Tuesday, December 30, 2008

And I sat down and thought to myself...

"ahhhh, now this is the life!"
Good meal. No stress. Quiet peace. Clean air. Gentle Breeze. The Sky is Blue and the Sun is Shining.
One of those very rare moments of...
Total Content
I have high hopes for the year ahead...
HaPpy New YEar, EveRyBody! :-)

One of those annoyingly unproductive days...

But I did manage to resolve some ongoing annoyances as follows:

1. I finally found my CUT COPY cd...next time you can't find a CD and you have turned your whole house upside down- check your laptop!
Anyway I'm glad I found it in time for NYE...my prediction is that songs off this album will be on high airplay...

2. Technologically challenged me finally worked out how to post a picture on a forum.

3. I finally got my notebook touchpad working again which has been Out of Action and replaced by an annoying laser mouse for the past few months...no thanks to the folks at Compaq who wanted to charge me $33 to press shift F6- I love all you helpful geeks on the internet!

Monday, December 29, 2008

'Herbal' Coolers...

In Chinese medicine, prevention is key. Hence proper diet, proper lifestyle etc are all the 'first line of defence' against illness...we believe food is the first 'medicine'- so if you like to get on the diet therapy bandwagon...

When the weather is stinking hot and humid like this and you feel unbearably heaty,

What can you do short of stripping off, walking around naked with damp towels on your head and neck and wrists while a standing fan blows air across your skin?

WELL, as someone who always finds heat unberable as opposed to cold, here are two of my favourite readily available, nice tasting foods that will help keep you cool over the Summer...

1. Chrysanthemum flower tea - Boil a few for 10-15 minutes with water, drink warm or chilled, beautiful with a bit of honey. Not only is it great to clear heat but it also works wonders for eye ailments....in terms of eye issues, for enhanced effect and an immunity boost all at once just add a small handful of goji berries :)!

2. Watermelon - This is a great heat clearer! Especially good to combat thirst...although the red flesh is tastier- it's actually the white crunchy bit that packs more therapeutic punch. But just don't eat too much cos it can give you a cold stomach ache and also make you pee alot!

Hope someone found this useful...Love from, Herbs Nerd.


okay, so in this stinking heat and humidity, I am feeling too lethargic to attempt filling the blank canvas that adorns my shelf.

Hence I will reinvigorate another long lost hobby that needs Time: film viewing!

In no particular order I have compiled a list of films I will try to see (if I can get a hold of them)- my local video store is so SHITE that I feel like I will probably need to raid tertiary libraries and specialty stores. There are foreign films in this list but I've given their English titles since the list is too long to accommodate and remember all their foreign titles!

Feel free to comment if you have seen any of these and feel strongly either way about them...whatever you do just don't kill the plot for me! Also, if you have any others you believe are must see viewing to add to my list, suggest away...but there's a 50% chance if it's classic I've seen it back in my film student days ;)

1. Old Boy (Korean cult equivalent of Pulp Fiction) -yargh, incredibly graphic violence confronting gangsta film, incredibly unique as a film with some inventive cinematography but hardly enjoyable entertainment for the sensitive or weak-stomached. Winner of the grand jury prize in 2004-not my cup of tea! 3.5/5
2. Magnolia (these americans sure produce a lot of weird movies! it was interesting if not overly loooong, and if you really can't stand tom cruise, well this is surely one to be avoided...some great acting though 3.5/5)
3. Oyster Farmer (Aussie) -this I found a waste of time watching unless you seriously have loads of free time and nothing better to do...2.5/5
4. Annie Hall (Woody!) Loved his monologues...Diane Keaton was great as Annie...love the requisite "dysfunctionality" of his characters. 4 stars
5. The Seventh Seal (Classic by Swede, Ingmar Bergman)
6. Wild Strawberries (Classic by Swede, Ingmar Bergman) fascinating psychological exploration with great dialogue...4.5 stars
7. Broken Flowers (Jim Jarmusch) - found this film cleverly made constructed and liked the ethiopian lounge music, bill murray was great. an unusual combination of comedy and suspense. enjoyed the slight quirk factor. keen to see more jarmusch! 4/5
8. The Black Balloon
9. Stranger Than Fiction
10. The Man who shot Liberty Valance
11. Eternity (Doco about guy who chalked CBD pavements with this word)
12. In Bruges
13. Kiki's Delivery Service (Hayao Miyazaki) -entertaining enough, I just wanted to see it considering I visited the place where he was inspired and wrote the script. if you like witches or where Girl saves boy! LOL 3/5
14. Ratatouille
15. Wall E (hmmm this went way over my head- I think it was too taxing for a complete left brain - fell asleep so won't give this one a rating)
16. The Dark Knight
17. Pan's Labyrinth
18. The Darjeeling Limited
19. Me, You and Everyone We Know
20. Doubt
21. How to lose friends and alienate people
22. Leon
23. A clockwork orange
24. The Prestige
25. No Country for old men
26. Casino Royale
27. Ed Wood
28. Twelve Monkeys
29. Children of Men
30. Charlie Wilson's War
31. Zodiac (David Fincher) - well the story itself was pretty interesting, however it was a pretty well made film too...Fight Club was still more memorable personally though... 4 stars
32. Barton Fink (Coen Brothers) - this was a pretty cool film but I couldn't stand the ending...the acting was pretty good...storyline intriguingly different and unique. 4 stars
33. Night on Earth (Jim Jarmusch) - found this one very enjoyable even if it sort of anticlimaxed in standard towards the end. Had some great laughs. 4/5 stars
34. Kenny (Aussie Comedy) -if only there were more GOOD-NATURED, kind, warm, Giving characters like Kenny in the world, it would be a much nicer place to be a part of...4/5 stars
35. Let the right one in
36. The Cat Returns -there are better anime out there - but if you like cats...3/5 stars
38. Where the Truth Lies
39. I've loved you so long
40. American Teen
41. The curious case of Benjamin Button
42. Man on wire
43. Goodbye Lenin! (German) elaborate ruses don't get any better than this! 4.5 stars
44. The Shining (Kubrick) Jack Nicholson is great as psychopath. Luckily it wasn't "too" scary. 4 stars.
45. Chocolat it had me at the title! Enjoyable easy watch with the gorgeous Juliette Binoche 4 stars.
46. Les Quatres Cents Coups (Truffaut) great childhood story, stunning visuals, definitely deserves its place on the mantel of "greats" 4.5 stars
47. Innocence (Paul Cox) difficult subject matter, difficult to watch...admirable effort 3 stars.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Woe is Me: Social Pariah!

Hmmm some Christmas. On Boxing day I woke up COVERED in multiple huge red itchy welts after sleeping over at one who will not be named.....Ewwwww. (What utter IRONY... considering what gross places I've been the last few weeks that it wasn't from that!)

I know I am failing miserably at being a more extrospective blogger but sheesh my life is constantly full of some "drama" or other cropping up before too long...with my history, it seems I was just Born with this kind of "luck"! :-p

I am still covered in huge red blobs which are seriously unsightly and look incredibly contagious but the doctor assured me they aren't - thank goodness...cos I've been in contact with loads of babies and kids! I've never been covered in such HUGE red blobs while itching like crazy for so long before- luckily I have been through waaaaaaaay too much and am waaaaaaaaaay too exhausted to overreact. The real bummer is that I feel too ashamed to go out without being covered up from neck to toe (and honestly it is waaay too hot for that!) The positive is that, now I have absolutely no desire to go out and be social and am content to stay holed up in my apartment which is what would have likely been most of the case since few people are around anyway!

I'm tempted to make a serious visit to an old Chinese doctor who will no doubt send me home with baggies full of expensive raw herbs to boil up and stink out my apartment so I can be a social pariah twice over- woohoo! Although the western antihistimines were conveniently available on a public holiday and work faster than raw herbs, I am still incredibly unimpressed with their efficacy and if it wasn't for the cost anxiety and not knowing who to see over the holiday period, I'm really tempted, in typical scientist fashion, to get some Chinese herbs to compare the efficacy.

In other news I heard back a "yes you can come" if you don't mind back breaking work from the herb farm I was hoping to learn from over the summer...however in light of these red spots, the grossness and challenge of rural life attempt 1 and the fact that I have to wait for my left behind mud covered clothes (including favourite jeans) to arrive still-FINGERS CROSSED-...it's not looking too promising. Maybe I just need some nice quiet drama-free time out for the remaining Summer...to preserve what sanity I do have in time for another crazy semester.

Reminder Cliche To Self: Whatever doesn't kill you can only make you stronger *sigh*

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Is the nameless now named?

Everytime people ask me my name, my typical response is "I don't know that depends."

Yeah it might sound kinda mysterious and intriguing but actually it's nothing but downright annoying and adds to any remnant of what I might have left of an "identity crisis"!

I guess I can't blame my folks- in keeping with the traditions of those who came before me even if they might have had wind which country I would be growing up in, they preferred neat uniformity in line with my other siblings than give me an anglo name that would be easy for people to say and use in Australia.

Hence...why I have so very many names, of which I have met people who don't like any of them! Typically I have my kid name(which is too "cute"), my birth certificate name which is very "gruff" abrupt and manly in the English alphabet, the mandarin pronounciation of my name which I'm told is very elegant but unfortunately I can't even say with the correct tones and various others I'm not particularly used to so if you call me that I might not respond!

I have often been asked why, like so many other Asians, have I not given myself an English name? Well...I can't for the life of me think of one that suits and I feel I'm a bit old to start! In any case my 2.5 year old niece spontaneously started calling me....


I kinda like it actually...and I was so amused I've decided to tell new people that just for my own amusement...LOL...I mentioned the name to a close friend or two but they both don't think it's me/like it...

My Scandalous Unit...again.

If you've followed me through my various blogs over the past few years- I think that means you M- you might remember that I published a very hysterical excerpt from a strata report about the problems with the tenants in my unit...

I just received this year's minutes from the AGM....again...my unit gets a special mention...for it's unruly inhabitants...

I so had no idea as the agent had "conveniently" left me uninformed about the whole situation...bless the attentive secretary- these are her notes:

"In November 2007 a young couple became tenants of Unit X. They were soon joined by various others who came and went. In February 2008 the young woman moved out. Soon drunken visitors rang the doorbells both by day and night, sounded car horns repeatedly in the early hours, shouted and tried to climb into Unit X's windows using the garbage bins to stand on. Beer bottles were left on the doorstep and in the junk-mail bin near the letterboxes. When one man tried to climb into the adjoining unit's bedroom window, the tenant called the police. I also went to the Police Station and made a report. After repeated calls to the agent for unit X, it was agreed not to extend the tenant's lease. On 20 May the unit was vacated. Damage to the front step of the unit had to be repaired and the intercom which had been ripped out of the wall had to be replaced."

Holy sheesh-what hoon heads!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Turn for the Better?

I'm starting to realise like a snake that periodically sheds its skin, I'm definitely entering a new phase of life yet again...so much so that I'm tempted to archive this Blog as artofzhen volume 2 and embark on artofzhen volume 3 - 2009. Perhaps this is creating too much expectation for 2009 though...

I'm thinking of taking a new direction in blogging- away from personal triviality and daily rambles and maybe blog more extrospectively about things like movies, eating experiences etc...however when semester restarts and I have no scope for things like that, if I don't do daily personal rambles I think this blog would cease to exist! Anyway, just a thought...but don't be surprised if in 2009 you notice all of 2008 has disappeared....

ah the beauty of life...progress!

I need new Distractions!

I have a severe case of post holiday blues...suddenly I have loads of spare time on my hands and
I don't know what to do with myself!

And it's coming to Christmas and New Year and everybody is away! Boooored...this city is so uninspiring...I think I will go see Slumdog Millionaire.

edit: entertaining enough- you will enjoy this if you love fairytales, the underdog and a little bit of action/thriller genre. Directed by Danny Boyle of Trainspotting fame.

Three and a Half Stars(Out of Five)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Is that a Compliment?

The plane got delayed so while whiling away the time I got chatting to an Irish mechanic cum cow farmer about obscure films, music and culture (you know as you do with mechanics and farmers from tiny rural towns in the middle of nowhere ;)...

Him to me:

"In Ireland, Chinese doctor types are really crazy but you actually come across really normal."

Cheers...I think that was the first time someone called me normal!

I'm baaaack!

But very very tired.

I was so glad for a *hot* shower, although even after scrubbing and soaping myself many times over and a fresh change of clothes, I still feel decidedly dirty.

First thing I did -no surprise- was do the washing... I got so unbelievably filthy. Next top priorities after cleaning, will be sleeping, eating asian food and catching up on the internet world.

I kind of miss the never ending interesting times and companionship of my backpacker family (who perhaps by the types of people that are drawn to vast open rugged spaces) I have a whole lot more in common with than my fellow Sydneysiders, but at the same time I am totally exhausted from such a social life and looking at my clean, spacious and comfortable, convenient loner abode with fresh, appreciative and admiring eyes.

The brother and the kidlets get in tomorrow and then there is Xmas, New Years etc etc so like everyone probably won't be as excessively conscientious as I usually am about tending my blog...but hopefully I'll get round to sifting through the fruits of my and Horace's labours and post some pics on a new pic blog soon.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

...It was a misadventure waiting to happen...

So, I only just got back to civilisation for the 3rd or 4th time after being in woop-woop again...hence internet and mobile reception- woohoo what luxury!

In any case, today, the 2nd last day of my trip I stuffed up and it was kinda stressful cos literally I pretty well got left with just the clothes I'm standing in, and not even any clean underwear or possibility to acquire any...(okay you probably didn't need to know that however I thought it aptly hinted my stress level at the situation.)

So anyway, luckily I fly back to the comfort of home (and the guarantee of clean underwear) tomorrow night...so look out for more elaboration and maybe even pretty pics in days to come :)

I sure had an interesting time and bar today's misadventure it all went reasonably well and it was a really good **social** and learning experience for me...I think I really want to go to Europe now...but with how the dollar is and my flying issues hmmm...but I think as soon as I get back I'll try and get full time work so I can start saving...I think soon I'll be too old and tired to do another extended trip(and with at least 14 countries to cover it's gonna be more than double duration and even more challenging!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Musings on Travelling Solo

It's pretty interesting as G and I attempt our first extended solo adventures simultaneously at opposite ends of the planet.

Thanks to technology we're able to drop short updates to each other frequently about our (near)daily dodgy situations/experiences...


It's pretty dangerous travelling alone and being female. Men are very predatory (and desperate).

In any case I'm loving the +ves of rural life ie: the clean air, space, beautiful scenery etc...I've also encountered so many interesting people off the beaten track I would never usually meet - fish slaughterer, toxic waste remover, head monk, sailor, pilot, marine biologist, mime artist^^ to name a few...at the same time I've also come across my fair share of uncouth Neanderthals and seriously inconsiderate, selfish and completely frustrating pea-sized brain idiots and even had to share a room with one...it's summer and this chick turned the heater to maximum because she insisted on wearing a skimpy night gown and refused to use blankets and couldn't interpret the heat gauge on the heater and was too proud to seek assistance...as anti-confrontational as I am, fuelled by the sweat that drenched me and kept me awake at 12am and 2am etc along with the pursuit of common sense and justice fuelled me to let her have it! And when a pissed off person is backed up by rock hard hole proof rational argument, well it's a force to be reckoned with no matter how stubborn and idiotic one insists on being out of habit!

Moron chick aside, for the most part I've impressed myself with the latent ability (which I completely forgot I had) to be completely and seriously social with a wide range of people but I'm kinda of looking forward to getting back to the comfort of my own place, bed, space, bigger town/city conveniences at least for a bit...

oh one other thing, these countryfolk can seriously bake! I have had the most delicious raspberry friand and raspberry and passionfruit cheesecake...Mmmmm!

Thank God For The Mail Run!

Just did my second stint in a tiny town, population 1500. I'm starting to realise once the population hovers around the <2000 population mark I start to get distinctly uncomfortable...this is because typically...the town also usually consists of the following: a supermarket, a limited postal service, a bottle shop/pub, a butcher, a bakery, a newsagent, and possibly a library, pharmacy, town hall, medical centre......I also have zero mobile reception and the grocery store is very small and stocks very little variety... Freaking hell, if it wasn't for the reliability of the mail needing to go in and out I would be so screwed...it took me over FIVE hours to do a 50 minute trip from point A to B, and literally, I got delivered with the mail! Coming back was almost no better- if it hadn't been for the fact that the connecting bus needs to wait for the mail I would have been screwed since the mail dude was running half an hour late.

These rants aside, more rants...argh the limitations of tiny rural places travelling solo with no car are starting to get to me, from being fleeced by rogue taxi drivers, to the fact that there is a set 2 hour daily period to use internet which is damn expensive, no postage stamps, groceries are expensive, no change to use the pay phone...basically it's tough going and you better have your legs and the ability to walk!The limitations are oppressive and you're total at the mercy of others' kindness(and therefore totally open to be exploited)...

Apart from these observations, Big Lesson No3 yesterday- never ever go bushwalking (or to desolate places) alone- no matter how adventurous and in need of excitement you might be- especially not starting out at dusk...I got so overzealous taking photos that my map of all the trails blew away and as the light was closing in I was in shite, shite, shite. Thank goodness I had the ocean on one side to guide me home- all the trails sort of merged into each other and there were no signs or people in sight! It was pretty scary...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Lessons Learnt: Part 2...

No surprising revelation here...Z is a sucker for artists!

The other day my brain just completely went AWOL and Stranger Danger Rule 101 which you get taught in Kindergarten... well it just didn't even kick in...until the very last possible moment...so I got suckered into some random stranger's car who I only just met (well to be fair he was a painter and a carver of stone and wood and shared my Bohemian interests ;) so you can see why I was so caught off guard...)

Anyhow when the car pulled out of the driveway and I saw the road which was in the middle of nowhere leading to what seemed like nowhere which recalled the 5 mens very worried faces that farewelled me it kicked in what a not very clever situation I was in so I got out (and am very thankful that I did in hindsight).

I think I was being overly open-minded and idealistic/think the best of people and I tend to resonate with the underdog so probably didn't exercise enough discretion...everyone else was thoroughly convinced that this artist, like most artists was a little...mad...okay, a raving lunatic...I guess I am also very sympathetic to weirdos...

Anyway glad that my Dumb Assness was caught in the nick of time...will be more cautious in the future...

Lessons Learnt: Part 1...

So. I'm back in relative civilisation again after spending the last week in some remote backwater where it was at least a 10 minute drive at 80-100km/hr to the nearest food store...no I didn't appreciate that or the fact that food items were so limited in range and so incredibly and atrociously expensive!

ANYWAY. It's been an interesting time for me and I've learnt a lot about myself (as well as the perils of being overly impulsive) and also recognising things I've always known (ie. I have an insatiable capacity to be incredibly lazy)

Things I have really enjoyed: meeting people from all over the world (current fascination is Sweden) and having people to play games with (ping pong, darts, table football, chess, cards... (is SPADES the best game ever or what?!), giving TCM consultations and one treatment- damn I wish I brought more needles...also became impromptu ESL teacher and life counsellor...LOL

So anyway sleep cycle completely screwed- the standard routine was sleep all day and stay awake all night...very easy cos it only gets dark really really late!! But actually cos it was so bright I couldn't sleep anyway so I am incredibly panda eyed and sleep deprived...

p.s I'm noticing I get told to "Be a Good Girl" alot even by people who only just met me...I wonder if I scream *mischief* with my vibes or something?! ;)