Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"We believe in fairies!"

Ah, pantomimes. The best thing that could happen to a child. Well, according to Enid Blyton, they are. That or a visit to the seaside. Or a really big, hard conker.

Anyway, I was reading on the Internet about how there's this one scene in the Peter Pan pantomimes where they get the audience to participate.

Tinkerball has been swatted and Peter cries desperately to the audience:

"Do you believe in fairies? If you believe, clap your hands!"

Everyone claps their hands and Tink comes back to life. (Luckily - or unluckily, really - the same doesn't apply in movie theatres at the end of "Saw" movies.)

I was just wondering what would happen if it was a really lame production and no one clapped. That would be pretty funny. Well, mean and soul-destroying to the actors, but still quite amusing. Don't worry, I only think about these things and usually lack the guts to orchestrate them in real life.

Would the actor just lie there? Or eventually get up in embarrassment? What if all the children started crying because Tinkerbell stayed dead? If they didn't have stage curtains they'd be pretty fire-trucked, no?

Ah, the lawsuits that would ensue - "Dear Blahblah Theatre, my 5 year old son now keeps asking me what happens when we die. You will be hearing from my lawyer soon. Yours Sincerely, Outraged Parent"

* Or in my case, custard puffs from Beard Papa, which I dreamily imagine to be much better than ANYTHING I've ever experienced. That's right, Lindt, you heard me - EVER.

After reading about the damn things in overseas blogs, I finally found out through the Food Pornographer that they are now available Perth. But... they're at Morley Galleria. And I know this sounds anal but as a South of the River dweller, I really don't like driving to places North of the River, except for Ikea and my sister's house.

Last night I had a dream where I lost my car in the Galleria car park, and had to rock climb up the stairs (they'd all turned into 135° steel ladders), just to get some of that crispy/soft melt-in-your-mouth custardy goodness. So an excursion is due, obviously.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I see dead people - Part 2

I'm so proud. Last Tuesday night was the first night in a week where I slept by myself with the light off. I couldn't be prouder than a five year old that's stopped wetting the bed and had his rubber sheets taken off.

I did get some horrible movie flashbacks while brushing my teeth before turning in, but managed to calm myself down by reading some Rumpole (The Second Omnibus). I then turned off the light and stared straight ahead, clenching a spare pillow tightly between my arms and knees. At some point I fell asleep and then woke up to daylight. Woohoo! No night-time visitors!

But read a little further and you'll see how traumatised I still am...

As you may know, it was MFC's birthday on Monday, and some friends had given him a nice ring (he'd told me about it over e-mail but I'd forgotten).

Here is an excerpt from a conversation we had late last night. He was tapping away at the computer and I was falling asleep in bed.

MFC: "Would you like to see the ring?"
Me: (shrieking with a mixture of petulance and terror) "Nooo!"
MFC: "Huh?"
Me: "Oh, you're not talking about the movie, are you?"
MFC: "You're crazy."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"Real" vampires

A- ha! A-HAHAHAHAHAAA - this is the first time something on 43 Things has cracked me up :D

Note: Some posts and profiles on 43 Things can take ages to load. So I've included copies of the funniest bits in this post.

Check this out. It caught my eye when I was updating my profile at 43 Things. Hee hee - those emos say the darndest things! Hey, I was one myself in high school (except emos didn't exist back in the old days, so I was just a sad freak) and am therefore allowed to laugh at them from my position of omniscient old age :p

I think I read somewhere on Maddox's site that if there are real vampires, then there should be real vampire hunters. I fully agree. In fact, he'll have my vote if he ever decides to push that Anti-vampire bill through parliament.

The excerpt on vampire hunting comes from his article "Looking for a safe stance on abortion? Me neither."

So, anyway, according to 43 Things (as of October 25th, 2006), 16 people have become vampires and there are 211 who have yet to reach this goal.

Here is a recent whinepost from a wannabe, "Untitled — 4 days ago":

"i think it is absolutly rediculus that we have 208 people on this site that want to become a vampire but no one is helping each other reach that goal. the reason for that may be that not many actual vampires are on this site but i know there are a few. even if there were not any vampires on this site other people have contacts to them and could ask them to help. no one is ever talking to anyone or responding to their entries. on the werewolf site they are always talking to people and always helping eachother. i do not see why we cannot work together and try to help people who are just as, or more lost than we are."
You selfish vampires! The people on the werewolf forum are way nicer and willing to share their cursed lycanthropic blood! Ugly gross werewolves are going to over-run the planet instead of sexy svelte vampires!

Actually my friends at Uni shared a History class with some dude who thought he was a werewolf. He talked about going out and howling at the moon once a month. Gleesh.

43 Things also has this to report:
People doing this are also doing these things:
- Go to a My Chemical Romamce's Concert
- have a credit card
- see mikey and frank kiss
So I think I can say, that the odds of them being official losers sad people who need lots of cheering up are about 99.9 to 1.

This person reckons they've done it.*
This one finds it very lonely and would like to contact other vampires living in the Michigan area.
I think this guy is just taking the piss... I like him, he has a sense of humour. When I become a vampire hunter and start dusting these poor sad people, I'll leave him off my list :)

* In fact he made the following post on 43 Things, which I shall include here verbatim. Unfortunately it appears that becoming a vampire does not automatically improve your grammar and spelling. Never mind, he has centuries to make it up, or maybe he could suck on a few English professors instead...
vampirism — 3 months ago
vampirism is not all its cracked up to be.
but if you insist…...i would first suggest that you research vampires and seperate fact from fiction.
next you should find a vampire{there is always one in every community} and find out what his point of view is on “turning”. if he is for it ask if he will turn you. if he is against it LEAVE!!!!!!!!! if you persist and they are against it, they will kill you.
base facts about vampires: 1. we can survive in sunlight, if only for a few hours. 2. we arent repeled by garlic or any other item. 3. we are vunerable to many earthly weapons{i.e. GUNS} not fire though. (And knives...like, like humans! Can it be? bahahaha! - an9ie) 4. we do heal at an accelerated rate. 5. we age at 1/100 of the human rate{i.e human 100, vampire 1}. 6. we DO NOT have to sleep in coffins.7.we are not pale skinned{in fact i have a nice tann going right now}.

down sides
1. strict feeding laws
2. staying in the sun too long give us wicked sunburn. (DUH - an9ie)
3. cant controll strength{one time i i spent an entire evening tring to move a couch to the right spot and kept over shooting it by a couple of yards. (Yes. Super...um...strength. If he's so strong, why couldn't he just lift the couch above his head and put it in the right place? - me again)
4. living to long is really a curse. (It is the English language who will be cursed! Cursed and butchered by your horrible grammar and spelling! - hi-ho!)
5. you see to much tragedy. (Sigh, I've seen enough already - me)
6.we are not immortal, we just heal quick.{ive been hit by a big rig twice. i was in the hospital for five hours}

but also if you dont like the taste of salt water dont try to become a vampire{blood tastes like salt water, yeah i know its gross}.
of coarse you could spend massive amounts of money on that new blood plasm stuff.

ps donot reply if you havent done youre research!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bitching (OK, just one more for today)

When I was Thingz getting my surprisingly sweet three-tier cake stand, I lined up behind a couple of ladies who had bought four domed cut glass bowls with matching lids. The kind of thick cut glass that your grandmother had on her coffee table to hold lollies, each one with its own specially crocheted doily.

The ladies in question chose to take each bowl out of its box, unwrap it, and check it for imperfections WHILE AT THE COUNTER, instead of before lining up and paying*. There was only one girl serving. I was next in line. Behind me was a lady who was buying a single pack of serviettes, and behind her was another lady with a vase. Despite the disparity of our purchases, I'm sure we all had the same look of boredom mixed with homicidal thoughts on our faces.

I noticed that there were some windchimes hanging next to the register, and couldn't resist jingling them. As I did this a small devil in me whispered to the lady behind me "Service in Aisle 2!" She smiled and said "Yes, that would be nice," in a soothing voice.

Suddenly another sales girl appeared out of nowhere and took my cake stand off my hands. "Hey, it worked!" I said to the lady behind me excitedly, getting another smile, possibly a little more strained, this time.

I'll bet she was thinking "Aaaah! Mad cranky Asian lady! Just smile and don't make any sudden moves!"

*And by this I mean "furtively doing it while hiding in the darkest shadow of the shelves like normal people would".

Alto's Kebabs

...are still the best in Perth. There is one at 39 Lake Street, Northbridge, and another in Subiaco not far from the Regal Theatre. I had a Kebab Company chicken kebab on the weekend and it was woefully disappointing.

- Crisp flavoursome pita
- Generous serve of chicken
- Just enough sauce (BBQ, in my case)

Kebab Company
- Limp soggy pita
- Not much meat
- Too much sauce

A kebab is not rocket science! So why aren't there enough good ones around?

Birthday Feast: Garlic Prawns

It was MFC's birthday yesterday so we both took the day off. So relaxing. We went shopping at Westfield Carousel, where I bought a very pretty three-tier cake stand from Thingz (the ultimate tin-te* store, according to my mother). It was only $20 - bargain! And MFC needed a new squash racquet and football so we went to Rebel Sport. He spent ages choosing them while I amused myself with a red tennis ball I found on the floor (like adult crèche, you know?) and then when we got to the counter we found out that the store was going to have a storewide 25% off everything sale on Thursday night! Arrrgh! But I guess the $70 saving should be worth it. Nevertheless, it's very frustrating to get right up to the counter and then find you have to return everything to the shelf. MFC cheered himself up by rationalising that the savings would buy two cartons of beer :p In Angie currency, this would translate to two tops, or a dress from Temt, or a pair of shoes from Novo ;)

For a special birthday dinner we decided to make garlic prawns. MFC helped to peel them, and I cleaned out the guts with a sharp fruit knife and a fork. I'm very glad that I learnt how to do messy things like that from helping my parents in the kitchen. Every kid should learn how to cook, I reckon. Even if they're too young to use the stove they can still make themselves useful by chopping or cleaning vegies and/or meat. It teaches them handy skills and is a nice family bonding experience. (NB. My sister never helped out in the kitchen and to this day gets her husband to peel her prawns for her :)

I also prepared a bowl of warm, almost hot water with lots of salt to rinse out the prawns after cleaning. My dad does this and not only does it clean out the remaining bits of offal from the prawns, it also makes them tender and plump when you cook them.

I fried most of the prawns using this recipe from Exclusively Food and oven-baked the rest (as an experiment) with a recipe from the ABC Backyard Stories recipe collection. The main difference is that the oven recipe doesn't use cream. The oven-baked ones were more tender but we both thought the fried ones with cream (pictured above) were more tasty. The cream also distracts you from the incredible quantity of butter used in the recipe.

I think Exclusively Food is my new favourite website. Look at all the cool recipes! And they're so easy to make! Tonight we're having some friends over for a Blood and Guts dinner (our old housemate is living with a born-again vegetarian) and I plan to try the Garlic Roast Chicken recipe with steamed vegetables.

*I'm not sure about the exact translation from Hokkien, but basically it implies dust-gathering junk that you really don't need :) My Mum says this about pretty much all the stuff I have.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Poppy seed suffering

I had a breakfast muffin yesterday from the canteen. This was despite the fact that I already had breakfast in the car on the way to work. (Note: if the car manufacturers can put 17 cup holders in one vehicle, I think they should go a step further and put cereal bowl holders in there too. Probably cause fewer accidents as well ;) Yes, I am nawty. But I only eat at the traffic lights, OK?

Anyway, for a canteen muffin it was awfully good. Orange poppy seed with little bits of peel and orange and just enough poppy seeds.

(Just to go on a little tangent here - according to Mythbusters, I would test positive for opiates two hours after eating this muffin :)

Eating that delicious muffin - just thinking about it makes me start to salivate - reminded me of the time my mum and I went into a cake baking frenzy. For a whole week we made poppy seed cakes every night (this is when I was living with my parents).

So, to put this in perspective, our family has a touch of OCD. I think it's from my mother's side as my maternal cousins and aunts seem to have it in one form or another.

My mother will fixate on one cooking project, and for several weeks she will follow it through its various incarnations and adapted deviations. Earlier this year it was mango pudding, and she made mango pudding almost every night, with egg, without, with more gelatin, with fresh or tinned mangos and so forth, until the urge passed and we were all sick of mangos. Then it was vegetable soup. And as much as I like vegetable soup, it's not a smell you want wafting into your bedroom at 6 o'clock in the morning. You know, that kind of yellow sharpish smell. Ugh. And then it was chive pancakes. I particularly enjoyed that phase. At the moment it's azuki bean soup with sago, a South East Asian dessert. I've had that as a mobile breakfast quite a few times now.

Anyway, back to poppy seed vanilla cake. Mum and I started off by making a vanilla cake and decided to bung some poppy seeds in for fun. We were cheating, using Green's Vanilla Cake packet mixes which are very good value and taste better than White Wings (well I think so). We decided to tip in the whole packet of poppy seeds in and see what it tasted like. The cake was an interesting grey colour from all the seeds. But so delicious! I couldn't stop stuffing it into my mouth and neither could Mum. We kept cutting "tasting" slivers off the warm cake until it was all gone. Mmm...

We made a cake a day after that and had poppy seed cake every afternoon and evening for a week.

And then we discovered that there was a downside to having so many poppy seeds in your system. A painful, frustrating downside. Without being indelicate, here is an excerpt from a conversation Mum and I had during the event to illustrate what happened (and remember, Mum's a nurse):

Mum: "Well, I suppose I shouldn't be so surprised."
Me: "Pardon?"
Mum: "You know, heroin addicts have a lot of trouble doing their business."
Me: "I'm sorry?"
Mum: "We have to give them a lot of laxatives at the hospital."
Me: "Aaaaaaaaargghh!"

Many servings of prune juice and bran later, both of us were too scared to make any more mega-poppy seed cakes after that. Indeed, I don't think we touched anything with poppy seeds in it for months.

Another side note: Poppy seeds are illegal in Singapore because they contain opiates. Sigh. How many poppy seeds would it take to make a gram of heroin, I wonder?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Illustration Friday - Smitten

Birthday: 19th October 2006
Method: MS Paint and Wacom tablet
Comment: I've just finished drawing this to put on a birthday card for someone. And then I remembered the IF theme for this week! Two birds with one stone and in by the skin of my teeth - hooray! Overuse of aphorisms - hooray!
I know it's messy, but it's midnight and I'm just so glad I managed to make something for IF!
I also think it looks better bigger (click on the image to see bigger image), but Blogger likes to make my pictures small to fit the page :(

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Going insane - I see dead people!

I've had this happen to me on two occasions now. I go to bed as normal, without having seen any scary movies or gone to any scary websites, fall asleep fairly quickly, and then...

...suddenly my eyes pop wide open and I am instantly awake and alert.

It's too dark to see anything, but I'm convinced that if I turn my head, or look behind the bed, I will see a dead woman's face staring back. The first time, I knew, because I saw it in my mind's eye, that the face would be blue and distorted, with bulging yellow eyes. And so I had to turn on the light next to my bed, or lie there petrified all night in the dark. It's a fairly bright light because I use it to read by, so I slept very badly and my eye lids felt like tenderised pork chops in the morning. That was last Thursday.

It happened again on Monday night. First I was asleep, and then I was instantly awake and drenched in sweat. I tossed off the jumper I'd worn to bed and when I lay down again, I was almost certain that if I turned my head I would see someone's dead face staring back at me, except this time it would be the girl from The Exorcist. WAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

On went the light again. I wanted my Mummy. Once more Angie slept like crapola.

What is wrong with me!?!

Tonight, thank goodness, MFC is staying over because he's going to see Arch Enemy in town. Take that, Exorcist girl!

P.S. I was going to put a picture of the Exorcist girl on this post to illustrate my point about how horrible it would be to think of that image LYING NEXT TO YOU IN BED, but I've decided I don't want that picture anywhere near my blog. Just look up "exorcist" in Google Images Search and you will get pictures galore, even some reclining and looking at you so you can see what I was thinking of. Bleah.

P.P.S. I caught a gimpse of the pictures, because I looked up "exorcist" on Google Image Search to make sure you would have ample eye fodder, and all the hairs on my neck stood up.

P.P.P.S. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Mummy!!

Dove Evolution of Beauty Ad

Kickar$e ad! It includes lots of things I love:
a) montages
b) makeovers
c) a revelation about how superficial we've become


Monday, October 16, 2006

You Tube feeds hopeless nostalgia

Warning: if you're clicking on these links at work, make sure no one can see your screen and your headphones are in!

I've just spent the last 30 minutes looking up the Thundercats and Jem and the Holograms on You Tube. I could only find the Thundercats intro on You Tube, but people had actually posted several Jem and the Holograms episodes. They were such poor quality that watching them made my eyes bleed, well, that and my brain threatened to commit suicide if I watched more than 5 minutes, but still...

What astounds me, after all these years, is that I could actually sing along to all the theme songs without missing a beat. Oh OK, the only line I could remember for the Thundercats intro is "Thunder! Thunder! Thunder! THUNDERCATS! HO!" but I pretty much had the Jem one down pat.

Now this really has to be seen to be believed, some rabid fans spent a lot of time and money doing a live Thundercats action feature. It's not bad but they should have a) not put in any fight scenes or b) sped them up à la kung fu movies*. Also, if you look at the promo picture, Cheetara is groping Lion-O. CAN YOU SAY JAILBAIT, CHEETARA, YOU HO-A-MATIC? Oh, it's so wrong. I know he physically matured in the statis thingy, but gorramnit, he has the mind of a 12 YEAR OLD.

Some things are best left as cartoons...

* OK. I watched it again, and concede it is quite good considering amateurs did it. And they did speed up the kung fu scenes and did some impressive stunts. So props to them. In fact it's a lot better than a lot of pro stuff you see nowadays. I think the chick who did Cheetara was pretty slack with her staff work though. Hmph, prolly polishing Lion-O's staff when she should have been practising. Ha! I crack myself up.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Kitty And Cookie

Because I have nothing exciting to blog for today (or I do but it is not in printable form yet), here is a picture of a kitty. It makes me smile whenever I see it ^_^

Source: Unknown - it's one of those things that goes floating around the Internet/e-mail (but if someone tells me its provenance I will let you know ;)

Template saga

Yes, I know it's not very exciting, but at least it's not one of the standard Blogger templates. Well, it is, but it has a different banner.

And there are two "About" fields! How did they get there? I DON'T KNOW!

Score: CSS - 1, an9ie - 0.

New template

I'm playing around with the templates, so the blog may look a little strange for a while. Whee!


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Coles green bags to replace plastic bags...

...not such a good idea?

I recently found out that the green bags that Coles is pushing to reduce the need for plastic bags are NOT BIODEGRADABLE. Gaaaah! They will hang around the environment for far longer than plastic bags, unless you recycle them, and goodness knows how much energy will be used up then. Polypropylene is a fossil-fuel based plastic, it is the same thing that indestructible wheelie bins are made from.

Some links that have more information about this:

How green is your bag? - SMH, 25 April 2005
Plastic bagging - The Australian, 2 October 2006
Nice chart from Burwood Council showing environmental impact of different types of bag materials.

This isn't limited to Coles, a lot of clothing companies like Cotton On, Body and Soul, and Supre etc give them out free, and you can also buy them at Bunnings. They are everywhere. Sigh.

Another alternative is cotton/calico bags, but apparently, although cotton degrades fairly quickly, it is very resource-intensive in terms of production, even more so than polypropylene. But at least it actually does degrade!

I don't often lug cardboard boxes around, and paper is too weak, so hemp seems like a good option, and I've found a supply right here in Western Australia.

The Margaret River Hemp Company sells some nice hemp shopping bags for $4.95. A reasonable price, considering other Australian companies are selling similar bags for around $12.00. ($12.00 for a shopping bag, I ask you! Luckily my brainmeats are strong from eating meat, so I said "Phooey to you! I shall use the Internet to find myself a better deal!" $12.00 indeed mutter mutter...)

They have a shop on Market Street in Fremantle, so next time I'm there I shall look for some . I'll probably use them myself or give them to people as presents. Yay!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mentos ad/People are so silly - Part 2

Aha - you can actually watch the ad on YouTube. No doubt all the execs at Mentos are tweaking each other's nipples with glee as I write, since this will bring their ad to a much greater audience than planned.

*Ad Spoilers Follow*

Most of the ad is just silly in a juvenile way. It certainly wouldn't make me want to buy Mentos, unless I was an 8 year old boy and thought mutants were cool. Oh alright, they are, (go X-Men!) but I don't think you'd make Professor Xavier's shortlist with those babies.

I also admit to being disappointed that his nipples did not grow much longer, because the length they reached was not very functional. Still, you can hang sunglasses on them if you're not wearing a shirt, or if your outfit doesn't have any pockets.

Now the END did seem a little dodge. The intention, I guess, is to leave your imagination running wild about the orgy that takes place in the lift after the hot chick eats a Mentos.

Oh puh-lease, Mentos, that's not the area that needs lengthening!

And besides, I reckon the woman would have been really pissed off and given the man a hard slap, and possibly the most stinging nipple cripple in the galaxy.

I mean, that sort of thing already happens to women after breast-feeding. Now she'll have to see a plastic surgeon, because no amount of Hollywood tape is going to flatten this wardrobe monstrosity.

People are so silly

Apparently Mentos has been asked by the Advertising Standards Board to remove an ad which features a man's nipples growing after he tries Mentos gum. He then uses them to "catch frisbees, press lift buttons and even spin discs on a DJ's turntable - while a bevvy* of admiring bikini-clad girls look on."

"As soon as the advert went to air we received a number of complaints about its content, regarding inappropriate sexual references and claims that it was discriminatory to both men and women," ASB chief executive Fiona Jolly said. "The advert is being rushed on to the agenda of the next meeting of the board this week."

WTF? Rushed onto the agenda of the next meeting of the board? Must be a slow week in advertising.

Discriminatory to men and women? How?

Are women being made fun of because we normally use our nipples to multitask? Yes, the secret of womankind is out. Don't stone me, prehensile-nippled sisters!

Sheesh. Let me tell you, if I had an extra pair of appendages to help with the chores, I'd be over the moon. Imagine cooking - one nipple could prop up the recipe book, another could stir, both hands would be free to scratch yourself in two places at once.

So, if not women, are men being made fun of? Is the ad implying that men are so incompetent they need special nipples to help them get girls and do everyday activities? Must be because both hands are already full, with a beer in one and the remote control in the other. Heehee, being sexist is fun :P Yes, I am being silly, please don't write any letters to me about being discriminatory.

People who make complaints like these are just ridiculously petty and have no sense of humour. If you watch this and rather than going "Meh, whatever", actually SIT DOWN and write e-mails or letters to the ASB, I reckon you really need to get a life. Use that time you wasted on making the world a better place: smile, give someone a hug, read a book, plant a fruit tree, donate money to Médecins Sans Frontières. Whatever.

If the nipples were molesting the girls in the ad or using too much electricity or driving a gigantic gas-guzzling four-wheel drive or pouring chemicals into our waterways or wasting good drinking water, then they should be given a stern ticking off (which they might enjoy - heehee). But if they're not hurting anyone, they should be able to have a nice day out on the beach. Even freak mutated nipples need to relax.

*[sic] - should be "bevy" - arrrgh! A spelling error on a national news website! I shall write in a letter of complaint!!! But I'm too lazy :)

Picture and quotes from news.com.au, referring to an article "What's the point, by gum" in the Courier Mail, 11 October 2006
Article was here, if you're interested.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I'm scared

A self-absorbed, possibly insane, control freak with a fragile ego has access to nuclear weapons. Wouldn't you be too?

Monday, October 09, 2006

But the box said "square"!

Oh, the inverted commas change everything, do they? Well, excuse me while I get my "DD" boobs into my "Ferrari" to go visit "Ronaldo" at the "lake house" :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Why was it so cheap? WHY?

Ah, scheisse, or celaka, as my mother would say.

While thinking about my brother's story today, I decided to look on the web for some true ghost stories. Now, as I have stated before, I am not a very brave person and watching The Ring deprived me of my sleep for two weeks*.

Even just thinking of that movie made me get up from my chair, walk to the bedroom, and look for my silver crucifix so I could hang it around my neck. Anyway...

Some of those stories were pretty damn scary. So now, I am feeling a little scared myself and pondering the existence of the supernatural. I am wondering to myself, why is it that we got our current place at such a cheap rent? It has large double bedrooms, is located in the good part of a swanky suburb, and has brand new carpet and paint.

And yet, when I first saw it with the agent, she said it had been left empty for 6 months. This was at a time when the other places we looked at went in a couple of weeks and/or had at least two other competitors trying to rent them.

Why, oh why was it so cheap? If I peel back the new plush pile carpet in the lounge room, will I see a giant pool of dried blood? Were the walls freshly painted because they needed to fill in and clean up all the axe marks? Are there toilet snakes hiding in the U-bend?

Ah yes, once again Angie has succeeded in freaking herself out. I think my brain gets bored during the night and likes to think up scary things to make it more interesting. "Man, I'm so bored. Screw this sleep business, I'm gonna keep Angie up aaaaalll night. Woo! She's gonna be so scared that she won't even go to the toilet and her kidneys will explode."

Luckily MFC (previously known as FG) is staying over tonight.

But even then, the brain won't let you feel secure, oh no. Then you start wondering what will happen if your beloved becomes possessed and tries to kill you in your sleep. Yeah, thanks, THANKS A LOT Poltergeist and Exorcist movies! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!

If MFC weren't staying over I would probably try to creep into my housemate's bed.

He wouldn't be too crazy about that though, he prefers a sushi roll to a boxed lunch, if you know what I mean :)

* There is no way of escaping if you see flashbacks from the movie every time you close your eyes, apart from never closing your eyes, and that stops working after a few hours...

Halloween Special: The Red Balloon

My little brother is pretty cool. He often comes up with funny stories that leave me rolling on the floor in laughter. Sometimes he'll interject a little quip into the conversation while my mother is on a nagging roll, a little zip-zap like a bespectacled Zorro, so quickly that she doesn't even notice. Of course, sometimes he's not subtle about it at all, and is rewarded with more nagging. Heeheehee!

The other night I was talking to him about ghosts. South East Asians are a terribly superstitious lot. To demonstrate my point, you only have to witness the incredible popularity in Singapore of a book series with the extremely original title "True Singapore Ghost Stories". People never seem to get tired of them so they're probably up to volume #666 by now. They're basically stories taken down almost verbatim (but correcting some of the grammar and pruning out a lot of "lah"s) from REAL Singaporeans who've met REAL ghosts. Some of them are pretty scary, others are the routine taxi-driver-picks-up-a-chick-who-disappears-but-leaves-behind
-the-scent-of-frangipani variety.

So I said I'd never really seen one, well, maybe the aftermath of one, and I might have seen another during a sleep-deprived hallucinatory episode, but not really anything very concrete or scary.

And so Glen told me about the Red Balloon.

He was in Singapore at the time doing his National Service. This was after BMT (Basic Military Training) so he was allowed to return to my parents' flat for the weekend. It was Hungry Ghost Month, which usually takes place around July/August, following the Chinese calendar. The dates change every year, and I'm too much of a banana to keep track, so you'll just have to bear with my little vagaries where these strange things like FACTS or DATES are concerned :P

Hungry Ghost month is full of smells and bells and whistles; food is left out on altars, people burn incense and paper offerings day and night in large brass cauldrons, and there's a general spookiness in the air. Wah lau, you think you ang-mohs have it bad with Halloween? Imagine an entire MONTH where the gates of hell are open. Eh? EH?

So he was returning home very late at night, no doubt with his favourite seafood yam ring in his arms, wrapped in some waxed paper and ready to devour later.

He was walking across the void deck when something red caught his eye. He turned his head and saw, directly to his left, a red balloon, hovering at eye level next to a pillar a few yards away. Not lolling about on the ground, as helium balloons do after several hours, but floating silently at exactly the same level as his head. And then, even though there wasn't a breeze, it started coming towards him. Feeling a little spooked, he began to walk faster towards the lift, and he reckons it was gaining on him.

So he got into the lift and watched this balloon float closer and closer while he frantically pressed the buttons to make the lift doors close, which they finally did.

"But I tell you," he said to me, "I was expecting to find it waiting for me when I got out upstairs! If it was, I think I would have shat my pants!" [OK, so maybe I ad-libbed a bit there - an9ie]

He peeked out over the balcony, and even though it was a very still night, he could still see the balloon below him, floating around the void deck.

At the end of his story I said "Oi, Glen, come on, it was just a balloon, dude." And he said indignantly "It was one of those McDonald's balloons, Angie, with RONALD MCDONALD'S FACE ON IT!"

So imagine not just any balloon, but one with a face silently following you in an airless night towards a tiny dark lift. I wouldn't be merrily whistling "Dixie" if it were me.

Even worse, what if it looked like this?

"Oh Glen, Gleeee-eeeeen, I just want to be your frieeeeeeennd."

Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of Geoff Fox (http://geofffox.com)

I am so in love with...

...cheese right now. Castello Blue, Margaret River Marinated Fetta, Double Cream Brie. But you know what stole my heart the first time I tasted it?

I'm having some right now on a water cracker with quince paste. Screw dainty bites, I just quash the entire thing into my mouth until I look like one of those African people who wear plates in their lips.

Now to keep posting the rest of the blogs I thought up today...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A good listener

I think I must have a listening kind of face. People I've just met, or who don't know me very well, feel quite free to open up to me and tell me very intimate things. And believe me, I do not try to solicit this information, as it makes me rather uncomfortable. Perhaps I just naturally look very sympathetic...

For example, yesterday I went to the dentist for my 4-monthly cleaning (yes, I have a dental hygiene obsession, one day I will blog about it but there isn't enough room here and it's OT), and I asked the hygienist how she was, and if her boyfriend was in town (she'd told me on my last visit that she didn't see a lot of him because he worked offshore).

This led to her telling me about how they had broken up and she'd gone out with some arse while on the rebound (it amazes me how often this happens, but I know that after a breakup, when you're feeling emotional, confused and needy, you're fully capable of making bad judgements).

By the time she got to scraping out the plaque, she was telling me about all the mixed messages he was sending and getting really fired up. At the time my thoughts were "Hmm, this cleaning is hurting a little more than last time... must be eating too much chocolate... Ow, I didn't feel that last time... Hey! Is she taking out her anger on my plaque? Mummeeeeeee!!! I can taste blood!"

Hopefully, the next time I see her she'll be all happy and over the cad. And just to make sure, I will cut down on the chocolate (says the person who had a bite-size Crunchie and Flake after breakfast today), so that there will be fewer reasons for her to linger with sharp tools inside my mouth.

Example 2: when I was learning to drive, my instructor would tell me all his friends' problems, like how his mate's wife didn't enjoy sex anymore and would just lie there like a corpse while he lifted up her nightie and did the deed. I WAS 16, FOR GOODNESS' SAKE! AAAAARGH! Pui! Pui!*

I don't mind my friends telling me these things, but when it comes from people I don't know very well a little voice inside my head goes "Make them stop! Aaaah! Boundaries! Boundaries!"

But still I listen, and I don't have the heart to tell them I don't want to. Ah well, it makes for good blogging anyway...

* Chinese spitting noises, in case you didn't know.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Frugality: new camera

I started a frugal blog a while ago, but it wasn't being updated very regularly due to 1) my lack of frugality and 2) my birthday being just around the corner*. So I've decided to stop writing in that blog and just occasionally post frugal stuff here instead. I mean, unless I win Lotto my interest in frugal living is unlikely to leave anytime soon.

I have been surfing the Net and was thinking about getting this camera, the Pentax Optio M20 from Camera House in Perth. It seems to be the best value in my price range (under AUD$300). I know the Canon Powershot A530 has more optical zoom (4x vs. the M20's 3x), but the Pentax has Blur Reduction in low light settings (which I really need because I hate the flash). It's also a little smaller than the Canon, and supposedly can take about 300 shots on one set of batteries.

Unfortunately it's not just the camera, with all the bits and bobs I need, the total package comes to over $500.

I could probably cut out the warranty, since it's a third of what the camera cost, but even at $439 it's a big chunk out of my savings. Therefore I have decided to wait till we get closer to Christmas. No instant gratification here! Frugality is about being able to wait for the good stuff. And who knows, by then I might see something better and cheaper in the sales, or get over my need to own a camera and be satisfied with borrowing one.

Mind you, it's funny how when you don't have a camera, you start seeing all these things you'd like to take pictures of. For example, the other night I was a little bummed because I couldn't take any shots of a new brownie recipe I tried out.

I was talking to my little bro' about this last night and he came to the rescue - he's lending me his camera for a few weeks, just as he lent me his drawing tablet until I received the giant Wacom Intuos of doom for my birthday. He said he didn't use it very often - the last time was a month ago - so I can have it for a while. What a good brother! ^_^

*A month before my birthday, my brain ODs on the despair of aging** and chooses to blank out the memory of my account balance. It also becomes a mindless cheerleader with catchy chants like "TRY IT ON!", "YOU DESERVE IT!", "IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY! WOOO!!"

**This year was the big 3-0, so it had a motherload of despair to feed on. Much compensatory shopping followed. Many endangered animals like the microfibre rayon were reduced to rare numbers by its hunger.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Mmm, carrot pillow...

Glen gave Yi Mao a carrot tonight. He dragged it into his little cardboard cubby, had a bit of a chew, and then decided to have a nap and continue later.

Snore-snore, snore-snore...hnnmph? Whassat?

Ah, probably nuthin'. Just go back to sleep... Mmm... carroty...


Note: Photo #3 courtesy of Glen getting in really close by putting his camera IN the cage,but forgetting to use the flash. By then, the jig was up. Teehee!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Bruce Mau's Incomplete Manifesto for Growth

Bruce Mau is a Canadian designer and a legend in the business. Taken from his website, the Incomplete Manifesto (1988) has a lot of wisdom for everyone, Some of it is a little too esoteric for me, but on the whole, good stuff.

An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth

Written in 1998, the Incomplete Manifesto is an articulation of statements that exemplify Bruce Mau's beliefs, motivations and strategies. It also articulates how the BMD studio works.

1. Allow events to change you. You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

2. Forget about good. Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you'll never have real growth.

3. Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we've already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.

4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child). Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

5. Go deep. The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.

6. Capture accidents. The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.

7. Study. A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.

8. Drift. Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.

9. Begin anywhere. John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

10. Everyone is a leader. Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.

11. Harvest ideas. Edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid, generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas to applications.

12. Keep moving. The market and its operations have a tendency to reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part of your practice.

13. Slow down. Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.

14. Don’t be cool. Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.

15. Ask stupid questions. Growth is fueled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.

16. Collaborate. The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.

17. ____________________. Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas of others.

18. Stay up late. Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you're separated from the rest of the world.

19. Work the metaphor. Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.

20. Be careful to take risks. Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.

21. Repeat yourself. If you like it, do it again. If you don’t like it, do it again.

22. Make your own tools. Hybridize your tools in order to build unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.

23. Stand on someone’s shoulders. You can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so much better.

24. Avoid software. The problem with software is that everyone has it.

25. Don’t clean your desk. You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.

26. Don’t enter awards competitions. Just don’t. It’s not good for you.

27. Read only left-hand pages. Marshall McLuhan did this. By decreasing the amount of information, we leave room for what he called our "noodle."

28. Make new words. Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.

29. Think with your mind. Forget technology. Creativity is not device-dependent.

30. Organization = Liberty. Real innovation in design, or any other field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of cooperatively managed enterprise. Frank Gehry, for instance, is only able to realize Bilbao because his studio can deliver it on budget. The myth of a split between "creatives" and "suits" is what Leonard Cohen calls a 'charming artifact of the past.'

31. Don’t borrow money. Once again, Frank Gehry’s advice. By maintaining financial control, we maintain creative control. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s surprising how hard it is to maintain this discipline, and how many have failed.

32. Listen carefully. Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.

33. Take field trips. The bandwidth of the world is greater than that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive, interactive, dynamically rendered, object-oriented, real-time, computer graphic–simulated environment.

34. Make mistakes faster. This isn’t my idea -- I borrowed it. I think it belongs to Andy Grove.

35. Imitate. Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can. You'll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly remarkable. We have only to look to Richard Hamilton and his version of Marcel Duchamp’s large glass to see how rich, discredited, and underused imitation is as a technique.

36. Scat. When you forget the words, do what Ella did: make up something else ... but not words.

37. Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.

38. Explore the other edge. Great liberty exists when we avoid trying to run with the technological pack. We can’t find the leading edge because it’s trampled underfoot. Try using old-tech equipment made obsolete by an economic cycle but still rich with potential.

39. Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms. Real growth often happens outside of where we intend it to, in the interstitial spaces -- what Dr. Seuss calls "the waiting place." Hans Ulrich Obrist once organized a science and art conference with all of the infrastructure of a conference -- the parties, chats, lunches, airport arrivals — but with no actual conference. Apparently it was hugely successful and spawned many ongoing collaborations.

40. Avoid fields. Jump fences. Disciplinary boundaries and regulatory regimes are attempts to control the wilding of creative life. They are often understandable efforts to order what are manifold, complex, evolutionary processes. Our job is to jump the fences and cross the fields.

41. Laugh. People visiting the studio often comment on how much we laugh. Since I've become aware of this, I use it as a barometer of how comfortably we are expressing ourselves.

42. Remember. Growth is only possible as a product of history. Without memory, innovation is merely novelty. History gives growth a direction. But a memory is never perfect. Every memory is a degraded or composite image of a previous moment or event. That’s what makes us aware of its quality as a past and not a present. It means that every memory is new, a partial construct different from its source, and, as such, a potential for growth itself.

43. Power to the people. Play can only happen when people feel they have control over their lives. We can't be free agents if we’re not free.

DotA Rage - Part 2

Well, I've received some feedback from the last DotA blog, and people seem to think it sounds like I'm having a whinge because I'm a crap player.

This is absolutely the case. I will not deny this at all. Yes, I am having a whinge because I don't enjoy playing against other people, and yes, I am a crap player because I don't play DotA day and night, ignoring basic needs like sunlight and Vitamin C, and cloistering myself in a dark room until the furniture starts to smell like my skin folds :P

I prefer playing in a cooperative group against the AI, and I don't like being with people who act aggressively, swear loudly, and show their temper by hitting things. By the way, I was watching a game the other night, and the person who killed my friend's hero then gloated by typing in "sucker" to the All Chat prompt. I didn't think this was very nice. If you get a kill, you don't have to rub it in, unless you're playing with friends and you're exchanging silly banter that goes back and forth with the word "beeyatch" playing a prominent role. This wasn't done in a funny or friendly way. The other person didn't say hello to anyone or communicate with the other players during the game except for his little "sucker" comment. What an arrogant boob.

Anyway, the kitchen's getting too hot, and so I choose to stay out of it, rather than gritting my teeth and showing how macho I am by receiving third degree burns.

That is all. Now onto fun topics like the Perth Royal Show and the thingy I'm drawing for Illustration Friday, coming soon!