyway.

So what am I doing here? I mean, this is getting towards entry #100 and I've only had 2 comments. And that's when I was on tripod, a more public community. I joined a few rings recently but they probably don't do much, just seemed fun to try out.

I don't need people here.

This place, it's there so I can get disciplined and actually record some of what goes through my mind. It's meant to be boring. I don't whine about school cos I'm not at school. I don't write about work cos as soon as I leave the office work is forgotten. I don't have any hobbies. I'm not a pundit or expert on anything. I'm not embarking on any adventure. But sometimes I do describe the cheese sandwich I had. May be cos it was made from an interesting cheese. Or that I'd been having cheese sandwiches 3 days running. Yeah, it's a metaphorical cheese sandwich, geddit?

33% of weblogs are private. 10% are password protected. This statistic, from none other than the founders of Six Apart, seems surprising at first glance. But begins to make sense the more I think about it. People want to express themselves, but they don't really want to air their dirty laundry in public, at least not all of it.

The world doesn't want to know about your sore toe, it wants to show you its sore toe.

So hide. A small degree of anonymity is offered by the internet. People do chat rooms, icq, have internet sex, all under the guise of some personality or other. But increasingly, I come across people publishing under their real names, like they're saying, I have nothing to hide. My sore toe is just as important as yours.

Pretty soon I won't have a spoken voice. I'll speak through the weblog or website. I'll lose the ability to articulate speech, already I'm finding it harder, much harder, to speak on the phone or in person. I sit all day in front of one screen or another and that's my whole life.

But I still won't tell you who I am.

in about me |

happy birthday me.

in about me |

It's the last day of the year. We're supposed to reflect back on the past 365 days and come up with succinct deep thoughts about 2003 while at the same time looking forward to 2004. Man, it's just another day. Nothing ever changes. Nothing will change between today and tomorrow. Why is everything such a big sentimental deal?

in about me , going places |

There are the last minute packers, who grab whatever they can from their drawers and stuff them in their bags, regardless of whether those items are appropriate. There are the overpackers who pack everything and use only 10%. There are those who bring old and almost destroyed clothing and discard them as they buy new ones on their trip. There are those who can travel round the world on only one holdall.

We're going away for the long New Year weekend, to Shanghai. For a long time I resisted going to China, still have a great deal of resistance. I truly believe it's an innate snobbery that I'm ashamed to say I don't acknowledge, let alone overcome.

I made my packing list already. I pack enough clothing for each day, plus one extra. I bring my own shampoo and shower gel even though they're supplied by the hotel. I'm bringing both cameras and the iPod. If only someone could invent a universal charger for all these electrical devices that need to be charged up. I can't bring the Powerbook, I want to but she'll hit the roof if I did so I'll have to make do. Back to the old fashioned form of reading material then, I feel like Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, or Death in the Afternoon. I have to read more classics.

It'll be cold, I'll take my gloves. But apart from the coldest days in New York and Zurich I haven't used a scarf or hat so should I use up precious space? May be a scarf, I'll take the coat with the hood. See? Packing needs thorough thinking.

There's a list for things to check before leaving too - windows, taps, fridge, cancel paper, take out trash. I'm organised that way.

in about me |

Do you believe in wishes? That they come true if you wished hard enough?

I visited this wishing tree the other day. People would write their wishes on a piece of paper attached by string to an orange and throw the entire package up into a giant tree. If the package stayed up in the tree, entangled in the branches, then the wish would come true.

I couldn't think of any specific wish, the others were wishing they'd get a big year end bonus and stuff like that. Not that I don't want a big bonus, it just didn't seem to be the right thing to wish for at that moment. In the past I'd always wish for Clara to get better but now she's gone ... I merely wished for good health for family and friends.

That's so lame. Like during beauty pageants where these nubile young things always wished for world peace. So clichéd. I'm so full of it.

in about me , in the news |

I read about a newest sensation gripping the media world - Pope Deathwatch. Sigh. People are so cruel. Just when the world should be celebrating 25 years of the papacy, attention is diverted to how frail he is and when is he going to die and politics surrounding who will succeed him. All valid questions and succession should be worked out to avoid being caught unprepared. But do they have to be so blatant and go about it with so little dignity?

As a Catholic we are brought up to revere the church and obey the Pope. Even though personally there are major areas of disparity, like I totally disagree with the church's stance on contraception, abortion and homosexuality, I still look to the Pope as someone to respect. Much more so than say the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Dalai Lama. Because the Pope is my leader.

Am I a bad Catholic because I think modern society needs contraception and abortion and because I don't think being gay is a sin? Or because I hardly ever go to mass? Probably.

But my belief is on such a personal level I don't think it's possible for me to articulate, much less share with others. I do like going to mass but I don't believe God is keeping tabs, like He doesn't look at someone who goes once a week and gives them one gold star and someone who goes everyday gets 3 gold stars and someone who goes once a year gets negative stars. There shouldn't be a quota for being "good", should there?