Friday, December 31, 2010

Lost My Dog, Beary

A few days ago, I lost my first puppy to dog disease, after meeting him 4 times, and having him home for 2.5 hours.  It's a heartbreaking experience.

I posted this on facebook, and while many friends showed their support and concern, this morning I woke up seeing a comment from a good friend: Maybe he doesn't like you!  hehe :P.  I was shocked and was extremely bothered by it the whole day.

Having known this friend for a while, I know she is a nice person and I am certain she didn't mean to upset me.  Though, I also know that she is not particularly passionate about small animals.  So, I can understand that she thought it was like breaking an iPhone on the first day of purchase or something.  That it sucked.

But no, it's not like that.  It's heartbreaking and painful to watch an animal whom you bond with suffer in pain and seek for your comfort and help.  The pup, Beary, had already recognized me after my 2nd visit.  When he was hyperventilating at my home, each time he would try to climb up to my neck to rest his head on my neck for reassurance.  The last day I saw him, at the vet, when I took him from the pet shop staff, he once again climbed up to my neck and fell asleep with his head resting next to my neck.  He was having higher temperature and feeling very sick.  This, I think, is what they call connection.  I didn't see him doing this with any of the store staff or my friend who also held him.

People wonder why I am so attached to this little animal after just spending so little time with him.  I think anyone who has ever had a pet particularly close to him would understand.  I have lived with many animals in my life.... numerous birds, turtles, 4 rabbits, a cat, many fish, but none of those made me feel needed and trusted like Beary did.  For the first time in my life, I felt like I could truly give support to another living creature - and it wasn't because I had done anything to gain its trust and prove my love... I hadn't even had a chance to feed the little thing.  It just trusted me and felt safe with me.

Some friends told me to go to SPCA or Hong Kong Dog Rescue to get another dog.  I am fully pro-adoption, but for me, getting my first dog is a special thing to me.  It's not like I just want A dog, ANY dog... I want a dog I am genuinely excited about and feel a connection with.  I love Golden Retrievers, for example, but I cannot afford the time and energy to accommodate their active lifestyle needs.  I like tollers, but they can't be found in Hong Kong, not to mention at the Dog Rescue.  I like some poodles, but I am only excited about certain ones I... just like... and they are likely to be quite young.  Adopting dogs is a very respectful thing to do.  But at this stage in my life, without any dog raising experience, I am not ready to get a dog for the sake of saving a life, I want to first keep a dog whose breed and temperament suits my lifestyle and whose presence excites me.  I don't know how to explain this to others without being misunderstood.  It's like, I am totally pro-adoption of babies (human) and if my future husband is equally supportive, I would go for it.  Though most people do prefer to have their own when there are so many kids out there who need a loving family.  There you go. Who am I to tell people not to have their own but to adopt?!

Past two days I went to see a silverish dog in a very reputable shop which directly took from breeder and kept for me to consider.  The shopgirl explained how special and rare the color was for a poodle, how healthy and active that dog was, and my friends told me how cute the dog looked......  I thought to myself for a while, perhaps I should just get this one since it's a very healthy dog and I wouldn't need to go through the heartbreak from keeping a younger pup.  Last minute, when I had to make the decision, I told the staff I wasn't sure about the dog and they should sell it to others.  The fact was, the dog was cute but I didn't feel special chemistry with him.  As smart and active as he was, I felt so much pressure having to outsmart him and dominate each interaction.  Though the Beary incident was so painful - it's been 2 days and I am still crying - I still believe that I shouldn't just settle for a supposedly "good" dog.  I don't care if my dog is rare and will be praised by others.  I just want a dog who can share that bond I had with Beary.  I honestly don't know what I did to gain his trust, but my friends and the staff saw how Beary wanted to be close to me especially when he was very sick.

This experience really makes me understand how precious a bond is between a human and his dog.  Unlike humans, it really is unconditional. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gingerbread Man Cookies for a Very Merry Xmas

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!  I am looking forward to mine as I will be hosting a special New Year's Eve Kinect Party at my place and I will be cooking mulled wine, giving out my gingerbread man cookies, baking sweet potato fries and chicken wings for some of my closest friends in Hong Kong.

Here's some pictures of my gingerbread man creations :)  I love mine with lots of colors like they are in Hawaii or something haha!

Merry Christmas!  Put all sadness behind you and get into the festive mood!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dear Stefan

Dear Stefan,

This is a note which will never reach you because it will never be sent out.

I had a weird dream last night with you in it. I was in my favorite restaurant and there you were sitting right across from me at the same table. As stunned as me, you tried to get close to talk to me but I didn't say anything. Then the scene faded out. Next thing I knew, I was running back to the restaurant trying to look for you but you weren't there anymore. I wanted so bad to find you and talk to you - about what? I don't know. I just needed to find you badly.

I woke up feeling awful. Awful that my mind betrayed me and let you creep into my dream? Awful that you will always just stay in my dream? I don't know. I just felt awful most of the day. Occasionally I would still suddenly get a weird "hunch" and turn around to see if you might be there, after 3 years now, but I have stopped actively thinking about you for a while, which is a great accomplishment.

I seriously thought about going to the hypnotist and ask for all traces of memory of you be removed. But I didn't because I knew I'd regret for life.

I cannot explain why I wouldn't forgive someone for being mean or sneaky, but would so easily forgive you or K for breaking my heart. I cannot explain why I forgave your weakness which I so despised.

I don't know why I want to see you again but I do. And it's not like why I would want to meet with K again, because I deeply care about him but I can't say the same for you anymore. Perhaps that was why you left. Because we couldn't explain why we were drawn to each other. Perhaps it didn't seem real enough. Perhaps it didn't feel real enough because it wasn't ordinary enough.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dress Warm and Slim for the Cold Weather

Hong Kong's temperature has suddenly dropped from yesterday afternoon's 20C to today's 8C.  Having lived in a very cold country before, 8C doesn't scare me but I have to admit that without central heating in Hong Kong, plus the high humidity, 8C does feel much colder than it is. 

It amuses me to see short women dressed in thick, shapeless down jacket, and buried under layers and layers of clothing.  Today, I went to work wearing just 3 layers - a wool coat, a cashmere wide neck top, and a thermal camisole.  I felt very warm already.  OK, I did have a soft scarf as well.  Still, that was a lot fewer layers than others and my clothing was still flattering and slimming!

I think women need to learn to buy fewer quantities but invest in quality clothing.  It's pointless trying to layer with cotton or polyester sweaters because that wouldn't keep them warm!  What they need is warm and light fabric!  Do invest in some cashmeres for winter, and add a form fitting thermal wear underneath for added warmth. Marks & Spencer has a great selection of thermal wear and some items look quite pretty, like the camisoles with lace.  Thermal doesn't mean ski wear!  I used to imagine thick black liners but they are nothing like that!  Check it out, really.  You won't regret it.  They also have thermal tights which are perfect if you are going to snowy places.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More iPhone 4 camera and photo editing apps

Two months ago I wrote about the various iPhone 4 compatible camera apps.  Since then I've experimented with a few more apps, some being camera apps, some being photo editing apps.  I'd like to share them here today.

So last time I recommended Hipstamatic, LENSES, LOFI, Polarize, Color Splash, True HDR, and ToonCamera.  My latest camera app favourite is LOMO.  Cos it's very easy to use, fakes a vignette, and you can either choose a normal output versus various color effects (which I rarely use unless I am going for a more artistic feel).

The Victoria Prison collage on the left was also created (on my PC using Picasa 3) with snapshots taken with LOMO app.  Since the prison was very eerie, I used quite a lot of the effects I normally wouldn't use to "beautiful" a scary prison.  It is amazing despite low light and not using a flash, the colors really pop!

Apart from camera apps, I do use some fun apps to edit my iPhone snapshots on the iPhone.  My favourites are PhotoFunia, PS Express and Comic Strip.

PhotoFunia doesn't actually edit your pictures.  It combines your picture with a selected funny background (see below):

PS Express is a simplified version of Photoshop.  You can do simple cropping, enhancing brightness, saturation, etc., and you can add borders/frames to your pictures.  There are also a few photo effects but I am not a big fan.

Comic Strip is a fun app.  You can use a few pictures to form like a comic strip and add shout outs to your pictures.

Finally, I have a doodling app called Doodle Buddy which is fun to use for simple drawings or to use it to insert some text boxes to a pictures.  
Drawing for myself

A card for my friend

 Have fun!  I think most of these apps are free, but please check with iTunes.

I hate 小氣鬼

Ten minutes ago, I put my foot down and blocked a former friend/ occasional suitor/ former fling from my Whatsapp, MSN, and am considering removing him from my facebook list altogether.

Some of my close friends have already heard a lot about this guy: how he didn't pursue me for months after we met and then bitched about me hooking up with other guys, how he offended me by calling me Hongkie and refusing to apologize even after I explained to him the meaning, how we agreed to make plans for a Saturday night and the day before he said he invited some friends and asked if I'd like to join.....  All these happened a while ago and we hadn't really been in touch lately.

Last weekend, I suddenly got some random messages from this guy on Whatsapp, and I replied with "huh?" as I was completely clueless.  He replied with, "nothing."  This repeated three times in a row within 20 minutes.  So I ignored his messages assuming he was being weird or he might have sent me messages by mistake.

Just now, he sent me some random message, and we exchanged some silly, meaningless messages.... when I mentioned the lack of a handsome guy emoticon on iPhone, he sent me a picture of a man.  The man in the picture looked like he was in his late 30's, serious, mature, face a little chubby, skin a bit rough, banker/ businessman looking...  I spoke my mind and said,"who is that?  He looks very scary."  He replied,"Sexy.  Your English is going downhill."  I replied,"who is he?  He really scares me."  He said,"that's me!"  I said,"no way!  The face doesn't look like you.  The skin condition doesn't look like you.  Those glasses aren't even yours!"  He said,"it's me!"  (Okay I have to admit that I was stupid and still didn't believe it was him and I did say,"What?!!!  No way!!  What happened?  That doesn't look like you at all!"  (I guess "what happened" did it.)  Suddenly he said,"okay I'm going to bed.  Good night."  I replied,"what?!  That's so rude of you!"  He then said I was mean to make fun of him.  I tried to explain, but without luck, and finally told him not to ever message me again.

Jesus Christ!  I really had no friggin clue that was him!  I did re-open that picture 4 times for a close look, and I was damn sure that wasn't him!  Last time I saw him was a few months ago and he still looked exactly the same as he had always looked - young, cheeky, quite good-looking, and with rather nice skin.  How would I know he became fat and bloated and old in just 2 months?!  I immediately went on facebook to check his latest pictures - and indeed in his last three pictures he looked 8 years older and 1.5 times his normal size.

Regardless, I've put up with a lot of his spoiled brat shit for a long time.  I decided that was it!  I had to cut him off and not let him upset me anymore.  As much as I occasionally had fun times with him, he really is too weird and spoiled and immature for me, even as a friend.  I am so sick of immature guys who have no clue how to treat a girl nicely and with respect.

Let me start my year afresh!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Tribute to the Best Pick-Up Artists

If I were a guy, I would aspire to be an ultra smooth pickup artist.

Being a female, I never cease to be impressed by advanced pickup skills and technique.  I think it is indeed an art!

The best pickup artists need to possess certain qualities: Decisiveness, Focus, Efficiency, Confidence, Small Ego, Eloquence, Spontaneity, Outstanding Observation, Friendly & Harmless Impression, Persistence.  Let me cite a real example:
Today my female friend and I were walking quite fast along Staunton Street.  Suddenly, a friendly voice came from behind me,"you don't feel cold wearing that in this weather?  I'm wearing a sweater!"  I turned around and saw this middle aged Australian man walking behind me at the same pace as me, and I replied with a laugh,"yeah it is indeed a real pain figuring out how to dress for this temperature! Wool seems too hot, T-shirt seems too thin....."  The man kept walking with us, as if we had been walking together as friends all along, and started talking about the weather and his sweater.  When he noticed I wasn't responsive to that, he asked,"so what plans have you girls got for the day?"  We pretended we didn't hear him and kept walking.   He then changed the topic,"have you heard of Detour at the Victoria Prison?  I wonder if it's worth checking out.  I used to work at the Central Police Station but never got around to checking out the prison itself."  At that time my friend and I have already turned left to walk down to Hollywood Road, and I replied (while still walking),"oh it's wonderful, you really should check it out.  You actually should walk back up to enter from Old Bailey Street instead of walking down in our direction.  You'll get to see some interesting exhibits and check out the prison cells."  Noticing that he got our attention when he mentioned Detour, he mentioned once again,"I used to work in the Police Station around the corner but never checked out the prison....."  Still walking, we ignored him and he finally gave up.  He was actually really smooth, but too bad he was old, ugly and fat.  If he had been cute, we might have considered going to the tour with him.
So, what was so great about his pick-up skills?
Decisiveness - Often times you only have a few seconds to decide whether or not to pursue a girl when the opportunity arises, whether in the street, in the elevator, at the pedestrian crossing.....  If you can't make up your mind, you wasted the opportunity.
Focus & Efficiency - Once you decide to pursue, you need to stay focused, with the ultimate objective of picking up the girl.  You need to get her attention, earn her trust, and get her number/ get her to join you for a drink, etc.  In the process, you need to be extremely efficient as you don't have all day to pick her up.  So you are competing with time.  You need to find the hot button as quickly as possible.
Confidence and Small Ego - Put down your ego - to get a girl's attention you cannot be arrogant or shy.  You won't see her again, so nothing to be embarrassed about.  You've got nothing to lose.  Give it all you got!
Spontaneity - Often times, golden pick-up opportunities arise out of the blue.  Depending on the situation, you improvise and ride on the occasion.
Eloquence - The best pick-up lines are non-scripted ones.  You've got to work with the situation and say the right things to get her attention.  It needs to be something relevant.  Like the above example, he talked about my interesting choice of outfit for that weather, and asked about Detour at Victoria Prison - something artsy, cultural and hence high hit rate.
Outstanding Observation - You need to observe the behaviour of the target and talk about something as relevant as possible to her in order to warm her up and generate interest to respond.
Friendly & Harmless Impression - Girls are taught at a young age not to talk to strangers, especially men.  So to get us to talk to you, you certainly need to appear harmless and friendly.  You cannot look like criminal, a rapist, a crook.  You also need to have the ability to get near to the girl's comfortable physical distance without startling her.  You then work on gaining her trust.
Persistence - You may not get her attention with the first shot.  But you must not give up so hastily.  Persist!  Keep trying with the amount of time you got until you have a good chance of closing the deal.

I have high respect for those who are good at this art, as it is indeed quite appealing to me a guy's assertiveness and confidence to do this sort of thing.  I am a traditional female - I love being pursued and admired.  I think I have fallen for some of the most advanced pick-up technique many times - of course very selectively - and have been in relationships with those "artists" afterwards!  I suppose it's exactly because most guys I meet in social events, who expressed their interest in me to mutual friends - are afraid to pursue me, and it really turns me off they have such little self-confidence, hence I particularly am impressed by those who dare to just walk up to me and pick me up!

Salute to the world's best pick-up artists!  We need more guys like you!

Ex, don't feel bad that I'm single

I find it quite funny that every once in a while, completely out of the blue, an ex from centuries ago would suddenly appear out of nowhere to "chat", and eventually leading to the same question: if I am married, if I am attached, etc.  It's so predictable, each time a long-ago ex sends me a message, I time that person how long it takes him to "pop the question" - so how are you doing? - and I automatically offer the information he is seeking.

I honestly don't know the ultimate reason for wanting to know my latest status.  Out of true concern?  Out of vengeance?  ('Cos I might have been a bitch to some when I was much younger?)  Out of competition?  (Hoping I haven't yet found The One sooner than they have?)

It's quite funny how some of them sound very worried about me.  "You deserve a nice guy."  "I don't understand why you can still be single."  "I really hope to see you happily married."  The funny thing is, usually the worried ones are those I wasn't very nice to.  When I hear their concern, I am sometimes tempted to say to them,"I was so spoiled back then, and was quite cruel to you.  You didn't ever see the mature me who is so caring, loving, giving, forgiving!  Why should you worry about that bitch from years ago?"  (In fact, as I am writing this, my first boyfriend ever is now messaging me on MSN and the last time we chatted was probably 4 years ago!  He got married years ago and now has a 4.5 year old kid in Toronto.  I was quite a bitch to him when I was 20.  I really was so spoiled and cruel.)

In any case, I appreciate those who truly think I deserve love and happiness from love.  Perhaps, after so many years, they finally forgave me for hurting them, realized I probably got hurt in the process as well, and remembered me by my true nature.

To everyone I have ever loved and treasured deeply, I hope one day you will finally remember me as the girl you fell in love with.....
Her eyes.
Her smile.
Her mischief.
Her silliness.
Her cheekiness.
Her singing in the shower.
Her passion.
Her devotion.
Her sweetness.
Her love. 

Forget her pain.  Forget... her tears.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Writer's Block? Blogger's Fear?

Haven't been updating my blog as frequently as I had used to - especially after having iPhone 4 which demands so much of my attention!  ;)  Well, it's only part of the reason, but indeed I have been using my laptop a lot less than before.

I suppose I have been keeping myself quite occupied with a variety of little things, reading ebooks, the dog book, watching US TV shows, watering my many plants and looking after cut flowers, cooking for myself, meeting up with close friends, etc. so I have been spending less time contemplating life and mourning over whatever I had occasionally mourned over. 

One other key reason is that it has become increasingly difficult to write - being conscious of the fact that some of my blog entries have made it to the first page of google search results, like if you search for "Victoria Prison Detour", and it increases the chance of an acquaintance stumbling onto my blog and noticing my face in some of the pictures. 

I know I'm supposed to keep writing whatever I want to write about, being a "blogger".  Though, in reality, I do not live in my own little world disconnected from rest of the society.  It's not so much about worrying what others think, but the consequences of that.  I think overall I am a person with no secrets - but that doesn't mean I tell everything to everyone, I share certain things with certain people and not with others.  Hypothetically speaking, if I were job hunting and wrote about it and my own teammates read about it, that certainly would not be good for me or for the team's morale.  Again, hypothetically speaking, if I were interested in a guy I just met, and he read about my painful?  complicated? past, that wouldn't be good for me either - and certainly not be good for him since he'd miss out on such a great, loving, sweet, entertaining girl! LOL

I suppose I am still trying to find the right balance between sensitivity and honest expression of my thoughts.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pack Animals

I have been seriously considering getting a dog AGAIN, and this time around, I even started watching an episode of dog tv show, Dog Whisperer, and reading Cesar Millan's Be the Pack Leader.  The book and the TV show keep referring to dogs as pack animals - who care about the overall well-being of the group as opposed to individual dog's benefit.  Today, when my friend invited me over to join her and her boyfriend for a boxing day dinner, while feeling extremely grateful for the very sweet thought, I thought of the concept of pack animals.

I do notice that there's some people around me who are always motherly, very willing to take care of people around them, who proactively offer to help or even just bond; while at the other end of the spectrum there are people who care a lot more about their own interests and well-being - not that they are selfish or anything - who are happily content not connecting with others until something unfortunate happens and they need support from friends.

I am not passing judgment here what is the right value.  When thinking about this pack animal concept, I just realize that as individualistic as I used to be when growing up, and as much as I used to spend time alone, I actually am a pack animal and I bond so much better with people who enjoy the companionship of people apart from their intimate partner - people who genuinely care about their friends through action rather than just words.

It's hard to be "thirty-something and single", but I much prefer to live my life doing things I enjoy, listening to my heart (since I am already a rather rational person), spending time with friends - new and old alike - who make my time spent worthwhile, rather than forcing myself to throw myself at any Tom, Dick and Jerry, and begging friends to hang out.

If I have had any personal accomplishments this year, I did get out of my comfort zone to join a new dragonboat team, reached out to a completely new social circle, made some new friendships with like-minded and genuine people both at work and off work, and learned that I didn't have to live in isolation from the world without a boyfriend.  I did have some very good times this year, and through pain from separation, I learned to embrace dearly ever single happy moment I experienced.

Pamper Yourself: Aesop Ginger Root Soap Slab

Went to Aesop shop with my friend and by chance I learned about this soap bar which smells heavenly!  The one I got was Ginger Root Soap Slab, it smells like mix of ginger, lavender and geranium - very invigorating as if you just came out of a spa.  Costs a little over HKD100 for a huge slab, you can cut it into smaller blocks to use.  It's costly to go to a spa in the city every week, but for about $100 I can take many daily spa-scented relaxing showers!  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Film I look forward to: Chico and Rita


Thanks to friend, Dion, here's a movie I am looking forward to.