Thursday, November 13, 2008


So I am a moofer today - "Mobile Out of Office" for the uninitiated, and Oxford Dictionary's runner-up for Word of the Year.

There's even an entire blog dedicated to people's moofing experiences. It doesn't come as a surprise that the site is "in association with Microsoft".

My moofing experience today involved about 5 minutes of Oprah - something about women being insecure and making their partners partake in a lie detector tests. Was actually hoping for the 2008 'Oprah's Favourite Things' episode. Perhaps that's incentive to moof for the rest of November.

Now that the presidential election hype has subsided, it's time to project forward to the next 100 days. George W's activities in his first 100 days made my chuckle. His achievements included:
  • announcing the end of U.S funding for international centres that offer family-planning counselling and perform abortions;
  • creating an Office of Faith Based and Community Initiative to help religious groups obtain federal tax dollars to address social problems;
  • presents $1.96 trillion budget plan to Congress, which proposes reducing growth in government programs and gives Americans the largest tax cut in two decades
  • meets with German Chancellor and defends his opposition to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol
Aw my gawd.

On the other hand, Franklin D. Roosevelt is fast becoming my fave U.S President according to his first 100 days track record.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President Obama

What a day ... what a speech - delivered to a tee, and without any notes as well. He is indeed a master orator.

McCain's concession speech wasn't half bad either - surprisingly genuine and very appropriate. Perhaps he also appreciates the magnitude of this defining moment in history. Bush's track record and the accompanying anti-Bush sentiment certainly did not help McCain's cause at all.

The world made sense today - and that is encouraging.

Now, my Obama shrine might be worth something now. If only I could could preserve my Obama-inspired pumpkins:

Sunday, October 05, 2008

KS - Labour Day Long Weekend

We are in the Blue Mountains, staying in a house that has shelves of books in every corner of the house. The owner has a super impressive collection - very impressed.

A trip to the Jenolan Caves yesterday gave us an insight into: CaCO3, crystals, stalagmites, stalactites and the beauty of time and nature (cue in Sir David Attenborough). We booked ourselves into the Orient Tour which led us (via dynamite blasted tunnels) 100 metres below ground. The view was spectacular.
YDG created her own spit crystals during her 15 minutes whooping cough fit. I was kinda fearful that her coughing fit was going to induce a stalagmite/stalactite earthquake.

We played golf today - not much to say about the day except for the fact that we didn't win the damn meat tray.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Love Tina Fey and 30 Rock

30 Rock and Tina Fey - just about the 2 best things on TV these days - walked away with 4 Emmys. one for Alec Baldwin, two for Tina Fey and one for the best comedy series. Well deserved!

I have never not been able to contain my laughter in a public arena (e.g. train, plane) ... that's until 30 Rock came along.

And in true comedian self deprecating style, Tina Fey says in her acceptance speech:

"I thank my parents for somehow raising me to have confidence that is disproportionate with my looks and abilities. Well done. That is what all parents should do"".

Now for the rest of the world to catch on to the brilliantness that is 30 Rock (it is still struggling for viewers). Season 3 begins 30 October 2008.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Quantifying Greed: - ~$700 billion

News just in about an audacious proposal, dreamt up by the Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, and fully supported by the current Bush Administration, designed to bail out the fall out of the mortgage/sub-prime crises.

The details?

Alarmingly THIN but for the fact that it will cost tax payers $700 billion dollars. But get this, the draft proposal for this $700 billion Bailout Plan says (in section 8):

"Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

This means that the Secretary is not accountable for anything or anyone. In fact, s/he is not bound even by law! I suppose this magnitude of power and lack of accountability is not entirely surprising given this is the same Administration that legalised/socialised concepts such as pre-emptive strike, waterboarding, warrantless wiretaps etc.

Which then begs the question, why would anybody vote for McCain when he supported Bush's policies 95% of the time in 2007, and 100% in 2008.

Even a former beauty queen can't save that kind of bogus statistic.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Obama Shrine

I have inadvertently built up a Barack Obama shrine at work. For some reason, people are giving me Obama paraphernalia (not that I mind really).

My public stance is that I am absolutely a Obama supporter. Secretly though, I am still a Hillary Rodham Clinton fan. Unbelievable that despite being such an inexperienced spiff, Sarah Palin could land the top job, especially if you consider that McCain is 72 years old. I read somewhere that a couple of actuarists have modelled that there is a:
- 30% chance that McCain will die while in office, and
- 40% chance that Palin will take over due to a life threatening illness to McCain.

Worrying ...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sux to be Malay

Stumbled upon an interesting/intriguing link sourced from one of my favourite daily reads.

Appears to be an inverse relationship between price and tint of skin, specifically yellow tint. Would be interesting to find out what the price of an African/African American/Indian (although Indian is arguably an extreme case of yellow tinting).

Perhaps the saying "Black is Beautiful" doesn't hold true for yellow black.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Yes We Can!

"This was the moment. This was the time where we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals".

I think Obama's Democratic nomination speech will have a place in the Great Speeches collection along side Nelson Mandela's Address Upon Release from Prison and Martin Luther King Jr's I Have A Dream.

The audacity of hope, the conviction for truth, the fight for the common man's plight and ultimately the belief and trust that the highest ideals are worthy pursuits.

He is one classy guy.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

I am engaging in supreme work multi-tasking:

Headset on one ear - participating in work meeting
Earphone in the other ear - listening to "American Boy"
Google Talk - chat
Writing Document - work
Blogging - to prove the point

I digress ...

This week has been rather eventful in an "I, Robot" kind of way. Thursday morning, I'm rushing to get the car started to make an early morning meeting. My car was parked outside that morning, and to give you a sense of its surroundings:- it is parked on a strip of grass that leads directly to the neighbour's house. Immediately beside the strip of grass is concrete pavement.

Before I hop in the car, I do the right thing by starting the engine - this was the previous owner's parting advice (I think he decided to keep it simple realising that I wasn't capable of up keeping his millions of fastidious care tips). With my kaya + peanut butter sandwich in one hand, I insert the key into the ignition (toot toot! beep beep!). Next thing I know, the car bunny hops and suddenly (and I mean very suddenly) gains forward momentum, heading in the direction of my neighbour's house. At this point, I'm still not in the car, rather I am hanging on to the car door with dear life trying very desperately to get in the car. The car seemed to be speeding towards my neighbours house - I really thought it was going to smash into the house blockbuster-Hollywood (or perhaps Australia's Funniest Home Videos) style with me lying unconscious still holding on to my sandwich. It could have been a disastrous, expensive outcome. Fortunately, I managed somehow to drag myself into the car and slam on the brakes. Let me tell you, very hard to locate the brake pedals when you are about to career into a house.

I breathed a heavy sigh of nervous relief, then realised that I had burned a hole around the knee caps on my favourite work pants thanks to the concrete pavement. I had not actually noticed that I was being dragged along the pavement all that time until the sting set in.

Such an improbable set of circumstances. Leads me to believe that my car has developed a mind of its own and is attempting to get away from me (by committing suicide?) a la the movie I, Robert.

Eventful morning. Missed my meeting and now have a very puss-filled knee.

I should mention the announcement on my train ride into the city the other day (this is the "train" part of the blog - see subject header). As per usual, cityrail was experiencing delays between Central Station and Wynyard. The driver was courteous enough to inform us that there was a delay and then added "But Cityrail guarantees same day service", to which some random commuter responded "Well that's a bit rich". I tend to agree.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Non Sequitur

I just witnessed Bindy Irwin latch on to her new (most likely anti-conservational), silver logie. Her performance on the podium was actually rather endearing, unlike the eeky scene between Anakin and Padmé Amidala on TV at the moment.

All my Star Wars knowledge comes from my childhood obsession with Space Balls (HELMET!). I have never seen a Star Wars episode until very recently. People's reaction to this range from indignance to horror, to assuming that I am some kind of defect representation of the human race. Personally, I think Pizza the Hut is much better than Jabba the Hut, as is Dark Helmet and Yogurt. Somebody actually got a bit cranky at me when I suggested that Predator is a better movie than Star Wars (which it soooooo is). I don't have to defend Arnie - he just is.

So I was having a conversation with a friend who works for a lift (i.e. elevator) company (only a few to choose from). How the lift industry has escaped the attention of the ACCC is an interesting thought. Anyway, he has to wear a hard hat - very male stipper-esque. I was telling him that my number 1 lift-bugbear is the missing 'close-door' button. Ignorant statement I know but it really does bug me! I just don't understand why the essential close-door button is not on all elevators. It's like having sushi without the wasabi & soya sauce, i.e. nice but not complete.

What if you were escaping from a deviant - a close button would come in handy. What if you were trying to avoid the company of a overly chatty colleague - a close button would be nice. What if you were running late for a train/game/meeting/lunch (list goes on) - yes a close button would be helpful. What if some person's flailing limb/accessory was unnecessarily triggering the door sensors - a close button would be absolutely essential. I may be pushing the point ad nauseum, but I feel as strongly about this as a Star Wars fans feel about Yoda. (Oh Samuel L just carked it)

The same hard hat wearing friend also has a very diry little secret (even dirtier than my One Tree Hill obsession). He races nitro remote control cars for a hobby. Apparently the hobby requires non-lame things like pit stops and remote control car modifications. Hehe. Each for their own ...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

iGeneration Speak

It's amazing how quickly you can lose touch with current trends. Perhaps the better view is that I'm just getting older and not necessarily wiser.
Keeping up now requires real effort and hard work; I feel like my parents struggling with the concept of Windows XP.

During my daily 'I'm so stressed I need to net surf on bloglines' session, I came across the term "rickroll" on xkcd, and in particular, this comic stip:

Wanting desperately to be in on the joke (it's no fun being on the outer), I googled the word.


Wiki says "In a rickroll a person provides a link they claim is relevant to the topic at hand which actually takes the user to the Rick Astley video."

Urban Dictionary says "To disguise a link to a video of Rick Astley singing "Never Gonna Give You Up." Popularized from excessive use on 4chan and certain Internet gaming forums."; and also "A variant on the duckroll"

4chan? duckroll? Rick Astley? Have I been hiding in a cave for the past couple of years? Nobody is speaking my language anymore. Blerg ...

Friday, February 29, 2008

/Kamui = Epic Power Day

Japan trip fast approaching a 'ritardando'. Sitting in bed with my non-artificially frozen $2 Asahi beer on our last night in Furano. Heading off to Osaka tomorrow morning and then back home. *sob*

We decided to take a time out from Furano and head to Kamui Ski Links Resort for the day.

What greeted us what a day's worth of glorious, beautiful powder ... and the sweet part was that the mountain was, for the most part, desolate. At times, the conditions were blizzarly but the sun always managed to come out for a showing after each downpour.

It was a fantastic, 2 thumbs up day - wonderful crescendo to end the snowboarding part of our trip. Although there were 2 unfortunate events that marginally marred Kick-Ass-Kamui:

  1. I ripped a hole in my ski pants which equals cold, wet and uncomfortable. I had to ask the lovely steam buns lady to lend me some sticky tape to cover up my indecent exposure;

  2. I smashed into a massive branch which left a fairly decent dent on my helmet. My helmet definitely saved my fat-ass head today. I didn't even see the branch coming ...

Few nice pics of our last run, thanks to Dougie's supreme photo-taking skills ...

And one for the Arnie impersonator himself:

Did I hear "Get down, get down!" ??

PS: My fave is still "So you cooked up a story and dropped us in the meat grinder"

Thursday, February 28, 2008

OTH Night

Temporary Japan hiatus.

Tonight is over-excited fangirl SQUEE night aka One Tree Hill night.

There you have it. My dirty little secret is out.

Squee ...

A couple of photos taken at Inari Shrine in Kyoto to amuse you in the interim.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

/Furano - Snow Galore

Day 2 at Furano will be now known as Snow-rano - it was snowing for the entire day. Quite amazing when you consider how rare it is for it to rain ALL DAY in Sydney. Should be a fantastic day on the mountain tomorrow.

Here are our Furano mugshots. They have photo-sticker-esque machines when you purchase your lift pass. I had to stand WAY far back to fit my whole (even larger with helmet) head into the picture.

These mugshots would have lived up to its name if we were caught 'ducking rope' today. Going out of bounds is a no-no in Furano as a precaution to potential avalanches. We 'ducked rope' on our last run, right after we got yelled at for invading the downhill slalom course. How was I suppose to know that it was only for the little training kids? And because of the frequency of which I say "arigato gozaimashita" during the course of a day, I ended up yelling back "thank you" when the dude yelled at us to get off the course. You may call it a fright reflex.

An update on my food baby menu today: miso ramen and picked rice with vending machine coffee for lunch; 2 asahi beers and nuts before dinner; nabe, crab croquet and salmon with roe rice along with a ume shu sour for dinner.

Can you believe they had an anpanman snowman on the mountain today?! I am now searching for anpanman stomp pad for my new snowboard.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

/Furano = cold

It's bloody cold in Furano! Couldn't feel my face after 5 minutes in the sub 9+ degree cold last night.

We are back at the Ressha House Pension where you can leave your $2 Asahi can outside your room window and have ice cold beer in 10 minutes. Sure is a fine way to relax after a day on the slopes.

Today's food baby menu included: beef steak curry, azuki bean bun, octopus balls and vending machine coffee for lunch; and for dinner: 9 plates of sushi train plates. I could give you a visual depiction of my food baby, but I won't. Just imagine E.T but slightly more human.

Check out road works, Furano style i.e. with blow torches

First day of riding wasn't too bad either

Sunday, February 24, 2008

/Tokyo - Gochisoosama*

* to express gratitude for cooking and serving (just after eating)

It has been an eating spree in Tokyo. Traveling with 5 perpetually hungry boys with bottomless pit stomachs is helping me bring my food baby to full term. I suspect that our voracious appetite scared some of Binny's Jap pals at last night's dinner. Today was no exception with a visit to the inspiration behind the scene where The Bride battles Go Go Yubari. The chocolate pudding with black sesame ice cream was sublime!

This is our last night in Tokyo and our living abode - Oakwood Apartments Shinjuku - for the past 4 nights. The 180 degree views from our apartment are spectacular ...

... and pity we only discovered the "sky lounge" on the last night. The lounge is secluded and decked with an awesome view; has a bar system based on 'honesty'; and a computerised piano that has good enough taste to leave out Richard Clayderman on its play list.

We were yet again caught in the rush hour subway chaos coming back from Akihabara Electric Town (秋葉原電気街). If Sunday @ 5:30pm generates this much traffic, I shudder at the thought of traveling on a weekday at the major stations. Being stuck in the mob and contending with the surge of bodies en masse is similar to being stuck in a strong rip, i.e. there is nothing you can do about it ... you must just go with the flow and assure yourself that the poor old grandma that you knocked over will live another day (despite the additional food baby weight).

Yodobashi at Akihabara is indeed a geek's fantasy. Lucky for me, fantasy-land also had an impressive range of anpanman paraphernalia.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

/Tokyo Madness

Missed out on an update on Kyoto, aka Shrine Mania. There were good times in Shrine Mania, one of which was our stay at a traditional ryokan (旅館) which included kaiseki dinner and breakfast. It was a treat to be seen. The kaiseki required punctuality, which can prove quite difficult when there are 11 of us running riot. Other notable ryokan experiences were: wearing a yukata 24/7, and HT's favourite - having to shower in a common bath area (Ofuro).

More on Kyoto later.

Am now in Tokyo. As the saying goes, when in Tokyo...
  • Squeeze yourself in a sardine packed Tokyo subway. Seeing it on TV might be fun, but being caught in the midst of it is stressful and tiring. I was physically unable to lose balance because we were squeezed in so tight - I had bodies all around me to break my fall. Apparently some guy said to Nat that it was a case of 'survival until you have to get off'.

  • Eat at the Iron Chef's restaurant. It was a culinery experience well worth every dollar. 3 hours of delectable food and sake, all adding to this nearly full-grown food baby that I am harvesting this holiday.

  • See lots of dead fish; feel regret and sorrow for the dead fish only to eat some of it later. So yummy though ...

  • Buy a snowboard - tick! Not fun transporting the thing on the subway though.

Other Tokyo highlights to come later.

What I haven't done is try out the "massage" function on the bidet in our apartment. I will muster the courage before we leave on Saturday.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I am a big fan of the lost in translation signs, starting with the etiquette don'ts on the subway:

... to the tourist information signs at Miyajima Island:

But the most memorable Hiroshima experience was undoubtedly the Peace Memorial Park (the Peace Memorial Museum being the highlight). It was both educational and reverent. Highly recommended albeit the sombreness.

And topped off with oishii okonomiyaki: