Thursday, 29 October 2009

Autumn, leading to X'mas

It is a funny time of the year.

You are never sure what to wear because you might get too cold, or too warm.

I am not rich so I cannot afford to have the 'in-between' wardrobe like most people do...autumn cardigan... autumn jacket....

My range of clothes (which are getting more and more limited these days as I have 'outgrown' most of them) jump from summer, straight to winter.

It's crazy that we're now talking about Christmas already. Shops have started stocking X'mas merchandise as early as September !!! (a bit like CNY and Hari Raya at home, no?) With Royal Mail on strike, there is an added pressure now to get Christmas presents sorted as early as possible because we do all our X'mas shopping online.

So Steve said to me that I must start dropping hints about what I want for X'mas. Year after year, it gets harder and harder to get each other X'mas presents. I have not done very well last year for him and I still feel bad about it. Last year he really pulled out all the stops and surprised me with an amazing portable piano and the best thing I got him was a Heston Blumenthal cookbook, The Big Fat Duck Cookbook which was not your ordinary cookbook and it still cost me an arm and a leg. The book weighs around 5.5kg, with glossy pages of scientific cooking methods, stunning pictures and amazingly unusual out of this world's recipes and it's more of an artwork rather than a cookbook. It has got some amazingly unusual recipes for things like 'snail porridge', 'tea jelly', 'sardine on toast sorbet' and 'smoked bacon and egg ice cream', to name a few.

Apart from the portable piano, he also got me a nice, cuddly and fluffy 'tatty teddy' dressing gown which I almost brought round to Bea's in Reading when she told me her house is really cold. I changed my mind because the whole thing bundled up would have taken the entire space of the small backpack I was taking. And it was really cold and I regretted not bringing it. Just to clarify, the person in the picture is not me, hehe. But the dressing gown looks just like the one I've got. Cozy, isn't it? Anyways, so he got me this nice dressing gown, and I got him an alarm clock with a weather station. haha. I know, I know it's terrible. But it is no ordinary alarm clock !!! It's got a special cord which you can stick out the window and it'll tell you the current temperature and it'll give you a very accurate weather forecast !!! Seriously, I thought it was cool !! (I know, sad...)

So this year, I really don't know what he's going to get me. I've got me laptop, got me piano, got me car, can't think of anything else I need, really..... hmm. The worst part is I don't know what to get him !! I got him a PS3 on his birthday this year, his dad and brother got him an exercise bike, so I've run out of things I can get him... SIGH. Any ideas, pleaseeeee feel free to drop them in.

I might ask for a pair of UGG boots though. They look so comfortable and so lovely !! But they are bloody expensive. I've never been able to spend a lot of money buying expensive clothing or handbags. So if Father Christmas is listening.... please may I have a nice, cozy and lovely pair of UGG boots?? Pwetty pwease...

Anyway, we're heading up to London tomorrow !!! Yayyy !! Am really excited about that. We plan to have dinner at a Japanese restaurant in St. James Park after the musical, Wicked, so I'll let you know how it goes.

Mean time, take care peeps and have a good weekend and a great Halloween.

Monday, 26 October 2009

On why it was absolutely justified for me to be NEUROTIC !!

So last night I cried myself to sleep... and this morning Steve accused me of being neurotic.

As it is a well-known fact, I am a techno geek and where possible I always look for an opportunity to get the best software updates for my blackberry and my Mac and I love designing my own themes to be used on my blackberry... you get the idea.

Last night, for the first time, I installed and ran the Blackberry Desktop Manager on my Mac because I had received notification that there was a new software update !! So while watching the TV, I plugged in the phone and started going through all the familiar steps of clicking this and clicking that.

Not even bothering to read the screen for what I was installing because I've done it countless times, I set the phone up to receive the 'latest' software.

When the phone rebooted itself after the update, I picked it up to see what has been 'updated'. The first sign that told me something was amiss was when the screen showed 'As this is your first time using a Blackberry, this setup wizard will guide you through.....'


Before I proceed, I need to layout the foundation of how important my Blackberry is to me... I have ALL my passwords in there, I have ALL my contact numbers, ALL my work and personal appointments on the Calendar, my pictures.... basically, my WHOLE LIFE !!Okay, perhaps not that serious, but you get the drift.

So, I checked my phone directory, BLANK ! I checked my password keeper, BLANK! I checked my Calendar, BLANK !! Blink, Blink, Blink...


By then my fingers were trembling and my heart was beating fast and there was sweat on my forehead.

What followed was a series of frantic revival rescue missions, trying to revert the update and looking up forums to see what I can do to 'undo' the damage... and to make matters worse, the Desktop Manager (as if by fear) has refused to work properly on the Mac, leaving me more frustrated and hopeless than ever...

Steve, as usual, while trying to be positive was saying things like 'It's replaceable'...'I'm sure there's a way round it' and 'Why are you so upset?'.... all of which were not very helpful at that time.

So not knowing what to do next, I started crying (yeah, that would really solve the problem)... I was so upset that I was prepared to throw the Berry on the wall...not only have I wiped out all the data on my Berry, all my other settings must have been affected as well because the Internet refused to work and I couldn't get into my email. I WAS NOT A HAPPY BUNNY AT ALL !

So last night, I cried myself to sleep...

This morning, after waking up and the realisation that I have lost EVERYTHING dawned on me, I became depressed again. I switched on my Mac nevertheless to see if there's anything that can be done. This time, the Desktop Manager has worked again, and I found a file with the title 'Back up' and I began to see a light at the end of the tunnel. So with trembling hands, I plugged my berry in and  click on the magic button called 'Restore'.

I must explain here that I had not thought of doing this beforehand simply because I had not created a 'Back up' file before beginning the installation process so I did not expect that there would be a 'back up' file in the system. (Bless who ever created this feature as an automatic feature in the software)

When the process has finished and I checked my Berry again, I was awashed with relief to find that allllll my passwords were there, my contacts were there and my calendar events were there !!


I knew what was coming but I had to phone Steve to tell him the good news (he had left for work by then) and of course what followed was a series of him mocking me and imitating my 'sobbing' and 'wailing' from the previous night...and him calling me a neurotic.

But I didn't care..... all I cared about was that I got everything back on the phone.....Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...... what a relief.

I think when I get home tonight I shall write down in a secret notebook all my passwords in case something catastrophic like this should happen again (god forbid).

I am not melodramatic or neurotic, seriously.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Sometimes it's a bitch

Normally when there has been a bad episode at work (the one which I have to smile a lot), I usually get over it quite quickly and shrug the whole thing off in a matter of minutes.

For the past two days however, I have been deeply disturbed by a bad experience at work on Friday night. It was not really, really bad, if you think about it, but I just can't seem to get it out of my mind.

As usual, it was around 7pm, I was the only serving assistant at the till and I had four customers queueing at the till. When I was still serving a young customer, the next customer in line  (an old chap) practically shoved him aside and crossed that 'invisible line' where you're not meant to cross until you are being served. So, naturally, being a good customer assistant (kepo and brave at the same time), I tried to say something in the nicest possible way I can to help the customer understand what he's done.  It turned out to be the one thing that I would regret doing later on. Here goes the conversation...

Me : Excuse me Sir (see how polite I am?), this gentleman is still being served, if you don't mind standing back just a little?
Old man : (With eyes glaring like they're gonna fall out of their sockets)YOU DON'T MIND ME DOING WHAT I LIKE TO DO AND YOU CARRY ON WITH WHATEVER YOU'RE DOING. I'M STANDING HERE DOING NO HARM.
Me : (Shocked, a bit red-faced but composed, giving change to the previous customer)Ahem, your change, 12 pounds 75 pence. Thank you and have a good evening.
Me : (Still scanning the items bought by the old man, *toott* *toott* *toott*)That's 3 pounds 76 pence, PLEASE.
Old man : (giving me money and still grumbling, I didn't fully hear what he was saying coz by then I 
had lost interest and was too humiliated to comprehend)

After I had given him his change, he was still standing at the end of the till packing his stuff and glaring at me at the same time so I tried to be as composed as I am and started serving the next customer, just to let him have a taste of his own medicine (I usually like to wait until the previous customer has left the till before I start serving the next customer because I believe it's rude otherwise).

Like I said, it was not a really really bad experience as in I wasn't slapped or being called names but I just cannot get it out of my mind. It kept playing at the back of my mind, the way he looked, his awful facial expression and also the phrase 'have you not got a tongue'. I think partly because I regretted not doing what I should have done. What I should have done was not to sit there and take it in like that. What I should have done was to ring the bell for assistance and refuse to serve the old man for being extremely rude, unnecessarily. Just because we are working at a supermarket, wanting to earn a decent living, it does not mean that we deserve to be treated with disrespect. That's what's bugging me, I think. What I should have done.

I'm hoping that after blogging about it, I will feel a lot better. Next week when I get into work again on Tuesday, I know that I'll be a little wary and phobic in case he should come through my till again. I want to be able to get over this episode and move on.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Mack a Witch

I love listening to Chinese songs. Growing up in a Chinese primary school and continuing onto secondary education in a school populated by 99% Chinese, naturally my pop idols included Aaron Kwok (don't laugh), Andy Lau, Leslie Cheung, Emil Chow, to name a few. All my collection of Chinese songs are built through the years, mixing old and new and some songs really do bring back some fond memories.

I like putting my Ipod on shuffle mode because you'll never know what you're going to get and sometimes it can be an old, old song that really melts your heart. Other times, however, it can be a funny song you've never heard of before and you wonder how it ended up being stored on the Ipod to start with. I recently encountered such a song on my way to see Beatrice in Reading on the train.

One common trait of Chinese songs is that most often than not, you find an English phrase or two thrown into the middle of the song, especially the chorus part, for god only knows whatever reason. This song started off being normal (in Chinese) and true to form, in the chorus section, the guy started singing 'Mack a witch, mack a witch' (must say out loud for the effect)..... so I was trying to decide if he was saying that Mack is a witch? or that Mack wants to be a witch? or could he be asking people to Smack the witch? or perhaps Mack should be the witch?

Then it suddenly made sense to me.... he's telling the girl to 'Make a wish'...................

Seriously, if your English is that bad, why bother? Just stick to Chinese, which you're good at?!!

Another classic example, unfortunately, is in one of my all time favourites.

It's a Happy Birthday song and when it comes to the chorus part, naturally, the guy wants to show off his English talent and started singing 'Happy Burstday..... happy burstday to you...... '

I dooooo love my Chinese songs dearly... but I can't help but laugh each time I hear something like that....

It doesn't make me love my Chinese songs any lesser though :)

Thursday, 22 October 2009

The Age of Lazy

Have you ever experienced this?

You see the latest entry on your blog and you keep saying, I must write a new blog, must write a new blog but you're just never in the mood to, although there is no shortage of things to write.

I am in one of those moods.

Can't be bothered.

Maybe soon, when that urge comes back to me, you might see two or three new entries at the same time.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

I haven't given up!

Remember a few days ago I was quite upset about the fact that my laptop pouch has left funny stains on my laptop? I know, you must be thinking, OH NO, ENOUGH OF THAT ALREADY?!!

After that incident, I was so desperate for a laptop pouch that there were two occasions where I came very, very close to placing an order for a new pouch. The first one was a funky looking one, and quite cheap as well. Just when I was about to hit the 'place order' button, fortunately I saw a close up picture from another website and realised that it is made from very cheap, tacky and horrible looking denim material, and I was instantly put off by it and cancelled my order immediately.

After that, I found the Applesac, an environmentally friendly pouch made especially for Macs and fell madly in love with this particular one. Unfortunately, this can only be found in the US and hasn't yet become popular here (the more reason to get it). After reading various forums, I found out that ordering from the main website means that on top of the $30 you have to pay for the bag, there is a shipping cost of approximately $34 to add to that as well. As much as I would love to own that Red Delicious, I am not about to pay more than the odds just to have it. So I managed to track down another cheaper method of purchasing it, which it through mygearstore and managed to get the shipping cost down to $9.99. But it still means paying $40 just for a laptop pouch and it's really not worth it so again, I became sensible and cancelled the order.

Then I realised it. The reason I am reluctant to place an order for a new pouch is because I still have not given up on my 'precious' hand-made laptop pouch. There was no way I was going to give up on it so easily.. and my rescue mission has gone another notch higher, and more desperate. After giving it some thoughts, I came up with what I thought was the best solution. I decided that I needed to sew an inner lining in the pouch, in order to prevent any future colour run. Now I remembered that a few weeks back, in my haste to iron my skirt ready for the Conference, I had ruined a perfectly beautiful and nice formal skirt and there is an inner lining just waiting to be used!! As soon as I have established that it is indeed a 'do-able' idea, I quickly got down to work and  started unpicking the stitches of the skirt to take out the lining. And work was underway to stitch it into the shape of a pouch in order to be sewn into the pouch and be turned into a smart looking inner lining. 

After working on it for two days (wish I had a sewing machine coz it's really no fun hand stitching and making sure that the stitching is neat and 'invisible), the project is finally finished and I am pleased to announce that the good 'ol hand-made laptop pouch is very much in operation again (until fresh new streaks are discovered, that is). So I am glad that I have managed to come up with a solution to salvage that much loved creation and hopefully, this will be the end of it and that I shall not be writing another post concerning 'the laptop pouch' (fingers crossed)

Have to go to bed early now and rest that poor neck of mine. Adios people !!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Monday morning

My Monday started off with remembering what a lovely Sunday Steve and I had, driving along part of the Jurassic Coast, chewing on beefy Biltong bought from a South African shop, snacking on naughty Fruity Chutney Nik Nak (similar to Twisties) and drinking some really refreshing home-made Apple Juice made with Dorset apples, bought from the Goldy's Farm Shop. We started the morning at the Urban Reef restaurant at Boscombe Pier with a nice breakfast of pancakes drenched in maple syrup, garnished with strawberries and blueberries. We then drove from Boscombe, along the coast to Southbourne... and stopped at Christchurch to get the Biltong.

From Christchurch we drove all the way to Hengsbury's Head, and through Barton-on-Sea, heading towards Milford-on-Sea. It was such a beautiful and clear day that we could see the Isle of Wight so clearly and honestly if you were to wave at someone standing on the hilltop of the Isle of Wight, that person would be able to see it and wave back at you. It was just lovely and relaxing and the best way to spend a Sunday, pottering about, doing nothing.

It's a shame we didn't have our camera on us so we couldn't take any pictures, but I managed to pinch a few pictures off the Internet and hopefully I don't get done for breaching copyright, hehe.

Here is a picture I found on the Internet, showing you the image of the Isle of Wight from Milford-on-Sea.

Steve said that I am a very strange 'sight-seeing' person. I love going to places, seeing places in the car. When I get to the destinations, it is not really important if I get down or not. I can still fully appreciate the beauty and the novelty of being to a new place, within the warmth and comfort of the inside of the car. That is also called laziness. It is always, always cold and windy outside so I like going to places, but staying in the car (I know, very strange, and also very lazy).

When we were parked at Milford-on-Sea, there were other couples (elderly, haha) who were doing the same thing. They even came prepared with coffee in a thermal jug, newspapers and some sandwiches !! So I am not so weird after all.

I was supposed to meet up with some colleagues from work for some pizza in the evening but that got cancelled because one of them had to work late. Never mind, after all the palaver of organising it and it didn't take place, which was quite funny.

So we had dinner of pork chops and mash potato with gravy and as usual, a whole corn on the cob for me (coz it's my favourite and Steve's dad buys it especially for me)... and we also had spinach from the garden on the side (very nice) ...

It's Monday and I'm loving it... because I had a beautiful and relaxing Sunday.

Now, it's time to get some work done...

Friday, 9 October 2009

My poor laptop pouch

If you remember, not long ago I spent quite some time and energy crocheting myself a laptop pouch and was well pleased with the result and have been using it every day since.

One thing about having a white laptop is that every little stain and mark can be seen easily and the other night after my shower, as usual I was ready for bed and was just going to check my mails before going to bed. As I was taking the laptop out of my lovely pouch, I noticed some funny streaks. At first I thought they were shadows from the light but as I started turning the laptop left and right, the streaks stayed where they were. I GASPED !!!!!! Steve can tell you, where preserving the pristine state of my gadgets is concerned, I am utterly and completely A.N.A.L !!! My Blackberry sits in a holster at all times to prevent scratches; my Nintendo DS Lite has a pink Simpsons case; my Ipod Nano sits in a colourful sock at all times and last but not least, my laptop is kept in the pouch all the time, even if it's just sitting on the bed side table doing nothing. Yesss, I know.. I told you, I am very particular about looking after my things.

So now, my poor laptop pouch is being cast aside ever since that night because although it might seem like the most bizarre logic, there is no other explanation for the light streaks to be on the back of my laptop apart from the possibility that the colour has run from the yarn onto the laptop.

Sniff, Sniff. Imagine, after investing all that time, love and emotion, I can no longer use it.  At the back of all that, Steve 'unsympathetically' said..."Oh why don't you just buy one pouch online, like everyone else?"

I have not given up on the pouch yet. Perhaps I will give the pouch a wash and see what happens.



Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Snuggly Buggly

Today, in fact for the past two days, the weather down here has been quite horrible. It's grim, grey and wet... and you really, really miss the summer time when it gets like this. No wonder there are people who suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)... When it's like this, you really have no mood to do anything and I've been mooching around in the office all day. Now that I'm home, hopefully we'll get dinner out of the way, and snuggle upstairs and watch some DVDs. On days like these, onlyy activities like these get me warm and fuzzy inside and when it gets to proper winter and it's cold and possibly snowing outside, it's the best kind of thing to do... snuggle up with a nice cup o' Hot Milo!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhh.......

Dirty Dancing

Tonight, a few of us got together at Luce's place and had a screening of 'Dirty Dancing', our very own personal tribute to the great Patrick Swayze.

Luce made some crepes which went down really well with everyone and although we had arrived at 7 ish, we didn't start the movie until almost 9pm because everyone was just so excited about catching up with one another. So after some crepes were had with Nutella, or sugar with a squeeze of lemon juice, eventually we started playing the movie and it was every bit as good as I remember it to be. It brought back so many memories. I remember watching the movie the first time when I was 17 at my best friend's house, supposedly doing our revision for our exams. We fell head over heels in love with Patrick Swayze then and we all wished we could dance like 'Baby'. And I also vaguely remember us rewinding the tape (those were the days huh?!) back and kept playing the last 20minutes of the movie, over and over and over again so that we could watch the 'ultimate' dance again and again and again... Those were the days.. some really fond memories of my high school days.

What kind of fond and funny memories did 'Dirty Dancing' bring back for you?

Monday, 5 October 2009

The Reunion (Part III)

So we finally and gleefully arrived at Leh-Ces-ter Square and were immediately faced with the dilemma of which Chinese Restaurant should we patronize?! And to decide that, we used the always reliable 'the busier the better' judgement and decided upon 'Crispy Duck Restaurant' or something that sounded like that.

We barely had the three separate menus in our hands for a full two minutes before our Fely decided that we should order this, that, that, this and that!!! Like she mentioned in her post, thank god we can both eat like pigs for I gladly went along with her suggestions. And before long, we had four different types of dim sum in front of us, and with half a chicken's claw dangling from our mouths, we decided that we would also order Braised Pork with Yam!!

And that is to be followed by a platter of roast meat and some noodles. But thank god we came to our senses and stopped ordering after the pork coz we were stuffed like pigs after that. But it still didn't stop us from ordering a mango pudding and yam with taro balls for dessert! Haha. It was yummy scrumptious and absolutely delicious and we even dedicated the mango pudding to Bea who was supposed to be joining us but couldn't coz she's working!

ps: This is for you Beaaaa...

Sunday, 4 October 2009

The Reunion (Part II)

So I arrived in London in good timing at around 8.10am. Walked from the coach station to the train station and text-ed Fely to let her know I'll be standing outside HMV (so old-fashioned, haha).

Seriously, one word of advice, never travel within London on the public transport during rush hour. The people streaming out of the trains, through the gates, into the station... they have no souls.. they are just empty shells with one single objective in their minds - must get to work, must get to work, get OUT OF MY WAY, get OUT OF MY WAY !!! Every single one of them have a dazed look in their eyes and crossing their path is a huge huge mistake and if you're not careful, you'll get run down by this constant stream of human traffic.

So there I was, with me tea in my hand and standing outside HMV, mentally preparing myself for the arrival of a friend whom I've not seen for 8 years. When she arrived, I knew that all the mental preparation was not needed, she looked just like she was when we said our goodbyes after our graduation in Mint Hotel in 2001. It's amazing huh, after 8 years of not seeing each other, and after a longgggg hug, we picked up from where we had left and started yakking as if we're on one of our weekly coffee meets.

Without wasting time, we made our way to the Malaysian Embassy to get the serious business done before we can have a proper pig out at Leicester Square (Leh-ches-ter Square, as we were constantly making fun of it) as formerly agreed. I was on a mission - to get Fely to the embassy as quick as possible so that we can get an early appointment and be done with the application in no time at all !!! I became one of those empty souls with a single objective in my mind and elbowed anyone who stands in my way!!! So all thanks to the forever useful Blackberry, we didn't get lost and managed to find our way to Belgrave Square where lots and lots of embassies were situated.

After getting Fely's passport renewed, we then had time to walk slowly and to take some really nice pictures..

PS: Remember I got dressed in the dark, and in a haste :P so don't be too harsh on what I was wearing... :P

Saturday, 3 October 2009

The Reunion (Part I)

For the whole of last week leading towards Friday, I went about my usual chores and activities in a state of constant excitement and a high state of elation.

I was meeting up with Fely in London town, after 8 years of not seeing each other. Our first attempt was back in July but it got canceled three days beforehand due to bloody swine flu. So this time round, we were a lot calmer and we did not even start counting down the weeks like we did the first time (but we counted down the days, of course).

On Thursday night, I finished work at 10pm and came straight home without buying anything (except for three donuts for the journey) because I knew that I had an early start the next day to catch the coach to London at 5.25am. I went to bed happily, knowing that I had set the alarm for 4.30am.

When I woke again, it was Steve nudging me and telling me that it was 5.05am.


Steve said... I can run you down there in 10 minutes, but the question is, can you get ready in time? Good question.

I remembered moaning (aloud) while attempting to dress myself up sensibly and in a presentable manner fit for London town.

No time to brush hair, rushed to toilet to have a wee, and into the bathroom to have an express teeth brushing (don't want Fely to faint)...

By 5.15am, we were in the car heading towards the coach station.

Thank goodness there was no traffic at that time of the morning... but of course we were stuck behind a slow cab once (it's rather unthinkable to overtake a car in the UK on a non-dual carriage way) and it took us a while before we could overtake the cab... then we were stuck behind a truck....and after several agonizing turns on the road, we finally got rid of the truck.

By sheer luck and speed, Steve managed to get me to the coach station just as the coach driver was about to start the engine !!!!

So I was safely on the coach heading towards London and my heart was singing while I was enjoying my donuts~~