So I didn't like Alice in Wonderland that much. All that British talent . . . uh, as voice acting. Christopher Lee had two lines. Two lines with more energy in them than the rather washed-out version of Alice. (Eh, the pale-because-of-terminal-tuberculosis look was popular, back in the day . . .)
Girl Power, empowerment and finding yourself is all good, but the girl left Johnny Depp and the cat that sounds like Stephen Fry after slaying monsters with Wonderland's phallic symbol to go back to the real world so that she can reject Lord Indigestion . . . and sail off to spread imperialism and colonialism to China? (This is not a spoiler. Despite the presence of Johnny Depp. You know the girl never gets Johnny Depp. Orlando Bloom, maybe, but never Johnny Depp. Because he's that far out of reach.)
So empowerment is just doing what the boys do, only better?
Yeah--didn't like it that much. (And Johnny Depp should have figured out by now that Helena Bonham Carter can chew scenery as well as, or better than he can, big head or no big head. It's easy to outshine Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly, due to the wallpaper-ish nature of their acting. But next to actors of calibre, Johnny Depp doesn't look that spectacular.)
The cat left something in the box at [5:50 AM] 0 comments
No more FTP publishing! Calamity and woe!
Or I can wait until February 22nd to see how the migration tool works and decide if I like it or not.
The cat left something in the box at [7:36 PM] 0 comments
So a colleague of mine asked me about blog-creation and multiple users for one blog. As Blogger has all the required features including photo uploading, I steered him there as he was not so into messing around with html codes (and neither am I--not beyond the template of my blog at any rate).
He remarked that I seemed to like this stuff and I said that it's not so much about liking it as being extremely used to it as I have been at it (blogging) for around 10 years. (As soon as I said that, the "10 years" started to reverberate inside my head. Oh fuck, I am old.)
It's not as though I am any where near the cutting edge--I don't do the tagging for all the other collectives and feeds with the names I cannot quite recall right now. I was one of the last on Facebook*--and that was by the weight of peer-pressure. It's just comfortable here on Blogger and on my LJ. If I had to update that many blogs and mini-blogs, I'd never have time to do other stuff.
Comfort versus change. Familiarity versus evolution. Stagnation versus upgrading. One is supposedly better than the other, right?
But how much more online networking must we do before we are completely cut off from the real world? I like talking to my friends face to face and I want to meet more online friends someday. (I have met most of my local friends and visited two of the overseas friends. This only works if 1) there is no skeevy business going on, 2) you meet in a public place first and 3) you are travelling in the company of friends/relatives.)
*Facebook is no longer cutting edge. My Mum's on it.
The cat left something in the box at [5:07 PM] 0 comments
So my sister wanted me to pass her the recipe for my hamburger steak, but I never wrote it down.
Until now. Mind you, I never measured anything . . .
Hamburger patties from scratch / hamburger steaks
- minced beef, about 200 to 300 grams (lean or whatever you like)
- about a spoonful of chicken liver pate or pork pate
- some mushroom sauce / beef gravy seasoning mix (powdered form, McCormick's is good)
- garlic salt
- coarsely ground black pepper
- Mixed herbs or Italian Seasoning
- some minced garlic
- some mustard (Djion, English or honey mustard--whatever you like)
- for super hamburger steaks, add in a few finely chopped button mushrooms (white or brown)
- 1 egg (small egg for 200 grams of beef, larger egg for 300 grams of beef)
- some Japanese style breadcrumbs
1) Dump minced beef into mixing bowl.
2) Season beef liberally with garlic salt, black pepper, some Italian Seasoning, some gravy seasoning mix, a spoon of minced garlic, a spoon of pate and a squirt/teaspoon of mustard (depends on type of mustard--the teaspoon is generally for hot English mustard).
3) Mix the beef and seasonings together, then add in the egg (and finally chopped mushrooms if you are having them).
4) Mix in the egg until everything is well combined. The mixture will be rather gloopy at this point.
5) Add in some breadcrumbs to the gloopy beef mixture, mix and add more breadcrumbs until the beef mixture starts to become more dough-like and you can shape patties from it. (200 - 300 grams of beef can give you around 4 patties. The thickness of the patty depends on you. The thicker the patty, the longer the cooking time.)
6) Heat a frying pan and slosh in some olive oil and a bit of minced garlic.
7) Do not burn the garlic, turn the heat down to low.
8) Place one of beef patties into the pan and cook for a few minutes and flip it over with a spatula. (The side that has been cooked will show some browning.)
9) Turn over the hamburger steak a few more times in the pan before placing on paper kitchen towels to drain off some of the oil. Do the same for the rest of the patties.
10) Using the same pan, fry some chopped button mushrooms.
11) Add some water to the pan, sprinkle on the rest of the beef/brown/mushroom gravy mix and turn the heat up so that gravy can boil and thicken.
12) When the gravy thickens, turn off the heat and transfer the gravy into a bowl before serving with the hamburger steaks. Buns/bread with cheese is optional. Alternatively, a nice salad by the side will do.
- Butterhead lettuce (around one small head of butterhead lettuce per person)
- Fresh mint (however much you like)
- Fresh basil (however much you like)
- Japanese style sesame-seed and peanut salad dressing
- Pepper to taste
1) Chop the butterhead lettuce finely. Place into a bowl.
2) Pick fresh mint and basil leaves, wash and add to the lettuce. (Mint and basil leaves may be torn into smaller shreds if preferred.)
3) Sprinkle on pepper to taste and slosh on as much salad dressing as you like.
The cat left something in the box at [6:43 AM] 0 comments
I-actually-watched-movies! (Making 2009 the year with the least movies watched in a cinema . . . as I watched these two in 2010.)
Victorian bromance with more bang than the original novels and better characterisation than previous adaptations. Very amusing. But . . .
Erm. I think one of the many reasons why I don't watch movies very often is that the Science doesn't quite make it.
The science/big plot machine thingy in the movie went something like "mumblemumblemumble--some arsenic containing compound--mumblemumblemumble--refined in the stomach of pigs--mumblemumblemumble--in these wonky cylinders that will produce a poisonous gas if a solvent is added--mumblemumblemumble--and only those who drank the antidote previously will survive--mumblemumblemumble."
Eh. I have to take off my science goggles for movies. Case in point . . .
The largest contributing factor to me not watching most movies is the predictability of the things. For Avatar, everyone probably feels like me. The plot is formulaic and is the paint-by-number-version of Dances with Wolves. Crossed with Pocahontas for good measure.
And the science in this one . . . oh dear. You can't breath it, but you can light a match in it. (Though my friends pointed out that there could be some other combustible non-oxygen gas in Pandora's atmosphere. And that James Cameron does anvilious story-telling. George Lucas does the detailed world-building.)
The evolutionary iPod dock was the most interesting thing. And
Ripley Signorney Weaver as the scientist/biologist was let down by the fact that if every living thing on Pandora has the evolutionary iPod dock/can dock with the evolutionary iPod dock, wouldn't that be the first thing they would do intensive research on?
Sorry. My inner researcher is appalled for science and scientists.
We concluded after the movie that James Cameron had to do the white-guy-saves-the-day-trope because no-one in his country would watch it otherwise. Then again, he also had to hammer the point in with anvils because his target audience won't get it otherwise. But the sad thing is that some of them still wouldn't get it--nice try, Mr. Cameron.
The cat left something in the box at [7:20 AM] 0 comments
Resolutions for 2010:
- Honestly, just get on with post-grad applications. If you don't make it, you don't make it--that's all.
- Stop procrastinating and get some pages of porn done. Or something.
- Be a good human to my cat.
- Be a better human to family, friends and colleagues.
- Try harder at most things. (Including signing up for that mini-marathon.)
The cat left something in the box at [1:42 AM] 0 comments
Back from Japan. Got to clear internet backlog.
Edit: Almost screamed when I saw my phone bill. Next trip, Mom, I'm texting all the way.
The cat left something in the box at [5:15 PM] 0 comments
22/12/2009: Nagasaki/Fukuoka, Japan
Final day in Japan before flying off tomorrow.
We went south to Glover Gardens--a very pretty park with historic buildings in a very pretty neighbourhood. Given more time, we would have gone into the Storybook Museum. It really is the best view in the city.
The downer of the day was the Atomic Bomb Victims Memorial and the attached Museum. It's another confirmation that the human race will end itself one day and it will be the decision of some crazy person giving a single order. And we've got so much better at it since 1945 too.
As I have been to the Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum, I could anticipate what was in store--all the sad, terrifying remnants of lives cut short. A, Ed and Xian were thoroughly horrified and I got horrified a second time around.
We decompressed on the train ride back to Fukuoka--Xian was seriously bummed by how the whole thing was so cold-bloodedly planned and executed by so few people. Yeah, that's how it'll all end.
Why can't we just stop killing each other?
The cat left something in the box at [5:14 PM] 0 comments
The view from the observatory was not too bad. We could see that the caldera was smoking and leaking into the low-lying clouds.
The cat left something in the box at [6:29 AM] 0 comments
Checked into the ryokan I booked and strolled back to the station to get to the buses. We decided to go see the jigoku for a short while before heading to Hyotan--an onsen that A got the brochure for and I had researched previously.
We got the bus pass and set out to Kanawa. Stopped at the Umi Jigoku bus-stop and decided to look into that one. Doing all eight were a little much, so we tried sampling one. The jigoku are basically really hot springs and this one happened ot be turquiose blue. Very touristy, with the jigoku-tamago (eggs boiled in the hotspring) and purin (custard pudding steamed in the hotspring).
We decided that one jigoku is enough as it was freezing brass monkeys out there and decided to go for a soak.
With a sketchy print-out from Google Map that I had printed out before the trip and the sketchy map from the Hyotan brochure, I managed to get us there in 10 minutes.
Xian and I headed into our side and it was quite impressive. The water was mineral-rich and quite strong smelling. It had different pools and the trickling water that massages your back. I popped in and out of the sauna and realised that we have been swamped by Korean tourists.
We headed back to make it for dinner--the bus schedules are a bit spotty on weekends here. Back at Beppu Station, we settled down for late tea.
Dinner . . . could have been better in terms of the sashimi. It was the standard Japanese course with many small dishes--wish they did not leave the stuff on the table before you come in. (It can't beat my favourite ryokan in Hakone, that's all I'm saying)
Our private onsen session was very merry indeed as Xian and I had bought a can of Asahi 'Super Dry' beer and a tetrapack of umeshuu from the combi. We brought the beer and light plum wine into the private onsen, popped them on a stool beside the bath and drank while we soaked.
We got so merry that Xian told me about beer conditioner being sold at shops and I suggested that we dump the dregs of the can on my hair and leaving it for a minute before rinsing off. Yeah, it was that kind of day.
Did not sleep well at all despite the soaking. Weekends in Beppu . . . are noisy. The people exiting the bars and kareoke joints around the ryokan at 4am in the morning and the hostesses screaming "arigato-gozaimasu!" in the street made it a bit difficult to get back to sleep after being woken up by the freezing cold--unexpected cold front strikes again.
20/12/2009: Beppu/Kagoshima, Japan
We lazed about in the morning after breakfast and our scheduled soak until check-out time.
Managed to convince A to come along to Takagawara Onsen just down the road from our ryokan. The Hyotan sandbath experience was . . . not quite it.
The Takegaware Onsen has regular onsen and the sand bath. The sand bath involves stripping off, getting into a short yukata and getting buried up to the neck by vigourous obaasans wielding shovels. We had our pictures taken by said aunties and it's weird, really, your disembodied head perched on blackish sand.
Made it to Kagoshima after a long train ride, checked into the hotel and headed down to the main shopping drag for a bit of a look-see.
Drank the local favourite, imo-jouchu, with dinner at Watami--an izakaya chain that has also made its way here. Xian said it was like vodka, but I thought it went down more smoothly. (It's all root vegetables anyway.)
But the alcohol might not have been such a good idea. Almost lost my camera by leaving it at Watami. Thank goodness most Japanese restaurants are honest and very nice when you come back in muttering "Wasure-mono ga arimasu . . . kamera . . ." The dashing about was very warming and I rejoined them at Doutor Coffee.
I had been hankering for a milk crepe most of the trip. It's a cake at Doutor Coffee mad eof a lot of crepe layers sandwiched together with milk cream. Delicious with hot chocolate--with a marshmallow on top--on a cold night.
The cat left something in the box at [5:35 AM] 0 comments
Did the shop 'til we drop thing and marched up Tenjin. Ate dinner at a roadside yatai stall for the authentic Hakata experience. Hooray for experiences done while it's brass monkeys outside the flimsy tent shelter of the stall. The beer and umeshuu made it pretty cheer despite the cold outside--less cold than yesterday, actually. Favourite phrase right now: brass monkeys (As in 'freezing the balls off brass monkeys')
18/12/2009: Fukuoka, Japan
It's snowing in Fukuoka--we looked out of the window during breakfast and saw it. Unexpected cold front has shifted winter a few weeks earlier--even the locals were surprised by how cold it was.
Lunch was at Yoshida at Yanagibashi Market. The Deluxe seafood don was excellent. For the first time in history, Xian actually had fish left in her bowl in the presence of other sashimi-lovers--the rest of us were too stuffed to eat anymore.
The cat left something in the box at [6:00 AM] 0 comments
Did the shop 'til we drop thing and marched up Tenjin.
Ate dinner at a roadside yatai stall for the authentic Hakata experience. Hooray for experiences done while it's brass monkeys outside the flimsy tent shelter of the stall. The beer and umeshuu made it pretty cheer despite the cold outside--less cold than yesterday, actually.
Favourite phrase right now: brass monkeys (As in 'freezing the balls off brass monkeys')
The optometrist said the screws holding the lenses of my specs were sticking out too much. And they should have caps. I suppose they should, but they did not come with my specs. He tightened the screws for me, trimmed the screws and capped them. All this free of charge before he even got started on making my new pair of specs. Dear Mr Optometrist, can I take you home with me? We ate like kings at dinner time--shabu-shabu for dinner and fondue and pancakes to follow. Walked through the city without looking at the map to get back to hotel. They jokingly upgraded me from homing pigeon to 'Hedwig the Snowy Owl'. (But do owls have good navigational instincts?)
17/12/2009: Fukuoka, Japan
Managed to get the rental car back in one piece. (But GPS-chan kept tipping over during sharp turns as usual.) Ed and I jokingly argued over it--'GPS-chan is a klutz!' 'You can't blame her for being clumsy!'
Flew into Fukuoka via Skymark and took the subway into the city--fastest airport to city transfer ever. Met up with Xian in Canal City--a shopping mall to make the most hardcore shopaholic weep for joy. Which was why she did not meet us at the hotel. She was having too much of a good time. (Btw, we walked to Canal City from Hakata Station.)
The cat left something in the box at [5:46 AM] 0 comments
The optometrist said the screws holding the lenses of my specs were sticking out too much. And they should have caps. I suppose they should, but they did not come with my specs. He tightened the screws for me, trimmed the screws and capped them. All this free of charge before he even got started on making my new pair of specs.
Dear Mr Optometrist, can I take you home with me?
We ate like kings at dinner time--shabu-shabu for dinner and fondue and pancakes to follow.
Walked through the city without looking at the map to get back to hotel. They jokingly upgraded me from homing pigeon to 'Hedwig the Snowy Owl'. (But do owls have good navigational instincts?)
16/12/2009: Okinawa, Japan
This morning, the weather not good for snorkelling. The wind was coming in so strong and the waves were pretty high. No surfers in sight.
(It's nice to see the ocean in the morning from your bed.) I will miss it.
Had a late breakfast after doing the laundry. Decided to go south to Okinawa Cave World and the WWII Naval H.Q. after returning the gear to our instructor.
BTW: This is a shout-out to Dave from Lone Star Diving--if you are in Okinawa and you need a dive instructor, Dave and his friend Dave (with the boat) will be happy to show you the ropes.
The limestone caves were magnificent. Apparently, it is one long limestone cave and the part that is open to the public is part of the Okinawa Cave World, itself a museum site due to the stuff found in it. But it's basically a theme park above ground and the hordes of tourists and school kids around us made it a bit difficult to enjoy the experience. The habu museum and park interest me not, but to get to the caves you have to buy the ticket for the cave and the traditional village tourist thoroughfare (with sugar cane dye products and the local black sugar).
Had our first taste of sea grapes at lunch--they were great, as was the rafute--Okinawan style pork that reminded all of us of kong bakh. Did not try the goya.
We got to the Naval H.Q. just in time to see the underground bunkers in 45 minutes. It's pretty depressing down there and we kept thinking of Letters from Iwo Jima.
Flying off for Fukuoka tomorrow. Got to pack.
The cat left something in the box at [5:15 AM] 0 comments
15/12/2009: Okinawa, Japan
After loads of crap wether, we went diving at last. As the shore is choppy like a butcher's block, we went out on another instructor's boat to do the basics and then go down to this reef of soft corals. Forgot the basics for a moment there, but I got around that. The reef was so beautiful and the water was so clear (so bloody clear--there's less algae and plankton growth in winter), I thought I was watching the Discovery Channel. Not many sea urchins, so that is good sign of a healthy reef. A could be right--Okinawa could spoil me for any other dive trips. *le sigh*
As it was a guided dive, the instructor had a hold of my arm--in the light of the current buffeting us around, this was a good thing as we were on a sloping reef. I was so scared of breaking or killing something, I barely used my fins. The instructor let me touch the corals--so soft and velvety. I was mostly wondering if it was all right to touch them--if it breaks off, I'd be pissed at myself.
We had A&W for lunch--something we have not seen in a while. Humour on this trip comprises of Ed accidentally sitting on his takoyaki and saying, 'My balls are flattened' while A and I snigger like ten-year olds. And GPS-chan, who cannot stay on the dashboard to save it's life. 'Bad GPS-chan!'
We went to the onsen after lunch--A's favourite part of the trip. Ah, onsen . . . There were doctor fish at the Chula-U onsen. I finally did what my countrymen have been doing since last year and stuck my feet in. They doesn't half tickle, I'll tell you.
Our gloopy warm sense of well-being was further enhanced when we went for dinner at this Okinawa fish place we passed a few times--Sabani in Chatan-Cho. Sashimi, sake and a set with tempura, fried fish, soup, pickles and rice. We got mildly plastered on the local sake--but not that plastered because we had to drive back. A very short distance, to be sure, but drinking and driving is unadvisable and A had the least sake, so he drove us back.
Nuaaa . . .
It is cold and wet outside. Glad to be warm and dry.
The cat left something in the box at [12:35 AM] 0 comments
13/12/2009: Okinawa, Japan
Started on the discover scuba diving course. Instructor is one of those jolly American ex-marine types who settled on Okinawa. Went through the basics, then headed out for equipment. That was where we ran into a snag or two. The first suit fitted me, but the guys could not get suits to fit them. We went to another place at a naval base to get the suits, but ran into red tape. Apparently, we are on a list of countries-not-allowed-on-this-base. Fancy that.
So the instructor had to get the suits. Alas, the suits did not fit Ed and me. We went snorkelling instead while the instructor went to loan more fitting suits. Weirdly enough, I was fine without a dive suit. There was a warm current going past, I'm sure. Corals and fish were pretty--water was very clear. I love snorkelling and looks like A does too. Ed looks like he needs to get used to the snorkel.
Went down to Kokusai Dori in the evening. Parked illegally--whoops, but we are poor and cheap to boot. Walking the entire stretch like the tourists were were. After ducking into Heiwa Dori Arcade, I found a pharmacy and A found a shop selling school uniforms. It hurt me in the special places when he said he wanted a high-school boy's winter uniform top to wear to work. Dude . . .
But as his birthday had been recent, Ed and I passed him some cash for the uniform tunic.
After walking down Kokusai Dori, we found a place that sold imo tarts. Red sweet potatoes are a specialty around here it seems. We decided to come back for dessert. After going to Animate and to Ootoya for dinner. Animate need more goods according to A. Went to the Ootoya on Kokusai-dori for dinner--without having to queue for over an hour!
It hurts my brain in all the special places, but it's nice to chat with a guy about BL. Seriously. Weird, but refreshing.
14/12/2009: Okinawa, Japan
Weather looks cold and rainy.
Cannot go for diving lesson as it looks really choppy. If it were just me, I'd chance it, but it's not.
Drove up to Churaumi Aquarium in the afternoon. Or Ed and A drove and I navigated. Road trips (70km one way and 70km back) . . . are kind of tiring. We waited until we got to the aquarium for lunch, which was a mistake because the tropical curry they had at the food place was not that great. Filling, but not that great.
The aquarium was well worth the trip though. I am of two minds about trained dolphin/any trained animal shows. On one hand, trained animals--on the other, how else would people know how clever dolphins are?
Went to Emerald Beach for a quick look at the place before going back to see manatees and sea turtles. The manatee is a relative of the dugong, the local equivalent back from where we're from. They used to be mistaken for mermaids. We figured that the sailors were really desperate by that time if they thought manatees were mermaids.
The aquarium with the thickest glass panel and largest panel in the world was amazing. You could watch the manta rays and the whale sharks all day long. We almost did that at the Blue Manta cafe--only closing time reminded us that we had to go.
We made it all the way back to Chatan-Cho by 8pm and hunted up some dinner before going back to the hotel.
The cat left something in the box at [3:44 PM] 0 comments
12/12/2009: Okinawa, Japan
In Chatan-Cho, at a shabby hotel with a view of the sea. The free internet and view of the sea make up for the tiny single room.
First driving holiday ever. More accurately, Adrian and Ed are driving. But I am navigating. With a GPS that I don't know how to use. In surroundings that are alien to me.
Somehow, we survived the trip from the rental shop to the hotel. Then from the hotel to Sunset Beach and the Justco for a very late lunch at 3pm. We walked down to Araha Beach and saw the flea market down at Hambly--mainly to soak up the atmosphere. The sunsets along the seawall are gorgeous. Weather is very nice indeed--like walking in an air-conditioned room.
We were too tired to do much after dinner, which meant heading back to the hotel in the dark with me navigating by the GPS that will no stick to the dashboard.
Saw lots of stray kitties. Reminds me of Sweetie back at home. *sniffle*
Tomorrow will bring a diving course.
The cat left something in the box at [4:20 AM] 0 comments
So the diving is going ahead. In a somewhat rocky way, but we're only young once, so yeah.
Already planning for next year. Oh dear. (But I have enthusiastic friends.)
n + 1 post about kitty:
Sweetie chased a grasshopper yesterday. (My sister asked me how large it was and thought it was a praying mantis when I told her. I know what a grasshopper looks like when I see one.) It got out of the yard at one point and I brought it back in again because she had already wounded it. Sweetie played with it for a short while, then she ate its head. Eww.
Should rename her Ninja Kitty for her way-beyond Olympic level climbing skills.
I can only say that life is busy, full of stuff and I wish I had more time to do all the stuff I want to do. Money would help too, but as a friend said recently, you don't have to rich to have a good time. (That was said while eating cheap but delicious dim sum and kaya toast at a kopi tiam where the breakfast sets are so old school, the eggs are passed to you in a plastic container half-filled with boiling water. Taking them out too early will result in raw eggs and the withering scorn of the coffee stall's staff. Yes, life is better with $4.50 brunches after group exercise. Oh fuck I am getting old.)
The cat left something in the box at [1:57 AM] 0 comments
Settled some more vacation stuff with Ad and Ed. (Poor Ad has been so stuck in work that he hasn't even replied to my messages, but he made up for it today by driving us down to get JR rail passes.)
Was terribly amused today when I followed Ad and Ed around and realised that they use more product than I do.
Read "Unseen Academicals" by Terry Pratchett. Cannot see why so many people are nit-picking its flaws. More on this later.
The cat left something in the box at [8:37 AM] 0 comments
Went to the talk by Neil Gaiman. Could have been a little more on actual graphic novels and fantasy novels, but whatever. Fangirling knows no time-limits. Queued 2 and a half hours to get one (one *sob*) book signed. Mmm, may be a little better than the 5 hours back in 2005.
Instead of signing up for NaNoWriMo, I think I will try to finish everything I have not finished fic-wise. *laughs at self for being overly optimistic*
Vacation plans may have hit a snag. Need to talk to travel buddies more. Another is how I might be planning next year's vacation before I finish the one in Decmeber. Hmm . . .
The cat left something in the box at [5:45 PM] 0 comments
This blog is more than 8 years old.
It's been 3 weeks since I adopted my cat.
Edit: Fixed the directory pathway for the blog after web-server had an "upgrade".
The cat left something in the box at [8:59 PM] 0 comments
So Sweetie went out into the backyard today . . . and hopped over the wall to the neighbour's side. All this before I went to work. I ran around the back to find her, but she was hiding.
It made work a bit difficult to say the least. When I called back, Sweetie was in the neighbour's kitchen. At least she didn't dash out onto the road.
By the time I got home, Sweetie had returned. And Sweetie's all "What? I'm here, right?" before taking a nice long nap on her favourite chair. *under-the-chin nudges and looks for pettings*
Danged cat. *snuggles*
The cat left something in the box at [7:00 AM] 0 comments
Eline-gets-a cat-part n + 1 (where n = an infinite number of posts about kitty):
- Sweetie greets me whenever I sit down by climbing on my chest and bumping her head under my chin while using my shirt as a scratching post. Bad slightly over-affectionate kitty!
- Sweetie is a kisser!
- Sweetie has charmed my grandmother and spends the evenings watching telly with her.
- Sweetie's only personality flaw is her tendency to bite ankles.
- The only problem is that my aunt is scared stiff of Sweetie. *cannot imagine why anyone is scared of a cat, much less one as affectionate as Sweetie*
The cat left something in the box at [5:34 AM] 0 comments
The saga of Eline-getting-a-cat continues:
Have to fence the gate, redo the garden, line the cat-carrier, prep the litter-box, get the food dish ready . . .
In other riveting news, I am suffering from a headache, probably from the (non-alcohol-related) excesses of yesterday. The desserts on that buffet were a bad, bad indulgence.
S and I went out to get supplies for clay-craft after that and I said I'd give her a few of the brown glue sticks I got because she couldn't find them anywhere else. Have not used them yet, but it looks promising. And yes, those molds that cost $30.00 for a matchbox-sized piece of plastic are much too expensive.
The cat left something in the box at [10:32 PM] 0 comments
The saga of Eline-getting-a-cat continues.
Next door neighbour says the kitten went on a walkabout and did not come back. It's probably a territorial thing.
Time for option 2.
Colleague says she'll bring me to the shelter on Thursday. *fingers crossed*
The cat left something in the box at [7:47 PM] 0 comments
The second best thing after going on holiday is planning the next one.
Which is what I am doing. Kyushu and Okinawa!
Ed and A can drive! Yay! We can go driving around Okinawa!
Thank goodness for Padico's silicon decollage and deco-sweets sauce. I don't have to come up with toiletries-based cake-icing (like I used to when I was 12).
The cat left something in the box at [7:58 AM] 0 comments
Home again, home again . . .
Hokng Kong's humidity is worse than home--note to self, don't go to Hk or Macau in the summer.
The cat left something in the box at [8:59 PM] 0 comments
Felt a bit under the weather and went back for an hour's nap before heading out again. The thing about the city centre on HK island is that it is quite walkable. I almost got lost, but managed to find my way again.
Had dinner at Mak's Noodles (wanton and dumpling noodles) and She Wang Fun (claypot rice and seasonal snake dishes) with kit, who made some time in her schedule to entertain me. I did not touch the snake soup. Not that I am squeamish, but it's not even winter yet and the need for warming soups is not very high.
The cat left something in the box at [7:14 AM] 0 comments
Made it to Macau and took a free shuttle to the Lisboa--or rather the giant golden mutant offspring of a pineapple and a turnip next door to the Lisboa. It's casino-centre here in downtown Macau--not my kind of thing.
So I didn't get to go to Robuchon a Galera (due to a fully-booked lunch room), but my parents are going for lunch there tomorrow. I missed a Michelin Star restaurant by a hair--ah well.
We had pretty good dim sum at the Lisboa's restaurant instead.
*must remember that parents do not move very fast* *must remember that parents never moved very fast*
And Mum lost her handphone sometime after buying souvenir cookies. Blamed it on me as usual. *sigh*
A Filipina at the small park behind the church offered to walk around with me. She had just been laid off and had nothing to do. Nice of her to offer, but I was in a hurry and not in that great a mood. Limited time, limited patience . . .
I did most of the suggested route on my own, having lost the parents somewhere around the Leal Senado.
Made it for my ferry by catching a cab once I hit the main road down at the Leal Senado. Was so hungry that I ate at the Macdonald's at the ferry terminal building.
The cat left something in the box at [7:42 AM] 0 comments
Had dim sum for breakfast with kit at a restaurant near her place. They still push around the large metal carts with fried carrot cake and other dishes. According to kit, they don't do that in many restaurant back at home anymore as it is potentially painful and dangerous work.
As it turned out, my parents had not had breakfast and were a bit put out by the fact that I had good dim sum. (Communication, we all fail at it.) After breakfast at a nearby McDonald's--I know, I know--and a quick run to a Watson's to buy a brolly and some water for my mum we made our way through the rain to the church and sought sanctuary for a while. After a while, the rain slackened off and we went on to the Peak Tram terminal.
The sales person was trying to sell us combination tickets to Madam Tussuad's, but we were not interested in wax figures. ("No, Dad, a wax figure of Tiger Woods/Bruce Lee/Barrack Obama is still not the real thing . . . ") As it was a cloudy day, the view from the Peak could have been better.
Lunch at a dim sum place kit recommended us. Urp. That was a bit indulgent. Had to walk a bit after that so we went window shopping in Wan Chai.
Went up the Midlevels with the 'rents by escalator and on foot. Dad stopped for foot reflexology while Mum and I moved on to the Catholic church. It was a bit difficult to find, but we got there in the end.
After the excesses of lunch, we all were more than okay to eat pho at a Vietnamese place on the slope under the escalators.
Shuffled back to kit's place. I have dan tat!
The cat left something in the box at [6:37 AM] 0 comments
Finally made it to HK Airport and to the main Island to meet up with kit. Bunking over at kit's apartment--it's nice to have a place for yourself. *quashes thoughts of moving out*
Went out for food (which was an exercise in the evils of pork-and-beef-based products shoved between slices of white bread) before crashing for a while.
Met my parents later for dinner on the Kowloon side before heading back by train. Got to try the ferry next time.
The cat left something in the box at [6:21 AM] 0 comments
It's shopping time! Frankly, I'm not that kind of person who likes to spend more than 3 hours shopping, but the others are.
So we went to Harajuku in the morning. In Takashita Dori, it was very easy to feel old. My friends went into the stores selling the Korean-style cloths (fluffy layers are in) and the pharmacies (of course) before we hit H&M.
It was crowded in there. But not as bad as Forever-21 next door, which had a queue snaking out the front door. I went on walk-about along Omote-sando before rejoining them inside. To my surprise, at the end of it all, J's friend and I bought the most pieces. (I only bought 3 pieces--two tops and a dress.)
We walked up Omote-sando to look for a lunch venue. Found one in the side-lanes and had a good lunch before going back to Ikebukuro for a short rest before the evening.
J's friend has a friend whose family has a Vietnamese restaurant. So we went to Saigon in Ikebukuro after shopping at Loft for dinner. It was great--rice rolls, squid, pho and dessert.
The time has come for us to part ways. Woe is I. Parting is such sweet sorrow. It has been good--good food and good company. Great company in fact. T___T
The cat left something in the box at [6:50 AM] 0 comments
The pig-out continues. Then the waitress brought out a platter with three different types of tonkatsu on top of shredded lettuce and spaghetti bolognese. Cheese, miso and shiso--yikes. The second platter came out and there was even gyoza tonkatsu.
We tried our best to finish them, but there were two slices left. The staff bagged them in foil--they do not believe in wasting good tonkatsu, so good for them.
Still feeling the tonkatsu form lunch, we headed over to Le Maison for dinner and dessert--dessert being the thing girls have the auxiliary stomach for. (True fact--even the Japanese girls.)
Had the Mont Blanc cake. (I always have one when I'm in Japan.) And it was fabulous.
The cat left something in the box at [6:59 AM] 0 comments
Ginza in the afternoon. It's a bit out of our price range, but there was the 100% Chocolate Cafe (Kiyobashi Station, Exit 5) by Meiji. With 56 types of chocolate!
J had an unfortunate reaction to that one raw shrimp on the sushi--she's allergic to them, poor thing--and we retired back to Ikebukuro for her to rest and detox. It got much better after a lot of water and a short nap.
J's Japanese friend joined us at dinner and we had dessert at Denny's afterwards because it's the only place that opens late (24 hours a day). Pancakes at 10pm! Girl talk is something very different, when done in groups like this. I tried my best, but it's not really my thing.
The cat left something in the box at [8:52 AM] 0 comments
We went to Hakone with J's Japanese friend--who was not the one doing the guiding. It's onsen time!
The Hakone Freepass is a very useful thing. It covers all transport in Hakone (except for that bus up to the pension) and can give discounts at attractions. For once, we had the time to go visit one of those attractions.
We trained it to Hakone (after a slightly late start due to an "accident" on the Odakyu Line) and went to the Hakone Open Air Museum.
Lunch was at the Bella Foresta restaurant buffet. The chocolate mochi in the dessert section was fab. Then we remembered that we were there to see the museum. Eheheh . . .
It was a fabulous experience. "Man and Pegasus" was our favourite statue. And "Closer" was the gag favourite and will henceforce be known as the "passed out drunk position"/"ate too much and passed out position".
The lovely Hakone-no-mori Okada has been putting up with the likes of me since 2005 or so. I pop by with relatives and friends now and then and this was the second largest group I brought over.
I had asked for the "Japanese culture experience" advertised on the website and I thought it would be small individualised portions of sashimi and soba. The feast that awaited us was phenomenal assortment of dishes with sashimi on a small boat-like dish and massive fried shrimp that would give a guy penis envy. We forged forward bravely, no doubt regretting the large amount of lunch we had. I got unwarranted praise for organising the trip--dude, I only wrote an email to the pension and asked.
My travel-planning skills are apparently awesome. (You try travelling with people who leave all the planning to you for six or seven trips and you'd be good at this organising business too.) But I won't give up my day-job. Being a travel guide is almost as stressful as my real job.
The arrival of an unexpected complication has taught me to pay attention to the smaller details and not underestimate my body's ability to screw up. (I sound like a fortune cookie.)
The anti-clockwise route around Hakone was punctuated with rest stops and much food sampling--especially at Owakudani. Like wasabi ice-cream. And black nikku-man. Pluse egg ice-cream (custard-flavoured). On top of the black eggs cooked in the sulphur pits (seven years extra on your life bar).
Back in Tokyo, weshoved the bags into lockers and went out to Shinjuku to shop and have dinner. Shinjuku is a kind of sensory overload plus neon plus a lot of people thronging the streets around the busiest train station in the world. I was feeling it when they were in the pharmacy and I was wut? because my hormones were at an all time low.
Dinner--after a mad search of crowded yakitori joints--made everything better. That and the shochu with lemon.
I don't normally drink during a meal--after, yes. The thing is, this group of my friends are non-drinkers. Outside of that one time at a club, I don't think I've ever had a drink with them. (My job and my friends probably kept me from becoming an alcoholic.)
The cat left something in the box at [6:39 AM] 0 comments
This holiday is going to be the one where I might gain weight despite the walking. Went to the Yokohama Ramen Museum and had two bowls of ramen. Mini-bowls, they were labelled. Still filling though. The Sapporo ramen shop Eki was the best--with an inch of oil floating above the soup and springy, almost al dente noodles. (Slightly better than the bankara last night when the lard was floating on top of the stock. Delicious and warming.)
Yokohama's Chinatown is still a touristy tourist trap. We had to be the only tourists who were there and did not eat Chinese food or buy a large nikku-man. (Teh irony.)
PSA: The Curry Museum closed last year, but not all guidebooks are up to date--like my friend's guidebook. (Make your own--it's always better.) The walk was not wasted as we went to the nearest Uniqlo and Daiso to shop.
Got a bit damp today. It rained when we were going back to the hotel and I shared my brolly with my friend who forggot her own. This has been the rainiest season I have spent in Japan.
(I doubt I will find any tigers for my aunt. Those things are made for the new year.)
The cat left something in the box at [7:42 AM] 0 comments
Today was a leisurely Sunday with a lot of appointments and a lot of food. But at least I walked a lot. Shinjuku Park is very nice on weekends--everyone lolling around on the grass and me sitting on a bench reading BL manga I bought from Akihabara in the morning (half-way behind a bush because there were children running around). I'd have lolled on the grass too, but I didn't bring my poncho.
Met Ange for lunch, which was monjyu at an okonomiyaki place in Shinjuku. Smelling faintly of pork and cheese/seafood monjyu, we wandered off to Afternoon Tea for afternoon tea. For the price of the tea, we sat our butts down for two hours before heading for Nakano and the warren of shops that is Nakano Broadway (very misleading place name--it's a lot of narrow corridors), all filled with assorted goods and items of specialised interest.
Went back to Ikebukuro and the usual run-around Otome Dori--eheheh . . . An SMS from one of my friends brought me back to the station and the travel party was almost complete. Met J's Japanese friend a little later and we went out for dinner. The thing about going out with friends instead of family members is that you stay out very much later.
And I drank coffee for the first time in years. A very good macha latte.
The cat left something in the box at [8:53 AM] 0 comments
Now I remember why I don't like transits. Expensive airport food, boring lounges and arriving in Tokyo very late. *yawn*
Note to self and for anyone else doing late flights:
- Food at HK airport is expensive.
- Trains from the airport get fewer towards the end of the day.
- Counters for discount tourist transport passes close at 9pm.
The cat left something in the box at [8:41 AM] 0 comments
In my everlasting quest to be a jack of all trades (and thus eventually the master of none), I took up Japanese clay craft--another not-that-cheap hobby.
Made a dim sum set for a friend (left), which I will be carting over when I go overseas. (First efforts, ehhh . . . Could have been better.) Got spring rolls too--on the square plate, but that was before the pic was taken.
I'm going overseas. Just as the WHO declared a pandemic. Joy.
First time going on-board the plane with the full kit-and-caboodle of surgical masks, hand-sanitiser and disinfectant wet-wipes.
But it's with friends and not-my-aunt. Fingers and all limbs crossed now.
The cat left something in the box at [4:22 AM] 0 comments
Very good, considering the growing older part. I feel happy and lucky beyond my wildest dreams. I count my blessings.
Is finally over! Only there's going to be a Gaiden of the Gaiden focused on Kenren. (What a way to pump the fangirls' wallets, Minekura Sensei.)
Back to the Gaiden ending itself--it's not like I didn't expect it, but I waited nine to ten years to have a good cry over the it. So yeah. T____T
(Wonder if I can finish "Sweet Decay" now . . .)
The cat left something in the box at [3:17 PM] 1 comments
Twelve episodes in and I can safely say that the plot is the star of the show. The characters are still meh, but DeWitt, Ballard (more likable now that he's loosened up a bit) and Langton are still my favourite.
I have to get off my ass and do more productive shit. Honestly. On top of studying for the GRE and GRE Biology. I have concluded that the GRE Biology is easier than the GRE--facts are facts and you don't have to make all these connective bridges all over the place. (Those bridges only make sense if you are a native English-speaker and a hardcore academic.)
Dear travel agent,
I am writing very politely to tell you that you have sent me the same pdf file as the previous time--the one with no dates and flight times indicated. I would like a new e-ticket / new pdf file.
Irrate, but not asking for refund of the extra $120.00 for changing my return date (yet) despite the fact that the departure time changed afterwards (not your fault) and started sending me e-tickets without flight times or dates (your fault actually).
The cat left something in the box at [3:50 AM] 2 comments
My new air compressor came. Yay--birthday gift to myself!
(This is not an attempt to rationalise or justify a purchase. This is not an attempt to rationalise or justify a purchase . . .)
The cat left something in the box at [3:06 AM] 0 comments
Cats the Musical--yay. My sister's early present to me was a stall seat for Cats the Musical. Three rows from the stage--excellent.
There's something about the lack of a plot. (There's supposed to be one, but it is thinner than tissue paper.) And the sight of a lot of dancers in furry leotards canoodling on stage in a giant feline orgy that is still incredibly entertaining. Heh.
Cons and pros: A Rum Tum Tugger I didn't like--which is a bit of a shock--but a lot of interaction during intermission time with cats crawling all over the place. So cute. (RTT is supposed to be sexy, but annoying in a likable way. We got one that was annoying in a rather annoying way.)
First fandom will always be first fandom.
The cat left something in the box at [8:28 AM] 0 comments
Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae 25 - 26:
Well that was fucked-up. As expected, but wow. And I thought Futakomori was bad.
The weather has been so hot, I feel like running around naked. (Sadly, it would not alleviate the situation.) Just the other day, I was having an iced cup of juice. And one of those winged insects that hang around the lights took a nose-dive right into it.
04/36 event. Oh shit. And Rock'n'Dolless has a new book out in May. And an anthology. And Cou has s new book out too. *looks around for sadly deflated wallet*
The cat left something in the box at [8:49 AM] 0 comments
Can't sleep. Maybe I'm a light sleeper. Or something. But it's weird when you are tired but still can't sleep.
Hmm, was never into vampires (save for that one time when I read Anne Rice back when I was a teenager), but True Blood seems interesting.
The cat left something in the box at [3:18 PM] 0 comments
The thing about rock-climbing is the shoes. Itty-bitty tight shoes that make your feet resemble the bound feet of Chinese women from the last century. After fifteen minutes, I get toe cramps and slip off the wall as slippery sweating fingers and the fear of falling off the wall contribute to the problem. And that thing about balancing all 68kg of me on hand/foot-holds that I cannot get one foot on much less two. In summary, I suck at rock-climbing--have to go back to strength-training and core-training.
Abseiling this week. At least gravity is on our side this time.
To watch FMA or not to watch FMA?
I don't know--the first time around I could not finish watching it because there was too much angst.
I see that the slavezaku-fic has been updated today.
The cat left something in the box at [3:52 AM] 0 comments
I am mildly peeved. You don't buy something off a seller on eBay and then not pay and not respond to any emails/messages for two weeks and counting. It's not funny when the seller is incurring eBay fees for items sold but not paid for. (And do I get a refund on those fees when everything's been settled? No--I get eBay credits instead.) I know it's not a huge amount but it's the principle of the thing, dammit. Grrr.
Airbrushing is an expensive hobby. And damn frustrating when you are trying to find the right adapter nut to screw onto the compressor in order to rig up various airbrushes. Hooking up the copic airbrush to the compressor still eludes me because the adapter nuts are the wrong size for the airhose. (Wah, so technical!) Need to plan this better . . .
The cat left something in the box at [7:36 AM] 0 comments
Argh, work . . .
Am also slightly cheesed off by the state in which one of my doujinshi arrived in. It wasn't entirely the seller's fault--she put in the cardboard backing and everything . . . on one side only so that when the envelop got bent the B5 doujinshi got dented because of the small volume that would not bend. T___T
Watching Natsume Yuujinchou now--very interesting indeed. Nyanko-sensei!
Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae: So far as never failed to deliver the darkness inside all humans.
Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo 10: They just rammed a golden butt plug (they can call it a "Golden Gentlemen Plug", sure) into Leopard. I have not been so amused in months. Oh and the plot thickens substantially.
The cat left something in the box at [8:38 AM] 0 comments
I plan trips in my spare time. But since I can plan Tokyo trips with my eyes closed now, let's add the complication of arriving later than my travelling companions due to the tricky bit about needing to stop over in Hong Kong on the way back to invade kit's place.
I finally have travelling companions who are not my aunt or my mother again. (I took you to Italy, Mum . . . And three times to Japan, Aunt!) At a certain points (two years ago and four years ago), I was willing to go travelling with complete strangers. You make more friends that way. Or travel buddies. Which is why ML (friend of a friend who knows one of my best friends--small world) is coming along again. Ad-san was not invited because he went to Japan and Turkey last December (and still has not collected his Uniqlo sweater from me). Not sure Ed-san would be comfortable with a bunch of females though.
Casshern SINS Finale:
I knew it would depressing, but I wasn't prepared enough for that sort of thing. That is truly my idea of a downer ending.
Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae 21 and 22:
Some people might find it a little too dark, but fact is stranger than fiction. And reoccurring characters from past seasons show up to be cryptic.
Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo 09:
Now officially in Gintama territory, with whole AU episodes, kicking down the Fourth Wall, making perverted jokes based on homonyms, parodying various shounen series, using fandom catchphrases and highlighting the fact that certain seiyuu from another series are in this show.
This is officially my favourite anime at the moment next to Jigoku Shoujo.
The cat left something in the box at [5:02 AM] 0 comments
Rock'n'Dolless/Himemiko has a new doujinshi out. Mmm, I want Voice and prt/Mayu's new book as well.
Speaking of doujinshi . . . I'm selling some. On ebay.
Cherry, Beautiful Life and Mini L by Rock'n'Dolless.
Lancelot no Yosei-san by CLASSIC MILK * PEACE & ALIEN
Secret Code by D-Amb + Like Hell
Shounen Clarity by 6counter / coltroll
Algorithm by Kozouya / Zaou Taishi
RuPaul's Drag Race is currently my favourite show.
I would never imagined myself saying this, because I was never even slightly interested in men who can put on make-up more effectively than most women. But it is fantastically entertaining and such a sharp satire of reality television that I am happily watching contestants lip-synch for their lives.
To be trendy, I'll blaming everything on popular media. Which means going back to the Code Geass Picture Book episodes and all the doujinshi artists who also agree that boys look good in dresses and feed my fetish.
The cat left something in the box at [12:08 AM] 0 comments
Good news: PC is fixed again! Yay! (Cooling fan was busted. Thank goodness for the extended warranty I got on the hardware.)
Bad news: Haru Comi was yesterday and the new releases are already on Y!Auctions. (My wallet . . .)
The cat left something in the box at [10:53 PM] 0 comments
Had a day off, which was great because there always is a certain period at work when you want to climb the walls and go crazy.
PC is dying. Again. Argh.
Casshern SINS 22:
After builfing up the Casshern/Lyuuze for so many episodes, they stuck in the Dios/Casshern UST to pander to the fangirls. Eh . . .
Sora Wo Kakeru Shoujo 8:
Leopard = Lelouch = Grell = Watanuki = Ayase (Okane Ga Nai)
Every time I remember that, I crack up. Someone give the VA another award.
The cat left something in the box at [4:55 PM] 0 comments
I was almost a victim of credit card fraud. Fortunately, the credit card company caught it in time and cancelled the card before someone could treat themselves from Sears and Roebuck.
Pro: No spending on card for a week.
Con: Well . . . None, really. Too busy to shop for stuff outside of groceries.
In less exciting news:
Casshern SINS 20 and 21:
I think I see where this is going. It's not going to be a happy ending, is it? Like Wolf's Rain.
Lyuze and Casshern are growing on me.
I never had the inclination to pick up the manga (which I heard was painfully angsty). Very content with just watching the anime.
Hmmm, I like this series.
Don't knock it. It's only the third episode.
The cat left something in the box at [7:17 AM] 0 comments
12th Feb: Happy Birthday Darwin! Many articles here and there and all over the place, but few mentioning Wallace's contribution.
Weekend: Work, fic, work, selling off doujinshi (Rock'n'Dolless, Classic Milk Peace & Alien, etc for sale--link on your left), work, kareoke, work . . . Where was the time to exercise?
Casshern SINS 19:
The last time I watched something this depressing . . . Hmm . . . It actually reminds me of Wolf's Rain. Except that it didn't have characters that just show up for one episode to kick the emo-suicidal-tendencies out of the female lead, then crumble into coloured flower petals. (Or did it? It's been a while since I watched Wolf's Rain.)
(Lyuze, you may need to be more proactive, shrug off the emo and jump his bones. Because Casshern may not get it even if you beat him over the head with a big stick.)
It's-not-Firefly-but . . . :
Just watched Dollhouse. It seems to be off to a good start. Definitely on the dark side, but that's good.
The cat left something in the box at [4:27 AM] 0 comments
Taken in December 2008 on Miyajima. (The only thing I have to say is that no pair of cats would sit still for this sort of thing and it would involve securing the headgear on with velcro straps.)
Spring cleaning--it continues. Doujinshi for sale on the lj. *points to the link on the left*
The cat left something in the box at [9:16 AM] 0 comments
Casshern SINS 15:
Lyuze ("the girlfriend"): Casshern . . . *heavy pause* . . . It might just be possible that Dune has more emo than you.
Friender (not!Lassie): At this rate, the universe is going to implode with all the emo before the plot gets moving.
Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae 12: That's how anime should be deconstructed. Honestly, there are no words to describe how perfect this is. *fangirls like whoa* It does not lack an epic storyline--it has more than one evolving story woven within--it just doesn't let the backstory overshadow the weekly human drama and inevitable tragedy. Futakomori was darker than dark, not to mention depressing. Mitsuganae seems to be more about the darker side of human pettiness and trivality, often focusing on younger people like students. Which somehow makes everything even more tragic and terrible.
Obligatory my childhood! moment:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles doujinshi. BL doujinshi.
Isn't that also kind of like incest? Should I even try to get hold of one? Just for a look? (Oh no but yeah but no but yeah but no . . .)
The cat left something in the box at [8:18 AM] 0 comments
Have suddenly been drawn into conversation about fandom by Japanese seller-type-person. She just offered me a doujinshi FOC for answering a question about the international fandom.
There's only one thing to do in situations like this. Refuse. Politely.
A KSM doujinshi I don't have yet.
She got it free as omake anyway. She might be clearing her shelves.
*goes off to compose a message about how the postage will change because of the change in weight and generally hedge around the matter* *makes appropriate gushy noises about being a Rock'n'Dolless fan* *and envy her for having met Himemiko-sama (who is apparently a bijin in real life)*
The cat left something in the box at [7:06 AM] 0 comments
Ponyo, Ponyo, sakana no ko . . .
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea is probably going to be the best movie I see this year (I say this about the movies I see every January). Absolutely adorable.
And this is supposed to be the best job in the world. Well, definitely in the top ten for people who like swimming and snorkelling around a gorgeous coral reef.
The cat left something in the box at [7:34 AM] 0 comments
Have been asked to be more straightforward by a Japanese person.
Eh. You learn new things every day.
(How am I to figure out which level of politeness to use after one message? I just play it safe by being ultra polite.)
The cat left something in the box at [8:13 AM] 0 comments
Save me from full-day courses and full-day meetings. One after the other. It's strange how sitting for hours listening to other people talk can be so draining.
Unless my eyes deceive me, some people are willing to spend 11000yen on a 3 cm ball of fluff designed by Himemiko of Rock'n'Dolless. Eh, the auction says it doesn't come with the set of minis . . . Hope the person using the deputy service can read the message on the image.
No wonder people think fangirls and otaku are scary. (Not to mention willing to spend heaps of money.)
The cat left something in the box at [6:48 PM] 0 comments
Must stop salivating over Messiah by Rock'n'Dolless.
Voice of reason: You shouldn't buy it.
I shouldn't buy it. Even though it's pretty.
Voice of reason: Only crazy people who shell out 15k yen using Rinkaya buy it and even then they lost out the nutter who paid 22k yen for the whole set the other night.
I'll just get Diva and the mini L.
Voice of reason: You're lucky the ones with sets aren't shipping overseas/haven't replied to you yet. Have you seen the exchange rate recently?
It's not as bad as last month.
Voice of reason: Look, you can always wait until your favourite sellers have it on their auctions. Oi, are you listening? Your paycheck can be saved for better things!
Yeah but no but yes but no. There's something inherently attractive about fresh-from-Comiket sets complete with omake and whatnot. And the Winter Comi sets seem to come with everything including bags and postcards . . .
Voice of reason: You're obsessing over freebies and clear files that people will sell off later--
At sky-high prices well over the 200 yen original price.
Moral of the Story:
- There are nutters who will pay 22k yen for doujinshi. You are not one of them. (Except for that one time, but those were Kazuya Minekura's 1996 Saiyuki doujinshi.)
- Always check the circle websites to find out the original price before scouting out the best deals.
- Patience pays off. Wait for February or March.
- Fresh-from-Comiket sets are nice, but in the end, they are just doujinshi and the circles don't actually approve of that sort of thing to judge by the increasing number of no-auction notices posted in their books.
The cat left something in the box at [2:53 AM] 0 comments
So it's the new year here (and I am awake past midnight for once), so it's time for resolutions!
- Stop procrastinating.
- Get moving on plans for 2010.
- Buy less doujinshi. Okay, strike that--I already started 2009 buying doujinshi.
- Exercise more.
- Don't put back the 16 kilos I lost in 2008.
The cat left something in the box at [9:05 AM] 0 comments
Finally watched the last episode of Merlin. (It's not as gay as it is subtextual. And pretty because the cast is cute.)
Casshern SINS finally has an inkling of a plot and back-story. Lyuze is inching, ever so slowly, towards the "potential love interest" bracket. (There was, in fact, an entire dysfunctional family structure shown in Episode 13. Father/mother, step-father, prodigal sons and daughter, grandaughter and the potential girl-friend.)
*cautiously checks Yahoo!Japan auctions* Argh, Rock'n'Dolless' latest release from Comiket 75 and the Messiah compilation are up for sale already.
Resolution about buying less doujinshi is going out the window . . . very soon.
The cat left something in the box at [7:22 AM] 0 comments
Day 10: 23/12/2008
Back in Ikebukuro after the 3 hour ride from Osaka.
An explanation of the things with the cows:
My aunt is born in the Year of the Cow. As CNY is early next year, the ceramic zodiac animals the Japanese use for ornaments make a good gift.
So that's 28 small toothpick-holder cows and 1 small cow for my aunt's friend, 2 pairs of cows for my uncle and aunt on the paternal side, 1 pair of celadon-hued cows for my aunt herself.
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Day 8: 21/12/2008
A-Bomb Dome and Museum in the morning. Should set aside an entire morning for this as the museum was informative, fairly objective and very, very depressing. Especially about how mankind is probably going to kill itself off if the arms race goes on.
Day 9: 22/12/2008
Himeiji Castle for most of the day. My aunt gets cranky when she gets tired.
We did, however, score more cows for her.
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Day 7: 20/12/2008
Kyoto to Hiroshima by the Shinkansen.
Miyajima and Itsukushima shrime were beautiful, but not as panoramic as Amanohashidate. Or perhaps I should see the view from Mt. Misen. My aunt was tired, so we went back to Hiroshima to check-in.
The cow-hunt, it continues.
Or not. We stayed in for dinner and an early night. Tomorrow, the A-Bomb Dome.
The speciality of Miyajima is oysters. Baked, raw, grilled, bbq-ed oysters. In rice, in soup, in noodles. Shame I don't eat them. The manjuu here are called momiji and are shaped like momiji. I didn't get any as gifts as they expire too fast. I did eat one--dipped in batter and deep-fried--on a stick. Mmm . . . battered and deep-fried cheese-manjuu--it's the local version of the deep-fried Mars Bar with a choice of cream, red bean paste and cheese.
May not have Internet for a while. Withdrawl might set in.
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Day 6: 19/12/2008
We went to Amanohashidate today by direct train. It was an extra 1480yen for the line not covered by the JR Pass.
Even my Aunt admitted that the view from the hillside at Ichinomiya was spectacular. It just was. And I did the looking-at-the-sand-bar-between-your legs. Because everyone and their grandmother was doing it and it's a thing you do while on vacation. Like eating soft-serve vanilla ice-cream while looking at one of the three most scenic views.
And going to onsen! Chie-no-yu by the station is okay for a nice soak before getting on the train back to Kyoto. I just like soaking in lots of hot water . . . because the bath-tub at home has not worked since I was 15 and was converted into a shower.
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Day 5: 18/12/2008
Went to Hikone to see Hikone-jo. As castles go, it does great job of making sure any foes who try to attack it would have a very hard time getting anywhere near the main keep. Which might be why it was never attacked between 1600-something to 1860.
Went back to Kyoto earlier than expected. A bit disappointing that I didn't get to see the Castle Road.
I must have screwed up when I booked the tix for Amanohashidate as I got the second train instead of the first. I think my kyuu-ji sounded like jyu-ji--argh, cannot even get the pronunciation right! But fortunately, the tix were changeable. Thank you JR Rail Pass!
Apparently, there is a poll (about the importance of the internet in our daily lives) that shows that 46% of women would give up sex for two weeks rather than give up internet access.
Hmmm . . .
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Day 4: 17/12/2008
Made it to Kyoto in good time. (There was no snow over Nagoya like back in 2006.)
Nishiki Market before lunch at the Teramachi Arcade. Kyoto confections are so cute and pretty. Must resist until I get the green tea cakes with soy powder.
Gion and Ponchoto are still nice in the evening. It's the kind of thing that has to be experienced. Plus my aunt doesn't drink and I hate cigarette smoke, so going to a bar is out of the question. Had a long walk down Shijo, but not without stopping at Takashimaya to get more cows. I am beginning to think my aunt does it on purpose to see the salespeople wrap them up.
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Day 3: 16/12/2008
Did the Imperial Palace tour in the morning. There is not much to see as most areas are out of bounds, but the commentary is interesting.
Lunch at Tsukiji. Edogin has great lunch sets. Ikura sushi--nomnomnom. I knew my aunt would want to go see it despite her grumpiness. Instant expresso coffee and zodiac place mats make her day. As do ceramic cows. We found a new variant at Matsukaya in Ginza and she was over the moon again.
Did a very tai tai thing and had tea and coffee at Cafe le Doutor at Ginza. Very relaxed Tokyo visit this time around with no running around. One of the better holidays when I don't have to run around like a nutter.
I went to Bic Camera in the evening to find a camera battery charger and the Choro-Qs (toy cars) my colleague wanted. No Fuji chargers, but a Pentax one works just fine and the salesperson was nice enough to let me try it out first. None of the Choro-Qs my colleague wanted were there, but it was a terrible thing to walk into the toy department there and see airbrushes on display. Double-action gravity-feed airbrushes. And compressors. Argh. Want so bad.
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Day 2: 15/12/2008
News in the morning: No more gawking at the tuna auctions at Tsukiji. Tourists are disappointed. (Have not gone to the tuna auctions. Too early even for the likes of me. I just like to eat raw tuna.)
Ueno Park in the morning and Ameya-yokocho after that. Ameyoko is like Tsukiji Market with more clothing, shoe and bargain drug stores. Crowded, bright and noisy--good for bargains on seaweed, seafood, clothes, etc.
Lunch was salmon don eaten on the street at a hot-chair diner (you have to eat and be done in 30 minutes) in Ameyoko, which was reasonable for the price.
Aunt did not want to go to Odaiba as the one-day ticket was pricy. (Objectively speaking, it was pricy.) So we headed for Shinjuku where my aunt goes gaga over the service at Takashimaya. Yes, they do quality wrapping and give great service even when you buy ceramic cows. We are going to have a whole herd of them by the end of this trip.
Skyscraper distract in Shinjuku. View from the 45th floor of Tower 1 of the Tokyo Metropolitan Building (aka Civil Servant Centre in Tokyo) was very nice, but shame about the glass windows--it's hard to get a shot with the reflection. Probably left camera battery charger at home--darn it. Wonder how much it costs to get another one here?
I confess--I went out doujinshi shopping again after getting back to Ikebukuro. And I brought all of them in my knapsack to the post office behind Sunshine City to mail them back by SAL. I don't usually sneak around like that, but my aunt bitches about mailing stuff home all the time. So for my piece of mind, thank goodness for the later closing hours at the Toshima-ku main post office. (On the other hand, would I have gotten printed matter rate if they were not in a box?)
And on a side note, cannot see Mutuality by CLAMP in bookstores--wow, it sold out fast.
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Did the Otome Dori trawl and bought 4 kilos of doujinshi already. Oh dear.
Edit the first: Day 1 in Detail
Landed at Narita. First thing I saw after coming out of customs was the police cordon at the men's room outside. If the crime scene tape wasn't enough, the presence of large police dogs proved that this was probably something serious. Scary.
Got to Tokyo via the Keisei Line--which tries to grill your buttocks slowly on the way via its under-the-seat heating system--and got to Ikebukuro to check into the hotel. Crowds here are still intense on a Sunday. Quick dinner followed by shopping. Found the cows for my aunt and she is over the moon.
Doujinshi hunting on Otome Dori after my aunt was safely deposited in Sunshine City. In terms of second-hand doujinshi, most ex to cheapest: K-Books > Meikidou > Mandarake
But Toranoana has new books at good prices. Have not checked out the secondhand books yet. Eyes hurt from dryness.
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Hooray for 20% discounts at Kino.
I am not a fan of CLAMP, having only read RG Veda and watched the XXXholic anime. Mutuality is probably going to be the only CLAMP artbook in my collection. The cover was quite frankly a tease, but no big surprise to anyone who has seen artwork by CLAMP. Also spoilers for R2 here and in the book.
Nothing new in terms of colour art except for three pictures. The sketches show why CLAMP gets top billing for character design as they pretty much covered everything. Favourite picture is still C.C. in the red and black kimono.
Short story by Ohkouchi Ichiro in Chapter VIII: First part had OT3 chilling in Baghdad after the events in the World of C as Lelouch thinks up what would be soon be known as Zero Requiem. Second part is about swords (yes, that one) and very gay as the boys talk about killing off their identities/personas. Suzaku is Ore!Suzaku and the sword was specially made. (Of course it was. No self-respecting weapons-maker would willing make anything like that.) It sounds like double suicide/lovers' suicide when put like that. Only they're talking about it flippantly despite the angsty subject matter. It's also hard to T__T when That Hat is on the opposite page. Anime had the passing of the mask, the short story has the super-gay handing over of the sword. Fanfic and fanart has the alteration of the Zero outfit covered. Yeah, CG has everything.
Reading A Distant Soil. Which I should have picked up earlier except that I did not know it was available in Kino. Seren and D'mer are growing on me.
Casshern Sins Ep 10 was a whole episode without Casshern angsting in it. But it made up for that by having someone else do the angsting for a change. Dune has issues. Dio has a huge rage-on for Casshern. Leda has a huge . . . well, she's rather obsessed with Dio and their new utopia. In the background, the plot inches forwards.
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*looks at exchange rates*
*dies a little inside*
No more online shopping / auction doujinshi for me then . . .
Comiket doujinshi . . . T___T
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Argh, forgot about road closures today. I hate spending that long on a bus while being stuck in traffic.
Picked up Fables: War and Pieces the other day. Very epic.
Passed on hardcover book of James Jean's Fables covers. Gorgeous, glorious stuff. *waits for 20% discount to roll around again*
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I got a call from Ad which I missed because my phone is permanently on silent mode. He's in Japan and was wondering if I was there.
Not for another week, former travel-buddy, not for another week.
Speaking of which . . .
- Air tix: check
- Travel insurance: check
- Rail passes: check
- Money: check
- Hotel reservations: check
- Maps: check
- Itinerary: check
- Pack suitcase: not yet . . . only 30% done.
Though I wish I was going with Ad and Ed / any of my other travel-buddies. My aunt . . . is my aunt. It's hard to go doujinshi shopping with your aunt.
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The thing is . . . the thing is this--I like graphic novels. A lot. Possibly more than I like doujinshi. *le gasp* But saying, "I walked into Kinokuniya and got the last volume of Transmetropolitan to complete my collection!" doesn't quite have the same kick to it.
"Graphic Novels I Cannot Live Without" Reading List:
Strangers in Paradise
Dawn (Yeah, but I dig Lisner's artwork.)
Room cleaning--it goes slow.
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I made chocs. Followed and modified the recipe from Crepes of Wrath. Used a ginger cake as well as a standard yellow cake.
Clockwise from far left: Ginger and chestnut paste, Nutella, ginger and whiskey, peanut butter, ginger and honey.
Crunchy peanut butter really makes a difference.
Candied ginger bits are good decorations. As is cinnamon sugar.
Must try to do more alcoholic varieties.
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Ah, doujinshi, how thou evades me . . .
I really have to stop browsing through Y!Jp Auctions. I wouldn't know about the existence of some circles if not for auctions.
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Week in review:
- Avenue Q! The internet is for porn! Indeed . . .
- Go Democrats! Now the economy, fix please? Mr Obama has his work cut out for him, poor bloke . . .
- I managed to score Rock'n'Dolless doujinshi for something almost close to the original price . . . It's a either a miracle, or there's too much of the new releases (of Mind Room and Shower Room) floating around. Inclined to think the latter.
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It's that time of the year again . . .
The time when I have to change the blog layout. The time when I decide if I want to change the blog layout.
Yeah, and growing older too.
Went out with friends on Saturday to celebrate over dinner and did it again with the family today. I am content and getting fat. My gym membership is not being utilised enough.
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I have not been writing of late bacause I realise that my life has gone down the toilet in terms of interesting things that I can actually share with the world at large. And fandom takes time, dammit.
Weird hits on my blog:
"Is shotacon illegal?"
In some places it is. In Japan, it seems to be okay. If you mean the real thing (in the creepy MJ kind of way) and not a fictional kind of thing, then of course it is illegal.
Eline finally does self-censorship:
Can I please not get any more hits for "n_zi fetish"? I don't mind getting hits for "yaoi porn doujinshi", but I really, really don't want to be known for "n_zi fetish". I play Zettai Fukujuu Meirei and have some doujinshi with the aforesaid fetish, but that's just uniform fetish and nothing else. Why in the world would I have a n_zi fetish? I'm not Japanese!
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So my sister emails and tells me that she bought a car and I went !!!!!!!!!!!!!O_O;;;;;;;;;
Exactly like that.
When I read her blog (not linked here), I realise that there is a whole other world that she lives in and I'm not a part of it anymore. T_T
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Random Real Life Blather:
White hairs! Ange spotted two of them today just by glancing over! Arrrgggggggghhhhhhh!
Can't get original manga, huh? Not really trying hard enough lah . . .
On Y!hosting Galleries now!
It is the yaoi fangirls' jammies and the mutilated cartoon characters' knees. Nothing is sacred. Whahahaha . . . (The nekky images and the mature m/m pics are available to members only.)
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Happy Lunar New Year . . .
It's good being on top of the family tree. You get visited by people instead of going to visit people. Including the uncle who is stingy with the ang pao money and the ones who bring all their spawn to collect as many red packets as possible.
Went to my mother's side for dinner. As my mother's immediate family is large to begin with, it always made sense to go to one uncle's house for the first day. My one and only niece has not acknowledged me--woe is I, for toddlers have such short term memories for relatives they only see once a month. (One of the pairs of uncles and aunties are still having problems and it's getting sadder year after year.) Grandmother's meat rolls and curry! Yay!
Am becoming a pig with all the face-stuffing these two days . . .
Dear whiney fangirls,
You're already getting games and stuff for free. Asking for translations is like asking for that slap upside the head you rightfully deserve. Learn Japanese. It opens whole new worlds for you, believe you me. It makes life easier and cheaper in the long run.
The cat left something in the box at [6:55 AM] 0 comments
You know you've been on Y!Japan for too long when a newbie seller contacts you with a five-line e-mail and you get offended by the lack of so-and-so to moshimasu as an introductory line and the required paragraph about contacting the seller if such and such is not clear. Complete with jingle-bells and the prosthetic "-itashimasu" and "-gozaimasu" appended onto every line.
The Lunar New Year is coming!
Have baked tarts, bought cookies and bought more Toyogo boxes to stash stuff.
And I have only bought one new shirt.
Have not gone for a haircut yet.
Still not ready for CNY.
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The Saga of the Pineapple Tarts
. . . Which began yesterday afternoon and stretched all the way to 12.30am today.
My mother would have liked me to have prepared the dough last night, but I was out with my friends until very late (along with most of the country, or so it seemed). And I woke up late this morning. (Actually we all planned to sleep in late, but I can usually only achieve a not-that-late awakening of 10am even on public holidays.)
So tart-making schedule was pushed back. And I fell asleep again in the afternoon and missed tea with kit and neffy-poo. I suck . . . (I associate my bed with sleep alone, so even lying on it brings about instant sleepness.)
And the tarts have to be cut and filled . . . We have one oven, so that's one batch at a time . . . And we're still at it even now . . . (I am on a break.)
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But I have to clear up the desk outside my room first. -__-;;
Meanwhile . . .
My aunt has ordered pineapple tarts (a tasty species of which I am very fond of) for the Lunar New Year and she suddenly decided to give a box to you because she likes you best out of all my friends. I am in shock because this is unprecedented and you are obviously not human. My aunt does not like people in general--not even the relatives, most of whom will not even receive a crumb from her this year.
Have figured out how to make torrents and seed them. My nerdiness increases by another notch (perhaps). Will make available rarer things like additional drama tracks. Will not do games--I don't know how to convert the files anyway.
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Well, I don't have a Japanese test tomorrow because the classes are full up until February. Daijoubu da yo. Shigoto wa totemo isogashii dakara jikan ga nai . . . Tesuto ga nai de, yokatta desu.
And that is good because I am neck-deep in work and have no time to study.
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Bought the preview of Zettai Fukujuu Meirei off Y!Jp. I don't particularly mind the price, because I heard it snowed at Comiket 67 in December. Subtract the time taken in the queue and the cost of getting to the Big Sight at Odaiba, I think it was worth it.
Work inevitably does this to me. I think in terms of opportunity costs and time saved. T__T
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