Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone~! (^_^)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Clock? Virus?

That's strange... the clock on my computer is one hour slower. Is it time for the fall adjustment? Noooooo, I checked the radio, the internet... They're all the same. What's going on? Guess I should do a virus scan. (But I just did one last week!)

Today's photo is from a while ago. Sunshine is getting scarce.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Halloween parade

Parade of the Lost Souls to be exact. This is my first time.
Hmm... afterthoughts...
  • More crowded than I though.
  • Cold and rainy. The weather report was wrong.
I need a new camera. The one I have right now is old, but I like it very much. The battery is at the end of it's life, though. And yeah, it died on me tonight. I'd like to take a lot more pictures.

  • Couldn't see what I was walking on.
  • Couldn't really see anything behind the crowd. I'm too short. Sigh...
Despite all that, I still think it was pretty good. Thanks Steven!

Friday, October 26, 2007

11 years

Wow... time really fies. Can't believe it's been 11 years since half of my brain was gone. And this rod has been sitting on my book case for almost 10 years. It's like a bad dream that won't wake up... because it's not a dream.

A person is defined by his/her memory.

Tonight at the hot tub at YMCA, a lady called me by my name. We started chatting. Apparently I should know her. We even ate out together, but I can't remember a bit of that. I don't even remember her face. It was super awkward and uncomfortable. I just wanted to get out of there ASAP.

Actually, the other day when I dropped off a book to my ex-colleague, similar situation happened. A few other ex-colleagues walked by and said hi. They were people who I worked with for years. Some were on my team. But I can't remember their names. (Well, at least I remember their faces, but that's not good enough.) They called me by my name, but I can't return that. It was beyond awkward. It was scary. That probably is what keeping me from returning to the field. (T_T)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Min cow chair

When it comes to money, my parents are like Scrooge. Well, I'm not gonna expose their unbelievably gross way of doing things which gives me 90% of my stress, but this one might just worth a second look.

My mom's been suffering from gum infection for a while. She ignores it until it's time for her annual cleaning appointing. (Ideally it should be every 6 months but she sets hers at a year. I don't understand because it's not like she can't afford it. And it's money well spent.) Somehow she has the idea that when her gum is infected, she can't have a cleaning. Instead of going to the dentist, she went to the family doctor to get anti-biotics. My idea is, specialists fix special problems, and dental stuff is pretty special. Right?

However... there is an estimated 35% chance that she might be right about the cleaning rejection. The dentist or hygienist may fix the infection first, but then a second appointment will still be necessary. Which, would result in doubling the cost. Family doctors are covered by MSP so it's free. If dealing with the infection calls for the same prescription, then the family doctor is a waaay better deal.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mini girl's room (5)

Still haven't gotten used to the Canadian dollar being higher than the US dollar. Wish some stores would lower their price, especially Iwase book store and Michael's. It's just not fair.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Almost Halloween

Dropped off a book to a friend at her work place. (I used to work there too.) Oh my, they didn't go this far when I was there!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mini girl's room (3)

Really tiny little things. (Pinkys are about 10 cm tall.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Baked potato

My 9-year-old niece drew a 4-panel manga before the food arrived.
This girl has potential.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mini girl's room

That day she let me take pictures of her collection, and I went crazy. You can probably tell by the same Pinky.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mini bird bath

Limited edition mini garden by Laura Seitle, a miniature artist in the US. (Sorry, I'm not sure if this is the correct spelling.) Collection of a friend. She mentioned it briefly, but I forgot. That thing cost around $500. Yikes... (>_<;)

Aoooow I'm still aching from the leather boots. Slightly better than yesterday, though. Muscle pain all over both legs, and the stomach, and back. So stiff, can't move. Surprisingly, that one-inch square on the bottom of the feet that took all the weight is recovering sooner than the rest.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Toufu chips

Another wacky Japanese junk food from Sora. Thanks~!! (^_^)

The maple cinnamon flavour is so dominant, you can't taste the tofu. The first chip did have some soy bean flavour, but everything after that is no different from breakfast cereal. The crunch is dull, not crispy like potato chips. If you take it as cereal, there's completely no problem.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lost photos

As a record of memory, what's good of a photo if I can't find it? All of a sudden, my effort of taking pictures was put in doubt. Have I been wasting time? Has my memory gone so bad, I can't even find the photos? Naaah... I just gave up on searching. They must have been stored in the 4R size box. But I've run out of energy to dig that up. As to taking pictures... if I don't at least try to grab what's left, there would be nothing. Nothing.

However, looking through those old albums helped. The year was probably around 1998. I was still recovering from the accident and was hopeful that I could play the violin again. Now... I'd say that I still haven't given up, but deep down in my heart, I know it's not gonna happen with this crappy shoulder. My violin has been siting on the shelf for years gathering dust. But I can't bring myself to sell it. Am I holding onto empty memories? Or just an impossible dream?

2 musical instruments stole my heart ever since my very first memory of TV orchestra footage. The dancing fingers of a pianist on the keyboard, and the violin bows moving in perfect unison.

Piano was pretty much out of the question. Too expensive. But I missed the one chance when my aunt's family immigrated. They were trying to get rid of their piano. If only I'd said yes. Didn't know why, but I got afraid, and said no. Sigh... (Looking back now, there was probably no way to move that thing up 4 floors through the stair well. Our building was pre-WWII, 4-story high and had no elevator.)

Grade 8, got into the high school's weekend violin program. $5 per lesson. Super cheap, and the school loaned out instruments too. It was fun, and going very well. In fact, so well, I successfully got into to a more formal government program a year later. But the catch was, I had to start from 0 again.

Almost a year later, my parents sent me to Ontario. The violin was put on hold indefinitely. Being able to play the instrument had been my dream, and I long for the day I could start taking lessons again. Meanwhile, I stayed with my cousin's family. Her daughter was learning piano. I managed to steal two grade 3 pieces by ear.

Then, it was my family's turn to immigrate. By the time I settled down and my job was on track, there was the chance to pick up the violin again. The dream finally came true! I was soooo happy! It was also the very first time I bought my own instrument. But again, I had to start from the beginning. That was the third time starting from 0. But it was fine, since it had been a while.

7 months later, the accident.

Why did it have to happen at that time? When my dream was coming true, my life was going well. Who knew everything could change in the blink of an eye?

Where I am today, is not what I want. (T_T) Why do I let it stay this way for this long? I suspect I've given up on myself.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Andre Rieu (3)

For memory's sake, gotta dig up the photos from last concert years ago. I'm curious what kind of pictures I took too. (It was a film camera.)

Yesterday was so exhausting, I left out a lot of things. Like...

There was an elderly gentlemen (a super fan) dancing all along. Wish I could have 1/10 of that energy.

At the end when people flocked to the front, there was an old lady who had trouble walking, escorted by a security staff slowing coming down the stairs to get to the ground level, so she could join the action. That was kind of touching. She must be another super fan.

During the Blue Danube, not only couples, some kids came down to the floor to dance too.

From a distance, Andre Rieu didn't seem to have aged. Amazing! But on the side screens, you can see his close up, wrinkles, plus all the liver spots on his forehead. Well, I guess no one can escape time.

He also did a lot of ass-kissing on Vancouver. It's not a bad thing at all. It's only the appropriate thing to say, right? But... somehow it felt like a routine. Maybe it's because of the pre-opening projected banner was from a previous New York concert. The booklet was from that too. So... it kind of felt like plucking "Vancouver" into "New York"'s place.

When the concert was over, there was a bottle neck at all the exits. I suspect it was because seniors can't move fast. (Yikes... that was a mean thing to say, wasn't it?)

This one took me a whole day to figure out. The section at the back of the stadium was empty. They were facing directly to the stage and the view should be good. Why were they empty? Were they reserved for some organization that no one can come? Or are they actually too far away to be useful? Or simply seats that nobody wanted? Then, of course, looking back to the very first moments... Of course! That exit at the back was where the musicians entered! Keeping the section off limits can prevent any crazy fans from mugging the artists!

In that case, the stadium seemed to be completely full...

Finally, it was an awesome concert! He showed us classical music can be this much fun. His style is my ideal.

Things that can be improved:
  • The stadium's echo was pretty bad. The music was acceptable, but you can totally hear it when Andre Rieu spoke. If he could try even once, to have his concert in the Orpheum. But I guess that's not his point. (A formal concert hall would be too formal?) Plus, a stadium can house more people. It's just that, a friend seems to place acoustics before the spirit of the music. I wish he would give Andre Rieu a chance.
  • If photography is not prohibited, please at least tell people not to use flash light. It's very distracting. And the flash can't reach the stage anyway. Why can't people realize that?
And special thanks again to Steven. (^_^)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Andre Rieu (2)

4 appointments today. (>_<;) Haircut, chiropractor, dinner with Steven, and the concert. The forecast low was 6. So it was only natural to wear my nice warm dressy leather boots. However! I was regretting it even before reaching my hair dresser! I forgot that they are high heels, and not meant for walking!! Couldn't find closer parking, and every step was excruciating. Must endure this pain until I got home almost 12 hours later! (T_T) It's still sore right now. Oh dear... I still need to run around tomorrow... Not looking forward to it...

Second huge screw-up: forgot to stop by the bank before meeting Steven for dinner. (T_T) I only had a $5 bill in my wallet plus some loose change. He ended up paying for it. Thanks Steven, but please let me pay you back. You came to the concert with me, and even help me buy the ticket. If it wasn't for you, I would have given up. Not to mention you bought me Pinkys from Japan! I really appreciate your help. If I let you pay for dinner, it makes me feel like I'm taking advantage of you. (>_<;)

So, today's main event, the concert. This is my second time. When was last time...? Argh! Can't remember! Probably in the 90's. Back then, ticket was $60. I went with my ex-violin teacher and a friend I now lost touch with. She got married since then, and had a baby girl when I last heard. Sigh... time flies... (T_T)

Out seats were pretty good. Although far towards the right, it was a good distance and eye level. The best thing was, the 2 seats directly in front of us were empty. Flags were given out before we arrived. Nope we didn't get any. Just for a Pinky picture, we borrowed one from a gentlemen near by. Thanks Steven for the Pinky help again. (^_^) Most attendees were seniors. We figured average age was about 55? (Maybe older.) There were young kids too, though. Personally, I think a ticket at that price is way too much to spend on a kid. But again, this is no ordinary classical concert.

Andre Rieu was entertaining as always, with lots of gigs. The goulash and angel were my favorite. The sausage-throwing was funny and unexpected too!

Got trapped by the washroom line up and missed the first piece after the break. Not that I was trying to buy one, but the booklet was sold out! CD $25 DVD $30. Hey you can buy his CDs at London Drugs for around $15! Last Christmas I bought a DVD for only $12!

The floor was filled with seats, so I didn't expect people to actually get up and dance. But they did! At one point I counted 39 couples. The number kept changing. Some people were dancing with their arms while remaining in their seats.

Ah, that's the difference between a cheap ticket and an expensive one. The expensive one gets camera attention, sausage thrown at, balloons, and can dance in the isle! At the end, fans flocked to the front of the stage. Some kids were throwing balloons at the musicians. Naughty!

Actually, Andre Rieu tended to stand towards the right side of the stage, which happened to block the view of the singers most of the time. (>_<;) 2 hours was too short. It was sneaky for him to get everyone singing Oh Canada, haha!

Last time, there were announcements on photography being prohibited. This time, there was nothing. I was slightly concerned, but determined to sneak a few shots regardless. Since the seats in front of us were empty, there would be no camouflage, which could easily get me into trouble. When I saw the countless flashlights from all over the stadium, I was so relieved. (^_^) This, unfortunately, reminded me of the Anime Evolution incident with the professional band. That, was mean.

Andre Rieu

Geeze... time really flies! When the ticket was bought in April, I thought, it's gonna take forever to get to the concert! Before you know it, it's tomorrow!! (Oops, it's past midnight. Technically speaking it's "today"! Yikes!)

And they really know how to squeeze money out of your pocket. Imagine how much interest they gain within this 6 months! A ticket is almost a hundred bucks! ($93.50 to be exact.) (T_T)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Spicy Squid Pretz

Another limited edition from Sora. Thanks~! (^_^) Now this is unusual. It smells quite strong. Kind of like Oxo with spice. But its not hot at all. The texture is different too! The cracker sticks have a much lower density... like those shrimp chips! Which means they're fried not baked??? Hmm... and it tasted similar to shrimp chips too, slightly spicy. Again, it's not bad at all. I like it!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wrong way to cook a turkey. Plus a fake Oktoberfest. Was hoping to do something with Oktoberfest, but I think it's over already. Oh well. There's something on Granville Island this coming weekend, but it's only beer. Nothing else.

Finally went to the Richmond night market. Today is the last day this year. There weren't many people comparing to all the previous times I've gone. There were even some street parking left. Perhaps it's just the last day, or people have to work tomorrow, or everyone's still on their way back from cross-border shopping, or the $5 parking.

Gotta have some fresh takoyaki. Unfortunately, the one of 3 takoyaki stands I bought from, store the finished products in a warmer until it's sold, and it wasn't as fresh as I hope. The people are real Japanese, though.

And then, rumor has it that the night market gives out gifts to balance the $5 parking fee. Yes it's true, and here it is. A cheap cell phone strap, an ugly logo key chain, and a balloon. There's also a big orange plastic bag with the "Yeah!" logo. Completely useless. Most people discard the bag right away.

I'd say, the $5 parking is robbery. If they feel guilty, they should just lower the fee! A "gift" like this is not sincere at all. Anyone can get it regardless of parking there or not. They had a hard time getting people to line up, though. Out of curiosity, I lined up for a few minutes, and then decided it's a waste of time, and went on with my browsing. By the time I was done, there was no line up and still tones of "gifts".

$5 for parking is not worth it. If I can't find free street parking, I simply won't go. I'm pretty sure that's why attendances dropped drastically this year.

There's something I don't really understand. The organization collects rent from the venders, right? So that should cover the rent of the venue, right? So, does this mean, the parking fee is net profit? And how can they fence off parking area from surrounding malls and collect parking fee? Especially when the stores are closed, do they still need to pay rent? Or do they just "claim" the area? (Sigh... conspiracy mode on.)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Seaweed Wasabi Pretz

Thanks Sora again for this limited edition Pretz. She gave me plenty of warning, but I don't think it's yucky at all. It is true that if you haven't looked at the box first, you might get a somewhat confusing impression. The seaweed is dominant, though. The wasabi is very mild and on a much lower tone. Normally, I'd say it's a little bit over on the salty side. However, with my current salt craving, it tasted alright. This combination works and makes an interesting flavour. But again, it's only my personal opinion.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Hard-baked Pretz

Thanks Sora for a whole bunch of goodies! (^_^) I enjoy them very much!

This hard-baked Pretz is available locally, and has pretty standard buttery flavour. Quite fragrant. However, it's just slightly on the hard side. Some people think hard and brittle = crunchy, but I think crunchy has a lower density and includes some flakiness. Especially with my overly-worked-on teeth. Well, it's all personal preference.

And sorry I've been whining a lot lately. Can't help it. Sigh...

Friday, October 05, 2007

Backyard tomatoes

Pictures taken on Sept 24th. Filed away and forgotten...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pinkys

Thanks Sora, Andrew, and Steven for the Pinky help! (^_^)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Autism?

Watched Wired Science tonight. There was a segment on facial expression recognition software and Autism. One of the characteristics of Autism patients is, they focus on the mouth instead of eyes during conversations. Thus missing the emotion of other people, which makes an impact on their social skills.

Wait a minute! That's what I've been doing all my life! It's only natural, right? The mouth moves, and you look at what's moving, right? I do admit, I'm somewhat socially challenged. (For those who disagree, You don't see the whole picture.) I always blame it on my English. Or is there actually something else???

Monday, October 01, 2007

Hibernation season?

Just feeling so tired. Like there's no energy. I need more blue sky. This was taken last Thursday. Today was rainy again.

It's October! Yikes!!! The weather's like late November already. So wet and cold. There's still one last weekend for the Richmond night market. I haven't been there this year. Would like to drop by if the weather is nice.