Friday, 30 April 2010

#120: Lumpy Koalas.

On entering KL, I had no idea what to expect. I don't tend to read Rough Guides or Lonely Planets too much, Before Kota Kinabalu, I knew nothing about Malaysia apart from that it's somewhere between Oz and Asia... I think?

So wondering around today, it was odd. It was like I was in a hotter, more humid 80's era London. The spaghetti streets, the dirt, the buildings, the road conditions, the loopy parking. It was both nostalgic and oddly unsettling at the same time.

Well this should be interesting...

Thursday, 29 April 2010

#119: Leaving Impressions I: Singapore.

How travelling-blogger am I?! Writing this as I sit on the overnight train outta Singapore and arriving into Kuala Lumpur around 6am tomorrow morning. The GPS tells me we crossed the border about 30mins ago and thankfully that smelly looking fellow with the bad teeth wasn't assigned the seat next to mine.

So Singapore was a bit of a weird city. It's a lovely place and all, but unlike Sydney and HK (actually HK less so) - it's not a place I could see myself living in. Can't quite place my finger on it - but it's not for me as a settling place. Meh.

Having said that though, I did end up having a great conversation with the manager of a toy museum. The man ended up telling me so much more information about the exhibits, the city, his sons, his relationship to the museum owner, his appreciation of facebook, than I ever bargained for.

I also had a lady randomly ask me for household tips in the middle of Starbucks, we ended up chatting for a good few hours about how best to handle our mothers.

Well that's never happened before.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

#118: Deja VuVu.

Singapore has me all mixed up.

You get off at the absolutely ma-hoo-ssive shiny airport and get on the MRT, which is essentially exactly the same as Hong Kong's MTR, trains, signs and everything, but with the name of Taipei's MRT.

Passing through the suburbs I kept thinking I was in HK as well.

Then I got into the city centre... and stepped straight out onto Sydney, Australia.

With the mix of languages, the wide roads, the overall atmosphere... blindfold a person, drop them into either one of the two cities and they'd be hard pressed to identify which one they're in.

It's spooky. Seriously, somebody get me a blindfold and a jet. I got some experimentin' to do.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

#117: The State Of The Throne.

I tend to judge a country by the average condition of their toilets. For the most part the western world has generally above-average standards wherein we've come to expect a clean, well kept porcelain seat.

In Asia, things tend to go more to either end of the scale. The gold standard is - naturally - Japan, 90% you're almost guaranteed to enter a room so well-kept they could serve as a NASA clean room. Plus, jet sprays. At the other end, you have China, where BYOTP is the general rule of thumb, and squatties still reign.

Taipei is average at best where well-maintained public toilets are still considered a privilege when you do find one, but unfortunately not the norm.

Borneo has surprised me in the quality of their toilets - while not as technically advanced as Japan ones, their level of upkeep is definitely on-par. Most significant of all are the ones at the mountain top. Clean, tidy and with full running flush. A definite departure from a lot of mountain top toilets I've been to - even Mount Fuji.

Ohhh... Fuji toilets... *shudder*

Monday, 26 April 2010

#116: Middle Of Nowhere

One of the main things I like about hiking as an unfit person, is the test of mental perseverance it invokes. A healthy person will storm through the hike with no problems, probably enjoying the sights along the way.

The hike holds a different meaning for the unfit fellow. When puffing and wheezing through a dense jungle, miles away from any kinda civilisation - the unfit person knows there is no way a car could come down this track to fetch him. Helicopter extraction is just wishful thinking. The other hikers are long gone.

Therefore the mental process required becomes very simple: The only way he will be able to see regular humanity again, is to finish the hike. From that, he accepts that every step will take him closer to the finish line. If he has any form higher intelligence, he will know bitching and complaining are wastes of energy and will not improve his situation. Instead, he will learn patience, perserverance and most importantly - the importance of rhythm.

Very important. Life is all about rhythm.

Never do a major hike without musical backup. ;)

Sunday, 25 April 2010

#115: Twinkle Twinkle

No matter how many times I get the privilege of walking above the clouds and seeing a completely clear sky, devoid of clouds and any light interference from nearby cities - coz there are none.

I'll never get over just how many stars there are up there. And those are just the ones we can see, less than a tiny fraction of the number in the universe itself.

Such a shame that most of the world never get to see such a sky.

Coz it's just damn cool.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

#114: Borneo

We left a cold, wet, rainy Taipei and then 4 hours later, landed in a hot, sunny, humid Kota Kinabalu.

Had a lovely relaxing walk around town. Ate dinner by the water, watching the most surreal sunset ever.

The light was in the wrong place.

There was constant lightning in the clouds over the water.

But it was not raining.

Tomorrow, we start climbing!

Friday, 23 April 2010

#113: I'm An Experienced Traveller, Yup.

No matter how many times I pack light, I can't seem to leave behind my laptop, two cameras, DS, phone, GPS unit, my mp3 player, and my diary.

All the chargers to go with that lot require their own bag by itself. Apart from the diary. That doesn't need a charger.

Can never shake the feeling that I've forgotten something either.

...oh yea! My toothbrush.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

#112: If I Could Have Any Superpower...

It'd have to be superspeed. Coz while flight is damn cool, it might be considered cheating a bit when you're attempting to parkour across the Pacific Ocean.

Plus I quite like the idea of getting all my chores done in the first 5 seconds of the day and then spending an extra 3 hours in bed.

Man, what does it say about my personality when I'm practical even in my own fantasies...

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

#111: Shameless.

During the time between the ages of 16 and 24 I stopped being scared.

When describing the occurance, I usually say that something "switched" in my head/attitude.

Actually it was more like a gradual evolution. I can pinpoint the catalyst though. It was at Thorpe Park, in front of the log flume ride. My aunt asked me why I was so scared of going down that log flume, when my little cousin wasn't scared at all. It was a very good point; I was only scared coz people were telling me it was scary. Duh.

That's right Albert, you kicked it off for me!

Oh I still get afraid, I just choose not to be scared. There's a difference.

More specifically - I stopped being scared of failing. Having no sense of pride, shame, or "face" means that everything I ever do, I truly do it for myself. I'm completely, utterly and unabashedly selfish.

If I fail the first time, I'll go at it again, and again, until I get it right. And if I ever give up on something, then it means that I just didn't want it enough. I don't think I've ever given up on anything yet (that mattered anyways).

Now if I could just apply this mentality to my gymming habits. Maybe I'll start going again.........

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

#110: The Productive Abyss.

The internet is still down. It has been two days.

In those two days, I've finished the book I was reading (Feet of Clay - Terry Pratchett) and am a third of the way through my next book (Hogfather - Terry Pratchett).

When the net first went down, I'd only just reached the halfway point of the first book.
I started reading it in February.

Monday, 19 April 2010

#109: Desperate Measures.

The internet is currently down, neighbours' connection isn't working either (just a quick check-peek, ma'am). Looks like the entire block has been affected. BackTrack is not gonna help me here.

The only way I'm getting any kinda connection is by bluetoothing off my trusty old Sony Ericsson and running through its 3G connection. Not exactly healthy on the data usage.

Never has there been a truer statement:

Sunday, 18 April 2010

#108: Rainchecks.

Two things I have in mind to note about, but no time right now... so note to self:
- Old Tim Story.
- Food Porn.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

#107: Something New Everyday.

Today, I learned that the composer Chopin is pronounced "Show-Pan".

And not "Choppin'" in a cockney accent, as I've been hearing it in my head everytime I read it.

The things you learn...

Friday, 16 April 2010

#106: I Feel The Need, The Need To Feed.

I miss having a kitchen. More than that, I miss my blender.


Thursday, 15 April 2010

#105: Maybe Put A Firemen's Pole In There Too...

When I grow up, I'm definitely gonna have a workshop in the garage, and a games room in the house.

Actually I'd quite happily have the games room, workshop and just everything in the garage.

*Ammendment* When I grow up, I'm gonna be living in my five star luxury garage.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

#104: They're Fun And Educational!

More than anything else, I probably would never have remembered the names of those great Renaissance artists, if it wasn't for that great cartoon of our childhoods.

My favourite was Donatello, Shireen had Michealangelo, Bich had Leonardo and Joe had Raphael. It was perfect!

I also have that show to thank for the great concept of ice cream pizza. Gorgeous.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

#103: Wassat About Good Deeds?

Today, just as the sun was rising, this imsomniac was finally getting his eyes to close when the phone rang. It was the boss telling him that a co-worker was ill and so this imsomniac had to go into work a few hours early to cover a few classes before his own schedule starts. The same few hours this imsomniac was hoping to use to get some shut-eye in.

This month, two weeks in a row I've covered two of my friend's shifts on my day off, and got assigned a special exam class to look over for the third week, also on my day off.

I've worked so many Saturdays this month that there was no room for them to put in the standby call-in that all teachers have to do once a month.

So they're gonna give me two standby days next month.

Mark this day as the very first time I use the term - FML.

Monday, 12 April 2010

#102: Apply Within: Mentor Wanted.

A new position has been created.

Required for the careful guidance and dispensing of worldy bits of sagely wisdom to a directionless youth busting with raw potential.

Kung fu skills and long, strokey white beards will be preferred. Bonus points also for candidates who never opens their eyes.

Must have an aura of awesome.

Long, strokey black beards will be rejected for evilness.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

#101: Influential.

Every now and then, I get somebody telling me that they started a new hobby, a new direction or even a completely new way of looking at the world - because of something I said to them at some point in the past.

There's the part that always goes, "I did that? Cool!"

And then it's always followed by, "Bloody hell... But I don't know anything?!"

Saturday, 10 April 2010

#100: Running In

Been a while since I needed to run in an engine. It's a mental exercise of which I'm barely qualified for...

To have to keep your speed below a certain limit and not strain the engine during that first 300km?

To know that there's a whole barn of potentiality just sitting there behind a flick of the wrist... it would be so easy to give it that extra milimetre of torque...

Argh! This is the cruelest foreplay ever!

Friday, 9 April 2010

#99: Ambitious Lil Sprites.

In another class, this time of 8-9yr olds I asked them what they wanted to be.

One little girl wanted to be a judge, as in the type with the hammer and gavel.

Another wanted to be a translator/diplomat, she didn't know the word - but she drew two countries on the board and then herself in the middle and said, "I will help them talk to each other."

Nine years old.

When I was their age, I wanted to be a transforming hero turtle...

Thursday, 8 April 2010

#98: They Didn't Know It, But They're Poets.

I once heard a poem has stayed with me forever:
Little pigeon, in the sky,
Dropping things, from way up high.
Angry farmer, wiping his eye,
Very glad, that cows don't fly.

So it's more of a limerick, but I love that it has the perfect essence of twisted optimism. It fits.

I used it as a example for my class to come up with their own.
I gave them just 5 minutes.

The first group, came up with:
Tony and Andy are gay,
They kiss everyday,
"I love you", Andy says,
They have a love holiday.

The second group:
My mother is air,
She is everywhere,
My mother is fire,
She is never tired.

The first poem was from the girls, the second came from the boys. These are 10-11yr old kids.

The lesson was about Shakespeare. =)

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

#97: Destinations

- Europe
- Asia
- North America
- South America
- Australia
- Africa
- The North Pole
- The South Pole
- Orbit
- The Moon
- Mars
- Outer Space

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

#96: Sleepy Grandpa.

The Grandfather is back from the shop with a completely rebuilt engine block, 20% increase in capacity, retooled heads, crankshaft, gears, brakes, suspension, the lot. Weight has been shaved whereever possible, parts have been strengthened where necessary.

The best part?

It looks exactly the same. You'd never know it from any other SR150.

It's finally the embodiment of both sides of my nobler generation...
The ever-present stoicism of Grandad Lau, the giddy-ballsiness of Grandad Lee.

Can't wait to take it out! (^^)

Monday, 5 April 2010

#95: Edge Control

More than a few of my friends have just come back from snowboarding trips in a buncha different countries...

Argh! I miss it!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

#94: Something About Attitudes and Altitudes.

When watching movies, you gotta set yourself in the right frame of mind in order to enjoy it. Most people wouldn't go see Transformers from an intellectual standpoint, most people watch horror movies to get scared.

Some movies are a bit more tricky to judge beforehand, I went into Clash of the Titans expecting some epic odysseyic saga. A third of the way through I realised that wasn't working and so just sat back to watch puny humans bash on bigass monsters. Suddenly, the movie became great!


Saturday, 3 April 2010

#93: Or A Wheelman, I Could Be A Wheelman.

I've decided, I wanna be something other than a teacher next year. Do they have cafes in South America? I actually loved being a barista when I was a student, the whole point of a the environment is to chill out.

Ideally though I wanna do something that puts me behind something on wheels, motorised, hopefully with a power-to-weight ratio greater than 125bhp/tonne. Not too fussy. I just know what I like.

A personal driver, hmm...

Friday, 2 April 2010

#92: We Each See What We Each See

Coming home from work today I found myself riding alongside a black limo that had itself a full police escort - marked police cars, blacked out cars, a full legion of motorcycles, the works - heading along XinYi Road towards the 101.

The whole time I was looking at platoon the only thing I was thinking was, "Where are they gonna find parking for all that on a Friday night?"

Thursday, 1 April 2010

#91: I'll Even Have White Gloves On

I love driving.

I'm quite partial scaring my passengers a little.

I reckon I'd actually quite enjoy a being an inner-city taxi driver.

Maybe not fulltime, but in the offpeak twilight hours. Dusk to dawn.

Definitely not during rush-hour.

I'll be the one with the gleam in his eye and grinning like a maniac.

You'd get in my taxi...

Wouldn't you?