Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year for 2009!

I'm spending a quiet day on my own this year. Most of the family is overseas, and I've just had a lovely dinner with my sister at the Mussel Bar on Friday night, so we didn't make more plans to catch up.

Just to go off on a little tangent: at the restaurant, we used the Entertainment Card and got $40 off the bill! That's two mains and a starter reduced from $76.50 to $36.50. The food was good, and the service was incredibly, memorably efficient and polite. Because of this, and the embarrassingly small amount we had to pay, we decided to leave a tip.

That's right, you heard me--two parsimonious Chinese females actually tipping, in a country where tipping is not the custom (waiters here earn a fairly decent minimum wage, so you can come to Australia and lose the guilty feeling that your waiter cries himself to sleep every night on a bed of hessian sacks and rat droppings).

I won't be totally alone tomorrow night, I'll have Mao AKA His Pampered Bunny Highness with me, and MFC is coming over so that we can have a nice New Year's Day dinner. Shops and restaurants will be closed tomorrow (it's Australia Day as well, a public holiday), so I went to my local Chinese restaurant and got roast duck, roast pork and combination yee mein (birthday or long-life noodles). Hopefully I'll get a phone call from the folks as well.

What else? No cleaning the house, sweeping the floor on New Year's Day, in case you sweep your luck away. No washing hair for the same reason. Something red to wear--check. New shoes--check. That's as far as I bother to take it. I would set off fireworks and firecrackers if I could, but you can't mumblegrumblemumble buy them in Australia.

I know it's just superstition, but I find it fun, following these "rules". They remind me of who I am and where I'm from. (I said something similar to MFC yesterday, about how I like to do these things to remind me I'm Chinese, and he said, "You could just look in the mirror!" Pffft.)

I'll leave you with a movie and some photos of a lion dance from last Chinese New Year.

It was such a great day, and I was fortunate enough to spend it with close family, in the country that I grew up in.

The band gearing up.
A string of firecrackers goes off and then the cymbals and drums start.


Here comes the yellow lion!

And the black one!

A side shot of both.

So what happens is the lions dance all through the house and garden, and then they fall asleep for a while. Using some clever levers and what-nots located in the head of the lion, the man at the lion's head makes the eyelids flutter and the nostrils twitch, while the guy(s) behind him flicks the body to make it look like the lion is taking slow deep breaths.

While all this is going on, the guys inside the lion suit are also doing something very secret, and one day I will get all my photos together and show you what it is.

(I really need a secretary or a PA. Then I'd get all my travel blogging done!)

While the lions are sleeping, kids come up to them and pet them gingerly (or are thrust next to them by parents thinking, Kodak moment! KODAK MOMENT!)

Speaking of pushy parents and Kodak moments ...

"Eeee! Hurry up, mother! This is SO embarrassing!
Are you holding my camera right? Because I'm not posing again!"

Then the lions wake up and accept the offerings of the household: in this case, 8 cans of beer, some green vegetables and lucky fruit, and red packets of money.

video
A little movie so you can see and hear what it was like to be there.
This is 30MB though, so you decide if it's worth the bandwidth.


HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!



Sunday, January 25, 2009

Grey's Anatomy, Season 5, Episode 13 - Stairway to Heaven

This post will be of no interest to anyone but myself, and any Grey's Anatomy fans.

Note: spoilers abound, so turn away now unless you're up to date with Grey's.

So I've just seen Season 5, episode 13, "Stairway to Heaven" and William Dunn's (Eric Stoltz) death scene made me bawl like a lady filled with too many lady hormones.

I don't think I've cried this much since Denny died.

Oh no, wait, there was HotKyle/Bomb Squad Leader's death too. I bawled like a seal during that one.

Anyway, in this episode Stoltz was playing a serial killer. An evil, mind-game-playing serial killer.

And he still made me cry! Damn that man. He is such a good actor.

(Small bit of trivia: he was going to play Marty McFly in Back to the Future but was let go because it was felt that he was too intense for the part.)

Anyway, whenever I see Eric Stoltz on-screen I fall into TV crush-land all over again.

Psst, Eric Stoltz, just say the word, and I will leave MFC in a flash. He has often said he would do the same thing for Gillian Anderson, so that makes it OK. Lots of crush-love, an9ie.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tralala!

Rejoice, for an9ie is back on the Internets!

I have a cartful of stories and a truckload of photographs. And if I get off my slothful behind for long enough, I might even post some.

I also came back to a pleasant surprise. This weekend is going to be a long one, because Monday is Australia Day! Woohoo!

My family is away for a couple of weeks (I had a joyful reunion of about six hours with them before I took them to the airport). They will be celebrating Chinese New Year in our country of origin.

I wish I could be there, I need a holiday to recover from my holiday.

On the plus side, I can eat whatever I want (I'm thinking of pancakes and bacon for dinner tonight), without my mother looking at me through narrowed eyes and going, "Are you really going to eat that?"

On the minus side, on Wednesday night I slept with the light on. Because the boogeyman and an axe murderer were rustling plastic bags outside my bedroom window.