Tuesday, January 31, 2012

slow news day

This morning while waiting for me to buy water for our hike, SB perused the news stand and found pictures of our friend, H, plastered all over a Cantonese tabloid magazine.  Apparently the tabloid trolled the Facebook page of a local model/artist and became interested in her friendship with H based solely on the fact that H looks like a tomboy.  The tabloid published pictures of the two of them, source unattributed of course, with some statements that mutual friends translated as hinting of a torrid, lesbian affair.  The pictures feature all sorts of compromising positions such as the two of them sitting with other friends in a restaurant and the two of them making peace signs at the camera.  One picture shows the two of them standing very closely together...under an umbrella.

I wondered about warning her that she had become famous but I didn't want to be the one ruining her day.  As we were returning from our hike I checked on my phone and saw that several friends had also seen the tabloid on their way to work and had commented on the snarky tone of underwhelming exposé. I wonder if anyone other than mutual friends bothered to buy a copy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Recipe: Buttermilk Pancakes



SB prefers fluffy pancakes while I like them more crepe-like.  I am posting the recipe for fluffy, though you can add more buttermilk to think out the batter.  Two key items to consider are that the batter should only be beaten until smooth and not over mixed, and  use buttermilk instead of regular milk because the reaction of the buttermilk's acid with the baking soda add to the fluffiness.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups (330g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (4g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6g) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (4g) salt
  • 4 tablespoons (55g) sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups (700ml) buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons (75ml) melted, unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon (15ml) butter for griddle/skillet
Directions
  1. Heat griddle on medium-high heat. Whisk together the first five (dry) ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Quickly stir together the rest of the wet ingredients (except the butter reserved for the griddle) and then combine into the dry ingredients.
  2. Whisk to combine until smooth.  Batter may have some small lumps but do not over mix the batter.  Let the batter rest for about five minutes.  The batter should be fairy thick unless the buttermilk was too thin.  If so, add a few more tablespoons of flour.
  3. Lower the skillet heat to medium.  Add a dab of butter to coat the surface of the griddle/skillet.  Ladle approximately 1/2 cup (120ml) of the batter onto the pan and give the pan a shake to spread the mixture.  
  4. When small bubbles form on the top of the pancake and the edge is slightly dry (approximately at 2 1/2 minutes), flip the pancake over.  Cook until the outside is a golden color (approximately 1 minute longer).
  5. If there are large bubbles forming or loud sizzling the heat is too high.
  6. Serve the pancakes with maple syrup.  Real maple syrup, not the fake stuff. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Amazing

Right now there are two teams from the Amazing Race show, running through Times Square looking for a clue. Talk about a needle in a haystack. I would rather search the sixth circle of hell.

I had a small conversation with a team before realizing that the cameras were running. I don't want to end up on television so I left but SB is still trying to help.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

the day the gaydar died

I used to have fantastic gaydar.  Really, it was uncanny how accurately I could identify gay people.  These days my gaydar is pretty much nonexistent.  It's not that my gaydar has gotten rusty over time but rather it has become obsolete: unnecessary and ridiculous in these modern times.

Back in the day of my perfect gaydar, life wasn't so easy for 8% of the population.  Like the early feminists who had to take up protestation and who have since been stereotyped as bra burning, men hating radicals, I believe that the earlier generation of "out" LGBT individuals tended to be advocates in the face of discrimination.  They may have been purposefully noticeable while the more mainstream gays stayed hidden.

These days, life is much better.  People still are stupid but at least we won't be watching that Oprah episode when an audience member asked two sisters who both happened to be lesbians if they had sex with each other.  Unless you are Rick Santorum who believes that allowing any two humans to get married will open the door to allowing marriage with multiple partners and goats.  Frankly, I don't care if you want to live in polyamory as long as all partners are consenting adults.  As for goats, they can't give consent.  Sorry.

So nowadays, in many civilized societies, sexual orientation is a non-issue and that 8% of the population includes all shapes and types of individuals.  That guy wearing a rainbow vest and leather chaps is most likely gay but so is that Welsh rugby player.  And like leprechauns and unicorns, gaydar doesn't really exist.

Monday, January 23, 2012

and a happy new year to you

Chúc mừng năm mới; cung chúc tân xuân! Happy new year and gracious wishes for the new spring!



I wanted to use this for our greeting card but I chose a display of fireworks in the harbour instead.

young enough

I am no longer reckless like I used to be.  I know SB wishes that I still had more of the old wild streak but after a few years of living, I have discovered that I am impeded by knowledge of risk.  In my twenties I didn't think about how fragile the human body really is; I certainly didn't consider what I had to live for or more importantly, what I would have lost.  Now I know.  I can look back at my wonderful life and my beautiful love and feel a twinge of pain at the thought that I might have missed it all.  I could have easily missed it all because my old joie de vivre was synonymous with reckless stupidity.  At the age of 23, when I almost drowned in a flash flood, my thoughts as I was fighting to keep my head above the raging water were simplistic: anger, bewilderment, exhaustion.  I hadn't experienced enough of life to feel regret or sorrow.  There was nothing to be missed.  Oh how things have changed.  I now look before I leap.  I use logic over adrenaline (usually). 

But I was young enough once.  I was young enough to live for the moment, head empty of all thought except that rush of joy.  Today as I turned down a ride on M's new, red Ducati I remembered a very late night in Texas on the back of Burt's Kawasaki Ninja as we flew down I-10 at 140mph.  I recall my somewhat hysterical laughter as a combination of air differential and acceleration dragged me backward while I gripped frantically to his waist with my numb fingers.  What a rush that was.  How frightfully stupid.  Exhilarating.  Back then I didn't know that the feeling was soon going to be diminished by caution signs.  I would have bottled that joy had I known.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

oblivion

SB picks me up and throws me onto the bed

Me: Ouch!  What was that?
SB: Oh, there's the hanger.
Me: You threw me onto a hanger?
SB: I figured with the down duvet it would disappear into oblivion.
Me: Umm, no.  Unless you oblivion is another word for my arse.
SB: Yes, now move your oblivion.

He's painfully romantic like that.

the mutant

As per his usual compliments of me that are really compliments of himself my beloved told me that I had nice eyelashes though not as bountiful as his.  "I have long lashes," I protested.  Yes, but he thought that his were more abundant.  "I always have to pull my eyelashes out because they are too many," he pointed out.  Upon closer inspection I realized that he was correct.  In fact upon really close inspection I could see that the lusciousness of his lashes were made up of two rows.  "You're like Elizabeth Taylor," I told him, "A genetic freak."  Take that mutant boy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

lights out

If you had entered my building's lobby last night you would have been able to find quite a few of my elderly, infirm and obnoxious neighbors.

At around 6pm the lights went out in my building.  There was just enough outside light coming in through my living room for me to locate my phone, which has a fantastic flashlight feature.  I finished changing for rugby and stepped out into a pitch dark hallway.  As I was descending the stairs with my trusty phone flashlight I could hear loud mewling in the building lobby from at least three flights above.

When I arrived at the lobby I saw a lady who was berating our building's harried looking doorman.  Since the lights were out across the block I don't think that he could have fixed the problem.  Standing next to her was a British lady who was loudly demanding that the person on the other end of her phone line tell her when the problem would be fixed.  I then passed the elderly couple who always greet me in the morning when we share the lift and an elderly white man who I had never seen before.  Outside the lady who lives on my floor was patiently waiting in her wheelchair and chatting with a few other elderly residents.

I felt sorry for the building residents who require the use of the lift because they were stuck waiting in the lobby with the other unstable residents who seem to be downstairs losing their sh*t at every inconvenience.  Two years ago a major water main broke, sending an impressive flow of water down Wong Nai Chung Road, and the same crazy lady was berating a different harried doorman because she didn't have water for her shower.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

how to end up sleeping on a couch

If you are complimenting your girlfriend you may compare her to a flower or a jewel.  You may compare her to dessert item or a wonder of nature.  You may even compare her to animals if they are exotic birds.  Do not, however, compare her to a rhinoceros even if it is just to comment on how she also has small feet because she will understand that you are commenting on how amazing it is that her small pins can hold up such an enormous body.  You may show her that BBC article that inspired you to compare her to that odd toed perissodactyl but it will have little effect, rhinos being short tempered rampagers and all.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

fade to red

At the match yesterday I was driving forward, arms fastened around the ball, when I felt it: a painful scrape moving inexorably toward the outer corner of my eye.  I shut my eye tightly and felt the finger stop, digging right into the corner.  Unbelievable.  Nothing I could do at the moment and when the ruck was over I had no way of knowing who had done it.

Oh, and let me tell you about the scrums.  My opposition kept punching my arm on the referee's "touch."  Maybe she was excited but the only other time this has happened previously was against the same blue and white striped team, and that girl eventually, accidentally punched the side of my face.  So lo and behold eventually this girl from the same team also "accidentally" punched the side of my face.  And that was all it took.

I stood up in the middle of the referee's call.  "Hit me again," I remember saying and then other things came out of my mouth.  They probably weren't pleasant.  I was seeing red, literally.  The referee felt compelled to inform me that he was sorry, but he couldn't allow me to do whatever I was explicitly telling my opposition would happen when she hit me again.  My face was burning; the gouge in the side of my face was mighty aggravated by the punch.  I had to leave the match at the half, angry and bleeding.

Our team won with a bonus point.  We didn't allow them a single point.  By then I had cooled off, the adrenaline from the match giving way to weariness.  I even managed to shake hands with all of the other team, even the one I knew had punched me, even when I was feeling suspicious about how only their team's front row managed to consistently pop their opposite number in the face.  It was only after my shower when I looked into a mirror that the anger came back.  A nasty cut runs from the middle of my cheek to a pit of missing flesh at the corner of my eye.  If my unknown gouger had succeeded with that one more centimeter it would have been serious.  As it is I am worried about a scar.  I have been religiously applying Neosporin and cursing that blue and white bitch. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

oh boohoo

I was serenading SB with "You'll always be my baby" and really getting into it, swaying from side to side and substituting a few words to make it personal when I saw him put his headphones on. 

Sigh.

Some people have no sense of taste.

Friday, January 6, 2012

2011 in recap

Instead of making my yearly forecast I decided to look back in 20/20 hindsight and pat myself on the back for accomplishing all of my goals for the previous year, revisionist style and all that.

Here's where I am on my list for 2011:
  1. Travel more: I went to Bali and Boracay.  And Yuen Long.  Check. 
  2. Look for another home that has a decent kitchen with an oven: I couldn't have been bothered so I taught myself to bake with a toaster oven.  With the exception of cake it wasn't a bad endeavor.
  3. Figure out my long term goals with SB: It has been two years since he decided that he wants to marry me and I just know that he'll do it this year.  Or not.
  4. Invest in RMB: Check.
  5. Work to live instead of living to work:  I quit my job and love my life.  I figure I can keep loving life for two more months before I need to start looking for ways to replenish my bank account.
  6. SB has got to meet the parents: We talked on Skype. Does that count?
  7. Finish that damn revision of my thesis: Check.  Done.  Basta Cosi.
  8. Start studying again.  We'll ask the rugby team if my Cantonese has gotten any better.
  9. Roast a pig: Porchetta in the toaster oven.  Not as large scale as envisaged but a worthy feat.
  10. A memorable achievement: I only lost my sh*t on SB once this year, when he invited a bunch of people over for an impromptu Thanksgiving dinner at our place and then called me at lunchtime to see if I could cook the feast.  Oh yeah, I'll put that 10kg frozen turkey into the toaster oven right away.


And now, my lists to cap off what was 2011.

The Good:
  1. Repeal of DADT
  2. Rugby World Cup
  3. Leslie's wedding and my long overdue visit to Ithaca
  4. My blog commentators who provided insight, instigation and inanities
  5. SB becoming a "professional" ice hockey player at his ripe, old age
The Bad:
  1. Famine in the Horn of Africa
  2. Earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding in Asia and the Pacific 
  3. 1780+ American troops killed in and around Afghanistan since 2001 (http://icasualties.org/oef/)
  4. Execute and ask questions later (Troy Davis)
  5. The casualties of the Arab Spring
The Wacky:
  1. Supreme Leader, Dear Leader, and now Paramount Leader
  2. Pouty politicians crapping all over each other as the national debt balloons and recession looms.
  3. Berlusconi.  No explanation needed. BTW spell check wants to change his name to coniferous.
  4. Michelle Bachmann accusing Rick Perry's mandated HPV vaccine of causing mental retardation.
  5. Michelle Bachmann

Foot fetish

Nike must have released some new air basketballer. The Nike Basketball shop in Wanchai has a long line of young men wrapping it and only the employee entrance open to allow one customer at a time. As much as we make fun of women's shoe obsessions I have never seen them lined up for a pair of pumps.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

old colonials

When I was a little girl I thought British people were very strange.  Almost all of my mother's white friends were French because it was her second language, or American friends of my father; we didn't know many British people other than my teachers.  Then one day at a church social my mother and I were introduced to a British family who had just moved to Hong Kong.  My mother extended her hand and introduced herself by her first name.  The British woman told my mother that her name was Mrs. Smith.

My mother later had a laugh with my father about that.  She thought it was funny that British people were so formal.  Years later I think about this and scratch my head.  I have met plenty of British people and every single one of them, as far as I can recall, introduced themselves either by first name in informal situations or first and last name in more formal settings.  No one has ever told me to call them Mr. or Mrs. Smith. 

So now I am wondering if British people have become more relaxed over the years or if that Mrs. Smith was being condescending to my Asian mother and all these years we have incorrectly thought that British people were really formal.  Anyone care to enlighten me?