2007-11-30

 

This is the end

For the past month I have been posting daily because I signed up for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month).

I got the heads up on this from Tena. For some reason, I was unable to get one of those little stickers you can put on your blog, but, no matter, I still kept up with it.

This went a lot more successfully than my attempt at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) two years ago.

Thank you all for reading and putting up with me :P

Image nabbed from here.

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2007-11-29

 

"When men are inhuman to others, take care not to feel towards them as they do to others."

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

[Update 29 November 2007 @ 20:53: change the quote from "Take care not to feel towards the inhuman as they feel towards men." to a clearer one.]

[Update 30 November 2007 @ 10:50: added missing HTML tag to prevent ALL my text being in courier font]

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2007-11-28

 

Who do I look like?

There is a web site that allows you to upload an image of yourself and it will try to match you against images fo various famous people in its database.

When I used my avatar image, I got pretty questionable results.

Using a 20 year old image, I am not sure the results are much better, but I do see some resemblence with Demi Moore - who looks like she could be my mom (at least from this angle). I don't see the similarity with the others.

http://www.myheritage.com/collage


Give it a try and if you are not too embarrassed by the result, post it on your own blog.

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2007-11-27

 

Richardology – A study of the author of Forbidden Planet

In the past I have invited fellow bloggers to lie for me, to participate in a friend's survey and to ask for prayers.

This time around, I invite you to fill in the blanks. I got the meme from Hotel Solace a long time ago.

Cut and paste the paragraph below and fill in the blanks with the appropriate adjectives/ nouns /verbs/phrases. You can be brutally honest about this - I promise you would not be silenced after this exercise. :)

In case you are wondering, this is NOT a narcissistic attempt to fish for compliments. Negative comments will not be censored. The objective of this word game is to see how creative you guys are, and what you REALLY think of me.

Can be quite amusing to see what you come up with. Here goes....


I ___(1)____ Richard.

Richard is ____(2)____.

Richard thinks a lot about ____(3)____.

When I think of ____(4)____, I think of Richard.

If I were alone in a room with Richard, I would ____(5)____.

I think Richard should ____(6)____.

Richard needs ____(7)____.


I want to ___(8)_____ Richard.

If I could describe Richard in a word: ___(9)_____.

Leave your answers in the comment box - and blow me away with your imagination and honesty!

But wait, that's not all!

Here is another of those illogical personality test thingies

Which of these words will you use to describe me? Why?

1. Moon
2. Sky
3. Sand
4. Snow
5. Road
6. Water
7. Fire

Leave your answers in the same comment box! The keys to the words will be revealed next week.

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2007-11-26

 

Hyper-literalism

Tania did poorly on an English test last week and Sofia is quite upset. On the other hand, I completely empathize with Tania because she interpreted the test instructions the way I would have.

The test was divided into a number of sections, with each section consisting of a number of multiple choice questions.

The instructions were to select only one answer. Which she did - selecting one multiple choice answer in each section. Unfortunately, she was supposed to select one answer per multiple choice question, consequently, most questions went unanswered.

To me, her response was correct. She was given a precise instruction which she followed. It didn't make sense to her, but then again people rarely make any sort of sense. The world is filled with all sorts of arbitrary rules and inconsistent behaviours and positions that this one was hardly worth batting an eye at.

Hopefully, she will add this to her repertoire of possible exceptions to the inconsistencies of the world and request further clarification in future.

It took me ages to figure out that expressions like, "Let's do lunch, sometime" or "How's it going?" are, in most cases, throw away phrases without the obvious literal meaning of their words. (On the other hand, it was the throw away phrase, "Let's do lunch" that got me my first lunch date with my deaf friend.)

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2007-11-25

 

Not sure Sofia will be too happy about this

Your True Love Is a Leo

Why you'll love a Leo:

A Leo has a presence and power that you find intoxicating.
Sensual and playful, you'll be thrilled to have your Leo pick you as a playmate!

Why a Leo will love you:

You're willing to let your Leo be the center of attention (both at home and in public)
And you're able to tiptoe around your lion - and put up with the occasional fit.
What Sign Is Your True Love?


Sofia is a Capricorn.

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2007-11-24

 

Instructions

Just in case you were not sure on how to open a can with a pop-top lid.

Photo credit: Richard of Forbidden Planet.

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2007-11-23

 

"If anyone claims that nothing can be known, then he cannot even know this since he confesses that he knows nothing."

From On the Nature of the Universe by the Epicurean Roman poet Lucretius.

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2007-11-22

 

"With you, I don't feel I am deaf."

I think we all like getting compliments. I also think it is easy to miss those we get when we don't think we are really doing out of the ordinary.

I used to have a deaf friend. She started life hearing, but progressively lost her hearing (because of a heritable condition) until she became, as describes it, "profoundly deaf".

We were having lunch one day and she remarked, "With you, I don't feel I am deaf."

We communicated by scribbling on a pad of paper and passing it back and forth. I wrote back something akin to, "Perhaps you are not deaf, but I am mute." (I could look it up, but, first, I would have to find the papers – then I might find my response was far more banal or completely different, so we'll stick with the recollected version. Alright? :)

Her most striking feature was her eyes. They did not sparkle or shine or gleam or twinkle. They flashed.

The first time I had an opportunity to chat with her, I immediately thought she would be perfect to cast in the role of the goddess Athene as described in Homer's Illiad: Athene of the flashing eyes.

Image nabbed from here.

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2007-11-21

 

You can always kill yourself.

I have a great love for Stoic philosophy, but there is one aspect that bugs me as being completely irrational.

Stoicism extols the supremacy of the mind and reason over emotions. However, contrary to popular belief it is not about being unfeeling or insensible to emotion as Seneca points out in a letter to his friend Lucilius: "There is this difference between ourselves and the other school (the Cynics. richard): our ideal wise man feels his troubles, but overcomes them; their wise man does not even feel them." (Letter 9)

He continues, "If he loses a hand through disease or war, or if some accident puts out one or both of his eyes, he will be satisfied with what is left, taking as much pleasure in his impaired and maimed body as he took when it was sound. While he does not pine for these parts if they are missing, he prefers not to lose them." (Letter 9)

In a later letter he basically wipes away his earlier reasoning and effectively says, "When life becomes too much to bear, you can always kill yourself". So much for the wise man who endures his suffering.

[L]ife has carried some men with the greatest rapidity to the harbour, ... while others it has fretted and harassed. To such a life ... one should not always cling. ... As soon as there are many events in his life that give him trouble and disturb his peace of mind, he sets himself free. And this privilege is his, not only when the crisis is upon him, but as soon as Fortune seems to be playing him false... And dying well means escape from the danger of living ill.

That is why I regard the words of the well-known Rhodian as most unmanly. This person was thrown into a cage by his tyrant, and fed there like some wild animal. And when a certain man advised him to end his life by fasting, he replied: "A man may hope for anything while he has life." This may be true; but life is not to be purchased at any price. No matter how great or how well assured certain rewards may be I shall not strive to attain them at the price of a shameful confession of weakness."
(Letter 70)

Later, Marcus Aurelius grapples with this issue and he comes to the conclusion that it is irrational: " I, who never willingly harmed another, have no right to harm myself." (I think there are better quotes, but I can't think of them at the moment).

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2007-11-20

 

Two Friends

The dark haired one was given by my friend Megumi ("To remember me by") before she left Canada.

The blond one was given by my friend Atsuko at her wedding.

(The dolls in the background are Sofia's from Peru.)

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2007-11-19

 

"I spared her life."

"You let one of them go ... but that’s nothing new. Every now and then a little victim is spared. Because she smiled. Because he’s got freckles. Because they begged. And that’s how you live with yourself. That’s how you slaughter millions. Because once in a while, on a whim, if the wind’s in the right direction ... you happen to be kind."

Conversation between Margaret Blaine (Blon Fel-Fotch Pasameer-Day Slitheen) and the Doctor in the Doctor Who episode 'Boomtown'.

Image nabbed from here.

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2007-11-18

 

Ignorance is not the problem

When we (and by we, I mean those of us in the developed first world) look at people in the developing world, we are often struck by the level of hardship endured by these people. So, being good citizens, we organize and deliver various forms of aid. Unfortunately, these are often tied up in rather arrogant attitudes on our part.

Sometimes, I get the impression we believe that without our aid and assistance those poor people would be sitting in the dust trying to eat rocks - therefore, obviously, they need our knowledge to learn how to dig wells, how to plant crops and raise animals and, of course, how to run an effective government and judiciary.

We tend to forget that these people have been living there for hundreds, if not thousands, of years and have managed to survive thus far. While some of their woes may be due to antiquated or inadequate knowledge, the vast majority of their ills have nothing to do with ignorance.

Image nabbed from here.

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2007-11-17

 

Beowulf

Saw it last night with Sofia at the IMAX in 3D.

It was a pretty good movie and I'd give it a 3 to 3.5 out of 5.

My chief gripes with it were:

(1) the whole bit with Grendel was too long. It took about half the movie to get rid of him. I think the movie would have been tighter if they edited that part in half.

(2) I found the whole Grendel stuff a little to icky and gory and brutal. I think they could have left more to the imagination (personally, I think this could have had a PG rating instead of a 13+ rating had the violence and gore been toned down a bit).

(3) scenes were expressly shot for 3D impact. I prefer story over visuals.

(4) it was animated! Good grief, I thought it was live action, but it is done in some sort of hyper-realistic computer animation.

The last half of the movie was very powerful and helped to redeem the first half.

While the 3D was interesting for the first 10-15 minutes, you just get use to it and it loses its impact. It is a lot like the difference between black and white and colour films. The colour grabs you at first, but after a while it fades into the background and the story is what drives you. Just think of Arsenic and Old Lace with Cary Grant. Though black and white, it is a frenetic, fun fill and you don't notice the absence of colour.


Image nabbed from here.

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2007-11-16

 

Jewish penicillin not phlegm retardant say Chinese.

We always hear of the wonderful restorative powers of chicken soup. However, this is not universal.

A few months back I was surprised to learn that in Chinese culture, chicken is contraindicated for colds. Apparently it is associated with phlegm (I think, but my memory is hazy). And last night another Chinese friend reminded me that chicken soup is not recommended when sick.

On the other hand, when I am sick, a good garlic soup is all I want.

1 clove garlic
some stale bread (optional) or
some leftover mashed potatoes (optional)
a bit of salt
boiling water

Chop up the garlic. Sprinkle with a little salt and mash with the flat side of a knife (I use a butter knife to avoid any unnecessary accidents). The salt helps the garlic mash into a nice fine paste.

Spoon the paste into a cup or bowl.

If you have some old rye bread, dice some of it and put in the bowl or, if you have left over mashed potatoes, put them in the bowl instead.

Pour boiling water over it and enjoy.

Yeah, it is a beggar's soup, but I like it.

[Update 16-November-2007 @ 16:15 to change title from "One man's Jewish penicillin another man's poison" to the above]

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2007-11-15

 

Random Acts of Kindness

I don't like them.

They seem like the perfect antithesis to random acts of violence and tragedy, but they are not.

I would hope we all find any act of violence disturbing, but there is a difference between a criminal who gets his due because of a double cross or something and a 3 year old who is struck by a drunk driver.

It is the randomness of the act that is so hard to understand, that empties our soul of purpose and meaning - leaving us hollow and barren.

Doing random acts of kindness to counterbalance random acts of violence does nothing to refresh the soul and to imbue it with purpose and meaning and resolve.

Random acts of kindness are as meaningless as random acts of violence. They do not occur because the person is in some way deserving of it, they occur for no reason, for no point.

For kindness to be effective it must have a purpose, it must flow from genuine and sincere belief, meaning and intent. It may be spontaneous, but it cannot be random.

The antidote to random acts of violence are purposeful acts of kindness.

Image copyright Rene Schwietzke, used with permission under the Creative Commons License. It was taken from here.

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2007-11-14

 

Pork Hocks

Tin-tin recently blogged about her holiday back home and mentioned food. I really got excited about dinuguan - a spicy soup made from pigs blood - which I really want to try. I am not sure if it can be made here, since I have never seen fresh blood for sale - but I will bug my Filipino friends if they can make it for me here. I may have to plan a trip to the Philippines for that one.

Anyway, all that talk of food make me hungry for a pork dish I do like and know how to make: Pork Hocks.

4 pork hocks
1 tbls salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tbls ground paprika
1 tbls ground cumin
4 bay leaves
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 bulb garlic, chopped (I was lazy and used 1 tbls garlic powder)
Soy Sauce (growing up, my mom used liquid Maggi)

1. Wash the pork hocks.
2. Place them in a large pot.
3. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, paprika and cumin.
4. Add the chopped onions and garlic.
5. Squirt Soy Sauce over it.
6. Fill pot with water and bring to a boil.
7. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 3 hours. Add water as necessary to avoid burning.
8. Remove bay leaves when done.

It is best served with mashed potatoes, although, rice is an acceptable substitute.

For special mashed potatoes I recommend you do the following:

1. use the liquid from the pork hock to moisten and season it (instead of butter, milk and salt to season).
2. add sauerkraut to it.

A word on sauerkraut. Make sure you get the good stuff. There is a lot of crappy sauerkraut out there. Sauerkraut has only 2 ingredients: shredded cabbage and salt. There is no wine, no vinegar in it. The cabbage and salt ferment naturally. Sometimes there will be a preservative added like calcium chloride or BHT (which is fine), but please stay away from any that have wine or vinegar added. Some specialty sauerkraut will have other spices or vegetables added (like cumin, which I don't like, or carrots or horseradish root).

If you absolutely must buy sauerkraut prepared with vinegar or wine, then please wash it several times with cold water, put it in a pot and boil for a few minutes and finally wash again to get the vinegar out.

Remove the pork hocks from the liquid, and make a gravy by thickening the liquid with a bit of flour or corn starch (I use cornstarch because it is harder to make lumpy).

Serve with the vegetable of your choice.

Everything, except the bone is edible. I find the skin and fat the best part.

The washed hocks.
Seasoned hocks.

Ready for boiling and then simmering.
Cooked and ready to serve.
Pork hock with mashed potatoes prepared with sauerkraut and drippings from the hocks. I used an extra dark Soy sauce, so it coloured everything much more than usual.
Real sauerkraut does not have wine or vinegar.


Photo credits: Richard of Forbidden Planet

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2007-11-13

 

Stone Soup


I'm feeling in the mood for stone soup. If you've never had it, it is a most delicious soup, rich and nutritious.

All you need are 3 smooth stones. You could use any stones, but I find smooth ones make a better soup than rough and jagged ones.

Of course, I lack a pot in which to make the soup. Usually, there is someone who has a pot and we can start to make the soup.

You just place the stones in the pot, add water and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for a bit and soon it is done. The most aromatic soup you have every tasted.

Sometimes, someone might drop in a bone or a few scraps of meat they've found. These are not necessary, as the soup is quite fine without them, but it does help add an extra dimension to the flavour - not that is necessary with stone soup.

Usually, someone manages to find a carrot or onion or a celery stalk or two in the corner of their cupboard and decide to drop it in. Again, stone soup is just fine the way it is, but it never hurts to add these to the soup. Sometimes even a cabbage is added.

Others have been known to add a few dried beans or a potato or two they have found hidden away somewhere - just for texture, of course. Stone soup is fine without them, but it does add a little extra to it.

As good as stone soup is, it is a little lackluster in colour. Now and then, someone will remember a bell pepper or green or yellow wax beans, or perhaps a few sprigs of parsley they had lying around and add it to the soup.

Stone soup is a miraculous soup, from just a few stones and some water, a very rich and nutritious soup can be made. I think its chief power is in warming the hearts of people.

I've got the stones, does anyone have a pot and some water?

Image nabbed from here.

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2007-11-12

 

Ooooh. Look at all the pretty colours.

What is a blog from Canada without some Fall pictures. I didn't manage to get too many shots off this Fall. The sun seemed to conspire against me. Everytime I was out with my camera, it seemed to be cloudy. Nonetheless, I did manage to snap a few and here is a selection.



Photo credits: Richard of Forbidden Planet

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2007-11-11

 

I'll just have the soup.

It is no big secret that I am quite partial to food. I think Orson Welles said it best: "My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people."

I greatly enjoy ethnic cuisine with Thai and Indian being my favourites, but for the longest time, I was unable to be satisfied with Vietnamese cuisine.

That changed last year when I had the opportunity to spend some time with a Vietnamese woman. I explained to her that although I had tried Vietnamese food, I didn't really find it that appealing. She suggested we go to a restaurant and she would introduce me to good Vietnamese food.

We skipped the main courses and simply went with the spring rolls and soup. That was a good experience. Vietnamese soups are very hearty and tasty and a meal in their own right. It was interesting to eat the soup with chopsticks and a spoon. Using the chopsticks to pick pieces of meat and vegetables and noodles into my mouth, while using the spoon to sip at the broth.

Now, whenever I go to a Vietnamese restaurant, I only order a large bowl of soup. Sofia still insists on ordering a main dish, but, still, I never find them as tasty or satisfying as the soups.

Image nabbed from here.

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2007-11-10

 

Pitaya / Dragon Fruit (火龍果/火龙果)

I picked up this fruit last week from Loblaws. Quite pricey at $6.99 each.

It is obvious that it is a cactus fruit. I thought it would be similar to cactus pears (which I enjoy). Cactus pears for between $0.79 and $0.99 (when we were in Peru, we could buy them off the street 6 for 1 Sol, about $0.35, and the lady with calloused hands, would peel them for you)
I started by cutting off the ends.
A beautiful white flesh with small seeds surrounded by a pretty purply-pink skin.
The flesh and seeds in side are very much like that of a Kiwi (except white instead of green). I was surprised since I was expecting lots of large seeds (like the cactus pear). It was fairly tasteless, though this is likely because the fruit was picked long before being fully ripe. I am sure if I ever go to Southeast Asia, I will discover it to be lightly sweet and probably even juicier.

I am sure it is a good refreshment on a hot and sticky day.


Phot credits: Richard of Forbidden Planet

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2007-11-09

 

Better machine translation:

I have noticed that Google translation is much better than it was in the past, surpassing BabelFish in capability.

As evidence I present the following translations from Jules Verne's Five Weeks in a Ballooon.

Original text
Il y avait une grande affluence d’auditeurs, le 14 janvier 1862, à la séance de la Société royale géographique de Londres, Waterloo place, 3. Le président, sir Francis M..., faisait à ses honorables collègues une importante communication dans un discours fréquemment interrompu par les applaudissements.

Ce rare morceau d’éloquence se terminait enfin par quelques phrases ronflantes dans lesquelles le patriotisme se déversait à pleines périodes:


Google translation:
There was a large crowd of listeners, January 14, 1862, at the meeting of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Waterloo place, 3. The chairman, Sir Francis M. .., made his honorable colleagues an important communication in a speech frequently interrupted by applause.

This rare piece of eloquence finally ended by making glitzy few sentences in which patriotism is thrown at full periods:


BabelFish translation:
There was a great multitude of listeners, January 14, 1862, at the meeting of the geographical royal Company of London, Waterloo places, 3. The president, to sir Francis M..., made to his honourable colleagues an important communication in a speech frequently stopped by the applause.

This rare piece of eloquence ended finally in some whirring sentences in which patriotism flowed at full periods:


English translation by William Lackland
There was a large audience assembled on the 14th of January, 1862, at the session of the Royal Geographical Society, No. 3 Waterloo Place, London. The president, Sir Francis M——, made an important communication to his colleagues, in an address that was frequently interrupted by applause.

This rare specimen of eloquence terminated with the following sonorous phrases bubbling over with patriotism:


It was not a terribly difficult piece, but I think Google did a better job.

My suggested translation, keeping as close to the original as possible would be:
There was a large crowd of listeners, on the 14th of January, 1862, at the meeting of the Royal Geographical Society of London, No. 3 Waterloo Place. The president, Sir Francis M. .., made an important communication to his honorable colleagues in a speech frequently interrupted by applause.

This rare piece of eloquence finally ended with a few sonorous phrases in which patriotism flowed freely:


Google also allows you to submit suggested translations, which will no doubt continue to improve the service (as long as people submit improved translations).

Image taken from here.

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2007-11-08

 

It is getting cold

Since yesterday, it has been cold outside. Not cool, nor fresh, nor brisk, nor bracing, just cold.

Curling up in a comfy armchair, by a bright, sunny window with a hot cup of tea seems like a good idea.

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2007-11-07

 

Why Men Die For Women



Got this in my e-mail this morning: always fresh, always hot.

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2007-11-06

 

"That was a long time ago.

I’ve changed. I am not the same person you knew," she said.

"I don’t believe that. People don’t change; they just become more like themselves. I know you. I believe you are still the same person," he said.

"I am not. I have done ... I do things you would not approve of," she said.

"Do you do them because they are right?" he asked.

"No."

"Do you do them because they are good?" he asked.

She lowered her eyes, "No."

"Do you do them because you are hurt, angry, upset and frustrated? Lashing out at an unfair universe?"

Her eyes moved to look into his. Searching him, probing the years, his convictions. They no longer shone with the brilliance of youth. There were wrinkles around them and gray in his eyebrows. He was older. She was too. Everyone was. The idealism and hope and optimism of youth a long and distant memory. As she searched, the years between them seemed, for an instant, to vanish and she was back in a happier and more innocent time and place; a place where hopes and dreams of the future abounded.

He continued, "You did not act. You reacted."

He took her hand and drew it toward him, "If I prick you, if I pinch you, will you not react? Will you not pull your hand away from mine, through no volition of your own?"

She smiled a sad smile, the smile you give a child who innocently persists in hoping against hope. "Life changes us."

"No, we get confused. Deceived. We hurt for so long that we confuse our reactions for actions. Some can confront their pain longer or better than others, but keep the pain up long enough, increase its intensity or severity and we all stop acting and begin reacting."


Writing fragment #137 (actually, no, I don't number or track my fragments).

[Update on 06-November-2007 @ 22:14 to fix a typo.]

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2007-11-05

 

Did you remember to engage your brain this morning?

Despite trying to be conscientious and considerate, I do, on occasion, make errors of judgement. So far, none have been fatal, but some are humorous (at least to me). Here are some faux-pas I have made over the years that I find amusing.

I returned home one afternoon around 14:30 and found a message on my answering machine from a friend in Japan. Doing a bit of quick math, I added 12 hours to the current time and arrived at 20:30 – 21:00 Japan time. I called her and was greeted with a very groggy "Moshi, moshi" at which point I realized ... oops ... it is not 21:00 local time, but 03:00. I apologized and let her get back to sleep.

Another time, I was over at a friend's house for dinner and I noticed his wife had a rounded belly. I congratulated her on being pregnant. She replied that she was not pregnant just overweight. Oops.

I later did something similar several years later when I asked an overweight and pregnant coworker when she was due. She told me she had given birth several months previous. Double oops!

More recently, I noticed another female coworker seemed to be putting on weight. Her face was fuller, but I didn't say anything. Then I was speaking with her and noticed she was developing a belly like so many of the male programmers. I still did not say anything. When it was announced she was taking a year off, I approached her and asked why? She said, "Haven't you noticed?" She was pregnant (and gave birth to a beautiful boy).

Finally, several months back, I was in Loblaws (a major grocery chain) and was looking for something. I couldn't find it, so I approached two people, a young man and an older woman, who seemed to be fussing over a product display. Both had black pants and one was wearing a red short sleeved shirt and the other a black short sleeved shirt - colours I have seen store employees wearing. I approached them for assistance. I asked my question. They didn't quite get it, as I observed English was not their mother tongue. I asked again and as I looked them over, I realized they were not store employees. I quickly apologized and took my leave. Did I mention they were Latino? No doubt, I left them with the impression of this stupid Gringo who thinks visible minorities must be hired help and not customers. sigh.

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2007-11-04

 

Myers-Briggs Personality Test

INTP - "Architect". Greatest precision in thought and language. Can readily discern contradictions and inconsistencies. The world exists primarily to be understood. 3.3% of total population.
Free Jung Personality Test (similar to Myers-Briggs/MBTI)


I pretty much agree with the statement "The world primarily exists to be understood."

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2007-11-03

 

On food

Just to show that Cavalock is not the only one who can blog about food. Here is my meagre contribution.

While doing some shopping today, I noticed that there were some new flavour potato chips. I am always game for some exotic taste.



I also found some sliced foie gras. This is the liver of a duck that has been force fed until its liver is to the point of bursting. The price for this delicacy goes for a cool $130.05 per Kg (or, at the last exchange rate I saw, about US $139 per Kg). I hope it is good.



As you can see, the liver does not have that natural liver colour. It is also huge. It is 11-1/2 cm wide. And this is just a slice of it. I bet the duck was happy to get rid of it. I honestly can't imagine what the duck loocked like after being force fed so much.



I also bought these fancy tomatoes. How could I pass up so a gorgeous selection? We had them for lunch with the kids (although, Jason didn't have any since he doesn't like tomatoes, but he will eat ketchup with everything. Go figure).



Photo credits: Richard of Forbidden Planet

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2007-11-02

 

Talk Straight. Lah!

One of the great things about meeting people, even if only virtually, is learning new things. For instance, I have learned that Singaporeans speak very good English, they all seem to have at least one blog (many have multiple) and they have a local dialect referred to as Singlish.

Singlish tends to be characterized by its simplicity and directness. As the follwoing shamelessly cribbed from dandan's site illustrates:

WHEN GIVING A CUSTOMER BAD NEWS
Britons: I'm sorry, Sir, but we don't seem to have the sweater you want in your size, but if you give me a moment, I can call the other outlets for you.

S'pore: No Stock.

RETURNING A CALL
Britons: Hello, this is John Smith. Did anyone page for me a few moments ago?

S'pore: Hello, who page?

ASKING SOMEONE TO MAKE WAY .
Britons: Excuse me, I'd like to get by. Would you please make way?

S'pore: S-kew me

WHEN SOMEONE OFFERS TO PAY
Britons: Hey, put your wallet away, this drink is on me.

S'pore: No-need, lah.

WHEN ASKING FOR PERMISSION
Britons: Excuse me, but do you think it would be possible for me to enter through this door?

S'pore: (pointing the door) can ar?

WHEN ENTERTAINING
Britons: Please make yourself right at home.

S'pore: Don't be shy, lah!

WHEN DOUBTING SOMEONE
Britons: I don't recall you giving me the money.

S'pore: Where got?

WHEN DECLINING AN OFFER
Britons: I'd prefer not to do that, if you don't mind.

S'pore: Dowan la...

IN DISAGREEING ON A TOPIC OF DISCUSSION
Britons: Err. Tom, I have to stop you there. I understand where you're coming from, but I really have to disagree with what you said about the issue.

S'pore: You mad, ah?

WHEN ASKING SOMEONE TO LOWER THEIR VOICE.
Britons: Excuse me, but could you please lower your voice, I'm trying to concentrate over here.

S'pore: Shut up lah!

WHEN ASKING SOMEONE IF HE/SHE KNOWS YOU.
Britons: Excuse me, but I noticed you staring at me for some time.. Do I know you?

S'pore: See what, see what?

WHEN ASSESSING A TIGHT SITUATION.
Britons: We seem to be in a bit of a predicament at the moment.

S'pore: Die-lah!!

WHEN TRYING TO FIND OUT WHAT HAD HAPPENED
Britons: Will someone tell me what has just happened?

S'pore: Wat happen Why like that.... ??

WHEN SOME ONE DID SOMETHING WRONG
Britons: This isn't the way to do it here let me show you,

S'pore: Like that also don't know how to do!!!!

WHEN ONE IS ANGRY
Britons: Would you mind not disturbing me

S'pore: Go Away lah!


Two great books on writing, Make Your Words Work by Gary Provost and The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman, both stress the need to make efficient use of your words.

For those of us with a prediliction toward flourish and embellishment and gratuitous locution with the ostensible objective of communicating in a whole and complete manner, without ambiguity by ensuring that every thought and nuance is elegantly captured in a cornucopia of words and clauses, need to take to heart, not only the lesson, but the essential essence of the simplicity and elegance that Singlish can provide in the interchange of daily discourse among individuals.

Talk straight. Lah!

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2007-11-01

 

"[D]eath is an unfortunate aspect of this work, but we hope to derive lots of information from it."

Scientist commenting on the death of a 405 year clam killed in the name of science. It is the oldest known animal on record. Or should that be was the oldest known animal? Either way, it is little consolation to the clam.

You can read the article here

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