Thursday, February 17, 2011

Keeping count of the ways that you love me

Almost every day after lunch I enter my cubicle bay and find the two newly minted fathers passed out on their keyboards.  Today their tabletop snoozing was rudely interrupted by the sounds of our fourth bay member talking loudly on her bedazzled iphone.  When I looked around the corner, rather than seeing her I was confronted with the sight of Birnam Woods marching on Dunsinane.  Only when I looked again did I realize that it was just K carrying a monstrous bouquet.  Everyone within 100 meters who wasn't stone deaf was treated to her end of the conversation with her boyfriend as she crowed happily over how he had redeemed himself (she was speaking in English for my benefit as well, I think).  Poor guy apparently had a bloody valentine.

The triumphal parade ended next to my desk as she then proceeded to make a big show of finding a place to situate her flowers.  There was enough room at her area by the window but my area had a good line of sight for anyone passing from the break room.  Somehow I ended up with the flowers on my desk.

Within a few minutes one of the interns stopped by and began to gush over the flowers.  By the way, it was a remarkable arrangement .  I thanked her profusely for her compliments and somehow forgot to mention that they weren't my flowers.  Later, when I returned to my desk from the water cooler I discovered that they had been moved back to K's desk.

I wonder if I should bring that sad, wilting poinsettia that SB gave me for Christmas to the office.  It isn't faring so well at home due to limited sunlight.  I bet it would look much nicer nestled nest to K's glorious arrangement.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I prefer to celebrate V day at home rather than sitting in some snooty restaurant with other couples, looking smug and comparing bouquet sizes so yesterday I scampered home as soon as the clock struck 6:30, intent on preparing a home cooked meal of SB's favorites but my plans were almost derailed when I passed by a newly opened eatery on the way to the grocery store.  Classified has opened a shop/cafe in Happy Valley! 

Usually my plans to go to the Sheung Wan Classified are thwarted because I almost always veer off into their sister establishment, The Press Room, but now that there is one located on 13 Yuk Sau Street I cannot imagine anything getting between me and my love of cheese...except my lactose intolerance.  But I have a new bottle of Lactaid drops to help me out.

Back to the main event.  SB came home to chocolate covered strawberries, a giant pan of enchiladas verdes and panna cotta with raspberry sauce.  For dessert I lit a couple of candles to get the mood just right and then put on the NHL All-star hockey match.  Yes, I know how to woo my target perfectly.

Monday, February 14, 2011

camera advice

SB bought me the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens for my 50D camera.  I needed something better for my night, action pictures and this is probably that and more.  I tried to use it for the first time this weekend to mixed results.

I wish that I hadn't deleted the images so someone could walk me through it.  Basically, I had issues focusing.  When I did get a focused subject, the rest of the shot was too contrasted or blurred.  I tried looking it up and wonder if the blurred background was caused by using f3.

I then read more and it seemed that I may need to close the aperture to around f5.6-7.1 to get a uniform depth but that means lowering the shutter speed more than I think I should.  From there the only way to shorten the shutter speed is by increasing the ISO but I think that I was at 3200 already so... difficult call.

I  do not want to use a monopod if possible.  Does anyone out there have any advice on settings to use for a nighttime rugby match?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

And now back to our regularly scheduled programme

First thing off my mind is something serious.  Ulaca asked me how I felt about gun control over a week ago and I have had a lot of time to think about the question.  The honest answer is that I don't know.

If you have been following me for a little while you will know that I come from a family that hunts.  SB comes from a family that hunts.  If you asked me about hunting I would be able to give a more confident answer.  I have no problem with my hunting of deer.  They are over-populous thanks to urbanization, limited vegetation and their ability to reproduce quickly and easily. I don't need to rely on deer meat.  Even though probably every generation of the fifteen generations of my family that has lived in the United States has probably shot their food, I don't consider it to be a cultural tradition although it is a family tradition and did come in handy during lean times.  As a hunter, I am an advocate of the safety courses and other stipulations that are part of a hunting license in my state.  Hunters are regulated strictly.  We can only hunt during certain seasons, in certain areas, and only with limits and licenses.  The game warden, also known as the conservation officer or wildlife officer, is a seriously scary dude.  If you misuse your hunting license you will be in a lot of trouble, possibly arrested, and a ban on hunting will not be shortened due to overcrowding like many prison sentences are for other sorts of criminals.  So yes, I am an advocate of hunting as it can be carefully regulated and controlled.

I cannot use the same reasoning for possession of personal protection arms.  I should reveal that I was also a handgun owner when I lived in Texas, but not when I moved to New York because I lived in a home with roommates.  If people like me ruled the world there would be no problem with handguns, but then I imagine that I wouldn't need a handgun if people like me ruled the world because we would all be busy raising our chickens and playing rugby.

Unfortunately, people like my imaginary perfect self do not populate the world.  Bad people, and even worse- dumb people exist.  Being a handgun owner is a responsibility that a lot of us don't even think about.  You would be an idiot to own a gun and not be able to protect yourself.  I practiced at a range probably once per month.  I cleaned the gun after every shooting session and then gave it a really good cleaning twice per year.  I was always checking and rechecking where I had it hidden, and I always had to move it to a closet and lock it in a hidden safe when I had visitors.  If I hadn't lived in the middle of the country in Southwest Texas and had not been given the gun by a family member I would not have owned it.

Like babies, I wish we could strictly license gun owners but there are some issues with those requirements.  My country is rooted on concepts of freedom and free will.  We allow almost anyone to reproduce as it is his/her natural right and only remove that right after a person has proved themselves to be undeserving or incapable.  We feel similarly about guns.  We try to teach responsibility and social order but we believe that all citizens have a right to own guns.

And this is where I am torn.  I think that I may agree in principle but not in practice.  Our capacity to do great harm with our firearms gives me pause.  I would agree to regulate because of that but what about my rights as a US citizen?  Is legalizing a clip that will allow you to fire thirty rounds part of my constitutional right or is it just irresponsible?  What responsible gun owner needs to use thirty shots to defend himself/herself?

I also saw a lot of danger with a former boyfriend's handgun ownership.  I won't get into the whole story but will share that he legally carried a concealed weapon and we never had an  incident but I was always worried because he had gotten it after a coworker tried to fight with him and I thought that he was carrying it for all the wrong reasons (bravado).  I think he should have learned not to be such an ass that people wanted to punch him rather than arming himself to feel in control, but luckily knowing that he carried a weapon caused me to work very hard to diffuse anything that might have become a situation.

Whenever I hear Johnny Cash's Don't Take Your Guns to Town, I think about my year of living nervously and wonder if we need other options.

What do you think?  Does anyone out there have another opinion?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Joy and Pain

Hellooo there!  I have quite a few posts lined up for editing and publishing but I have not done anything of late due to a couple of events.

I broke my nose and pulled a muscle in my upper back playing rugby.  I played two matches and coached the next morning before realizing that I was more than usually sore and in fact was experiencing excruciating pain across my shoulders to my arms.  And then I got a look at the nose that someone had kicked in the first match and confirmed that something else was amiss (as if the almost continuous nose bleed and throbbing in my face and teeth wasn't proof enough).

Everything is better now.  Watching lion dancers fling themselves across six little poles as though gravity wasn't an issue does much to raise the spirits.  Eating a pot of melted cheese later that night (it counts as hotpot, right?) did much to confirm that yesterday was indeed the best birthday ever.  I highly recommend celebrating your birthday on CNY.  This may be the one day per year that everyone is nice to you.  SB, who sucks at planning, got a bye on this year because he was able to piggyback off someone else's plans.  "Ooh, you organized a parade for me," I gushed at him, "this is even better than those ticket to Kota Kinabalu that you forgot to purchase."

Joking aside, this really was my favorite birthday and there wasn't even one wrapped present or cake in sight.