Thursday, May 31, 2007

finished!, fishballs, and fabric

I turned in my last paper today, and am thus officially finished with my PGDE work! Hooray!

Here are a few highlights from my day:

While trying to write my paper, I noticed this funny tag on my folder. Definitely a good reminder...
I've been really looking forward to finishing up my work so that I can get started on some sewing projects I've had my eye on (read TETRIS QUILT!!). So after turning in my paper, I wasted no time and headed straight over to Sham Shui Po, to my favorite fabric market.

Here's a place that I stopped at for a snack. The name is interesting... they decided to translate half of it into English, and leave the other half in Cantonese.

My favorite processed-fish-snack-on-a-stick: fishballs!!

Here's the fabric that I bought. Some of it is a little loud, but I like the variety. You never know what you'll find in Sham Shui Po...

And here's some of the fabric that I rediscovered in my home fabric stash. I'm not sure which ones I'll use yet... I think I need some time to ruminate on this one. Suggestions are welcome!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

strange amusement park ride

Here is a very very short (2-second!!) video I took in China 3 years ago. It shows the strangest (and scariest?) amusement park kiddie ride I've ever seen, and very well could be the strangest ride in existence. After watching this video even once, you'll see why video was the media required for capturing this precious oddity. And I should warn you: it's hard to watch this just once.

I was recently reminded of this video and realized that it'd been sitting on my disused laptop, where it would never get the recognition it deserves. Enter YouTube. (On a funny note, after writing that I ended up having to use Yahoo videos... my attempt at uploading on YouTube kept failing).

In case anyone's wondering (or wanting to make a visit themselves), the amusement park is in Yulin, a city in northern Shaanxi province... or at least it was there a few years ago. I can't promise that it hasn't been torn down for some new French-baroque style townhouse development.

lantau trip 2007

Here are some photos from yesterday's trip to Lantau with Jon. I made a concerted effort not to retake the exact same photos that I've posted from previous Lantau trips, and I think I succeeded for the most part, although you can check for yourself by taking a look at my previous two Lantau posts (trip to lantau with the kite master, and Beautiful Lantau). After looking over those two posts very briefly just now, I'm blown away by the exceptional weather we had for yesterday's trip.
Also, since I've always felt quite disoriented while climbing up Sunset Peak, not really sure which direction I'm facing or what I'm looking at, I decided to keep a map of HK handy while captioning these pictures.

Start of our trip: Go Mui Wo.

A view of central from the ferry pier. Look at that sky!
Another shot. (I took almost this exact same picture last year... but there was construction then)

Some photos taken from the deluxe-class deck. Taking the slow ferry was fun, just like old times...

Jon and me.

HK island.

West Kowloon. Look at those clouds!

Jon with HK island in the background.

Looking at my pale, white, sunscreen-free shoulders in this picture makes my sunburn hurt even more... (in my defense, Freddy predicted scattered showers, and being slightly pessimistic, I was pretty sure some of them would be on Lantau...).
The mountains of Lantau from our cool and comfortable deluxe class window. We decided to go deluxe, taking advantage of air-conditioning while we could.

Jon and one of the First Ferry sailors standing beside the very tastefully decorated deluxe class "bar." Methinks those bottles in the background are just for show...

Deluxe class all the way!

Jon emerging from "the forest of despair." We would've stopped at the orange rock/bench, but found the insects too numerous to bear.

A view facing East from a clearing along the trail. That's Heiling Chau (left) and Cheung Chau (right) in the background.
A view facing North, with Tuen Mun in the background.

Looking West: A view of the mess hall and other cabins from the saddle.

Looking East: A view of the saddle and cabins from the mess hall.

We sat for a while outside the mess hall -- in the sun!! :( -- and I was soon playing host to a thirsty bee who was apparently trying to drink my sweat. Not a very pleasant thought, but I've never been in such close proximity to a bee without being stung... it was quite an interesting experience.

Some snacks that we enjoyed outside the mess hall. Contrary to the claims of the packaging, there was no bourbon in this mango snack.
Jon on top of Cathedral Rock, which we passed on our way to the back trail.

Cathedral Rock and the old swimming pool down below.

A view from near the summit of Sunset Peak (looking East).

A zoomed-in view, with HK island and Kowloon slightly more visible.
Jon on our way down the back trail, with South Lantau and Soko islands (the site of the proposed new CLP LNG plant -- see WWF link) in the background.

I think that big construction site in the middle of this picture is where the old YWCA camp site -- where we had all those years of Harvesters camps -- used to be. :(
This is a view of Cheung Sha, the beach we'd go to during Harvesters camp. I was surprised by how long the beach looks from this angle, and when I mentioned it to my mother later on, she very politely pointed out that Cheung Sha literally means "long sand" in Cantonese.

This was taken near the bottom of the back trail, facing West. That's Lantau peak, the other major peak on Lantau. I don't think I've ever climbed it, but I'd like to go soon. Maybe once my sunburn heals...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

sunset peak panorama

I just got back from a quick trip up to Sunset Peak with Jon. I intend to post photos at some point, but am finding the idea rather daunting because of the shear number we took. So in the meantime (and because I want to avoid another post-free day), here is a quick video I took from near the top of Sunset Peak.

Warning: watching this video more than two times in a row will make you dizzy.

As you can see, the weather was gorgeous, and Lantau was the perfect place to enjoy it.

Jon, have a safe trip back to Edinburgh tonight!! I'll start planning a visit soon. :)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

sunday morning post

Two thoughts:

1. That poor woman whose thighs have been immortalized on the front page of HK's major English newspaper!

2. I'm probably too self-conscious about wearing a swimsuit. Regardless, I will remember to be on guard against undercover beach reporters.

wedding bells

I went to the wedding of some friends from my care group (well, the group I used to go to before the whole Friday-night-tutoring thing started...), Bonnie and Andrew. And there were actually wedding bells... the title of this post is not merely a cliche.

This picture was taken in the taxi on the way to the church. It was a little strange to see in person the friends that I've grown so accustomed to interacting with mainly on Facebook.
More Facebook friends at the church.
The ring bearer and flower girl. Apparently she's a regular on the ECC wedding circuit.
The happy couple. Congratulations Bonnie and Andrew!

two things just added to my "to make" list...

Here are a couple things I just came across (via the Craft magazine site) that are now on my "to make" list. First, the Hallowig, which one woman apparently knitted for herself and her cat.
And I think this is a great idea: cross-stitched tetris fridge magnets (actually, these might not be cross-stitched after all, but a cross-stitched version would be very do-able) . I always liked cross-stitch, but decided that it wasn't very practical (how many framed cross-stitched pictures does a person need?). However, these magnets are not only practical, but they'd also match the tetris quilt I plan to make.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

brekky at the flying pan

"Brekky" isn't a word I use very often, but in honor of my lovely Australian friend, April, "brekky" is what I ate this morning.

Jon, April and I wanted to get together sometime while they're both still in HK, and seeing as my afternoon was booked up with more tutoring (will it ever end?), we opted for breakfast at the Flying Pan. (On a side-note, the Flying Pan's mascot is a winged frying pan, but yes, it is very likely that the name is also an allusion to the r/l mix-up that plagues many Cantonese speakers.)

Here are Jon and April with their matching eggs benedict(s).
April and me. You can just barely see the edge of some of my bacon. So in case you were wondering, no, I haven't made the leap to full-fledged vegetarian yet...
I felt that it was necessary to devote an entire picture to our food. I think I could be happy living on breakfast food for the rest of my life... love it!
A couple times during the catching up and high school reminiscing, we questioned how it could possibly be 9 years since we graduated. My how time fries...

relaxation club

I became a member of the Relaxation Club last night... actually, I'm not sure if this is the kind of club that even offers memberships, but if I come to find out that they do, I will surely join. I stumbled across the Club in a mall on my way to Friday evening tutoring, and after spending the previous few days hunched in front of a computer (writing a paper mainly, but yes, on Facebook too...), could not ignore the massage ad in the window. Since I had three hours of tutoring ahead of me, I could not yield to my massage yearnings right away, but instead, was able to secure a 45-min slot immediately after my last tutorial. And wow, was it worth it. I didn't realize just how tense I was until during the massage, when pretty much every muscle in my neck and back was doing that weird "wiggly" thing. And though my masseuse didn't speak much English, he did know the word "tight" and used it frequently while working on my back. So now I'm thinking that I might make massage a part of my weekly or fortnightly routine. At least for the time that I'm still tutoring on Fridays. If nothing else, it's comforting to know that the Relaxation Club is there for those times when I'm in desperate need of relaxation.

Friday, May 25, 2007

imdb movie poll

I am in the middle of writing a paper, so of course had to go online for a little distraction. I went to IMDB and clicked on their daily poll. Today's poll asks you to choose your favorite best picture winner from the 90's. Here are the choices:

Quite a few good movies there, but I didn't have a hard time choosing The English Patient as my favorite. I submitted my vote, and found out that I'm really in the minority on this one. Less than 2% of participants chose The English Patient as their favorite, putting it at the very bottom. Here are the results of the poll. Guess I'm just surprised at how low it was on the list... below Titanic? And I'm sorry, but how did Shakespeare in Love even win best picture at all? OK, that's my rant for the evening. I hope I haven't offended anyone. Back to writing that paper...

stretched out

front view:
aerial view:
hind view:

Thursday, May 24, 2007

of cinnamon rolls, idols, and facebook converts

Last night I went to an American Idol/very-important-football-match party at Sal and Kai's place. I knew that I wanted to contribute some type of edible sustenance to the get-together (it was going to be a long night), and finally decided to try my hand at cinnamon rolls. Two months ago, I attended a little cinnamon roll tutorial taught by the cinnamon roll goddess herself, Mari H. But even with Mari's expert advice and recipe in hand, I still felt my usual yeast-induced nervousness (will the yeast work? will the dough rise?) .

Despite of my worries, the whole process (though quite time-consuming and a little messy) went very smoothly.

Here's a picture of the dough rolled out with all the appropriate tools and ingredients. Rolling pin, flour, butter, sugar, cinnamon, dental floss. The dental floss is a little tip from Mari -- you use it to cut off each individual roll. I wanted to take more pictures of each individual step in the cinnamon roll process, but found the dough a little messier than expected (my mom took the picture above because my hands were covered in flour). I was also afraid of shocking readers (especially those who actually consumed the rolls) with the inside knowledge of how much butter and sugar went into them... trust me, it's better to be ignorant on this...

Before baking.
After baking.

Jon and a hungry Sal.

Cinnamon roll with gooey frosting...

While waiting for the 11:30 showing of American Idol, those of us with Facebook checked our accounts.

And those of us without Facebook were persuaded to sign up for accounts.

I left before the champion's league game started (so didn't see Liverpool's defeat -- sorry Kai and Mike!). But with a successful cinnamon roll experiment, American Idol, and a couple new Facebook friends, it was a very good evening.