Recently in evidence of my insanity Category

in evidence of my insanity |

nothing to see here today. No running. Nothing remotely interesting happened. I spent the day reading.


in evidence of my insanity |

dreamplanningchat01
dreamplanningchat02

Chatting with mm about nothing much, one of the things she mentioned was she wanted our stretch of river so we have a supply of seafood. Funny how mine and CC’s responses were the same: no seafood in rivers in the UK. Besides, who owns stretches of rivers anyway.

dreamplanningriver

The topic moved to dreams, and mm mentioned a quote that dreams are a form of planning. So I looked up the quote and made her a meme, using a pic of the river coln in bibury we visited earlier this year.


in evidence of my insanity |

picattoo

I bought a box of boomf marshmallows for my niece’s birthday last year and she was so pleased with it that she still hasn’t opened the box. The idea is to order 9 marshmallows on the boomf website based on 9 instagram pics; or 9 marshmallows from the same instagram pic; or a composite of 9 marshmallows from one instagram pic.

Anyway, the idea is to link instagram with products. Nothing new, we’ve been able to order all sorts of products from cups to caps to calendars from pics for ages.

The newest fun thing to do with instagram is via Rotterdam-based picattoo. For $15 including worldwide shipping we get 12 temporary tattoos sourced from instagram. Lots of potential fun for these cute tattoos, or even useful for marketing. Interesting.


in evidence of my insanity , outside interests |

brandpeanutbutter

Sometimes I wonder about the weird direction our conversations take. No idea why or how we started talking about peanut butter, mm says she likes planters and I say I like skippy. Why? No clue. I guess for me, skippy is one of the brands that has been available all over the world and is often on sale. It’s less a matter of taste or brand loyalty. Besides, I don’t eat at lot of peanut butter anymore—although at my peak I eat it straight out of its jar on a spoon. Peanut butter and apple, that’s the perfect snack for when I was training.


brandtoothpaste

And then the conversation moved to toothpaste. Now it’s definitely a matter of taste and brand loyalty. Everywhere I go, in supermarkets and pharmarcies, the shelves are overwhelmingly full of colgate. When I was young, all my parents used was colgate (still do). I had to use it too, and I didn’t like the taste or the amount of froth. I switched to crest as soon as I learned of its existence and even though it was (and still is) very hard to get, I stock up whenever I travel to the US.

So mm says she needs to restock her peanut butter supply and issued me a challenge. She’d switch to skippy if I switch to colgate. Hahaha! I said no. Unless it’s a travel size tube of colgate. Then she said it’s not fair, it’s just a sample.


brandteabags

So I offered her an even bigger concession. I’d switch to Tetley instead. This is HUGE. I’m a diehard PG drinker and believe the only cuppa is a PG cuppa. She didn’t believe I’d do it. Ha! Anyway, we have to see if we can find Tetley here first.

I think i have to tag this into the evidence of my insanity category.

in evidence of my insanity |

shampooconditioner

I’m becoming a cheapstake.

The plan is good. Short run today, so run halfway to the normal turning around point, walk to the value mart to get shampoo, get a bus home. Yes, good plan.

Problem was, the value mart didn’t have shampoo. And neither did the Japanese good value shop. The other value mart branch disappeared, closed down. ARGH.

Yes, yes I know I can get shampoo from the supermarket or drugstore, but this brand of shampoo and conditioner is one of the cheapest I can find (still not as cheap as the $1 in the US, but I can’t shop for toiletries in the US).

I was walking around, trying to figure out what to do. Luckily I found where the other value mart branch had moved to. And they had the shampoo and conditioner.

I ended up walking something like 1 mile looking for these wretched bottles, so they’ll be called extra mile shampoo from now on.

in evidence of my insanity , outside interests |

Now that we’re back from the road trip and I have a week in chicago I’m catching up on reading. Some random odds and ends on my feedly over the past fortnight.

animatedmap

For most of the trip I was the navigator and had a grand old time looking at the thick pile of AAA maps. Yes, I’d rather play with one of those impossible to refold maps than play with GPS. Since my mind is still on maps, here are 19 US maps that will blow your mind. They are a combination of interesting trivia (19 state names end with a and none end with z) and random animation.


bikecampersleep

We had trouble a couple of nights finding a hotel because they were all booked with other tourists or for some event. Perhaps next time we’d tow this bike camper with sleeping compartment behind the car. Made by Dutch artist artist Bas Srakel the tricycle is meant for homeless people and urban nomads but could work for roadtrippers without hotel rooms.

We ate far too much fast food but had a few nice meals. Sometimes we’d get bread, cheese and cold meats from the supermarket and make sandwiches. Two people in an SUV meant there was room to pack lots of stuff, including suitcases, soft drinks, food, snacks, stuff for the conference, souvenirs and a cooler. By bbmm travelling standards, Carleen and I packed a lot, but we did not reach the levels required for Victorian camping:

Axe (in cover). Axle-grease. Bacon. Barometer (pocket). Bean-pot. Beans (in bag). Beef (dried). Beeswax. Bible. Blacking and brush. Blankets. Boxes. Bread for lunch. Brogans (oiled). Broom. Butter-dish and cover. Canned goods. Chalk. Cheese. Clothes-brush. Cod-line. Coffee and pot. Comb. Compass. Condensed milk. Cups. Currycomb. Dates. Dippers. Dishes. Dish-towels. Drawers. Dried fruits. Dutch oven. Envelopes. Figs. Firkin. Fishing-tackle. Flour (prepared). Frying-pan. Guide-book. Half-barrel. Halter. Hammer. Hard-bread. Harness (examine!). Hatchet. Haversack. Ink (portable bottle). Knives (sheath, table, pocket and butcher). Lemons. Liniment. Lunch for day or two. Maps. Matches and safe. Marline. Meal (in bag). Meal-bag. Medicines. Milk-can. Molasses. Money (“change”). Monkey-wrench. Mosquito-bar. Mustard and pot. Nails. Neat’s-foot oil. Night-shirt. Oatmeal. Oil-can. Opera-glass. Overcoat. Padlock and key. Pails. Paper. Paper collars. Pens. Pepper. Pickles. Pins. Portfolio. Postage stamps. Postal cards. Rope. Rubber blanket. Rubber coat. Rubber boots. Sail-needle. Salt. Salt fish. Salt pork. Salve. Saw. Shingles (for plates). Shirts. Shoes and strings. Slippers. Soap. Song-book. Spade. Spoons. Stove (utensils in bags). Sugar. Tea. Tents. Tent poles. Tent pins. Tooth-brush. Towels. Twine. Vinegar. Watch and key.




bookposter

Every year when I leave the conference I get motivated to write and I tell myself to finish LL. This year, I did finish it and I sent it to people for comments. So may be one of these days I don’t have to admonish myself for procrastinating. The whole publishing process is quite daunting and unknown to me. One of the things I want to explore doing myself is the book cover. Here’s something different, vintage book posters that feature books in books. My favourite I also find a little creepy.


iphonepenguin holmeswatson

Book posters don’t appeal? How about 18 quirky literary items available on etsy. I like the Penguin iphone covers and wish they would make the Holmes & Watson earrings into cufflinks.


bowtieperiodic bowtietardis

Speaking of etsy, I also came across speicher bow ties. Several friends like to wear bow ties at the conference, during social events and at the awards ceremony. My favourite is the periodic table one, they also have physics, tardis and star trek bow ties amongst others.

And finally, a SMH funny-but-not-really incident, of appalling tactics by comcast when an ex-customer tried to cancel. Talk about persistent, annoying and condescending. The actual recording is cringe-inducing so for the faint of heart there is also a transcript.

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:

chiss117group

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 evidence of my insanity |

hok376forest

Close your eyes, sit still, breathe slowly. What do you hear?

Unfortunately for me, it’s not just the clock ticking or the faint turn of the fan on the computer, it’s a constant, inescapable cachophony of traffic and people noises. I can’t hear myself think, I can’t relax, it’s very disruptive and annoying. If I had to lose a sense (and no disrespect to those who have) I have always said I’d rather be hard of hearing.

Where to find quiet places? Truly quiet, tranquil places free of human or human-made sounds. Surprisingly, it’s not Antarctica because of all the tourist and research activities. Not the North Pole or Canada or Siberia due to commercial aircraft routes. In order for an area to qualify as a quiet place, it has to be at least 1,200 square miles, large

enough to create a sound buffer around a central point of absolute quiet

According to bbc future, only about 12 of these places exist in the US and there are more in South America and Scandanavia.




Seems that to experience true quiet, these places have to be built. Called anechoic chambers, they are both sound proof and sound wave-absorbing. The quietest place on earth is a room at Orfield Laboratories, Minneapolis, which can apparently drive people mad. With no sounds, the only sounds a person hears are heartbeat, breathing and the rushing noise made inside the ear. May be we could all do with a sound absorbing room in our lives.


in evidence of my insanity , family first |

swisspersilbox

Mum decided to clean out her place. It’ll be a gargantuan task because I don’t think she’s ever thrown anything away. She started with the storeroom and uncovered loads of clothes, decorations and stuff that needed to be trashed. There was also a box that appear to contain my stuff. Wow, things I wasn’t able to take with me to Chicago and have forgotten about — mostly small electronics like kettle, iron, stick blender. Plus a 3-pack of Persil. Yes, washing powder. Since the packaging is in German, it must have been from Switzerland, which means it dates back to 2001. Yes, 12 year old washing powder that my old-old company paid to ship across continents and sitting in a box at my parents’ place for 5 years.

It’s not money or action figures but hey, I was just running out and needed to get washing powder next time I’m at the supermarket so I save a buck or two.

in evidence of my insanity |



A question on ted conversations asked

If you had to lose one of your 5 senses, which one would it be, and why?

While this is a terrible question and insensitive to those who unfortunately don’t have full use of their senses, the overwhelming response, and on other forums where I’d googled the question, was the sense of smell.

Most people went through a logical process, eliminating the senses they would absolutely not want to lose — sight and hearing, followed by touch. Smell and taste are so closely linked that some people put them together. In any case, it seemed more people were willing to lose their sense of smell than any other sense.

I’m trying to think which one will be least awful for me. First are the senses I don’t want to lose: 1) sight, so much of how we connect with the rest of our world and the external environment is through sight, I cannot imagine seeing only darkness; 2) touch, how can we go about living our ordinary lives without touch; 3) taste, I like food too much.

That leaves hearing and smell. I could go with the majority of people and say smell; I don’t have a great sense of smell and a lot of smells make me want to sneeze. It is the one sense we do tend to underuse.

But I’m going to pick hearing. I don’t like noise. I find people talking around me annoying, why is the bulk of the human population so in love with the sound of their own voice? My hearing comprehension is a little weak anyway — sometimes I’d hear that someone is talking, I know there are words, I can see their lips moving, but I can’t make sense of the words. It’s all noise that i can do without. I’m happy enough reading subtitles on tv. Yes, it’d be a shame never to hear beautiful music, but the upside of not having to listen to people or get disturbed by outside sounds.

Interesting to read about the NY restaurant that holds a monthly event where people eat a meal in silence. While not everyone’s cup of tea, the writer says

it feels like a reprieve. I calm down, slow down and take a long time over every mouthful

It’s certainly not a new concept. There’s a ramen place in Tokyo where talking is not allowed. I wonder if people slurp there? Slurping is mandatory when eating ramen in Japan. Hmm.

When I’m at home, I eat on my own but I have the TV on. Same if I’m at parents’. Most restaurants I go to have a certain amount of noise, most are far too noisy. I’d love to go to a restaurant where the silence is part of the experience and not because of awkwardness with my dining companions. Blind restaurants have been successful (although they are probably the noisiest restaurants in the world) so why not deprive another sense — one that does not interfere with the enjoyment of the actual food.

in evidence of my insanity , how the day went |

cannymagners01

Woke up at 5.30am and was out of the door at 6am. At the weekend. The reason was to attend mm’s sis’ service. It would be her birthday tomorrow and we go to mass around her birthday and date of departure. The church near her parents have morning mass at 7.15am so that’s the one we attend. Turned out, only me and mm this year, the others were too tired from the running around yesterday.

Simple dim sum breakfast, just the 2 of us. Then to the market to get fruit and fish. She has piano lesson at lunch so that was as much time as we had today. And the weekend too I expect.

I’m still at parents’ place. I get depressed thinking I have to go home, I’ll have to eventually, sigh. Hot day, and everyone felt lethargic and tired so we didn’t go out once I got home before lunch.

Random pic. Magners pear cider at the Scottish pub, where I met my sis for dinner earlier in the week. A spot of home, London-home.

in evidence of my insanity |



I was watching a travel program where an American couple got to visit some of those “1,000 places before you die” bucket list places. This program was in France and they played the roulette in Monte Carlo, painted in Provence and in Paris they got to eat at Taillevent. Wow.

What made me cringe a little were the way they ate: the young woman grabbed her wine glass with her hand all over the bulb instead of the stem, and they both ate by scooping the food up in their forks held in their right hand. Left hand under the table, no sign of a knife. Very politely, of course, but still didn’t look right to me. It’s probably me, because I hold the knife and fork in their original hands during the entire course. It seems that either style is correct, although I think that if I were to have the opportunity to eat at Taillevent I’d go for the European style. Who am I to say, I don’t have the world’s best table manners.

in evidence of my insanity |



Sis was asking me what I wanted to do for my birthday next month. Hmm. The boring thing to do would be go out for a meal and then struggle to find something to do afterwards. The other alternatives include indoor skiing, baseball or climbing. Climbing sounds really interesting.

in evidence of my insanity |

oxobiscuitjar

I have a trivial, eye roll-worthy, first world problem. I have a mixed selection in my biscuit tin (am: cookie jar), currently it’s about 1/3 filled with rich tea, shortbread, raspberry puff and some cute curly butterfly biscuits. The curly butterflies are also quite lardy and the grease has transferred to the side of the tin. There are also crumbs at the bottom.

So the dilemma is, do I finish off everything in the tin and wash it; or accept that a buttery, crumbly biscuit tin is a sign of a well used tin and break open the next packet of biscuits?

in about me , evidence of my insanity |

nyc062room

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 evidence of my insanity |

peanutsbeer

I followed the exercises on the trx dvd, 2 x 30 seconds for 9 exercises, and got a better idea of how to use the suspension training system. Didn’t feel I exerted myself too much, but then got hit by dizziness. Yikes, not good. Probably a bout of low blood pressure or lack of blood sugar, so I ate some biscuits and heated up a can of cream of mushroom soup. Sat watching tv for a couple of hours and it got a little better.

Sis came to pick up her chairs and being outside really helped. We went to the restaurant next to her place, all 3 of us had steak. It was happy hour so I chanced a beer. This place is famous for peanuts, not the unlimited supply, but how they encourage customers to throw the discarded shells all over the floor. The steak hopefully replenished nutrients, I’m not sure I’ve been eating all that well lately.

in evidence of my insanity |

crystalapple

Here’s a random, philosophical question. If everyone had a crystal ball, who wins? At the most basic level, say the result of a football match is 2-1. If both teams had crystal balls and knew the result, a) what’s the point of playing the game; and b) what’s the point of the losing team showing up to play the game? And if they don’t show up, there won’t be a result after all.

in evidence of my insanity |

hemingwaychair

Even though I have a fancy schmancy Aeron chair in the study, I’ve stationed myself in the kitchen since moving in and have been sitting on a bog standard kitchen stool for 18 months. It’s not terribly comfortable, but it’s okay since I can’t sit still for long periods of time. Lately though, it’s been feeling harder and harder. So what I’ve been doing is mixing up sitting with standing. When I’m on the mba I sit but when I’m reading I prop the ereader / kindle up a little and read standing up.

Even if I wanted to, I won’t be able to switch to working whilst standing unless I either get a standing desk or prop the worktop up a couple feet. Right now my standing reading posture is very poor — I’m basically slouching and bending my neck down.

There was some attention on switching to standing working a while ago, and some good reasons for switching. There does seem to be definite benefits to limiting time spent sitting down. After all, notable people like Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf were standing workers and look at how they did in life. This is a pic of Hemingway at his standing desk, look at the tiny typewriter.

in evidence of my insanity |

5

Slightly better, went to Borough market.

in evidence of my insanity |

6

Today was torture.

in evidence of my insanity |

7

This is going to be excruciating.

in evidence of my insanity |

I know, I know.

in evidence of my insanity |

hok378forest

I’m not doing anything special for Lent. I’ve never been one for fasting, or giving anything up. I’ll simply try to reflect and be more aware of my surroundings and the good things in life. I helped a blind lady across the road the other day, and I told another lady who lost her shoe down the gap in the tube to go talk to the station people who have these long grabby things that may retrieve her shoe from the track. There’s a big issue seller at the station who greets everyone with a “good morning,” I’ll give him a pound next time. As for chuggers, they will continue to be ignored.

Sometimes I think that it’s not necessary to do public things to acknowledge my beliefs. For me, my belief and faith are so very internal.

in evidence of my insanity |

I’m not Scrooge or the Grinch or the grumpy non-Christmasy person, really. I was able to leave work relatively early today, and whilst the rest of the country, if not the world, scrambled around fro last minute shopping, I ambled on home. There was a mild panicky moment when my neighbour left me some really nice biscuits, so I had to go get something in return. But that didn’t take long, I got some nice biscotti from Patisserie Valerie. That’s it. No shopping, no gift-wrapping to do.

in about me , evidence of my insanity |

yulelog02fisheye

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 evidence of my insanity , habitat |

rainbowufo

Took this from my kitchen window a while ago. The rainbow was a bit faint by the time I saw it. The UFO looking objects are the reflections of my ceiling lights.

in evidence of my insanity , habitat |

privateisland01 privateisland02

I have a weird recurring fantasy of living on a deserted island. Nothing special, just doing some fishing, tending vegetables, making a compost heap. How I got there and how I got the outdoor survival skills, well, I can just ignore those questions for being too logical. It’s a fantasy after all.

So I was looking at private islands for sale. On one end, in the affordable category at only $99,000 is the island of alligator caye parcel in Belize — or rather, a portion of the island, still undeveloped and only reachable by boat. On the other end of the spectrum is cave cay in the Bahamas. $110million gets you a fully developed estate with hilltop house, marina and airstrip. And a hotel resort complex under construction.

Heh, one can dream.


in evidence of my insanity |

lookright

Gradually getting used to this side of the road, although I look on both sides if I remember. I’m grateful for the look right or look left signs painted on the road. I have to remember that pedestrians don’t have right of way at junctions.

in evidence of my insanity |

Not a surprise that I hadn’t thought of Christmas presents at all. Sis sent me something from amazon, which arrived this week. I have to think about what to get mm and get it this weekend. What do I want for Christmas? This madness to slow down.


in evidence of my insanity |

ldn160snowcab

Not exactly jetlagged, I slept fine last night and I didn’t fade during the day. It was only a 7.5hr flight after all. It’s just I need to get myself used to what time it is around the world. I talked to mm my morning and it was her dinnertime, we’re both not used to that.

It snowed overnight. Not too bad in London, worse in the Southeast. Everyone is in a titter about it cos they’re not used to dealing with snow. No one owns a shovel, and the council doesn’t have the equipment or planning to salt the roads so it’s slippery everywhere. Plus they don’t salt, they grit and it’s different. I’m 1 tube stop away and can walk in the worst case, so I’m finding the panic a little hilarious, and has been smugly declaring “I’m from Chicago, I’m used to this” all day. Of course I also got blamed for bringing the weather.

I’m finding I need to adjust my accent and word usage. I’m sure it’ll get Britified soon. I need to look at both sides when I’m crossing the road, it’s not automatic yet. And to think I turned off LSD to Foster and into the left hand lane (empty) when I first moved to Chicago. Now I have to un-Americanise myself. It’s a good thing I never quite got round to using American spelling.


in evidence of my insanity |

blackfriday

I had thanksgiving at Car’s house, a lovely meal of turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, sausage & sauerkraut and other delicious goodies. Good company too, people stayed around to chat.

The day after Thanksgiving in the US is black friday sales, where there are a lot of discounts and stores open really really early. We woke up at 5.30am and was at the stores by just around 6am. I bought some kitchen stuff, Guitar Hero for Wii, socks, a pair of gloves, danish cookies, hot tamales, frangos and cereal bars from costco. We also made time in the afternoon to see HP7 for the second time. Tired now. Wallet much lighter.

in evidence of my insanity |

zenhabits via bb, 9 questions to identify whether something is junk or not:

  1. does it work? if not, then throw away
  2. would I replace it if it were broken or lost? if not, then I don’t need it
  3. does it seem potentially useful, but has never been used? applies to far too many gadgets bought, especially kitchen gadgets
  4. was I saving it? then use it, otherwise it’ll go bad
  5. does it serve its purpose well? if it isn’t that useful, chuck it
  6. has it been replaced by a better model? do I have that better model? if yes, throw away the old version
  7. is it nicely put away in an out-of-the-way place? where I’ll never find it, get it out and get rid of it, it’s taking up useless space
  8. does this memento actually prompt any memories? most souvenirs only succeed in taking up room
  9. have I ever used this thing? most likely not

If I can focus, I can probably get rid of at least half my possessions and I won’t miss them. I should make myself do that.

in evidence of my insanity |

jaffacakes

hot and cold
Just last week I turned on the aircon for a bit one day to cool down. And now today I’m contemplating turning the heating on. Only the masochistic (or OCD) streak in me is refusing to do so till October.

bus
I know it’s unfair but I hate the passengers of the 92 bus in the morning. It feels like half the bus gets off and rush into the station and the platform and train gets crowded because of them. I may have to alter my timing so I get there earlier or later.

tv season
New tv season started. I’m watching TAR, survivor, TBL, apprentice, top chef desserts, kitchen nightmares if I catch it, bones and the event.

jaffa cakes
I love jaffa cakes. That’s all.


in 101.1001 , evidence of my insanity , outside interests |

hok348forest

There’s some part of me, the occasionally whimsical (or whimsy-wannabe) part, that fantasizes about volunteering. I’ve always wanted to research organisations like the vso, earthwatch and when I’m being ultra whimsical, the peace corps, even though I don’t qualify, not being a US citizen and all.

Thing is, I don’t even do domestic volunteering, like help the homeless or join a green program. I don’t feel it’s me. So why would doing volunteering overseas be me? I guess it’s the adventure, or perception of adventure. There’s an old nyt article about ecotourism, and it hits the nail right on the head:

“People selfishly want experiences that are real — they don’t want canned tours, they want to meet the park ranger, they want to help in an orphanage,” said Blue Magruder, director of public affairs for Earthwatch. “And an increasing number of people want their time on the planet to count.”

So i did look into earthwatch and such like programs. They are fairly expensive, in the thousands of USD for 7-14 days. I don’t think I’m quite at the place where I feel a burning need to go on one of these trips, educational and valuable they are. It has to be the right time and for the right reason. It may come. I’m hopeful that it may come.


in being healthy , evidence of my insanity |

chibike008belmont chibike007softball

What I should have done: 3-5k recovery run.

What I did: biked 15 miles down to Navy Pier.

Too gorgeous a day, even though I was a little sore from yesterday. I don’t know why it suddenly occurred to me to rent a bike, now I’m sorry I didn’t start doing it earlier in the summer.

The rental place is at Foster, I run past it every time. $30 for half a day and $35 for a whole day. I did just half a day. Smooth ride all the way down the lakefront, past Montrose and Belmont Harbors. Stopped for a bit at North Ave beach, which psychologically is a “turn around” point. But this time I went further south, ended up at Navy Pier.

Left the bike at the top of the pier and walked to the biergarten, wanting a beer. Wow, I paid attention to prices along the way, and it gets more expensive towards the end of the pier. Bud light for $5 at the biergarten, but there was one place near the entrance that had them for $3.75. So I went back and just sat on a bench in the shade, people watching. Lunch was beer and an orange creamsicle ice that was oh so delicious.

Nice ride back, I returned the bike early. I’m very tempted to buy a second hand bike, but it’s probably too late in the year for it. And besides, I always have to remember I’m only here temporarily.

Had a nap in the afternoon, then a quiet rest of the day. I’m the darkest I’ve ever been, cos of all the sun this summer.


in evidence of my insanity |

nz1172christchurch

It felt so muggy walking home that I nixed the running idea. Didn’t feel motivated enough to do weights either. I can’t quite understand all the people who work out every day and feel uneasy if they skipped a day.

I went to the supermarket and spent $50 on drinks.

Then of course there was a huge thunderstorm with big rain and lightning. It’s too warm to sit around, but not hot enough for the aircon.

Watched The Hangover. It’s okay, but I can’t see what the hooha was about.

The veggie burgers taste better overnight and microwaved. Still on the heavy side though.

It’s been a weird week. Sometimes I’m waiting for stuff to happen. Then it got busy as we were preparing for the meeting next week.

I’m all packed and checked in for the London trip. What? The “oooh, woe is me, all unprepared” earlier in the week is all a smokescreen.

I need a new iskin for the mbp keyboard. Actually I need a new mbp. I really wish Apple can make a mbp as thin as a mba. Hmm, may be I’ll get a mba too, wonder when it’s due for a refresh?

The pic is of some ducks. Christchurch, New Zealand 2005.


in evidence of my insanity |



The car was filthy (though Car said that since we can still see what colour it was, it can’t be considered bad). I love sitting inside the car when it goes through the car wash. And judging by the number of youtube videos, plenty of people feel the same way. It’s just like watching the washing machine, which I never tire of.


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?
    nope

  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?
    yes

  10. Did you move anywhere?
    yep, to Chicago

  11. What sporting events did you attend?
    none

  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?
    nope

  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?
    [redacted]

  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?
    nope

  29. Get married or divorced?
    nope

  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 evidence of my insanity |

I HATE DOGS. I HATE DOG OWNERS MORE.

If you are walking your dog in a public place, ie a park or on the pavement, it is NOT OKAY to let your dog off the leash. It is NOT OKAY regardless of leash status, to let your dog go up to another person with its stupid tongue hanging out and sniffing the other person and generally invading the other person’s personal space. This person is sharing that public space with you.

THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE PETRIFIED OF DOGS.

It’s NOT OKAY to say things like, “he’s harmless” or “he doesn’t bite” because clearly you do not understand my fear. It’s not about how harmless or cute your darling Fido is, it’s about how I do not want him near me and it’s your responsibility to control him.

Substitute “dog” with “tarantula” or “snake” and try to understand. I’m actually okay about holding snakes, imagine if I were holding one and you walk past me and I let the snake wrap itself around you. Get it now? Keep you stupid dog OUT OF MY WAY, I have as much right to enjoy the road as you do, and I don’t understand how my 30 minute run can be spoiled by three of you not controlling your dogs in public. That’s right. 30 minutes and I get harassed by 3 separate dogs.

Yes, all you dog owners can die and go to hell. I’m sure some of you are considerate but most of you do not understand. I am not going to apologise for my stance.


in evidence of my insanity , objects of desire |

pt424darthmaulbb

Here’s me in my new special edition darth maul hoodie by Marc Ecko, which came out just before ptown. I was brandishing the double-bladed lightsabre I made at disney. Cool, eh? (Thanks to Trin for the pic.)

eckoswhoodies

I did debate long and hard over whether to get the darth maul or the boba fett hoodie, part of me is very tempted to get the boba fett one too. It’s been around since 2007 and was out of stock at one point. Hmm, may be for Christmas.


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 , 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 evidence of my insanity |

I can’t help but laugh. I think my clothes are too sub-standard for the hotel. At least their laundry.

Normally I baulk at sending clothes to the hotel laundry for washing, but I’ve been doing this for a month and a half and I can’t handwash everything. So I send my shirts and my pants for the laundry.

And even when I tick the box that says No to “do you want to be notified of defects in your clothing”, they still wrap them up in plastic with a note that either there’s a big hole or the colour’s faded, and I have to sign and send back to have it washed. It wastes a day.

Okay I admit it, my polo shirts are extremely faded and my cargo pants have a gigantic tear and hole at the bottom. But didn’t tick the box that says it’s ok?

It’s like, they’re trying to disqualify my stuff from going into the laundry, like amongst all the other nice shirts and all that presumably other hotel guests send in, my clothes simply don’t make the cut? Shouldn’t be seen in that company?

Like I said, gotta laugh.

in evidence of my insanity |

Mum bought me another string of faery lights, it's 3 times more expensive than the ones I bought myself but when I opened the box you should see the grin on my face when I discovered it's at least 3 times longer than the previous ones, so no harm done. Now both sides of my living room is lit, plus there's an extension that goes into the corridor and over my gallery prints, it puts emphasis on the prints, yay! It goes on further, round the large mirror, behind the wines and over the main door.

I don't need normal lights, ever. Hmmmm.

I wonder if it's more expensive than just a regular table lamp, probably, but I don't care, it's beautiful.

in evidence of my insanity |

Suitcase, backpack, spare bag, labels, lock

Shirt, T-shirt, Polo shirt
Jumper, sweatshirt
Jeans, shorts
Coat
Socks, underwear
Swimsuit, goggles, bag
Shoes, slippers

Toothbrush, toothpaste, towel
Brush, nailclippers
Face wash, face cream, eye cream, body lotion
Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, shower cap
Panadol, triludan, ventolin, zantac, band-aid, chapstick
Spare glasses, box, cloth, sunglasses
Hairdryer , washing powder

Pen, paper, filofax
Camera, charger, lenses, tripod/cushion, spare film
iPod, charger, spare headphone sponge
Powerbook, charger, USB cable, modem cable, bag
Adaptor, alarm clock
Book

Teabags, chewing gum, sweets, snacks, water
Gifts

Money, coins, credit cards, watch, keys
Driving licence, insurance card
Phone, charger
Passport, tickets

sharps in check-in luggage

*****

Cancel newspaper
TV off
Set video timer
Computer off
Phone unplugged
Fridge, food
Taps
Windows
Curtains closed
Light timer
Rubbish
Fish tank, plants

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
    dsl
  6. summer or winter
    winter, can't stand sticky icky hot weather
  7. city or country
    city
  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 evidence of my insanity |

of course I'm ecstatic about going on vacation, why are you asking? Bags are packed. Hotel, cars are all booked. Dinners arranged. Friends to meet up with. Presents for all.

Just one teeny, weensy, mini angsty pang of ... not regret that's too strong, longing may be. I'm not taking the Powerbook, so it means no quiet thoughts, no pizzaorme, no writing, no fanfic. eeek. That's gonna be a test. No. Not really. Duh.

in evidence of my insanity |

I discovered the geography olympics game on bloglines. Pick a country to represent and try to locate 10 random countries. Advance or bring back your country's score.

Not as easy as I thought, the best I did was 70%. The African countries and the Pacific islands are the hardest. Plus you can only play 3 times a day. A bit of fun for 10 minutes anyway.

in evidence of my insanity |

It's completely unlike me, my watch strap broke on saturday and, being on a trip, I only brought one watch.

So watch strap broke, so?

I've been not wearing a watch for the last week or so, naturally I know what the time is in the office but other than that I haven't paid attention to what time it is. And it's a departure from the punctual, time-obsessed me. Not that I've been late, timekeeping has never been a problem.

I even passed by the swatch shop today and didn't even go in. I know eventually I'll have to get a replacement (actually I bought a couple of spare ones in Australia last time, so I'm actually well prepared).

More of the general "not caring" lethargy?


in evidence of my insanity |

I never ever remember my dreams, except for general feelings. No, not even that. I know for a scientific fact that I dream when I sleep but I have total non-recollection.

So it's strange that I remember this recent one, of coming across an umbrella that provided rain (more like a shower) inside. So on a hot day, open up the brolly and you'd get protection against the sunlight and get a cool sprinking.

And that's it. The only other thing I remember is the umbrella was kinda orangey-red and was plain, with no logos.

What? It's such a rare occurrence that I'll take whatever form it comes in.

in evidence of my insanity |

I have a large collection of those free postcards you get at bookstores and restaurants, I don't intentionally look out for them, gathering them as I find ones I like. May be one day I'll make a collage.

Saw this one yesterday.

better sex

Turn over the other side and it's about yoga videos. It's so easy to use sex to sell things, we're so easily manipulated.

better yoga