Monday, October 29, 2007

postcard recap!

yeah yeah, basi (stale) already right? But I still want to just state this for the record, because otherwise I'll probably forget details, LoL!

To recap, I pledged to send a postcard from Malaysia and/or Switzerland to whoever who emailed me their addresses, with the catch that they then provide me with one link per postcard. Ummm, frankly, I'm not sure if everyone complied with the condition, but what the heck, you live, you learn, and that karma will come back and bite ya some other way, it's out of my hands :D [ADD: and for those who *did* link as requested, I thank you very much!]

So, here are the people who received postcards:

from Malaysia:
> Kim
> Dave2
> Kevin

from Switzerland:
> Kim
> Dave
> Kevin
> Moomykin
> Rima
> Nin
> Mrs J
> Ummi

Did I miss anyone?

Y'know, I did like the fact that I was engaging some people beyond just the blog page, and I really liked how some (Kim!) loved the postcards I'd chosen for them. I look forward to doing a similar exercise next year, if I make it to Malaysia again, so if you missed out, or of you want another round of postcards, stay tuned, k? :-)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

pinched, bisqued, glazed...

A quick rundown of how my pottery class has been.

Week 1: intro to very basic handbuilding, getting the feel for three different types of clay (porcelain, grey clay, brown clay). We produced about 3 little things per clay, as initial test pieces. They needed to dry for about a week, before getting fired, so on our shelves they stayed.

Week 2: transferred the now dry pieces onto the rack for bisque firing (that's the first of two firings the pieces go through). Learned the "coiling" technique. Created another piece or two. Placed one *in* instead of *under* a plastic bag, so instead of drying slowly, at Week 3, discovered it didn't even dry, LoL!

Week 3: intro to glazing. now THIS was fun! plunging most your arm into these buckets of creamy liquid, with colors that do NOT indicate the final color of the glaze. One of these days I'll need to remember to bring an apron, because it can get rather splashy and messy! Glazed pieces left on appropriate rack for the final firing.

Week 4: FINALLY get to see our finished pieces. Most came out pretty much as expected, one or two with a slight twist, overall cool and a good learning experience on color combinations and glaze behaviour. Also learned the "slab" technique. Kinda went wild with that!

Next week, "throwing", or, THE WHEEL!!! Whoohooo!

And now, some pix.

I wasn't kidding when I said I went kinda nuts - here's what I produced this week, all but one from "slabs".

The large pic is a textured slab (can you see that level of detail?), which should end up being a slightly curved serving dish.

Those coils you see on the bottom are just to prop the slab up so that it gets and keeps the curved shape while drying.

The clay looks rather dark because it's wet.




Here's how the clay looks a week later.

Fyi, this is my first attempt at anything big - Kosh had asked "when are you going to make somehthing we can throw our spare change into?" - hmmm, ya think this'll do? ;)

I built it up in Week 3 using coils, using a "bat" (a mold, essentially) that sat slightly lopsided, so, whaddaya know, this is lopsided too, LoL! In this pic, it's dry and awaiting its first (bisque) firing.

Still haven't decided how to color it. Matte vs glossy. Blue? Green? Mixed? Speckled? Decisions, decisions.

Here's an indication of the deceptiveness that is glaze.

This is my second coil attempt from Week 2. No idea what it is, really, so don't ask. As you can see, it's covered in something yellow. Not going to come out yellow tho. It should be a delicate light green.

I'll give you "after" pics another time, once it's ready.

And finally, here you have the assortment of test pieces made from the first class, now all glazed.

A motley crew of sizes and shapes, eh? Nothing really practical, I guess they'll all be dust-gatherers :p

Oh wait, the gift-giving season is coming up soon... maybe.... handmade gifts... hmmmmm.... ;-)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Musicology

Stole this from Kevin. Mildly unsatisfying answers, because I'm kinda out of touch with the music scene, and "my" stuff is still in Malaysia, but hey, I wanted to answer anyway. :p

Musicology:
  1. What is the first music album you remember owning? If not the same, what is the first music album you purchased for yourself?
  2. What artist currently occupies the most space either in terms of shelf space or megabytes on your hard drive?
  3. How many different types of music media (vinyl, cassette, CD, etc) have you owned in your lifetime?
  4. Who or what has had the biggest effect on your music taste?
  5. How do you currently prefer to listen to music?
  6. In terms of music memorabilia, what is your most prized possession?
  7. Have you ever "swapped headsets" with a complete stranger (meaning have you ever unplugged the earphones from your listening device and plugged them into someone else's player and had them do the same)? If yes, what did they play for you?
  8. Have you ever been completely obsessed with a particular artist? Who and to what level did your fandom go?
  9. What is the farthest you've ever traveled for a concert?
  10. Who have you seen in concert the most?


Aaaaaand the answers:

1. First that I OWNED? Tough one! I'm going to guess ABBA - probably one of them pirated compilation cassettes. The earliest/first that I remember BUYING, maybe Paul McCartney's Tug of War (that blue & red messy looking cover, with Wanderlust on it)?

2. I'd need to look at my CD collection (which was at its prime in the 90's, LoL!) to be sure, but I think it might be a tie between Randy Travis (*cringe!) and The Beatles. With GnR and Meat Loaf in the running.

3. Cassette. Vinyl. CD. mpeg. Four.

4. My parents' random vinyl collection helped shape my initial taste for clean simple "old" music (The Beatles, Bee Gees, ABBA) so much so that despite growing up with Duran Duran, Rick Astley and the like, The Beatles were my fave band for the longest time. However, the band that got me on the road to "heavy" stuff? DEF LEPPARD! Hey, hysteria was such a fundamental shift for me, Ms Goody Two Shoes, from quiet meek to quiet rebel :-) GnR followed soon after, although I couldn't fully stomach them till much later.

5. Heh. I really don't like those little thingies in my ear/on my head, so while I do have pseudo ownership of our 1st gen iPod Shuffle which I usually use to accompany me at the gym, I'd rather play the CD - whether in the computer's drive or in the radio/CD player, doesn't matter. But frankly, I haven't been listening to music in a looong time - I catch it in the car the few times we're in it. I do miss it, tho. Music has been such a big partof my life for so long, it's weird to step back and realise I'm not listening to it anymore.

6. I don't really have an answer for this. I have a Hall & Oates guitar pick, from when my friends and I, giddy teenagers, managed to get John Oates' autograph (Daryl Hall just brushed us off - a**hole!). Unlike his partner, Mr Oates was friendly and happy to give us some time, and guitar picks. Heck, I think we were the only people waiting for them and their autographs anyway, LoL! So, for the lesson of "just because someone looks good (I was so into blond hair blue eyes at that time) doesn't mean he's a nice person" embedded in that guitar pick, I suppose that'll do as a barrel-scraping answer. (omg I just remembered - I made a friendship bracelet with Daryl's name on it, gave it to a stage hand to put on his keyboard during half-time, if I remember correctly at the second half he noticed and laughed at it :p)

7. Nope. Don't see myself ever doing that either! Is this common?

8. "Completely obsessed" nooooooooo.... I was the type who'd get all in a tizzy but would. never. DO. anything. about it. (All a factor of upbringing and repression, long story). The worst I ever did was try to get autographs, I suppose. (see "omg" at end of #6 - does that count as obsessed? LoL!) The more recent phenomenon would be me, Kosh & Meat Loaf, but just because we drove from Urbana to Cleveland to see him perform, and that Kosh proposed after the concert, that doesn't mean i/we are obsessed with Mr Loaf,,,, riiiiiiight? LoL!

9. Hmmm, I suppose I inadvertently answered this at the end of #8?

10. See here for a list of those I *have* seen in concert. All one-timers. Not sure if I'd want to see any of them again, heck most of them don't exist anymore, or are waaaay past their prime. There's (slight) hope for Meat Loaf tho, maybe, if really feel like it and if I'm able to then convince Kosh, LMAO!

Whoohooo! Done! If you liked these questions, feel free to answer them on your site. Ciao!

Monday, October 22, 2007

blinking back tears

I noticed "River" posted again from Syria. And I'm blinking back tears reading what she's shared. Go read. My heart cries for her and everyone in similar conditions everywhere.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

more than you ever wanted to know about bathroom habits

So apart from that cold snap about 2 weeks ago, the weather's been pretty fine, for October. There've been one or two utterly dreary rainy days, but apart from these, it's been sunny, clear blue skies, cool. Nice. That 45F snap is but a memory now. :-)

I see myself slowing down on my Sim City (took over a month!!), although the time I put in is quite focused now. Like I said, upon finding a tract of land with 11 (actually now 12) connections, I've been thinking even more "big picture" and am developing the entire region, not just a row of three cities. Or at least establishing "main connections" that might end up becoming highways once the region matures and I've got high density zones everywhere.

Bored yet?

Well here's something to change the pace a little. Saw this over at Jeff's place and figured what the hell... here goes!

The Bathroom Meme (with some changes a la lynnenaranek)

1. First body part washed in shower?
I take soap in right hand, and work on left arm from fingers to pit before switching hands/arms.

2. Conditioner y/n? Yes, but I figured double application of stuff on my head means double the hair breakage every day, so I recently decided to switch to Pert (or Rejoice 2-in-1, to my Malaysian readers) once the current bottle of conditioner is finished.

3. Razor - manual, electric?
Disposable manual, for legs & armpits. I'm currently using a free sample of "Intuition" which essentially has a bar of soap surrounding the razor itself - pretty nifty!

4. Shaving cream - foam, gel?
El cheapo goes for lather from the bath soap.

5. Toothbrush - regular or electric?
Regular. Should be electric, I had one, but didn't wanna bother bringing it with me from Malaysia to the U.S. back in '04.

6. Toothpaste - regular or gel, whitening etc?
GEL GEL GEL! I dunno what it is about me, but when I first stumbled upon gel toothpaste (I remember it was back in my teenage years, in Switzerland) I totally fell in love with it, and have pretty much turned my back on all non-gels.

7. Floss - y/n, flavored, thick/thin, waxed?
Yes, although used nowhere near as often/regularly as it should. I use waxed minted dental TAPE (kills my gums less than actual floss).

8. Mouthwash - y/n, brand?
Was never brought up to use this, and have yet to pick up the habit on my own.

9. Toilet paper - over or under?
I prefer over, that's the "natural" setting, isn't it? But Kosh remains convinced that having it "under" will somehow help reduce the chances of the cat ruining an entire roll if/when she gets into her head to mangle/claw/play with the roll while on the bathroom sink (see end of this post). Hmmmm.

10. Magazines?
We've got a reading table in the bathroom all right. Or maybe activity table? My main item is a book of crosswords, tho I also have two magazines I'm slowly going through. Kosh has the intention of catching up on medical-related reading while on the throne so there are some medical magazines/reading material there, but instead he's been going through the Harry Potter books (he's now on Book 4).

11. Hair dryer or towel dry?
Air-dry. But mainly because I don't have a hair dryer. And even if I did have one, I really really really am clueless as to how to use it properly. And I usually couldn't be bothered to put that extra effort for myself anyways. So yeah, air dry.

12. Hair "products" - moose, gel, hairspray, etc?
I have some sort of "curl protector" I used regularly when I had my body wave, tho now there's maybe a quarter left in the tube and I couldn't be bothered to salvage the remnants of the curls, so apart from that anomaly, no, no products in hair.

13. Cologne perfume, etc - y/n, brand?
Not any more. Used to have a small collection of fragrances (all unisex or men's perfumes, can't stand women's, waaay too strong & flowery usually!), but I so dropped out of the habit maybe 5 years ago. I might have started up again except that that marvelous Calvin Klein Eternity Summer for Men I came across in the Zurich airport, which Kosh was willing to get for me but I said naaah I had no idea if it was a good price or not (duty free does not always mean cheap!), besides we could probably get it back in the U.S., you know, that one? Haven't found it yet. Once/If I do, then I'll start again :-)

14. Deodorant - Spray, roll-on, stick (gel or white), scented etc?
GEL GEL GEL! And for the longest time, the only gel anti-perspirant I could find on the shelves in Malaysia was Gilette brand, for men, so there I was with men's toiletries all the time, people certainly didn't know what to make of me, LoL! Right now I'm experimenting with other types/brands, to see which "little black dress approved" type claim actually works, seeing as I wear black most of the time and do NOT appreciate the streak of white I get on the shirt as I put it on...

15. Sink and shower soap - liquid, bar, bodywash, etc?
Sink> liquid
Shower> bar, although for quite a while I was going for liquid bodywash - the reason I've acquiesced to to bars like Kosh likes is because the one or two body washes I've tried here just don't seem to lather the way I like, or leave this iccky moisturizing layer behind that's supposed to be good for me but irritates me instead :p

16. Sink cup - disposable Dixie type, regular?
Was never brought up to use this, and have yet to pick up the habit on my own. There's something so much more satisfying about getting rinsing water from your cupped hand...

... bored yet? Okay you can go away now. Bye! :-)

Monday, October 15, 2007

still hooked

I played Sim City till almost 5 this morning. Woke up at 1030am, and am now finding other things to achieve before I head back to my cities, I'm all hooked because I realised depending on the random region generator, you can find cities set up with MANY neighbors - I found one with ELEVEN?!! So now I'm building up to that large square, developing its surroundings first... aarrgghhhhhhh! Helllllllllp!! :P

And on to other news: I found out recently I'd been tagged over a month ago, ooooops! My apologies to Neome, and here's yet another 5 Things meme:

5 Things In My Bag
  1. Snack-sized Zone bars
  2. A pen
  3. A half-empty pack of tissue
  4. A. S. Byatt's The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye, a book to read for my Fairy Tales class
  5. A bowder blue spiral bound notebook to jot my notes for all my classes




5 Things That Are In My Wallet
  1. money (of "there" and "hidden" varieties)
  2. credit cards
  3. Wallet-sized reference card of Covey's 7 Habits (not that I need it, but I like knowing it's there)
  4. driver's license
  5. library card



5 Favourite Things In My Bedroom
  1. the bedside tables (matching with #2)
  2. the folding screen (matching with #1)
  3. the southwestern motifed bedcovers
  4. the drawer of "my stuff", where I keep everything from hair thingies to bracelets to necklaces
  5. the fully-mirrored closet doors



5 Things I Wish To Do (in my lifetime, I assume?)
  1. Write and publish memoirs and novels
  2. Visit Greenland Iceland (I can't believe I typed the wrong country!!!)
  3. Get a Masters in something: creative writing, maybe?
  4. Achieve true inner peace, inner balance
  5. Lose a substantial amount of body fat



5 Things That I Am Doing Now
  1. errr, typing?
  2. breathing?
  3. sitting?
  4. scratching my arm?
  5. playing with my hair



5 People I Would Like To Tag
    so rarely do I tag people, not gonna bother with it this time either... if you want to continue this, just go ahead and post yr entry in the comments or point me to your site, k?


okay, now back to my cities! Until Kosh gets back from work lah.. Ciao!

Friday, October 12, 2007

~cold~

Blah! It's COLD! I mourn the final tremor of summer's tendrils, the grip of the sun's rays loosened, nay, dislodged by the cruel cold. Though they say it will be warm again in a day or two, the damage is done, true golden warmth is likely beyond us until, ummm, April? Bah!

Until then, I can look forward to ice-cold toes that evoke shrieks from Kosh, toes that never seem to get warm even with socks or fuzzy slippers to protect them from the cold floor. I can look forward to getting boiled alive in the hallway of the apartment building, only to walk into a wall of cold when I step outside. I can look forward to uncontrolled eye leakages making it seem like I'm bawling my eyes out while walking to/from the train station when in fact I'm just reacting to the wind and cold. I can look forward to getting zapped by just about anything, from the car door to the cat to the hubby. I can look forward to snakelike scaly skin as I get dehydrated while I forget to lotionize elbows, shins, hands.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate autumn/winter. I just so much prefer spring & summer. I *am* a Leo, after all! :-)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

~painful~

So recently we had some real gawdawful movies come at us via Netflix:

Eragon: Always been curious about the books, but not curious to pick 'em up for a read, figured what the heck let's just watch the movie instead. Wow. It was SO bad. I was antsy 30 mins into the thing, already irritated by plot holes and crappy storytelling. About the only thing that enabled Kosh and I to sit through it was to treat it almost like the Rocky Horror Picture Show, with call-outs to ease the pain. And to make comparisons to Star Wars "Oh, he's playing the role of Ben Kenobi - he's obviously going to have to die halfway through the film! She's Leia! Hey, is that Han Solo? So who's Chewie??" and LOTR "She's just a Liv Tyler knockoff! Oh look, Rivendell!". Do not, I repeat do NOT watch this movie!

Legally Blonde 2: Something we dreaded doing to ourselves, but we kinda had to. After all, TBS has shown Legally Blonde so often over the past few years, and we've caught enough bits and pieces of it to have watched it in toto many times over in addition to the twice that I've seen it complete. But where the original was silly and a lot of fun, its sequel crosses over into the realm of the absurd and painful. Don't bother.

The Break-Up: I didn't want this on the queue, Kosh put it there. Although ~he~ says it wasn't him. Either way... o.m.g.... I don't care if they "discovered" each other while filming this, but Jen Aniston and Vince Vaughn have absolutely NO chemistry onscreen. The story was stupid and so contrived, I had to walk away from it less than 30mins into the movie (a few days later we made it through the rest of the way)! The amusement of seeing Justin Long (Galaxy Quest, Dodgeball) as an Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers) lookalike can only take it so far, and that was a distracting character anyway, not needed for the plot at all. Heck, there was no point to the entire movie!! Again, don't bother.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

i'm alive!

I am, really!

I've just been totally caught up in playing god.

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I started playing Sim City - I think it was the Sim City 2000 version. I enjoyed the idea, but for some reason I just couldn't get all that into it - it was frustrating not being able to do much in terms of city building without resorting to the "iamweak" cheat code (which added simoleons to my very dry mayoral account)... and besides, the focus was rather too broad, I wondered if there was a similar game out there that zoomed in on one neighborhood instead of a city, and allowed me to control individuals...

... and I soon discovered The Sims, and oh. my. gawd. it was exactly what I was looking for! I'd play for hours and hours on end at the expense of sleep and work, and had all the expansion packs too, although the "Making Magic" one was bought but never loaded (no worries, they were all pirated versions, costing only about RM5 per disc, LoL!). My absolute fave was the Superstar expansion - how sad is it that I worked more diligently on getting my Sim up to be a major superstar and got more out of that achievement than from work? :-)

Aaaanyways... so for the longest time I've not been Simming - for many reasons I won't get into. However, all that changed recently. We got our PC, finally. And I'd already warned Kosh that if/when we get it, I'm getting back into my Sims. It was decision I had to make a few weeks ago - get sucked back into The Sims 2 (gotta move with the times lah) and deal with all those expansion packs, or go back to the beginning.

I chose the beginning.

Of course, Sim City 4 Deluxe edition is a very very very old game, out since 2003 or so, but hey, I know me, and I'm better off taking it easy mah!

Anyhow... so, well, you kinda pretty much know what's coming next... after all, the neglect of the blog shows how much time I've NOT been online these past few weeks, LoL! Shall I go into how many cities and regions I created and destroyed as I got the feel again for the game? Or how I've been naming my regions after Animaniacs lingo (anyone who doesn't think Anvyllania is not a cool name should, well, go watch Animaniacs, and "let the anvils ring", LoL!)? Or how my cities have improved enough that I'll probably keep this current one and slowly improve on planning and layout on a city by city basis? Or how I love the new features that among other things allow me to move in some individual Sims into neighborhoods and see what they have to say about my Cities? And how this helps reduce the cravings I have for actually meddling in their lives the way I could in The Sims? Naaah, I won't tell ya about it. :)

What ELSE has been happening? Well, I ~have~ filled my weekly schedule up pretty well. French. Spanish. Fairy Tales. Figurations. Skipped my first Aquatic Exercise class last week, but that's in there too. And my ceramics/pottery class starts today. ... ... and yes, I'm STILL immersing myself in my Sim City despite the time crunch.

Ah, priorities...
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