Saturday, June 30, 2007

eat together

I went to crafty Sham Shui Po this morning, and managed to work in a meal at my favorite Chinese dive-of-a-chain-that-apparently-has-its-own-website -- Eat Together! Wow, and I just realized from looking at the picture below that it's a 24-hour chain -- I'll have to stop by for some late night/early morning meals, just because I can.

Here's the meal that I've come to love. Dam dam meen (or dan dan mian, for any Putonghua speakers out there)... not exactly sure how it translates into English, but it's a slightly spicy soup base with pork, pickled vegetables, a peanut-y sauce, and lots of cilantro thrown in for good measure. It might not look or sound very appetizing, but trust me, it's very tasty! And what could be better to wash it down with than a super-sweet iced lemon tea.
Besides all the positive attributes listed above, I think the coolest thing about this restaurant is the employee uniform. Yes that's right, it's all camo here, even down to the hat/hair-net combo things they're wearing.
I just checked out their website. Unfortunately, it is not very informative, though they do have an English page with a list of their specialties. Which brings me to this interesting tidbit: one of their specialties is imitation dog meat. Yes you read that correctly. Killing and eating dogs is illegal in HK, but I guess someone liked the taste of dog meat enough to want to experiment on creating a kosher imitation version that could be enjoyed in the HKSAR...

word for the day

Haberdashery: a shop selling small wears and sewing notions.

I think today was the first time I'd seen this word, though that's surprising, since I now know that quite a few shops in Sham Shui Po (my favorite crafty shopping destination) have the word in their name.

The sign on this store is one of many examples of how big, little-used or technical English words seem to pop up quite frequently in Hong Kong... which is ironic, as it seems to me that in countries where the majority of the population are native English speakers (or at least in N. America), simpler terms are usually preferred.


I watched Cinderella Man for the first time last night and really enjoyed it! Not only is it a great, well, Cinderella story, but it also provides good insight into what life during the Depression was like. I've seen other movies set during the depression (my all-time favorite being O Brother, Where Art Thou?), but really liked the attention to detail paid in this movie. Yes, many movies do a good job of showing the desperation of that time, but in this movie, I appreciated seeing some of the creative ways that people met the challenges of Depression-era existence. Neighborhood kids all celebrating their birthdays together so that the cost of the cake could be shared, a mother adding water to milk to make it go further, etc. I like those everyday, seemingly unimportant details...

I've posted stuff about Shorpy: the 100-year-old photo blog before, but just thought that I would take this opportunity to point to their great collection of Depression-era photos. Many of them are by Dorothea Lange, whose work is pretty incredible.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

my first "wildlife" documentary

No, it's not another cat video, don't worry. My neighbors have been on vacation for the past two weeks, and I've been looking after their lizard -- a bearded dragon. I'm not sure if I've ever been told her sex, but I've started affectionately referring to her as "Lizzy," and I guess I have subsequently projected some feminine features and qualities onto her. Voila, the lizard is a girl! I really enjoy feeding Lizzy. She'll occasionally eat greens, and she loves blueberries. But her favorite food at the moment is meal worms. I probably wouldn't enjoy feeding her so much if I had to feed her something cute and/or furry. But as it is, I'm not feeling much of a connection with the meal worms, let alone any sympathy.

Here's the video. It's of Lizzy grabbing a couple meal worms with her sticky tongue and chowing down.

megabox and spotlight

I went to a new mall -- MegaBox -- today for the first time. Wow! Here's a view of it from the shuttle bus that takes you there from Kowloon Bay. What a monstrosity!

One of the longest escalators I've seen. Takes you from L1 to L5 (the location of my destination -- Spotlight).

Spotlight. I'd been told by a few different people that I would like this store, and were they ever right. I've never been in such a huge craft store outside of North America, and I found the experience quite overwhelming. But after some deep breaths, I did make it through without having a breakdown/panic attack or buying out the entire store.
When I entered Spotlight, I told myself that I would stick to quilting stuff (still thinking about that tetris quilt!) and print/card making stuff. But then I came to the cross-stitching section and remembered the tetris magnets that I've been wanting to make. And then I came to the very extensive yarn section and decided I couldn't pass up an opportunity to crochet. But in the end, I think I did exercise quite a lot of self-control. Considering all the craft-related hobbies I've had in my 27 years, I was proud of myself for not trying to get back into all of them. I said no to the rubber stamps, to the scrap-booking stuff, to the popsicle sticks, and many others.

Here's what I did end up buying. A fabric cutter with board (very useful!) and yellow fabric, yarn, and supplies for the magnets. (Please note the curious kitten feet that made it into the top of the photo!)

And now that I have summer school starting next week and job applications to get in, let the crafting begin!

"you're so beautiful -- you could be a waitress..."

(That's one of my favorite lines from a Flight of the Conchords song. And in case you were wondering, no, I've never been paid such a compliment.)

I've liked FOTC ("the #4 folk parody duo in New Zealand") ever since Mike and Helen first introduced them to me months ago (you may remember some of my previous posts about them...), and was thrilled to hear that they now have their own sitcom on HBO. I don't think they're on HBO in HK yet, which is unfortunate, but one small consolation is that the first episode of their show is available on this website (another thank you to Mike and Helen!). I watched it last night with Amy and Aaron, and not surprisingly, we all laughed a lot. The premise of the show is that Jemaine and Bret have moved to NYC and are trying to make a name for themselves. To work in the songs that FOTC are known for, they do Bollywood-style montages and spontaneously burst into song. I think more shows should do this. Or better yet, I think this should happen in real life. On the show, they also have an obsessed fan, Mel, who seems like an interesting character. I just checked out the FOTC HBO website, and it turns out that Mel has her own fan blog -- sounds promising.

So check out the show if you haven't already and have 20 or so minutes to spare. The website also has links to a large number of other TV shows that are available online... I'm afraid to peruse the site too closely for fear that I'll get sucked in and come to consciousness days from now with a haze of TV catch-phrases as the only recollection of how I spent my time.

Monday, June 25, 2007

anna's jeans

Anna modeling her belated birthday present from moi -- her first pair of jeans!
Funny face.

monday fun-day

We went for brunch at The Flying Pan this morning. Yum!
Then we made our way back home. I volunteered my babysitting services so that Amy and Aaron could go see Oceans 13.

I had fun with the kids. Anna had a bit of a hard time though. Amy called after the movie was over, asking how the kids were, and as I was speaking to her on the phone, I looked over and noticed that one of the cats was right next to Anna. The next thing I knew, Anna was pulling hard on his fur. As I was yelling for her to let go, Jock (the cat) started biting. His biting didn't seem to produce the results I assume he was hoping for -- Anna started screaming, but continued to hold on tight. Finally they separated. Anna cried for a couple minutes, but was soon following Jock around again. Not sure how much his bite really hurt. He's about 11 now, and missing a lot of teeth. But still, what a fearless little girl.

Here are Anna and Jock about 10 minutes after their face-off. I like these pictures. They're pretty retro, what with Anna's orange rick-rack outfit and the yellow kitchen cabinets. Very 70's.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

thrilling find

My planner ran out at the end of last month (it was one of those 18-month, or 17-month(?!) ones), and I've been planner-free all June, which is not a good place for me to be. When my planner was close to being used up, I looked at a few places for a new one. I was expecting to have to buy one that began in January, with already-past months that I wouldn't be able to use, but my efforts were unsuccessful. Then on Friday, after I'd already given up hope of finding one, I made a wonderful discovery. An 18-month planner starting in July and going to the end of next year! What are the chances? And it's not just any planner either -- it's a Moleskin! I really like Moleskins, and have been using a small blank-paged Moleskin as a journal this year. This planner happens to match my journal exactly. I'm thrilled on so many different levels...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Amy and I took Olivia and Gabe to a pool today. Here's a pleasant sign near the entrance of the ladies changing room. Check out the second piece of advice: "Ensure that you are not suffering from diarrhoea ." I don't even want to think about what kind of event led to the necessity of this rule...

I couldn't bring the camera into the swimming area, so have no pictures of today's pool experience. But, I do have some good shots from yesterday, when the kids got to hang out in their own private pool.

Gabe tried to convince me to get into the pool with them a couple of times, which led to a little lesson on volume. I had to explain that if I was to get into that tiny pool, there would be no space for anyone else, let alone any water.

swimsuit patrol

I came across this image on Shorpy - the 100-year-old photo blog just now. And as Amy and I will be taking the kids swimming a little later, it seemed appropriate to post.The caption reads:

"Bill Norton, the bathing beach policeman, measuring the distance between knee and bathing suit on woman in Washington, D.C. Col. Sherrell, the Superintendent of Public Buildings and Grounds, issued an order that bathing suits at the Washington bathing beach must not be over six inches above the knee. Photo from the National Photo Company Collection, 1922."

I wonder where I can find me one of those (the swimsuit, not the bathing beach policeman...).

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

turning twenty-seven

I turned 27 last Friday, but the celebrations were saved for last night. Here's Olivia and Anna playing "Happy Birthday."
What talented nieces I have!

Olivia and me with possibly the best cake I've ever eaten -- Irish Cream bundt cake (recipe here). Yumm! Thanks Amy!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Friday, June 15, 2007

spurs sweep

I've never been to San Antonio, or even to Texas, for that matter, but nevertheless have been a Spurs fan since the mid-90s. And this year I had the privilege of being able to watch the last 3 of the 4 finals games -- broadcast live in the morning here -- thanks Dad, for ordering ESPN! Of course as a fan, I'm happy that the Spurs are the 2007 NBA champions, but even I can't help but feel a little sympathy for Cleveland. It must not be fun to be swept. And Game 4 was so close, and in Cleveland too...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

my day

My day started with a pregnant woman on the KCR telling me I looked tired. I noticed she was looking at me, and when I made eye contact she pointed below her left eye and told me mine was black. My first thought was that I'd accidentally smeared something on my face, so I immediately started wiping frantically... but then she said, "You need more sleep." Thanks.

The KCR was the first leg of my trip to HKU... my classes have been over for a while, but today was the day of reckoning, so to speak, because papers were marked and ready to be passed back. Well, I passed my courses! Yay!

After getting our feedback, my fellow biology classmates and I went out to lunch with our professors (or "tutors" as they're called at HKU). Then some of us continued the celebrations at a little German place in Lan Kwai Fong. It was fun, even though you wouldn't really know it from the way most of us look in the photo below...

After the festivities had come to an end, I headed over to St. Theresa's hospital, where Aaron is scheduled to have his knee surgery tomorrow. Since his surgery will start pretty early, they decided it would be better for him to check into the hospital this evening than to have to show up at the crack of dawn tomorrow. Here he is with the kids before they, Amy and I said goodbye.
They'll be able to visit him tomorrow, and he should be out of the hospital by Sunday, which very appropriately happens to be Father's Day.

Amy, the kids, and I took a taxi back home, and one of the highlights of the trip, for me at least, was the argument that ensued between Olivia and Gabe when Gabe noticed a "fast race car" parked on the street. Their conversation went something like this:

Gabe: A race car is faster than a car.
Olivia: Yeah, but it's not faster than Jesus.
Gabe: Yes, it is. It's the fastest.
Olivia: No, because Jesus can do anything, so he's the fastest.

As the debate became more heated, Olivia asked me to back her up, and said something about Gabe still having a lot to learn about Jesus...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

interesting map

I came across this (via and thought it was interesting. It's a map of the US with states renamed for countries with comparable GDPs.

I'm not much into economics, but this really puts things into perspective.

It's from a blog about strange maps that seems worth looking into further...

lunch at burger king

My sister and her family arrived today from Tianjin. Aaron is scheduled to have knee surgery at the end of the week, which is the main reason they're here, but we should be able to squeeze in some fun things as well. Amy and the kids will be here for two weeks, and Aaron will stay a few weeks longer, so that he can do physiotherapy here.

I met them at the airport this morning, and we decided to stay for a Burger King lunch (I was surprised that the airport McDonalds has been replaced by a Burger King -- one of only 2 in HK -- big news!).

The kids' meals came with stuffed endangered species toys. Here's Gabe giving his parched aye-aye a refreshing drink of fanta.
And here's Olivia letting her jaguar nibble on her cheeseburger.

Anna and Olivia with their mommy.

Olivia making a jaguar face. I love this picture!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

jose gonzales

Jose Gonzales was on Later with Jools Holland tonight (actually, the episode is about a year old)... I'd heard him before and knew that I liked him, but was absolutely blown away by his performance. Why? Well, he did a Kylie Minogue cover that was absolutely amazing. Yes, that's right, Kylie Minogue -- "Put Your Hand On Your Heart" -- I had no idea how beautiful this song could be until tonight. The man is a genius.
Listen to the song here. Or watch him perform it here.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

hap mun beach and cashback

I've fallen behind in my posts... here are some pictures from Tuesday, when Sal, Kaiser and I headed to a beach near Saikung (same one as last summer...).

A view from the boat.

Kaiser and Salome on the boat to Hap Mun.

The pier, rocks and of course, sea.

View of the beach and lovely, clear water!

Some interesting flowers...

Beautiful clouds.
Kai and Sal on the pier.
Then we headed to Yau Ma Tei to catch a movie, taking advantage of our complimentary tickets.

Dinner at Kubrik. I took this picture mainly to illustrate that in HK "salad" can refer to anything smothered in mayonnaise...
Sal and I preparing to enjoy Cashback from the very front row of the theater. The show was completely sold out.
I'd seen the Cashback preview, and was a little skeptical about the movie. For some reason the preview tries to convince viewers that the movie is about naked women and little else (and on a side note, I just noticed that IMDB has "Nudity/Nude Girl/Female Nudity" listed as the plot key words! *#&@!). But I was pleased to find that there was quite a bit more to the story than that.

Now, a few days later, it's pouring rain and Sal and Kai are in Williamsburg, Virginia, the home of my Alma Matter. In fact, they're probably eating at the Cheese Shop at this very moment -- I'm so jealous!! :) Have a great time guys!

Friday, June 08, 2007

good morning dentist

I had a denist appointment this morning. A cleaning and three fillings. The dentist had tried to convince me to split the fillings up into two different appointments, but I assured her that doing them all at once would be fine. Well, when she started the drilling for the first filling, a thought quickly came to mind: OUCH! She hadn't given me any novocaine, and I had forgotten to ask for it. Before the second filling, we had a little chat. We discussed the wonders of modern medicine and local anesthetic, but she pointed out that since the two remaining fillings were on different sides of my mouth, having novocaine for both would mean my entire mouth would be numb. Then she mentioined the make-a-second-appointment option again, but I was set against it. Then of course there was the option of getting novocaine for just one filling, but how would I choose? While we were discussing my choices, I suddenly started thinking about how hungry I was, and how much I wanted to get a coffee and a muffin after my appointment... I knew that coffee and a numb mouth probably wouldn't be the best combination, so I started thinking seriously about the no novocaine option. I swear I'm not a masochist -- I was just really really hungry! The dentist promised that she'd be quick. And she was. Still, it wasn't the pleasantest of experiences. What is it about the pulsating action of a dentist's drill that allows so much pain to be delivered when it's positioned in just the right place?
I wish I could say that the day will surely get better, but unfortunately, I'm sitting here in the HKU library like a convict awaiting execution, waiting for my "well woman" exam. I'll leave you to figure out what kinds of lovely procedures that will involve. And though it would probably make a very interesting topic for my next post, I can assure you that I won't be blogging about it... *

* In case that last paragraph sounded a bit too foreboding: as far as I know, there is nothing wrong with me --I'm just going for a routine check-up.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


I just finished watching Dolores Claiborne on HBO. I wasn't planning to watch the whole thing -- it happened to be starting when I turned on the TV and I had vague memories of liking it when I saw it years ago -- but found the story to be so intense (both in character and plot development) that I couldn't bear to turn it off! And possibly more surprising -- I didn't fall asleep while watching it!

If you've never seen this movie, I highly recommend it. It's good enough that I am planning to locate a copy of the book as soon as possible... and that's coming from someone who's never read anything by Stephen King. It's also one of those movies that should have won numerous Oscars but didn't (in fact, it wasn't even nominated!!). Susan Sarandon took the award for best actress that year (1996) for Dead Man Walking, but it could have easily gone to Kathy Bates. But maybe the academy didn't want to give her another award for a King-based movie, after she'd already won for Misery in 1990. Jennifer Jason Leigh is incredible in this movie too, as are all the members of the supporting cast (i.e. Christopher Plumber, Judy Parfitt, David Strathairn, John C. Reilly!!).

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Monday, June 04, 2007

kitten reunion

Templeton has been reunited with one of his kittens! I picked her up from the SPCA today, and the first thing she did upon getting "home" was lie down in her fresh kitty litter, with the ever-watchful Uncle Templeton close behind.
If you're confused about why I brought the kitten back, and/or would like to read an inspirational kitten story, please read on...

Picking the kitten up was quite an ordeal. First of all, I wasn't expecting to have to bring the kitten back at all. My mom had taken the kitten (and her sister) to the SPCA for homing over a week ago, before she and my dad left for the States. So since we hadn't heard anything in that time, we assumed that they would both be homed without any complications. But then I got a call from the SPCA yesterday, saying that they had too many cats at the moment, and that they thought she was too small for homing at present (she is the one who was malnourished and close to death when we got her, so her growth has been stunted as a result). I was left wondering why they hadn't thought she was too small a week ago, but of course agreed to go in to get her. My mom had dropped the kittens off at the SPCA in Saikung, so I took the bus out there this morning. The vet behind the counter seemed surprised when I told her that I was there to pick up the black and white kitten. I found this confusing, because the lady I talked to yesterday had insisted that I come in today before 11:00 am. The vet made a couple phone calls and then informed me that the kitten was in Wanchai, where all the homing services are done. And apparently I was supposed to know this; the lady I talked to on the phone said nothing about Wanchai...

So, picking up the kitten took a couple hours longer than I'd expected, I'm still a little unhappy with the SPCA and how they handle things, but the good news is that the kitten seems to have already found a home (and I don't mean mine)! Yesterday afternoon I got a call from one of our neighbors (who I incidentally have never met). He was calling for my mom, so our conversation almost came to an end when I told him she was out of town. Thankfully I inquired further, and it turned out that he had helped my mom catch the kitten (who'd been hiding in his backyard at the time). She was tiny, starving, and very very weak when he found her a few weeks ago, so he was calling to check on her progress. I told him about the SPCA situation, that I would be picking the kitten up the today, and how I was certain she could easily find a home. Then it struck me to ask if he wanted to adopt the kitten himself, and he said that that actually was the reason for his call. Isn't that amazing?! The timing alone is incredible. He has two dogs though, so isn't sure how the kitten (and dogs) will adapt. I have a good feeling they'll all get along great, but told him I'd be happy to let him try out life with the kitten for a few days before deciding. So he'll probably pick her up in a couple days. I'm hoping to get her fattened up a bit before he takes her... and a little bath might also be in order.