Recently in mind babble Category

in going places , mind babble , random words |


1945 words | 9025 total

Day of the flight. Car’s cousin Mike kindly took me to the airport and I was checked in and through security in no time. Bought a Balvenie triple cask 16 that we first tasted in Heathrow, then bought 4 pork buns at wow bao for lunch. Beer at the bar next to the gate was expensive, $11.

The flight was full, and I got upgraded to premium economy. Here’s the dilemma, which is the better seat: an aisle seat in economy or a middle seat in premium economy? I would have preferred an aisle seat but the lady sitting next to me was nice and slept most of the way. The additional seat width and leg room were good in helping to make 15hrs pass faster.

Disappointed that there wasn’t much to watch, no big action film, no Bake-off and too many old tv programs (Prime Suspect s1, Entourage s1, ugh). Watched Spy (funny, good) and The Hundred-Foot Journey, which was a real gem. An Indian family’s car broke down in the middle of the French countryside and they decided to settle down roots, opening a restaurant directly opposite a Michelin-star establishment. War ensued, but of course it was a happy ending in the end. Helen Mirren was brilliant in this predictable feel good movie, perfect for watching on the plane.

PE had better food. Filet steak and creamy shrimp on rice. I had half a glass of wine, but mainly stuck to coke zero and sparkling water.

Door to door was 20hrs, and I lost most of Wednesday. Got home around 9.30pm, showered and unpacked quickly.

My nano time is based in Chicago so when I woke up at 5am there was enough time to write and assign it to day 4. I wanted to get around 1000 words in, and am pleased that I got almost 2000.

in mind babble |


It’s a combination of summer solstice, dragon boat festival and father’s day this weekend. Needless to say an extremely hot day with heavy but shortlived showers. Unexciting day for me, 5k running in the morning, going to parents’ place after lunch, reading. On the other side of the world, mm sent me this double rainbow from Assisi, how blessed. I think it’s from her hotel room, it’s underneath St Francis Basilica and facing the road leading to the coach station. Before she left, I reminded her of where the landmarks are in Assisi, I tend to be better at navigation than her.

in mind babble |


Of course, if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. Especially just before I go on holiday. Last time the fridge conked out, luckily there was enough time for the repair person to come, and it was just the fridge not the freezer. This is one time I’m glad we buy european appliances from a reputable dealer rather than from the high street.

Over the weekend, my hot water heater stopped working. It’d been raining very, very hard for the previous few days so moisture might have seeped into the heater and affected the pilot. The ceiling light next to the heater blew out too. Again, luckily the heater was from the gas company and I was able to book a repair appointment. Their earliest slot is on Tuesday though, so it’s been cold showers or going to parents’ place. It’s started to get warm, 30°C so cold showers isn’t a problem.

Then tonight as I was heading home, the bus broke down. The first sign was when it was turning from a side road to the main road and it slipped backwards. I didn’t think large buses had manual clutches — a normal car may slip when we don’t engage the clutch properly but I would have thought buses are automatics. The driver tried to start the vehicle multiple times, to no avail. We couldn’t have broken down at a worst place. The side road is narrow and connects from a large main road. It was useless to get off the bus, go to the next stop and wait for another bus because all the other buses were stuck behind our broken down bus. Not a great picture, but behind the #103 (our broken down bus) are all the others #23, #40 etc that could have gotten the passengers on their way. Luckily I was near enough home to be able to walk, even though it was 1.5miles, uphill, and it was hot, muggy and drizzling.

I got home, plugged into my mba and was greeted by a server error. No internet connection. What!?! The airport was on, network diagnostics showed wifi was working and connected. It was definitely not the wifi because both iphone and ipad worked. Seems to be a sporadic problem. Solved by shutting down and restarting. Phew.

Lesson learned: things will go wrong at inopportune moments. There is usually a silver lining though, so don’t panic (and carry a towel).

in mind babble |


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

in mind babble |


A colleague from my old chicago office was telling me about them needing someone to cover for maternity leave later in the year and she was joking that they want to suggest that I went back. Sigh. Wishful thinking.

in mind babble |

Finally got round to going for a haircut today. It’s been almost 3 months. Oh how I love the sound of lots of hair being chopped off. The pile was quite substantial.

in mind babble , workstuff |


This idea came from Michael Arrington’s rant at being tied up by bureaucracy within his own company when he asked for a phone. It’s an amusing read and for most of us who work in the corporate world, touches a nerve far too closely.

Towards the end, he mentioned something that a mentor told him, “I’m lazy, so I do things right the first time.” Oddly very very true for me. I even made a tacky funny bumper sticker.

in mind babble |


Overheard recently at work:

A: did you hear, [our intern who recently left] got a job at Goldman Sachs
B: Where’s that? A law firm?

I did a double take. True, if you asked 10 people on the street, only a small percentage would have heard of GS. But we are in the same industry, they are a big player, so that was unexpected. To give Person B the benefit of doubt, they are fairly junior and will learn more about our competitors as time goes on. I just assumed that if I talk about Goldman, or JP Morgan, or (sigh) Merrill, people would be suitably impressed or, as the case may be nowadays, repulsed. To be met with a “who?” is disconcerting.

I was also reading the article in the NY Times about how Nokia’s engineering driven culture has put them behind the likes of Apple in terms of design and therefore sales of their smartphones. They are talking about hardware engineering vs software and design engineering of course. One of the commenters said that engineers know instinctively figure out how to use a device just by playing around with it, but they

don’t understand that the rest of the population doesn’t think like them. To them, the user interface they created makes perfect sense and the rest of the world are idiots for not understanding it.

So the lesson today is, assume nothing. I assumed everyone has heard of a leading investment bank, or to go back one step, everyone knows what an investment bank is; but that’s just not true. Engineers assume everyone know how to use the camera on their iphone. The reality is very far from those assumptions. People aren’t like us.

in mind babble |

Random x2:

mm is in London this week, but all we’ve managed were emails and a couple of very brief phone calls. I’m not used to the time difference, she’s jetlagged. By the time I get round to calling her it’s her 10pm and she’s in bed. I’ve woken her up twice now, eeek. Doesn’t matter, we’ll see each other on Saturday.

I was talking with a UK colleague today and I realised I’ve picked up a little bit of an american accent. Subtle pronunciation and the way some vowels got flattened. I had to consciously get back to my londoner accent. It felt strange. Although, to an american I still sound different.

in mind babble |


Actually I shouldn’t have used “[not]” to indicate sarcasm, I should have downloaded the newest punctuation, the sarcmark and used that instead. I should be desperate to pay $1.99 for the privilege of using a punctuation mark and be glad I am part of another brilliant marketing scheme to get many people to pay a small amount for something inconsequential. Yeah right. [insert sarcmark here]

in mind babble |

Heh, I missed winter solstice. Not that my family ever celebrated anyway. But now that we’ve passed the shortest day, can we have more daylight hours please? It makes finding the motivation for running easier (providing the snow gods also cooperate).

in mind babble |

Ironic that just last week my friend RM and mm were talking about coming over to visit me. R wanted to go skiing, although that will be mainly for him and me. And even though he’s my best buddy, it won’t give mm and I much privacy if they visited together. But it’d be nice though.

So at the senior team call today R got approved to come here for training. Yay. My first visitor. Time for me to start a shopping list. First on my list, the wish that mm can come too.

in mind babble |

In the spirit of bb,

No BBtv today, we’re slacking off

there’s no real post today, I’m slacking off. What? If boingboing can do it, and they are the directory of wonderful things remember, so can I. No lolcat-cute picture of a band of kittens, here’s a picture of the outdoor spa area at the Marriott Mumbai.


in easily amused , mind babble |

Here’s a couple of links I’d saved during thing-a-day month.

how glasses affect your image — via digg, how adding glasses seriously affect how one is viewed.

Danish police don’t know no iMac — via boing boing, the police visited this blogger’s home accusing him of using a stolen credit card to buy stuff online. He explained he has an open wifi connection. That’s not the funny part.

We moved into my roommate’s room.
She has an original iMac.
“We have your roommate’s permission to confiscate her computer,” the Ichabod Crane one said.
“Whatever,” I said. They had already assured me that we would get our laptops back that afternoon, so I figured the damage had already been done. Ichabod started rooting around under her desk.
“Where’s the computer?” he said.
“On the desk. That’s the computer,” I said.
“No, the computer.”
“That’s the computer, dude.”
“That’s the screen.” He had lapsed into the voice you use when you explain to your 6-year-old cousin how the toaster works. “I mean the compuuuuuter. Understand?”
“Dude. That’s the whole computer. Right there. The blue object the size of an armadillo.”
“No. Where the daaaaata goes. The computer part.”
“That is the computer. For Hell!” Danish swear words aren’t as satisfying.
“So that’s the entire computer, right there?”
I was standing there with a look on my face like I was watching a dog walk on its hind legs.
“New technology, huh?” he said.

Remember, the original iMac came out in 1999.

in mind babble , techtalk |

Relating to yesterday’s post and an example of how my thoughts flow in strange directions, here’s some mind babble about information explosion, email addresses and human-robot relationships.

We are surrounded by information. Lots of information. Ever since I switched to google reader I’ve been spending a lot more time than before reading feeds. Comparatively I shouldn’t have enough feeds for rss fatigue to set in — around 60, of which some are to keep track of friends who hardly post. That’s pretty manageable, even though I dread to think what I’d have to go through if I went on vacation for 2 weeks.

It’s not just the sheer amount of information around us, it’s the speed at which it’s coming at us. We’re literally bombarded 24/7 by an unending stream of news, or stuff on digg, or pictures of the newest gadgets. We don’t have enough room in our brains and we’re remembering fewer and fewer basic facts these days:

This summer, neuroscientist Ian Robertson polled 3,000 people and found that the younger ones were less able than their elders to recall standard personal info. When Robertson asked his subjects to tell them a relative’s birth date, 87 percent of respondents over age 50 could recite it, while less than 40 percent of those under 30 could do so. And when he asked them their own phone number, fully one-third of the youngsters drew a blank. They had to whip out their handsets to look it up.

It’s true. When I left OldJob I printed a copy of my personal Outlook address book but I couldn’t take the entire company email database of course. Sending emails to ex-colleagues became less intuitive; I actually had to think about it. Fortunately, like most corporate emails the external emails were mainly; but there were a few exceptions I had to specially remember.

It’s even worse for friends’ and family’s email addresses. I can remember the ones I email regularly, but the rest I rely on gmail’s autofill feature. I can’t remember anyone’s birthdays apart from the most important people; and forget about addresses — 90% of letters I send via snailmail are to pay bills at places I can’t pay online. Every memory seems to be archived, it’s now a matter of remember where the information is stored rather than the information itself. It’s like I have flashdrives hooked up to my brain that I need to download and upload memories to.

I feel like I’m developing hardware. The mbp is almost an extension of my body, it is more important than the tv, or any sentient or insentient entity in my existence.

AI researchers were talking about the possibility of sex between humans and robots in five years and marriage by 2050. With humans becoming more robot-like and robots becoming more lifelike, it’s a matter of time before the two species merge. There’s enough sci-fi stories and movies about this that it’s not as whacky of preposterous as it first may seem. Yes, it’s icky and the exact ethical implications haven’t been thought through, but pesonally I don’t want to rule it out. Some part deep down inside me can see how the idea may be attractive.

Robots can provide a tremendous amount of comfort. For example look at the Ri-Man that was developed at the Bio-Mimetic Control Research Center in Nagoya. It’s a robot that is intended to be a nurse’s aid, to help pick up patients at the hospital. But with artificial intelligence that allows the robots to learn emotions and even develop personalities, who’s to say that there is a limit to the degree and type of comfort / companionship that a robot can offer? Think real doll [nsfw].

robot ri-man

At least, robots can be programmed not to a) engage in or b) feel hurt if they’re told that they are engaged in annoying behaviour. Which leads me back to email addresses, a reminder to think before forwarding those cute / “send to 10 other people or you’ll die” / “send to 10 other people and you will meet the love of your life” emails because:

  • may be it was cute once, a very long time ago when people only read one newspaper; but not after you’ve seen it 457 times
  • nah, a hippo with a baby chimpanzee on its back eating a banana ain’t cute
  • by the time I get one, the fwd:fwd:re:re chain is so long, I wonder why it took me so long to get it … am I not popular enough? [/sarcasm]
  • if I were a spam harvester I’d wet myself — all those hundreds of email addresses of real people
  • baby elephants and polar bears cuddling with an Eskimo child ain’t cute … really
  • most people are too embarrassed to tell their cute-email-sending friends to buzz off (um I don’t have this problem, I tell them to buzz off)
  • they’re not just sending me an email, it’s a AYCE malware party — open an attachment, get viruses, trojan horses, spyware, worms compliments of your (shouldn’t it be ex- by now?) friend

Is it a stretch to see why a customised robot may be a viable alternative?

in mind babble | | comments (2)

Went to dinner with ex-colleagues last night, and I was down at PL’s office again this morning which culminated in another semi-business lunch. The long and short of it is that I may have a lead in the job front. But it depends on the decisions of senior management so I’m not going to jinx things by thinking about it too much.

I had vague plans to do a big clean of the apartment — go through room by room and throw out unwanted stuff. But what have I been doing for the last 2 weeks? Melting in the heat, playing the wii, playing diner dash, writing, sleeping, watching tv. Nowhere near starting with the cleaning.

Haven’t done any swimming or running either. argh!

And the vague idea of doing a big website redesign? Forget it. That will involve far too much work. Though now that MT4 is out I really should either bite the bullet and upgrade, or switch to wordpress. Again, too much work.

Basically, I’ve done very little except laze around since I got home.


in mind babble , workstuff |

I’ve been trying to organise thoughts in my mind. So much seems to be happening, yet I feel my time is dragging on.

More people resigned at work. Last Friday marked the last day of the final two people of “my” team — I’m close to one of them, we’re similar workwise and we’ve been going to breakfast together often. The other person I’m less friendly with but still …

My last day is this Wednesday. It’s creeping up fast, yet not fast enough. Work hasn’t slowed down, seems like they want to squeeze me dry until the end, sigh. If I were an optimist I’d say they value me so much that they give stuff for me to do that no one else can. And it’s pretty true — almost 150 people in our department regionally and I’m the only one who can take a bunch of crappy spreadsheet and make a coherent summary. Okay, Ricky helped with the array formula but the concept was mine.

Our farewell lunch had over 30 people, including our friends who have left. I was very touched. Friday night we had dinner with a few other close friends, and we talked till almost 11pm. They aren’t colleagues anymore; not even ex-colleagues; they’re friends. I hope I can keep in touch with them. I’m notoriously bad at keeping in touch.

It’s just been a weird feeling the last few days.

It’s also really really hot. I can sit at my desk doing very little and I break out in sweat. mm and I went to the funeral of a college friend’s dad on saturday, then we went for seafood dinner at the local place near her home. I stayed over. But I was too tired and fell asleep even when mm was taking her shower. Sunday I went to various shops to buy presents for people — books, sweets and small souvenirs. The rest of the day was spent playing tennis on the wii for hours! I was so hot and sticky I had to go swimming before taking a shower.

I’m flying out on Thursday. For a whole month. It’s incredible and the trip of a lifetime. I’ll hit Chicago first, but almost immediately we’re going on a roadtrip to Fort Worth and Washington DC. It’ll be fun but right now I’m obsessing about the amount of clothes I have to bring. Back in Chicago for a week then I’m heading for Chile to visit K and P. Woot! There’ll be skiing, beaches and vineyard tours.

But right now my brain is in a state of frozen limbo shock. I can’t believe I quit my job. I can’t believe I quit my job with no new job to go do. I can’t believe the things that our new management team is getting away with. I can’t believe I’m going on such a long trip. I can’t believe I basically have no plans beyond this July trip.

None of this is new. Nor is it a surprise. Like I said, it’s been a weird few days.

in mind babble |

A colleague called me today and the first thing he said was “random question.”

As he started telling me his question, I said, “16.”

He was like “huh?”

And I was like “random answer.”

Heh. Not that funny.


I hate United. I can’t check-in online, not even my agent can reserve my seat for me. What kind of stupid airline is that?


I’m getting anxious about whether I packed the right clothes. What if it falls below freezing? What if it gets stupid and warm up? I have to pack for both of these scenarios. argh.

in mind babble |

I’m thinking, I should be writing some year end stuff, like how 2006 was for me, what did I do, where did I travel to, what huge epiphany I had … but nah, I don’t have anything overly interesting to say. I think back to 2006 and my feelings are — boring, happy, bitter, interesting, and different.


in mind babble |

The one good thing about the hot weather is how quickly laundry dries and I can do load after load after load.

in mind babble |

I did a bunch of backdated entries. Most notably the lazy Chicago write-up. Nothing much has been happening lately.

I really need to get back to daily posting.

in mind babble |

All of a sudden it turned warm and humid. The dehumidifier is on constantly but it’s too late, some of my clothes and bags (and I’m sure shoes but I don’t want to look) have gone moldy. ewwwww.

The moldy clothes are at the dry cleaners. I opened the closet doors, closed the bedroom door and put the dehumidifier on in the room today. Hopefully it drew some of the moisture out. Also bought a bunch of disposable dehumidifier tubs. While I was at it, I got a big bag of mothballs too.

I love the smell of mothballs. A lot of people can’t stand it, but I like it. It means my clothes are “protected.”

in mind babble |

I’m all caught up now, there are postdated entries going back to 4 April, scroll down to read.

in mind babble | | comments (1)

The blogosphere has yielded nothing of interest today. I’m kinda blank. Have nothing to say. Nothing to report. Nothing funny happened today. Nothing.

So why am I even posting? I broke my post-daily run already in February, what’s the big deal? Am I writing for the sake of writing? That somewhere in the elms of time there must be an entry on 29 March 2006 otherwise some huge cosmic disaster may be inflicted on the universe or something.


Or am I posting because I have a ton of ironing and need to clean the apartment but I can’t get myself motivated?

Or is this some sort of OCD addiction?

Anyway. Pointless post. Posting now.

in arts and media , mind babble |

D. Keith Robinson wrote about “the items or ideas that can spark off a serious idea storm.”

A creative person is someone who can make something from nothing; who expresses originality and have oodles of imagination. Despite popular belief, creativity is difficult for me. I have zero artistic and musical cells, and it’s a wonder that I am able to write. I keep discussing it with my writing group friends, that I am clueless about my own creative process. I can’t analyse my writing style or method because I don’t have one. I must be using a part of my brain that I can’t consciously access.

I am not an idea generator. I function best when some other (more creative) people have come up with fresh ideas, then I can help build on them. I’m way better at execution. Which is why I am able to enjoy the type of writing I do now, since the setting and characters are already familiar.

So what inspires me?

  • movies and books and music, the usual suspects
  • when I’m travelling, like on the bus or driving
  • talking, brainstorming or joking with my friends
  • the moment just before I fall asleep in bed
  • this one is unusual, but is proven to work — in the bathroom

On the subject of creativity while in the bathroom, here’s a neat gadget, a waterproof notepad that can hang on the shower wall, perfect for those flashes of inspiration that always hits us when we have no access to paper or keyboard. From popgadget.


in mind babble |

It’s a sign of impending winter when it’s already dark by the time I leave the office. Kinda depressing to be greeted by a dark sky, neon lights and bright headlights. Seems the whole day was wasted.

Ironic, that it’s still stupidly hot outside. The stuffiness and heat and annoying air pollution that are the hallmarks of summer are still with us. I just wish it’ll get cooler soon. I feel better when the days are cooler.

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 mind babble |

Time is moving slowly tonight. It's only 8.30 but it feels like 10.30. I didn't eat dinner properly, cos I'm not hungry, I had some ham and a bag of Walkers, that's it.

I've had my shower, I've paid by bills, I made my shopping list, I know I have ironing that I don't want to do. Plenty of time left.

in mind babble |

I intensely dislike it when I look at the clock and it's gone 11pm. This means I have to start winding down cos it's soon time for bed. Why? I can't stay up too late cos I have to go to work in the morning. Sigh.

Why is midnight called the witching hour? Does it mean witches come out for that hour between 12am and 1am? Or they come out sometime during that hour and stay the night. When do they go back to where they come from? Do they need to sleep?

I bought spell book, aptly called The Book of Spells (duh!). Not Darkest Magicks that has to be opened by an axe, just some tame spells to lift the spirit or bless the home. Even a few to find love. Looks fun.

in mind babble |

all I can think of is, in a week's time we'll be on vacation. Not all details are finalised, but who cares? We're getting some time off.

I'm drinking too much Diet Coke nowadays.

I took a tub of plain yogurt from the hotel this morning and it's still here, all room temperature.

I finished training the staff a day early, now for the rest of the week I can pretend to be working.

I want a mini iPod, no not really. They're real nice but my one hasn't expired yet so it's not justified.


in mind babble |

I've been so used to looking at the clock and adding 2 hours it's a nice change to know I have more time than I thought. It's not 11.30, I have a couple more hours to read and write. Yay for time difference.

in mind babble |

Some (mis)quotes.

"There comes a time when all the secret fears become real ... I won't write anymore." — Cesare Pavese

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask only what you can do for your country." — JFK

"I'm not too good to be true, I'm too truthful to be good."

"I'm not steak, you can't order me."

in mind babble |

I have 4 small black notebooks filled with what I wrote when I was very young. Some of the early mind babbles are actually fine enough to record for posterity.

fish Ever since I swallowed a fishbone and had to spend 2 nights in hospital I've been petrified of eating fish.

batteries Some last longer than others. Some cost more than others. The cheapest ones are the rechargeable ones but they need 14 hours charging so I must remember to recharge them every morning before I leave. So when I return they are ready.

stamps They are like frames of our minds. Pretty pictures of some object, person or event.

the poor as pitiful Of course we need someone to pity so we can show the world how charitable we are.

anthropic principles The Universe must contain a species of intelligent beings who observe it to justify its existence. If something exists it must be observable. Conversely if we cannot observe something it cannot exist.

dreams The demons of my dreams call to me and I must follow.

uptight I'm uptight but I'm not uptight about being uptight.

humor Ha ha. Very funny.

small rhyme
I think I am
I feel I can

in mind babble |

being online
I'm so determined to have a weekend entry that my mind has gone blank. All I know is, I want, need, have to break the weekend draught. Yet I have nothing. Report of the day is so lame, the one feeling that's overwhelming me all the time recently is still too raw to put to words.

It took me 15 minutes to get this far, thanks to dial-up connection. To think, when I first got a modem, how excited I was. In those days waiting a while for a page to load was usual. Today I'm having to deal with 48000bps transfer, a retarded mouse and text size that's too big for my liking. I'm one of those who customise everything. I don't like large text.

eating well
Dinner last night with her folks at a buffet place. Loadsafood. Very nice. We were there from 6.30pm till it closed at 10pm. She was saying it's probably the first time she's sat through a session. We were well and truly stuffed.

Today's lunch was the same. Long. Long. Long. For various reasons we weren't ready to leave even after everyone was full. I was so bored I nearly fell asleep and had to get up to go to the bathroom to wake myself up. And not to be rude.

trying to be healthy
I had dinner on my own, she has a dinner function, which she so doesn't want to go. I find I eat less on my own than when we're together.

And while I had all sorts of alcholic options (beer, scotch, sake) I'm drinking ... chocolate milk, diluted around 30% with skimmed milk. I'm still on that kick. Now it's probably really fattening but I figured around the same as beer, and I could do with the calcium anyway.

taking the heat
It's really starting to get warm. I was sweltering in my sweatshirt today, which I was too lazy to take off cos I didn't want to carry it. Making for rather sticky skin when we got home and the need for a shower quickly. No other chance of sweatiness or stickiness though, but I'm not ready to go there yet.

in mind babble |

I'm not gonna put a version on these anymore because there's no point in trying to keep track, why bother putting essentially random thoughts in their little bitty order.

quiet time
I have around 15 minutes in the morning while riding on the bus to wake up and think. I don't like that time to be disturbed cos it's quiet time for me. But there's always the danger that someone I know will get on the same bus. I don't want to talk to them that time of the morning, I'll try to hide or turn my head. It's inevitable when we get off that I'll have to greet them but then the ride is over and I would have had my quiet time and anyway it's only a couple of minutes' walk to the office.

work shirts
I was talking to my sis on the phone last night and she asked if I have any spare work shirts. I like wearing shirts, given a choice I prefer something with collars than not. T-shirts I tend to just keep for wearing at home or playing sports or when I'm wearing shorts. I have a big pile of polo shirts, mainly black or blue. I have a small collection of shirts but they tend to be quite old - mostly stripes, some white, some blue for wearing under suits. I don't like wearing just a shirt, it leaves me too vulnerable, I prefer to have a jumper or coat to protect it.

A few years ago mm bought a couple of really nice shirts from Pink, and one for me. Impeccable. Crisp. Smooth. A class away from the normal Benetton or M&S ones I own.

Last August we opened a joint investment account. Started small, but since then we've topped it up twice. Now the portfolio includes: fund of funds, student accommodation fund, Eastern Europe, Asia. Quite a mix. She's really keen on Asia and guessed right on China and India. I wanted more global and sector rather than countries or regions. Initially I wanted healthcare but we decided against it. It's a lumpsum investment so it'll just sit there for a long while, at least that's my plan.

We also opened a monthly savings plan. The fund picks for the savings plan are different from lumpsum cos we can afford to go for more volatile investments.

She reads up on magazines, talks to the advisor, actively looks out for new ideas. I let her do the research and she tells me all about them. My attention span on these isn't as great, I just want to put the money away somewhere and forget about it. She has other types of investments on her own account, things I'm not interested in. I have a global leisure fund, corporate bonds and index funds in my own name. Some investments we do together, some we do on our own, we try not to be too "together". Even though the aim of making these investments is for our future together.

Do we? Have a future together?

in mind babble |

I keep meaning to write the safari trip up properly but my mind can't settle long enough. The Shanghai trip isn't posted yet cos the rest of the photos aren't back and the ones scanned haven't been photoshopped. Excuses, excuses.

Pressure is building up at work. I'm tasked with writing stuff up but I don't know how to do it properly and I get the feeling that I'm writing stuff that people have already done before and it's gonna be not good enough.

I so need to calm down my head is kinda busy tonight.

in mind babble |

I'm sorry. There is nothing original to see here today. The imagination train left the planet. May be it never bothered stopping.

I'm sorry for not answering my phone. I don't like phone calls. Like I get home, cook dinner and eat the food. I take a shower and power up the Powerbook. Call at around 11.30 otherwise I'll have to contend with "no call" pouts. Yes, I can hear pouts over the phone. I don't have time for other phone calls.

I'm hanging up now.

in mind babble |

All your life you haven't lived anywhere above 1st floor. You look out of a 45/F window and down to the street and your knees go weak. You fight the urge to step off the edge and dive like a swan. The ground pulls you toward it. You have to lean back and look at buildings far away for the feeling to pass.

You find yourself in a club. Dark. Black. Like most clubs. The bar counter is covered with mosiac glass tiles which reflect the changing colors of the lights. Lighting is provided by small halogen lights along the walls and on the arched ceiling. Lights that constantly change color - red, orange, blue, green, yellow. The effect is hypnotic.

You pull back the beaded curtains and walk down the short, dimly lit corridor. Closed doors on either side. The smell of musk is overwhelming. You reach one door that is half open, left ajar as an invitation. It is dark inside, the flickering flames of tea-lights scattered randomly around the room providing the only illumination. On the bedside table you see an unlit candle, box of matches, glass bottle of oil, serving tongs, wooden clothes pegs, riding crop, white scarf, hairbrush. You wonder.

You think about cutting your hair so it is very very short.

You think about tattoos and piercings and you know you will never have the courage.

You think about losing weight and getting very fit and being able to run miles and miles.

You yearn for a sense of adventure.

in mind babble |

To not think or feel. As an escape, as detachment.

The desperate scream of a fire truck's siren, the sigh of a leave falling from a tree, the steam wafting from a hot cup of coffee. There are stories and emotions behind everything that happens around us. People. Objects. Feelings have no name. Yet it is so much easier to ignore them, to stand back outside the circle of their influence.

Extreme measures to make these feelings come to the surface. The pain of fist smashing through glass, the haze induced by alcohol, by drugs, by sex. Searching. Escaping.

Are colours feelings? Can cats read auras? What does it mean to be a human being?

It's nearly sunset, look at the orange sky.

in mind babble |

I visited the company library for the first time today. Apart from the librarian it was empty and felt kind of eerie. Research reports were organised by topic and country; newspapers and magazines neatly stacked by date; company reports sorted alphabetical in hanging files. Everything perfectly in place, like performers waiting in the wings for their turn on the stage. According to the librarian not many people use the library, so the waiting continues.

Spent a big chunk of last night researching car rental prices. We need to rent cars for Nice, Zurich and London. I so wish we can just rent one car but pick up and return must be in the same country so that idea got killed quickly. Searched through website after website armed with a multitude of discount numbers, which entailed entering dates, airport codes and vehicle preferences again and again. Mind numbing. Not surprised that airline discount numbers give the best rates. I usually get the second or third tier cars, the first tier is too small and flimsy and anything higher is too expensive. Must remember to make a few CDs this weekend.

Been coming across mentions of Elliott Smith while randomly surfing or reading updated fanfic. I've never heard of him before but there's this vague impression that he died recently. And because the internet is so beautiful, it didn't take me long to find some info on his life, music, suicide and the tribute concert held earlier this week. What a sad way to end one's life. Sometimes you don't discover someone's work until they're gone and it's real sad cos no matter how great the work is, that's it, there won't be more. And though inappropriate, I can't help thinking of the funny recap of the pilot episode of Tru Calling on how the show was so intent on telling us that it's about a heroine who tries to stop people from dying before their time. Oh and bold? Anvil.

For lunch today I had cous cous, chick pea, roasted pumpkin and olive salad, just threw together whatever I could find. It desperately needed something green, salad leaves or beans, but I didn't have any at home. Good enough anyway.

I feel a splitting headache coming on. Great. Just what I need.

in mind babble |

I'm drawing a blank. I started writing about the salad I made for lunch (warm mushroom, blue cheese and baby spinach) but changed my mind cos the salad needed something (more pepper and a dash of balsamic) and I didn't want to write about sub-par salads.

Then I started 3 sentences on the multitude of fanfics I'm reading but it's a longer story than I want to go into right now.

Then images of pictures at various stages of being photoshopped came to mind and I was gonna write about filters and curves.

Or what about different forms of exercises I want to try. Or walking in the park on a cool autumn evening. Or about collecting coupons at the supermarket to exchange for cookware. Or listening to Rachmaninov just before bed.

Yet again the mind babble is my undoing.

in mind babble |

I was up till 4am this morning working on the website, haven't done allnighters for a long while. Normally I need like 9 hours sleep. Sure not getting that nowadays. I have in my black journal this quote, "if your writing isn't keep you up nights it won't keep anyone else up all night." So that's how it's gonna have to be, huh. No pain no gain.

Site access is a bitch, I tried acessing other people's websites on tripod and it's slooow. Still not too late to find another host. I don't mind paying, right now it's not worth it yet. Unfortunately I have a history of not fully getting my money's worth.

  • paid $70 for registering about 4 years ago and did nothing.
  • signed up for broadband and didn't use it for 6 months because I forgot to check I had an Ethernet card on the iMac. It took a hard disk breakdown and upgrade to the Powerbook before I got to use the broadband.
  • still maintaining my UK mobile even though I'm rarely in London nowadays.
  • was lazy and called up the in-house travel agent for my Singapore ticket next week, got a fairly good deal I thought, only to find out that I could have gotten flight and hotel for the same price at other agents.
  • have about CHF37 worth of credit at Fotolabo because I overpaid and they wrote me a letter and of course it was in German and I didn't bother translating it.

Etcetera. So bad.

in mind babble |

The images flash so quickly through my mind and open many windows but they are too fleeting. They flow onto my subconscious and are lost. Sometimes I can reach out and capture one stray thought but too many are beyond reach. I feel frustrated at my inability. Sometimes I briefly glimpse a thought but it's not in words and when I try to write it down it refuses to be labelled with language. Mostly pictures, but usually just a feeling. How I wish it's possible to describe emotions accurately. I want to understand myself but I can't. I don't know how.

I'm not the person I want to be. That one is lost, like one of those glimpses. The persona I carry around me is the loudest one, I don't like it much. It's too slow, too nice, too agreeable and opinionless. It's happy because it doesn't know or care what it wants. It's too typically human and other humans react well to it.

But I react badly to humankind. Individually they have many virtues to recommend them but grouped together they're an ugly, uncontrollable crowd. They do what everybody else does because everybody else does it. They travel happily on the conveyor belt of life, going through the various stations and getting fitted out, one emotional baggage at a time. There's no respect for "anomalies", everything must happen in the correct order. People must contribute to society. A restraining society. An inflexible society. Flawed parts are discarded.

So why don't you get off? What, and be labelled strange, abnormal, weird? Even though I say I'm not affected by the opinions of others I'm not made of ice. Besides, it's not so monumentally important to me that I have to make the grand gesture of rebellion and do something New Agey like forsake all my earthly ties. I just need to be left alone so I can think and be myself and have dark obsessions without feeling guilty about them. And am I really that detached? Am I kidding myself? When I say all these things like I want to be different and go seek out my emotional depth do I mean them or am I just pretending? Pretending to be strong, or uncaring, or emotionless. Is there really a better, more profound, sensitive, witty me lurking beneath the skin? Or am I just telling myself there is another personality when in truth there's only this one, one that I don't particularly like and one I want to change? May be it's not as much a surface layer as just a mask. Except it can't be a mask because I feel so exposed all the time I feel like I need one.

May be I'm just afraid of facing myself.

No one is listening.

in mind babble |

...just a bit bored, confused. I'm not sure what's going on, what I want, but I'm not desperate to find out. I don't mind. Whatever. I try to be thoughtful but I don't find the thoughts.