Monday, November 29, 2010

Rated PG13 for violence.

I visited Cheung Chau today, a small island off the coast of Hong Kong and came to the realization that I'm getting older and perhaps not as adventurous as I remember being.  Good news is:  I'm fine with that.

This story's culprit shown in Exhibit A.  Comic relief provided by Exhibit B.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

After some slight heart palpitations from an earlier experience on the island, I decided to reward myself with a beer and some tasty local cuisine.  Peel-and-eat shrimp seemed like the perfect option -- until it arrived at my table.  There were eyeballs staring at me and 4-inch antennas draping off my plate.  I was having a hard time even looking at these little guys, much less eating them.  What's my deal?!  I've eaten shrimp heads before.  I've even eaten raw shrimp right off a fishing boat.

Didn't seem to matter.  As I evaluated my options, I realized I'd just have to suck it up (ha, no pun intended) and eat them.  At least some of them.  Figured if I didn't look down while I de-shelled them, I'd be fine.  And I was -- until I glanced down to make sure I was grabbing the head to pull it off and green goo exploded all over my hands.  I nearly lost it.  How did I forget about the green goo?! 

I took a deep breath, pulled off the last little bits and took a bite.  Sand.  He tasted like fishy sand.  There was no way I was making a dent in that plate.  And there was also no way I was just leaving a plate full of food.  They're not so into the wasting of food here in the HK.

I realized that a cute little old lady next to me had clearly been watching this all unfold.  We briefly made eye contact and I could tell she was silently laughing at me.  She was also trying to get her granddaughter to laugh.  She had used the paper from her chopsticks to make one of those birthday horns.  She'd blow it in the baby's face and then make funny faces to make her laugh.  I was admiring them (and her sweet invention) when she looked up, pointed the horn right at me and blew it in my face. She smiled and I beamed a huge thank you to her with my eyes. (Because they can speak Chinese.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010


The desk I’m using while I’m working in Hong Kong is one of many in a land of half-height cubicles allowing you to see and hear everything that’s happening around you.  Two desks down is a boy named Bruce from Australia.  I’ve been resisting any Finding Nemo shark jokes, but it’s been hard.  Today, he was on a call discussing something about the aquarium (see! It’s too easy) they’re installing and he was requesting new plants for a section of the tank — of which he needed thirteen.

As the conversation went on, he must have said the word thirteen a dozen times.  I grinned the first time he said it and then progressively smiled bigger and bigger until I was almost giggling.  You see, when I lived in Australia my friend Rita and I were very fond of our new Aussie friend Luke.  For many, many reasons but one of them was hearing him say the number thirteen.  We were complete suckers for the accent and used to come home drunk and tackle Luke begging him to say it just one more time.  Even years later, Rita’s told him that if he ever calls and gets her voicemail, to just say thirteen and hang up.

It was a great few minutes of my day.  Hearing the word, but also flashing back to so many good memories of Newcastle, AUS.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dogs and Sunglasses

It's funny the things you notice when you travel.  For whatever reason, it's very clear to me that people in Hong Kong don't wear sunglasses and don't seem to have dogs for pets. (Or if they do, they're just not walking them.)

Those observations are a little random I suppose.  But something ANYONE might notice is how loud it is here.  In crowded places, sometimes it feels like everyone's yelling at each other.  It can be a little stressful, but I'm getting used to it.  I can't really say that I come from a
quiet culture, so I'd feel bad complaining.

At lunch today, I sat next to an American family in a restaurant that was particularly screamy.  The 13-year-old girl of the family sort of huffed and puffed, as 13-year-olds do, and said, "Geez, it seems like they're all yelling at each other.  It's so loud.  It's kind of like the Green Day concert.  Ugh."

It made me giggle.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A girl loves flowers

I came back to my hotel tonight in between work and what would be a delicious, thai food Thanksgiving dinner.  As I opened my door, every light in my hotel room was on.  Odd.

I was slightly concerned at first, thought someone was in my room.  But as I assessed the room, I realized I had these on my desk.

Flowers are always an amazing surprise.  Always.  But even better this time was the surprise of who they were from.  I assumed they might be from my office -- sort of a sorry you're working on Thanksgiving bouquet -- but when I opened the card it read: Happy Thanksgiving, sis!

I might have cried a little

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sometimes, I need a little fluffing.

One of our vendors on this project is British and I adore new catch phrases -- not to mention accents -- so it's been a fun few days so far.

Every time this particular person has been working his ass off and is slowly, food deprived-ly getting annoyed, he sort of searches for compliments.  But not in an annoying or unwarranted way.  It's great actually.  And once he gets a "thanks" or "good job" (even if sarcastically), he says, "That's all I need.  Sometimes I just need a little fluffing."

I mean, who doesn't really?!  Moms can only tell you you're perfect so many times.

And, as fate would have it, I came home tonight to some feedback about a project of mine, and the comments stung a little bit.  As I read through and started to turn red and want to give up...I couldn't help but think of my Brit's request:  A little fluffing.  Even without the compliments on my own project, just repeating the phrase out loud and the thought of some potential kinder words on their way, made me feel a little bit better.  Enough to be able to close my computer and write it all off for a good night's sleep.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Get, that, dirt off your shoulder

Got up early this morning for a little jog around Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.  I've decided this part of town (and perhaps Hong Kong in general) is the Santa Monica of Asia.  People LOVE to be active.  There's your typical stuff -- tennis, soccer, jogging.  But people just like to move here.  It's pretty great.

Obviously, there's Tai Chi and I'm dying to just join a group and be the tall blonde girl in the back that doesn't belong.  But there are also various activities happening -- jumping in place, synchronized armlifts, a billion toe taps, hip thrusts, air punches, etc.  And today, my favorite was a lady that I kept passing on the trail who was briskly walking and brushing each shoulder off individually -- over and over, left then right, left then right.

You know Jay Z went to Hong Kong and was all, sick moves I'm bringing that back to the States.

Friday, November 19, 2010

But, mom...

I was waiting in line at the airport behind a family of three and they had started chatted with the woman in front of them.  The line to get through security was FOREVER.

The little boy started getting antsy and kept telling his mom he was hungry.  Every minute his voice became a little more whiny and every time he complained his mother would simply say, I'm hungry too.

The women in front of them suddenly stopped mid-sentence and said, "Oh my goodness!  I totally forgot.  I have a muffin from breakfast this morning."

She pulled it out of her bag and handed it to the little boy.

People are kin

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Hills of Beverly and That Red Frugetable

Tomatoes should be a vegetable.  You don't put them in a fruit cup.  You don't top your pancakes with them.  Yeah, they have seeds.  Big freaking deal.  They. Are. Vegetables.

(Ahem, it appears the United States Supreme Court agrees with me, see 
Nix v. Hedden.  And it also appears you REALLY can take someone to court for ANYTHING.)

Right.  So the point here is:  I don't like tomatoes.  And there are some exceptions to this, but in general, keep them off my sandwich please.  Tonight, driving into Beverly Hills for work, I posted the following on Twitter:

Beverly Hills, you are just like tomatoes to me. Been trying you for years, but we will never be friends.
Then it was as if the universe wanted to prove a point and gave me two - let's call them entertaining - experiences.  After telling twitterspace that I hated this city, I got a free Ruth's Chris Steakhouse cheesecake and an interesting, friendly encounter with a parking attendent.

This still doesn't mean we're friends, but it made me hate Beverly Hills a TEENY bit less.  At least for today.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Drive By

I love when people just "stop by" your house.  I can definitely count on one hand how many times that's happened in 8 years in LA.

Unfortunate really.  But today a friend just showed up.  And he even came bearing gifts!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I've Fallen In Love And I Can't Get Up

I listened to a great story the other day on This American Life.  The theme for the show was "Held Hostage" and Act 3 was about a man with a very unusual condition.

recommend listening to it for the full effect, but here's the gist:

A man named Matt Frerking started having attacks where he simply couldn't move his body.  He would be in the shower and suddenly find himself sitting on the floor, completely unable to move.  After lots of doctors and questions and falling down stairs, he realized the cause of the problem was ca

The process in your body that causes cataplexy is the same process in your REM cycles that temporarily shuts down your muscle system so you don't physically act out your dreams. (so cool)

For Matt, this process is triggered from strong emotions -- in particular happy emotions -- while he's awake.

His grandchild's laughter.
His wife's smile.
The mere thought of his brother's wedding.

All these things trigger an "attack" and his body goes limp.

The entire time listening to this story I kept thinking about Sunshine of the Day.  And all the days I cursed it a little bit and thought -- 
bleh, today sucked, I don't want to write about something good.

Man, what if I COULDN'T write about something good? (without hitting my head on my desk)

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Spent the night at a friend's house and ended up with a little snuggle partner.

Steve is half something and half Chihuahua.  And as I climbed into bed, he burrowed under the covers, all the way to my knees and slept there all night.

I was a little nervous I'd roll over him, so I didn't get a great night's sleep, but man he was cute.

AND, I love dogs with human names.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mark As Unread

In my email inbox, I set things to unread if I still need to respond or complete a task of some sort.  Because I have a brain (and because I want to remain Carolyn Clark's friend), I use Gmail.

Those Googlites have come up with many options -- Stars, Labels, Priority Inbox, etc. -- to help you organize everything.  I appreciate the attempts in innovation to keep me organized, but lately it just stresses me out.  When I go to my inbox and see stars and bold emails in priority order, I'm reminded of all the things I haven't done yet.

Moments ago, I answered the last bold email waiting for my attention.

And, as expected, Google gives you a digital high five when you empty out those looming emails:
Woohoo! You've read all the important messages in your inbox

Guys....It feels amazing.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

So thoughtful.

A friend surprised me today and took me on a field trip for my a factory in East Los Angeles.  Not just any factory...the Acapulco Tortilla Chips factory, which are THE BEST tortilla chips in LA.

Oh. My. Goodness.

I even got a special Member's Card to get discounts on all their products.  He also bought me an entire box (12 bags) of chips, so looks like a Mexican themed party is in my future.

Yay, birthday week!

Monday, November 1, 2010

In Review

I've decided to write a poem about my 31st year and the random sunshine it entailed.
Because, why not?

On a bus it did start
this year called thirty one
With cherry whiskey, some dancing
and a night I heard was fun

I moved up in my job
You can call me director
My best friend got hitched
I joined the private sector

My bro hit it big

you can hear it on vinyl
I Rock N Roll gardened
and I swam a cold mile

I worked at a Moose Lodge

They're cooler than you think!
I dated online
read: lots of strong drinks

I laughed and I cried

Even had a hoot and holler
I made it through traffic
And then I found five dollars!