Sunday, June 27, 2004

wish i had written this line

from the book olivia joules and the overactive imagination (by helen fielding, of bridget jones's diary fame):

She swam to and fro, forgetting about time and reality, until she saw Rik in front of her tapping his hand on the air dial, communicating such patronizing sarcasm with each tap that she felt that the scuba world's gain had been the mime world's loss.


funniest movie moment i've seen in a while

from victor/victoria (starring julie andrews):

in a french pub, a man was waiting in the darkness for a private investigator. private investigator walks in.

man: (acknowledges private investigator's entrance)

p.i.: (sits on bar stool)

man: (with thick french accent) be careful ...

p.i.: (confident, also with thick french accent) i'm always careful ...

man: the stool is broken.

p.i.: *KABLAG*

(ok, on hindsight, that was probably funnier seen than read.)

bring on the disease

the evil of being in a foreign grocery store is seeing so many interesting kinds of junk food -- a passion not shared by many.

yesterday, i bought a small pack of vegetable fries. was pretty good. i finished the whole pack in 2 minutes. was licking the salt off my hands when i decided to read the nutrition label.

ingredients: flour, vegetables, etc etc ... MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE.

which explains why the white crystals on my fingers weren't cube-like as salt crystals usually are.

maybe i should have eaten the fries outdoors, unprotected under the blazing sun, with a side order of nitrate-packed tocino and burnt barbecued pork while injecting myself with hormone replacements and smoking a cigar or two.

cancer paranoia hits hard during times of solitude in non-english-speaking lands.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

day 12: play ball! again!

remember the fish and meat balls from the first day? well, that day, i saw more than fish and meat balls. i spotted OCTOPUS BALLS in the grocery round the corner.

so for 11 days now, i have been contemplating how my life has turned out in hong kong ... and if i should taste the octopus balls.

after a bit of convincing from ana (note to ana: yes, you, ms mba. allegedly the president of my fan club.), i bought some.

one would think that octopus balls would be of the same consistency as fish or squid balls (let's not get started on the meat balls again). like homogenized, ground fish or squid, as the case may be. but one would have thought wrongly.

took a huge bite (it had to be huge, each octopus ball is like and inch and a half in diameter) and discovered, TO MY HORROR, that the ball had STUFF inside. it wasn't a puffed-up squid ball. it was more like a siopao cousin.

and because i have a bit of a fear of octopi (that is a gross understatement.), i PRAYED that i wouldn't find octopus parts inside the ball. apparently, the prayer did not reach heaven fast enough because before you could say UNDERWATER ALIEN, i spotted a little tentacle.

then i figured, i am an adult. i have to overcome these fears. i can eat my fear!!!

so today, i ate octopi. or at least bits of it. (ok, i confess. i made sure my tongue wasn't moving around while i was chewing so i didn't accidentally brush it across an octopus sucker. i have my limits.)

of sticks and things

left the hotel too late last friday. couldn't get a cab. gathered my guts and took the tram with only one clue of where i was supposed to get down: at a mcdonalds in a red building. wasn't really confident about that, but i figured if i got lost, i could always get a cab (i have been told that i have the memory of a goldfish. which explains my flawless logic. no cab? take the tram. get lost? take a cab. how did i graduate from med school?).

anyway ...

the problem with chinese characters is they all look the same. it doesn't matter if i've seen the block at the back of my office for over a week. it doesn't matter. all the chinese signs look the same. so that short ride felt like going through a really cheap, uninteresting but tense-filled theme park ride. i knew that if i didn't get down at the right spot, i could end up in ... tibet. which may not be all that bad, except i left my jacket at the hotel.

thankfully, the golden arches (NOT in chinese characters, la!) signaled the end of my hot tram ride. love ko 'to. (in hong kong, it's "i'm loving it" -- not quite the same appeal, but it seems to work.)

Friday, June 25, 2004

neck olympics

HK has not been kind to my waistline. although the hotel has a pool and mini-gym at my disposal, i have not been able to break into a decent sweat since i arrived. ok, cancel that. i've been sweating like hell from the heat, but never from aerobic exercise.

meanwhile, my neck has never been fitter.

i watched a french film (the barbarian invasions) at the ifc mall -- a bloated version of greenbelt 2. great seats, cool theater. except we were seated on the second row, which meant my face was something like 6 feet away from the screen.

WHICH MEANT that, to read the subtitles, i actually had to look from left to right. two hours of repetitive neck movement -- that is my week's worth of fitness.

on the upside, each of stephane rousseau's eyes was as big as my head. (as to WHY that is an 'upside', i have to figure out. meanwhile, don't ask.)

Saturday, June 19, 2004

how to impress a new boss: tales from the dark side

1. put an entire rice cracker in your mouth the second she calls your extension. you will be forced to reply monosyllabically and she will be forced to cut the conversation short.

2. for your first face-to-face meeting about your new work, bring a dirty piece of paper and a pen cover. it's always good to bring useless props to show that you are too busy to make sure you picked the right end of a pen from your desk.

(this reminds me of my first meeting with one of my first bosses. she was going over my resume and showed me how the second page of my cv was stapled upside down.)

yes, i hate to say it, but these really happened.

it's amazing that i still have my job.

the weaver

met another hong kong officemate. right after that, i told another colleague that i met someone new.

me: i met connie by the pantry!

my funny colleague: who???

me: connie!

mfc: we don't have anyone named connie!

me: get out.

mfc: i'm not kidding.

so i brought him (more like 'pushed him against his will while he was giggling at my expense') to where the officemate in question was seated (she wasn't there during our covert operation).

mfc: that's SIGOURNEY!!!

me: but ... that's not a chinese name!

sometimes i should just throw in the towel.

a room with a view

first full day at the hk office. i had been working for about 4 hours when i noticed that my face was getting hot and i was developing a headache. wondered if i was coming down with something. that or work was making me blush. because the latter reason is just downright stupid, i concluded i had a slight fever.

my first thought: IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF SARS?

while considering this possibility, i looked out at the harbor in full view. all i needed was the forrest gump soundtrack. "this is a really nice workplace. i can see the boats passing and the ..." and then it hit me: i was in front of a clear glass wall. i wasn't sick, i was getting sunburned.

i love vertical blinds.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

day 1: play ball!

starving after check-in at metropark (the hotel that no one--not even those who live here--has heard of). found a nearby 7-11. saw hong kong teenagers in school uniform eating fishball-type things. bought some for myself, ate near them. was curious about the brownish balls on their plate.

me: may i ask what you're eating?

hong kong schoolgirl: yes.

(significant pause from me)

me: what are you eating?

(where is canned laughter when you need it?)

HKS: it's a bit spicy.

me: but what are they?

HKS: it's ... it's ...

me: (trying to be helpful) fish?

HKS: no, meat.

it's true. being in a different country makes you an idiot. a meatball by any other name is still a meatball. except you'd probably have to spell it out for someone like me.

Monday, June 14, 2004

your country is not weird

was talking to the cell phone operator, as i needed to activate my phone's roaming for my upcoming hong kong trip. the conversation was ending, but i remembered a slight problem i encountered the last time i used that service.

me: do i have to change any other phone setting?

operator: no, just the manual network selection i taught you.

me: ok, but in australia, i couldn't access the local network.

operator: oh don't worry, hong kong is a normal country.

(couldn't help it, i let out a full-volume laugh at this point.)

me: so australia is ... what?

operator: sorry, i meant "regular." hong kong is a "regular" country.

still had no idea what she meant, but i figured it meant i wouldn't have problems in hong kong. also, i assured her i wasn't laughing at her (she apologized profusely), it just sounded cute.

am also planning to call her back to report if hong kong is indeed normal. i have my doubts.

the more important things in life

found out i have to go on a 2-week, work-related, out-of-the-country trip (count 'em hyphens). when the news sank in, the first thought that came to my head was:

oh no. i'm going to miss the replay of the results show of the american idol finals.

forget about packing, forget about being mentally prepared for the work ahead--but worry about the tv shows that i'm going to miss.

something tells me i should be concerned about the current wiring of my brain, but what the hey.

to think i've already seen the finals and results show.

Friday, June 11, 2004

unfinished business

once again, i have proven that bringing work home results in either (and i’m talking about the times i don’t connect to the net):

1. me drinking way too much coffee and typing maniacally through the night (this happens only 0.12% of the time)


2. me exploring the forgotten files stored in “my documents” (this happens 100% minus 0.12% of the time)

last night, i found an unfinished essay i was supposed to submit to legmanila (to the curious: i used to contribute regularly to an online magazine. don’t bother looking for it. is now some kind of search engine. or something.)

i was writing about narcolepsy and the opening paragraph was supposed to be:

Have you ever fallen asleep while writing with a tech pen on a mimeographed sheet? If you distinctly remember waking up holding an empty Pilot shell, with your cheek partially stuck to a huge damp blotch of ink on what was supposed to be your morning report, then the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’

i don’t remember what the rest of the essay was supposed to say, but i do recall that i wanted to end with the story of how one time, while accidentally falling asleep in the middle of a narcolepsy lecture in med school, i woke up with the professor’s laser pointer directed at my huge forehead. i, along with a third of that class, provided her with live visual aid.

(in other news, some of the newer laser pointers don’t project just plain dots or arrows. i’ve seen stick figures and animals and entire words and other shapes. i suppose they had to come up with stuff like that partly to perk up an audience ready to fall into a coma. “look! an outline of a heart on top of the 34th bullet of the consolidated company action plan for 2005. time to wake up!”)

Thursday, June 10, 2004

a female deer

in a moment of uncertainty, i look up "roe" in and find this:

Main Entry: roe
Pronunciation: 'rO
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural roe or roes
Etymology: Middle English ro, from Old English rA; akin to Old High German rEh roe

and the definition ... is ...


as in the deer, the female deer. (tell me you didn't sing it in your head)

so, roe is doe. doe is roe.

this is why i love the net. learning for the sake of learning ... that will bring us back to do(e)!

(of course, the other meaning of "roe" is "eggs of a fish especially when still enclosed in the ovarian membrane" so y'all can sleep soundly tonight)

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

THIS is an angry puffer fish. for your reference. i know that i am going to regret having a fish pic in the blog. Posted by Hello

the roe problem

ate california maki for lunch. having this type of maki usually presents me with a couple of problems:

1. having an abnormally small mouth makes it technically difficult to put the whole maki in. and when it's in there, i have to bear with a few seconds of looking like an angry puffer fish.

2. when all that's left in my mouth is bits of roe, i have to be very careful when i bite into them one by one. they feel very much like tongue papillae (look it up) and each bite leads to either the pleasant sensation of a mini-explosion of fishy flavor or the pinpoint, intense pain of losing a small body part.

shell-hurling trucker

saw an unusual sight while stuck in traffic yesterday. was initially distracted by flying objects being hurled at 5- to 10-second intervals through the air. realized that flying objects were peanut shells being hurled from the passenger seat to the back of huge pick-up-like truck. must be convenient to have a huge open trash can at the back of the car.

would've been more interesting though if there were people at the back. iwas, pre!

my most recent office pic. take a good look at a fourth of my face. this is my best angle yet. Posted by Hello

of course it had to be "dots dark"

of course the template has to have dots. and cannot be cheery. the obvious choice? "dots dark"

"so, what can you say about the blog?"

"oh man, dots dark."