Saturday, December 30, 2006

Let me be wiik

Crazy weather. One day, I've the air-conditioning on in the room and the next day, I've got the heating on. But with the end of spring (and my hay fever), I've started cycling again. I find riding quite relaxing, but sadly, sometimes I get caught up with secretly racing strangers, and it all goes downhill from there.




The other day, everything was cool and was just cycling casually to work and then noticed this cyclist appearing in my rear mirror. It's a GIRL! She was at my tail and didnt overtake after the customary 50 meters of tailing. So being the fool that I am, I thought, OK lady, you're going to get burnt. *starts humming opening stanza of the James Bond theme*. The ascent up to Anderson St bridge was where I started my attack. A sudden burst of speed (or so it seemed to me). Cyclist kept up, still sitting on my wheel. We did this for about 1.9 kms. Looked at my speedometer, was 32.2 km/h, had a quick look at the mirror and lordy, she wasnt even peddling. Yikes, I thought. I'm about to die. I was going 100% flat stick and was getting really, really puffed, things around me were seeming to get dark. All manner of thoughts raced through my head, along the lines of No point pretending I am fast and What about the loss of face and I am going to pass out. What's that thumping noise? But there was a fork in the road coming up. I glanced in my mirror and thank god, she took the other path and we went our separate ways. Oh sh*t! 100 meters further on, I see her in front of me again, this time with me about 10 meters behind cos I'd slowed right down. She'd followed the paved path and I'd taken the unsurfaced one. I was too knackered to make up any ground up the ascent to Swanston St. But she had to stop at the traffic lights anyway. I pulled up next to her at the lights. She looked at me and grinned. Ooooo, she's pretty. I smiled back and let my tongue hang out (from the exhaustion), Mannn... you're pretty quick, and I, ummm, was secretly racing you. She laughed and confessed that so was she. I dont normally cycle this fast but it was fun. Quite a workout but I'm going to be pretty worn out at work, she added. I looked at her bike and it looked like a fast bike (racer with really cool looking spokes). I only have a hybrid. OK, so maybe I checked out some other bits as well. Women in lycra, there is something special about that. Anyway, it'd be unlikely that I'll ever bump into her ever again as we ride at the same speed. So Ms. cyclist with a Giant roadbike, and a purple and yellow knapsack, I think I'm in love with you.

And I'm glad to report that my bottom dont hurt anymore. But my flanks are sore, from boxing on the Wii.

(*) And dream of sheep.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Pulling the Pin

Many years ago, I got a job working for a gaming company and started the job on the same day with another guy, Ron. The project was really crap. Proprietary framework, no documentation. Ron left after 1 week. At the time, I thought, "What a heel. Not gutsy enough.". I stayed for 6 months but declined the contract extension when offered.




Anyway, today I would like to announce that I, Chai, am now that heel. I started a new job 2 weeks ago and I've resigned after just 8 days. Friday was my last day at the new (now old) place. It's taken me 2 weeks to realise what Ron could do in a week.
I've NEVER ever done anything like this before.
I have got another new job. It's for less $$$, a shorter contract, and have to bring in my own PC, working at a less convenient location. So this gesture says a lot, I think.

I am confident I could have done the job, but from a quality of life perspective, I dont think I have the stomach for such things, anymore. It sucks, getting old, and soft, and grumpy.

I wonder if anyone will remember gutless me walking out, 10 years from now, like I remember Ron. Matters not I guess, cos I feel very light about my decision, almost unbearably so. It did help that my ex-employers were really understanding about the whole incident. Thank you, ex-employers.

Just sail on without me.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Excess of sorrow laughs. Excess of joy weeps

I could have sworn I'd already done an October entry. Hmmm. No matter. Lots have happened but somehow, I lack the willpower (amongst other things) to sit down and put it down into words.



I was going to whine about the fact that I've worked a 6 day week (50ish hours) the last 6 weeks out of 8. But then Alex tells me that her contract stipulates a standard 50 hour week and she puts in around 65 hours in general. Ai yai yai... Takes the wind out of my self-pity and I get PAID for my extra day whereas she doesnt.

Anyway, highlights and lowlights of the month.
Played tourist guide though I did nod off on Puffing Billy. No pics of the drool, thankfully.
Kim's 10th(!!) birthday!! It's been 10 years. I still remember that first day, when she started crying that first cry. I was thinking, "It sounds so sweet, almost like music. Maybe babies crying sound different to parents than to outsiders". Fast forward 1 month when her lungs got stronger, I'm cradling her at some ungodly hour, softly going "Shhhhhhhh", fearing the neighbours would knock on the door any minute.
Accidentally sent email to wrong person Major red faces allround. Well, just mine especially since said email contains reference to misdirected recepient.
Won a bottle of wine autographed by Steve Bracks! Yay! It's near worthless to me but have been advised to put it on ebay. Anybody here a politics groupie?
Watched my kid play indoor soccer for the first time Well, it was her first time too. I am glad she's taking up the sport without my prompting cos she is not very receptive to any ideas that originate from me. But apart from this, we have a great relationship.
My current contract expires. Yay. "Why you leave, Chai?", they ask. "Ummmm..., I, ummmm, have to, ummmm, ...., it's hard to get to here from where I live".
I got a new contract starting mid Nov. Yay! The kid can continue her schooling.
A production assistant earns like $7/hour after tax. There goes my alternate career.
Hopefully, my racquetball saga has ended In a nutshell, opposition team argued amongst themselves, walked off in a huff. We got a walkover. There was a tribunal, and they penalised both teams! We replay the round. One of our players not registered correctly. We forfeit all points. Accusations fly. Saga drawn out. Not good.
Got introduced to Aqualung's music. Pretty cool.
Went to see Beauty and the Beast My b'day present for L. It was really good, even more so considering these were amateurs, I think.
Cutting out beef from my diet Cos of this.
Finished a jigsaw. Took me 4 frigging weekends! In the end, it was more of a vendetta than anything.

Hmmm... not much of a life. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

(*) Title is borrowed from William Blake's perception.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

20 rats tails and 40 rats eyes




Am late for work.
Just go here and participate.... humour me.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Absynthe Absence

Firstly, I always suspected we I.T. people were special. Now the world knows. Heroic. Who would have thought? I like it.

Anyway, was having trouble as to what to blog about in August. I toyed with the idea of writing about blogging tools, how I've started using Sage, a RSS reader plugin for Firefox. It is soooo cool and makes reading blogs and newspapers so easy. Try it. Really easy to install. Once you install it, you can use a sample OPML file I made up, ie. a file which contains a list of RSS feeds. You need to download the OPML file onto your computer, then from your FF browser, when you enable Sage (Tool->Sage), under Options, there is a OPML Import/Export feature. Import this file which you've just saved. I've added all the current reviewers (active and otherwise) from WDCOF, for lack of anything better. Sorry, no adult material. I think. Let me double check. Yup, none. But thought better of it than to blog about this.

Then I thought of something really really amazing and incredibly funny, at which point I fell asleep and now I cannot remember what it was that was so amazing and funny which I should blog about.

So resorting to that last bastion of the infrequent (but regular, at least monthly) blogger, I'm now doing my second MeMe, courtesy of the tattooed Ukulele, she of the Piadana slowfood review fame.


1. Three things that scare me:
Heights (a newly discovered phenomena)
The melting ice shelves
The PM not giving a shit.



2. Three people that make me laugh.
G.O.B. from Arrested Development.
Seinfeld
My smart-ass kid

3. Three things I hate the most
Ignorance
Stupidity
Greed

4. Three things I don't understand
How some people can get re-employed
How can every single one of Howards ministers lack something, compassion, brains, heart. Sort of like the cast of Wizard of Oz.
Israel (I wasnt even tempted to write down 'Women').


5. Three things I'm doing right now
Lying in bed, noting lateness of night.
Making mental note of things I still need to do.
Procrastinating.



6. Three things I want to do before I die.
See the Barrier Reef (I wonder which one will die first)
Go to Legoland.
See my daughter grow up to be a balanced individual (unlike her mother, ok, joke.)


7. Three things I can do
Play racquet sports well.
Flip a coin and catch it behind my back.
Burn food.


8. Three ways to describe my personality
Modesty will not allow me to complete this one.


9. Three things I can't do
Swim
Look more than 3 moves ahead in chess.
Draw legibly.


10. Three things I think you should listen to
Fiona Apple. I am sure subl will agree with me on this one.
Peter Singer
Me


11. Three things you should never listen to
People/Organisations voicing inciting hate/intolerance (Bolt? Zemanek? Jones?).
Newscorp.
The other voices in your head.


12. Three things I'd like to learn
To speak Mandarin
Meditate (and with that the ability to really concentrate)
To swim.

13. Three favourite foods
Sweet and sour pork (childhood affliction)
Indian Dhal curry.
Iranian chicken kebabs.

14. Three beverages I drink regularly
Water
Fruit Juice
Milo


15. Three shows I watched as a kid
Sapphire and Steel
Banana Splits (Siiiiiiiiize of an elephant)
M.A.S.H.

16. Three people I'm tagging (to do this)
Anyone who sees this. OK. Maybe pomgirl, maybe Camera, maybe Husky, maybe Bekk, maybe Bevis, maybe Steph, maybe CB, maybe Justine, maybe Mel, maybe Susanne, maybe YOU!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Here, there, everywhere

The thing about driving in Kuantan is not that the arrows painted on the lanes at traffic lights are taken as suggestions only eg. 3 lanes in one direction, right most lane says right turn only, middle lane say right and straight, BUT you'll find that traffic in the right most lane does turn right AND also goes straight. If you're in the middle lane wanting to turn right, I suggest that you stay in the right hand lane next time. Well, it's not all that. It's actually the number of motorbikes zipping around you.



It's just that they buzz past you on the left and on the right and through any gap that may be available between you and the next vehicle or wall or whatever. So it's very important you dont do anything unpredictable, like changing lanes.

Admittedly, I used to ride pillion when I was in high school many many years ago. The one prominent memory that sticks out is when I was riding pillion in Penang (the one and only time). It was much like that chase scene in Star Wars #6 where they were on the planet with those annoyingly cute Ewoks. We were zipping and threading in between cars and trucks, through impossible gaps. Truly white knuckle stuff. I was absolutely terrified. I dont remember his name now but I've never ever held another man so closely or tightly before, or since.

Anyway, what I took away from this trip apart from a reminder of the magnitude of dysfunctionality in my family, was finding out about my paternal great-grandfather. I never bothered to ask before and therefore knew nothing prior to this.

Apparently, he was a rice carrier. ie. carried bags of rice, physically and was quite a strong guy. He was a big gambler and successful at it too. From this he bought a fair few properties in Penang. Unfortunately, he also smoked opium and was a womaniser. He supposedly had his own harem. But eventually, he had to sell off the properties one by one to feed his drug addiction, till it was all gone. He eventually ended up living in grandpa's house. Pa remembers great grandfather making the weekly trip to the shophouse only a block away from home, from which the British Government dispensed opium, to collect his weekly 2 vial ration. This wasnt enough and apparently he was shaking from the chills a lot. Pa remembers him scraping the bottom of whatever he used to smoke the opium from, to try to recycle whatever he could. Even worse, he died horribly from some venerial disease. This was pre-penicillin. He was a blind (from the VD) and frightened man when he finally went. Pa remembers GGF urinating but it is a little icky to describe. Good eh? I feel a little sad just describing it, just how he must have suffered. His name, when translated was "Black Boy" (or so my sister says).

I knew my maternal grandfather was a gambler (not successful) but I never knew there were gamblers on my dad's side, until now. My kid likes to play cards. Bummer. Predisposed? I hope not.

Till later.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Freezing my frames

Nerves? Man, from minute number 1, I had knots in my stomach. And then these guys got a freekick within like minutes of starting. I could have smacked Bresciano for doing that. I did consider switching off the telly after about 80 mins cos I couldnt invest anymore. Am so glad I didnt. Well done, boys and hopefully, we wont get thrashed by Brazil.



I also had a gentle reminder why I stopped playing pennant sport. My racquetball team got into the grand final and the NERVES are killing me, even if I am only playing in cretin grade. I pre-played the game many many times in my head. For the curious, I lost my match to a very fit nineteen y.o. GIRL! but my team won, so I get this little piece of granite that says "Premiers" and this in my first season, for which I am pleased, I suppose. Note that I've played > 12 seasons of squash and have nothing for it. Zero.

Anyway, have started packing for the trip. 80% of the luggage are little gifts, chocolates, t-shirts. I'm just bringing a couple of shirts and clean underwear for me. Everything else, not mine.

So why am I not looking forward to the trip? Over the past 18 months, I've had many people leave my orbit (geographically and otherwise) and then some more enter (and some intermittently, long story). I've never really thought about all these movements but on reflection, this has been always happening (for everyone too, right?). It's just that there has been many more people leaving than entering this past period. Sad? I'm not sure how I feel about it all. Maybe in the process of insulating myself from all this 'badness', I take away my ability to be really happy as well. Maybe. Just a theory. Anyway, I may have neglected to tell my parents about some of these exits. There never seemed to be a right moment to bring up the topic. There I said it. Hmmm.... that's strange. I dont feel any better.

Till July. In the meantime, have a listen to The Frames. Has the best aural version of fire that I know.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

On my best behaviour

I never realised that it'd be so hard to put up at least 1 blog post per calendar month. This is only here cos tomorrow is June 1. Procrastination, thy name is Chai. I guess it doesnt help that I've a new job, which sucks away the energy.

Let me see, what highlights in May can I write about?
Ahhh... I lost all my credit cards. I was on my daily morning run/sprint and thought I'd expedite the process by removing my train ticket from my wallet while moving at full speed. I suspect it must have fallen out then. I once got fined $150(!) cos I thought I could validate it at the destination. And the guy was a real prick too. A curse on his complexion but I fear I may already be too late. Forced to use cash for everything, I never realised before how much I actually spend. Depressing.

And there is the new job, and the new co-workers. Pretty cool guys. Ugly but cool. Initially, I was put in the nice, clean and modern office. Then they moved all the contractors to the 'other' building, which I dont think is ever vacummed, has drawerless tables and smelt of sour milk. 5 of us in the one room (referred to as 'the box') plus visitors. But we're coping, in our own little ways. Eg. the others wanted all box people to use an Ashley Judd photo as our messenger avatar, which I reluctantly agreed to (they're psychos!). Which they then changed to something else but neglected to tell me. So I was Ashley for a day and a half. Was kind of odd to my other messenger buddies who were not in the know.

Also, for the first time ever, Kim made me lunch! It was the most delicious jam and butter on toast I've ever had. I promptly went out and got her a copy of this recipe book. Admittedly, the motivation was one of selfishness (ie. I want us to progress past toast real quickly). Exciting times beckon.

And I finally got my airline tickets (again, had to return the last set) and booked the hotel rooms. It seems much more real now as it's getting quite close to departure. The last time I was back there was in 2004 for a grand total of 36 hours. Mannn... was that a nightmare. A schoolmate (from wayyyyy back) offered to drive me back to my hometown but I had to make my way from S'pore to M'sia. Easier said than done with peak hour traffic. I had to walk across the causeway with my luggage (long story). It was so friggingly humid. My clothes were soaked, my jeans were clinging on to me from the sweat. It was horrible. Never again. I asked my mum if she wanted anything from here and her answer was Pecans. Huh? What? Weird-O. That's what I'd expect if I was calling from the supermarket. Ah well, lets hope it skips a few generations.



Gawd, this post really sucks. Just like Decoder Ring live sucks. I like their CD a lot though.
And if you have nothing to do, go see these guys. They've got a CD launch at The East Brunswick Club on the 17th June. They dont suck. They're fun. OK, so I work with one of them. Go. Buy some merchandise. CDs, T-shirts (assorted sizes), caps and underwear. Moi? I'm flying that night. Lucky, eh? You can hear them (Des Peres) online here. They're also playing in Canberra and Sydney.

Till later.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Why I Blog

OK, Rowena posed these questions on her blog. Well, it's her homework and I suspect she's using the power of the internet to do it for her. *winks* :-). Or at least, that's what I'd do if I was her, which I may be, or not, this being the internet.
So Ro, this is for you (sort of, I may be veering off topic, a little).

1. Why do you blog?
2. Blogging v journalism – is blogging the "new" journalism, an adjunct to it, absolutely nothing to do with it? (I’m talking about "current affairs" type blogs here obviously)
3. Do you also write for a living? How do the two co-exist for you? Why do both?
4. Positives and negatives of the blogging experience?
5. Does blogging foster connection and dialogue between people or is it all an illusion? Does blogging matter?




A1. I always saw it as a diary/journal. I know it's not, but that's how it started out for me. I thought it'd be cool for my kid to be able to read it when she was older, trying to figure out her dad. I know I could have used pen/paper instead but I'm an online kind of guy. It'd be so cool if my grandad/great-grandad had kept some sort of journal. Maybe they did, but it doesnt exist now.
These are some comments from my vicious real life 'friends'.
"I think your grandchildren will be very comforted to know that their grandfather was a nerdy loner, spending hours cataloguing his existence on an online blog,rather than actually living ;-)
Ahhh, they dont understand, do they.
The content sort of changed when I realised some people read it (my fault, I should have been anonymous). Which means I dont write stuff which is too personal and as hard as I try to ignore it, stuff which I think is not interesting to others. The latter which I didnt care before. Not that I do now, but it's at the back of my mind.

A2. First, define journalism. I think it's one type of journalism. Maybe a hybrid between a journalist and a writer. What makes something journalism? If one writes for a paper, then it is journalism? If said same writer gets sacked from the paper but continues writing the same thing via a blog, has anything changed? Just the medium. So I think the answer is in the content, rather than the medium used. Similarly, just because it gets published in a paper doesnt make it journalism. The medium used is inconsequential.

A3. Is writing software considered writing? If not, then no. I guess I sometimes write documentation for it, as well as requirements, correspond with customers, which may need use of lots of weasel words. Anyways,...

A4. Positives are that I get to communicate with people with whom I would never have been able to in a real world, cos of geography, different social circles. Just like friends of engineers are mostly other engineers. I assume it's similar of other fields. Plus I get to read some wonderful writers. I think Jay is very talented. And I've actually met people (eg. fluffy, bekk, rachy, tim and a few others who I know are bloggers but not what their blogs are called off the top of my head). This should be under 'Negatives', you say? Yeah, very funny.
Negatives - it is so frigging time consuming. It takes a lot of energy, time and creativity to maintain a constant output, which I dont have and I admire those who actually manage to do this. Chicky and Steph comes immediately to mind.
I am quite surprised that some people still visit here cos I would have thought my irregular posts and uncommentable content would repel all, eventually. :-) Do I care if I get zero visitors? Yes and no. I dont want any readers (I think. Wait! Dont leave), but I would be a little upset, initially. I dont understand either.

A5. For sure (fosters communication). It is just another medium. 100 years ago, people were using the poets corner in the market, now it is this. Nothing has changed except the medium. You still get the odd loony spouting whatever. But the internet gives all a global audience.
And I dont think blogging matters in the whole scheme of things. The internet matters, but not so blogging. If blogs disappeared overnight, I'd have a few hours a week of my life back.

Hope this was of help, Ro. I have opinions on many other matters as well, such as the AWB thingy. Poor Mark Vaile. He can either tell the truth, and get into big trouble or pretend he remembers nothing, and come across as an incompetent buffoon.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Fool on the Hill

First things first. This is for Rachy.
It's a shout out at the Clyde and it's on THIS Saturday. I may be there with my camera (hidden and otherwise). Actually, just remembered I have the kid that day. I'll see.

Anyway, be there or be talked about.



OK... the following is pretty dull so you have been warned. I treat my blog as a journal for my kid to read to me when I'm in the sanitarium she puts me in.

Anyway, these are the chronicles of my job hunting the past fortnight. The dull starts here. My contract ended here on the 28th Feb and I'd got a job offer from a mob in the building 5 doors down and it was in the building of this girl I knew and that just added to the complexity/excitement/novelty. I dont think she'd have minded but her wife might not have liked it, BUT that's another story. "Start anytime in March", they said. Work wanted a 1 week extension. Sure, I said. Asked the new mob. No problems. Then another week extension. Same thing. Then a third. Emailed the new mob. No reply. Not wanting to seem 'too keen', I rang them up 2 working days later. 'Dont worry. We got someone else.' Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh...... I said. Ahhhhhhhhh, I said again. I was *so* annoyed at myself for not asking for the job offer to be on paper, annoyed at them for not telling me that they werent willing to wait anymore (I'd have ditched the current work) and annoyed at the current work for extending me 1 week at a time (5 times!). Granted, I'm getting a farewell lunch every week but the turnout has been pretty poor lately.

Job interview #2. I'd worked with this person before. Got the job email Thursday night, interview Friday evening. They were desperate. MUST deliver in 4 weeks. It would be stress city. They want me to start Monday morning. Told them I'd need to go back a day or 2 to hand over stuff. They cant allow that, they say. I told them morally (whatever that is), I cannot accept the job then. Immediately after the interview, I rang my current work commiting myself to them for another 2 weeks. 60 seconds later, I get a call from the interviewers. They say, OK, I can go back to hand over stuff if I still want the job. "Dude, you are 60 seconds too late". Crazy really. They get me, they lose 1 day this week. Today is Wednesday, they still havent got anyone, so they have lost 3 days already. Loyalty? Gawd, I hate having it. I dont know if I did the clever thing, but I think I did the right thing. And I'm relieved it worked out this way.

Job interview #3. I found out that the person who would be doing the phone interview was someone I worked with 4 years ago. I will refrain from saying too much cos I remember reading somewhere that employers sometimes do online research on job applicants. So apart from expressing a curiousity as to *why* he would want to interview me and asking you guys what the polite word is for stupid, I will leave it at that. O.K., just this bit then. I got 30 minutes worth of questions like these... "Chai, have you ever been really busy and your colleague asks you for your help. How would you handle this, Chai?" and "Chai, you are behind in your work and your manager hands you even more work. What would you do, Chai?". I was beginning to wonder what sort of technical position I had applied for.

Anyway, I did finally get a job. I start on the 10th April. It's with some people I used to work with. Yes, I know I'm professionally promiscuous. Anyway, the offices are the poshest I've ever seen. The work environment is like a hotel lobby, lots of space. It's really new and really well furnished. No expense spared. It'll be different from what I'm used to. Hope I can wear jeans not have to wear a tie, cos the elastic on my tie is a little frayed, from old age. Bow tie, you say?

Good eh? So have been very busy with work, looking for new work and as usual, preparing my tax for the ATO and trying to fit in a semblance of a social life in there somewhere. Frigging paper work. Next job, I'm going permanent even with all these new IR laws. Just need to work for a company with > 100 employees.

And I lost pennant racquetball to an 18 y.o. GIRL! The guys now want me to wear a skirt next time I play. Sure, no problems, I said. I already do that at home.
Is there no end to my humiliation? But anyway, 2 of the guys on the Australian C'wealth table tennis team, I've beaten before in competition, so there. Nyeh, nyeh. Oh yeah, I may have forgotten to mention the small matter that they were little kids then. Take that, you snotty little 12 y.o. OK, one was 17 and the other 15.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Live On My Mind

See you standing in the door against the dark
Fireflies around you like a crown of sparks
You blow me a kiss that blurs my vision
Blurs the human condition

You're the ocean ringing in my brain
You are my island ripe with cane
Catch the scent of strange flowers when you pass
Fluid motion like the wind in grass

It's your eyes I want to see
Looking into mine
Got you live on my mind
All the time

Light me like incense in the night
Light me like a candle burning bright
Light me like a searchlight in the sky
Time means nothing when I look in your eyes

It's your eyes I want to see
Looking into mine
Got you live on my mind
All the time

It's your eyes I want to see
Looking into mine
Got you live on my mind
All the time


* I love this song so much right now. Only version I can find is by Elbow though.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Random observations

As the world turns, (+ other midday TV serial titles), check out my restaurant review.

Here are some non-sequitur bits milling around in my brain (cos there's lots of room there).

* The USA is pushing for US infrastructure to be made US owned only. Implications? I think most of the private electricity companies here are US owned.

* It's better for one to be part of the team in opposition than for the team to be in government but without said one.

* Oil spill in Alaska. Hmmm... maybe I shouldnt have driven in this morning. Didnt feel like riding in the rain and the trains are running on Sunday timetables.

* The Queen is in town. Hmmm, hmmmm and hmmmm again.



* Last week, I saw Jana Pittman when walking in from the train station (near the CAE). She had a half smile on her face but was avoiding eye contact with all. Which got me to thinking, if I wanted to keep a low profile, I shouldnt be wearing a flourescent yellow tracksuit in the city at 9 a.m. in the morning.

* I picked up the plane tickets for the kid and I to visit her grandparents in June. She is really excited. Mine is more a mixture of mild dread and extreme dread.

* I am at work on a public holiday. Which is not that bad as I'm taking Tuesday off instead, to look after the kid.

On a lighter note, check this out dude. My restaurant review. Granted, it was done hurriedly cos I wanted the blog to have a constant flow of 2 reviews a week and the well is dry.

This band is becoming more prominent in my playlist. I should try and find out why the unusual name. Having said that, Steely Dan's Peg is my current ear worm. I think it's the funky rhythm.

Finally, I am happy but I hope the rest of my life is not going to be like this (while maintaining or exceeding my level of happiness, of course).

Point of this post? None.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Glass Shatters1

exhales [Note this is not a downer post. It's just a snapshot of my life in February. In the words of Team America, Everything is bon. I am happy'ish. This was added post publishing after seeing the first few comments received. :-) ]

It has been a hectic and horrible month, and thus setting the tone for this post. My contract ends2 this Tuesday, on the 28th February and of course, to finish up, I am working like crazy and late (8pm? 9pm?) almost every other night, and that's only because I have the kid over and racquetball on those other nights.
I'd added some new functionality into our system and then it suddenly all stopped working. Eeeek. Indeed. The customer was pretty pissed. Words like lawsuit kept popping up. 8 working days later with 2 of us on the case, it was some stupid obscure configuration problem. Bottom line, the system now works. Yayyyyy! More importantly, it WASNT my fault. What a frigging waste of my life. Almost 2 weeks, pissed down whereever, for nothing, and it was a very tense and stressful 2 weeks. One's self-belief takes a bit of a pounding. And all that hair.

Real to Virtual to Real

When I was a kid and my Dad was my age, I always got the impression he was so in control, confident and in charge of what he did at work. I wonder now if he was ever semi-hysterical, a blubbering mess and full of self-doubt, just another cog in the wheel of inconsequentiality. I sometimes wonder how I appear to my kid. She thinks I work in a paper clip factory. "Really?", I ask her. "Always have, dude", she says.

I got called in for an interview at a job agency, which is like a frigging waste of time anyway, cos they only want to see you so they can tell the client they actually met with you and that they're not just a resume forwarding service which is what they are anyway. I dont like the idea of them. They take like 20% off the top of what I get, which I think is way too much for the service they provide. Anyway, they asked me if I'd used XYZ before. There was a 2 second window there where I had to decide either to be surly and say things like 'Did you read my resume at all?'. I decided to be nice. It was touch and go there. Apparently, one becomes less patient with age.

I think I need a job like what this lady has. I reckon anyone can do a better job than her. Frigging waste of my tax dollars. How can a person with that attitude and that level of awareness, ever get a job like that? And Mr Costello too? Perhaps it's some clever ploy to distract everyone from the AWB conga dance. We get nothing from them, I feel. Nothing.

Funny how everyone wants something for nothing. My housemate, my employer. Details? Just the usual money thing.

And is it wrong to feel (very) slightly uncomfortable if I were to go see Brokeback Mountain with just a male friend, as opposed to a group of male friends. Maybe I have issues. I do want to go see the movie.

And thus ends this months blog of my life as a dog.

Postscript :
I still have to do my quarterly BAS which is due this Tuesday. Procrastination? I guess this is what this blog entry is all about. I'm off to vacuum now and then change the sheets and about a quarter to midnight, I'll start on the BAS.

1I have stepped from the virtual and into the real world and have met my first blogger. Feel weird? You betcha. In the sense the depth of the conversation was more than what I..., never mind. Humble apologies for the size of the pic (500kb).

2No need to worry, if you were. There seems to be a bit of work out there. Just a matter of $$$. I've actually got a job offer, 4 buildings down the street, at $X, but I said I wanted $X + $20. No harm in asking, I thought. Lunch money. They were supposed to ring me on Friday, but didnt. Ah well. Sometimes the train leaves without me too. But I'm happy to potter around for a while.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

I have long since given up (*)

This long forgotten memory popped up while walking home from the train station. It is quite possible that the AWB Iraq can of worms prompted it.

This is slightly complicated to explain but I will try my best.




I was 15 years old when I played in a team table tennis tournament (teams of 4-5 players). The day before the finals, 2 players from a team in the playoff for 1st and 2nd joined my team for lunch. There was a conversation thread which I could not follow clearly. What had transpired was that these 2 players were quite unhappy with their team patron and were willing to lose their matches on purpose in order to spite him (more so his possibly boastful wife).
They were willing to lose their games but not the prize money they would have gotten had they won. They wanted one of our guys to approach the other team.
So it was arranged that they would lose but still get the money. Note that financially, they gained (nor lost) nothing.

What is troubling is that I didnt say anything when I finally understood what was happening. I would like to think that I thought it was wrong but I really dont remember whether there was any outrage on my part then. However, I do remember thinking it wasnt fair to the other 2 unknowing players (one was to become the Mens State champion the year after).
The realisation of how much one would need to hate/dislike their sponsor/patron to have wanted to do this only came later in life. It was a black day for the sport and for me. It still bothers me to this day, 20ish years later, that I remained silent.
What is also troubling is that these guys, some in their late 20s, early 30s would expose a 15 y.o. to such a situation.

I dont remember where my team finished. Lower than 4th I think.

Postscript :
I can only imagine the embarassment of the people who were directly involved when all this was found out a few months later. The tournament was not held the following year. One of the guys is now a locksmith after dropping out of a police cadetship.

Sorry to bore you guys, but this is for my kid, when she is older and finds out, at the lawyers reading of my will that I've spent her inheritance and all I leave her is the URL and password to my blog. Go here instead for superb and entertaining food reviews. BTW, I dont remember ever telling anybody this story. Not even my parents.

(*) but I still think of you often.

Next scheduled blog : 18th Feb 2006.

Monday, January 23, 2006

It's not you, it's me.

This sorry saga takes in events spanning 2 nights.1

Day 1. Friday Night
I'd rung Simon (who sometimes reads my blog. Hi S!) up to see if he wanted go see Good Night, Good Luck.
S : Hello.
Me : The luminuous wind gently shimmers off the jade pagoda. *click*

S was 5 mins late cos he got the time wrong. Then these 2 giggly girls2 had the audacity to jump the cinema queue by walking over those zig-zag lines which we (I) was happy to follow. OK, so it was just them and us in the queue, but still. S is such a shameless flirt. They were going for Narnia. Pfft. Kids movie. 1 hour to kill before the movie started so food time3.



Hey! The same girls were there at the restaurant! While they were perusing the menu at the window, we got in and got the last table. Up your nose, girls. Karma sucks! Anyway, I'm glad S declined my offer to invite them over cos when they eventually got seated4 next to us, we discovered the quiet one had a voice like nails dragged down a blackboard. S confirmed my observations by clever use of his eyebrows. *shudder*

Conversation after the movie.
S : I did think some of the audience looked a bit young.
Me : Crossed my mind too. I thought Melbourne youth had gone serious.
S : And I did hear you say cinema Five, I just thought you knew where you were going.
Me : Thanks for the confidence. The jade pagoda falleth down the mountain.

[flashback] Conversation in the cinema.
Me : Jeesh, it's taking a long time to start.
[5 mins later]
Me : Shit. It's Narnia. Shit. Have u seen it before? Shit. Shit.5
[5 mins later]
S : Can you *stop* swearing now?

And that, is how I saw Narnia for the 2nd time in a space of 10 days. I didnt like it all that much the first time either. 132 minutes.

Day 2. Saturday Night.
Was going to go see The Constant Gardener with Elle before it disappeared from the big screen. Pre-movie dinner review here.

Conversation at the cinema queue.
L : What do you mean there is no booking? I rang at 430? They took my card number.
Usher : Sorry, Miss. The session is sold out.
Me (grimaces) : This is one great weekend for movie outings.6 Shit. Shit.

Later, as I was leaving her place.
L : Why do things like this happen to me?
Me (distractedly) : It's not you, it's.... me.

*big sigh* I try again in a fortnight.


1 I did consider doing this Memento style. Did you know how hard that is?
2 an incidental secondary story.
3 I'll eventually do a review at We Do Chew Our Food.
4 They actually moved from their original allocated table to the one next to ours. *shrugs*
5 Narnia started 15 mins later than GNGL. I estimate we'd already missed about that much, 15 mins of the other movie. Karma does suck.
6 Friday the 13th? Pffft...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Under Construction

Post not ready. Come back Monday.

In the meantime, you may want to read my restaurant review here at We Do Chew Our Food.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Rush of Blood to the Head

MG had this cunning plan where we1 have a food/restaurant review blog collectively.




To be included in this very select group, all you have to do is to just mention the possible existence of this food blog anywhere, in anyones blog and you're in. The key word here is exclusivity.

So far, the (possible) bloggers are elaine and subl.

Some administravia.

The alternatives are :
Using blogger.
Pro :
Easy/familiar to use.
Con :
Hard to maintain.
Hard to organise.
ie. if we use the comments as reviews, comments are not editable after it has been submitted.

Use of a Wiki
Pro :
Easier to organise/manage. The logistics part of it is good.
Con :
Small learning curve involved.

But more importantly, we need to come up with a cool name. Off the top of my little head, I can think of
melb_gourmand
melb_palate

I prefixed it with melb but we dont have to.

My thoughts, we go with blogger cos it's easier to setup initially and see what logistical problems we encounter and I'll migrate it over to a wiki later.

This is roughly how it *may* work (using blogger).
Each blog entry is for a specific restaurant. I guess you might need to be added to list of "bloggers" to be able to edit the entry or add to the entry. I dont see using comments as input to reviews workable as one cannot re-edit comments. Perhaps a prefix of the blog title with the cuisine type, so as to ease searching? Hmmm, or maybe one could post in a comment, then an administrator puts it into the main post? See, I told you it was clunky.

These are just random thoughts, BTW.

What do we get out of this?
I have no idea. Maybe it's a really bad idea.

Our motto? How about "Just because we cant cook doesnt mean we dont know good food". Alright, that's *my* life motto and we dont have to use it. Yes, yes, I know most of you can cook well. I was just referring to self, where each meal is like eating fugu. Anyway, come up with an alternative. I need ideas.

Inspiration? The Superparma site.

Soooo, express your interest and your thoughts and your ideas. Basically, to quote New Order, Express Yourself.

Addendum
The site is currently at http://letmeeatnow.blogspot.com/.

1Yes, you too.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Filler post

I have been tagged by that, that, that person1. Seeing as I have nothing to write about2 anyway, I'll resort to the trusty "include song link" and do the meme I found on Melly's blog. It's not what subl asked for but it's a compromise. Life's a compromise.


Rain, beautiful rain, the cool change on that 43C day. Love the smell.


Song : That Was The Worst Christmas Ever by Sufjan Stevens.

Four Jobs you’ve had in your life:
Waiter
University Tutor
Research Assistant
Chippendale Programmer

Four movies you could watch over and over:
The Incredibles
Princess Bride
Any PT Anderson movie (esp Punch Drunk Love).
Any Jarmusch movie (my fav is Dead Man but not too sure about repeated viewings of that).

Four places you’ve lived:
Kuantan
Kuala Lumpur
Nuremberg
Hong Kong

Four TV shows you love to watch:
Currently:
Dont watch anything regularly currently

Forever:
Seinfeld
The Simpsons
Firefly
Arrested Development

Four places you’ve been on vacation:
Budapest
Perugia
Cairo
St Louis

Four websites you visit daily:
Slashdot
The Age
Boing Boing
Groklaw

Four of your favorite foods:
Chicken satays (grilled, ones at Satay Bar are quite good)
#22 at Thanh Phong, Richmond.
Sweet Mangoes
Garlic nan with any curry (except lamb)

Four places you’d rather be:
Rome
Istanbul
Germany (Kaiserslautern, Munich, Stuttgart during the World Cup)
Home

Four bestest albums (my enhancement):
Kate Bush - The Dreaming
Fiona Apple - When The Pawn...
EBTG - Walking Wounded Garbage - Version 2
Sufjan Stevens - Illinoise

Four bestest books (my addition):
Gabriel Marquez - Love in the Time of Cholera
Robert Butler - A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain
William Goldman - The Princess Bride
Bill Bryson - Neither Here Nor There

That was painless, I think. For me anyway.

I wont tag anybody as I dont like to inflict pain but do do this just so that I'll know what you like and where you've been. That way, I'll get to feel like I know you really well, though the reality is that we're strangers and will probably remain so for all eternity [maniacal laughter in the background]. No pressure though.

1Substitute with your favourite term of endearment eg. harlot, sod, sausage, witch.
2The kid fell asleep on me and I didnt have the heart to wake her up to go to the fireworks for NYE.