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Showing posts from April, 2009

#993: a smoking jacket with a difference!

My mind went off on a tangent recently, sending me down memory lane thinking of the "Smoker" I would attend just about every semester of college down at U of I: my first was as a wide-eyed potential pledge to the Zeta chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma, the rest as a worldly member checking out the potential pledges, LoL!

Why call it a smoker?? Turns out it's an anachronistic term that was all the vogue way back when, from a time when membership was all male, and it was all the trend for such gentlemen to get together and smoke their pipes and cigars while wearing their smoking jackets (more like bathrobes, IMO) -- that's how they socialised.

Glad we've come a long way since then!

I found a nifty update to the smoking jacket concept by a Fiona Carswell:

"This Smoking Jacket has a built-in pair of lungs on the front. As the wearer smokes, the lungs fill up with the exhaled cigarette smoke and begin to gradually darken over time."

Neato! Please make sure to check o…

#992: the "we've met!" list grows longer!

Last August, I kinda broke out of my shell and did my first bloggers' meet-up, courtesy of Dave (of's visit to Chicago. As a result of that, I could then draw up a separate "we've met!" blogroll (see sidebar).

Earlier this year, I met up with two Malaysian bloggers:
- Lina, who with threeblogs almost rivals me, LoL!
- Chewbies, who blogs at Bubble Tea Conversations
whose names and blogs have finally been added to said blogroll...

And yesterday...

I'm happy to add the following to the list:
Rita, who blogs at Look it's Megryan's MomLin, who blogs at Duck and Wheel with String (and now we know the story behind it!)Lola, who juggles three blogs: her Diner, her Victory Garden, and the interestingly-named Fire Crotch Rocket... and the person responsible for the meet-up:
Patricia, who runs the Communication Exchange and Subjective Soup

So it was just the five of us (plus Kosh, who was at a nearby table pretending not to be listening to us while pre…

#991: Meat Loaf rules :)

Have a good weekend!

see more Funny Graphs

How I have ended up with WAY too many blogs to keep track of, and why things are going to change around here... (#990)

Back in 2004, when i first started blogging, I had no idea how to find other blogs to read if not to hit the "next blog" button at the top left of the blogger navbar.

Then I signed up with Little Neo, a blog directory/exchange thingy by the owner of NeoWorx - you know, the one with the scrolling list of visitors by country? So that worked for a long time; met people like Moxie, Monsoon and Omni; SG and Ron Allan by exploring another blogger's blogrolls; ended up loading up my blogroll. I ended up nixing NeoWorx though - they were having loads (haha) of problems with their widget - because if it, nothing else on my page was loading. So off it went.

In 2006 I participated in the Lost Blogs grassroots marketing campaign, and have continued to follow many of the people I met during this exercise. I also visited many people who left witty comments on these blogs, and thus my blogroll continued to expand...

Then last year I joined the Entrecard community and boy oh boy d…

#989: bits of books

So over the past few weeks, Kosh and I have been volunteering at an organisation that essentially provides audio versions of textbooks and such, in order to provide people with vision impairment equal access to these educational resources.

So far, our duties have been to check what has been read by other volunteers. Assigned books change every time. As such, I've had the opportunity to listen in on the following books:

1. A textbook on American History. This was the usual book for beginner Checkers to be exposed to the whole checking process. Filled with not just text, but also tables, diagrams, photos with captions, etc, it provided a good example of many of the conventions used by this organisation. Here, I heard a really great reader and wondered if I'd have the nerve to work my way up to Reader, then heard a really awful reader who seemed to have a cold and was really lethargic and listening to him was like pulling teeth, and I said to myself Heck even I can do bette…

#988: I won!

Guess what I got in the mail yesterday??

It was my $5 Starbucks Gift Card I had won by entering a contest organised by Hava, a fellow blogger who has since moved to her own place at Nonfiction Book Review. It was accompanied by a nice little card and note, too :)

Okay, for those who know me, know that I am not a fan of Starbucks, but hey, once in a while I do find myself in one of them places (what to do... no Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in this side of the US!), so it'll come in handy :)

Thanks again, Hava, and all the best in your new digs! If any of you are interested in the stories of a part-time librarian mixed with nonfiction book reviews, do swing on by, k?

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#987: Purple

This week's theme is PURPLE.

Easy - my yoga mat!

Together with the powder blue one, Kosh and I workout -- less often than we would like -- sometimes to Jillian Michaels, sometimes our own full body limber&stretch routine.

It's been a few days since we last took them off their perch on top of the CD rack, tho ...

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#986: Foody Friday - BBQ Smoked Turkey Wings!

Long-time readers of Life After Work might remember that back when we were still in Urbana, Fridays were BBQ Beef Ribs day. Almost every week, Kosh and I would pig out (haha) on a half-slab each of BBQ beef ribs from Lil Porgy's while watching Babylon5 DVDs.

We have occasionally made trips down to Urbana on Fridays JUST to get us a long longed for dose of said ribs. We'd also buy like three additional portions to bring back with us, to be consumed over the span of a day or two. We also get a jar of the hot sauce, to use sparingly over the span of a year or so.

Yes, it's that good.

At the end of the year, Porgy's would add a seasonal item to the menu - BBQ Turkey Leg, which was also really really good.

Here in Chicago, there are quite a few famous BBQ places, but from what I can tell, they don't do beef ribs. And I don't do pig meat. So never the twain shall we meet, it seems.

So last week, when I saw that Jewel was having a special on turkey legs, I figured wha…

#985: 20 out of 100 ain't bad?

So this is Post Number 985 for this particular blog, since its start in October 2004... How should I mark #1000? Suggestions welcome!! :)

On another note: Saw this at i hate kit kats a while ago, and decided to try it out. Yes another meme, and another book-related one at that. So sue me! :D
= = =

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

Instructions: Copy the list, and put an 'x' after those you have read, count 'em up, compare tallies. This should be easy. Strutting and preening is optional.

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen ( )The Lord of the Rings ( ) (I tried - twice!)
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte ( )Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (X) (multiple times, only #7 once so far)To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee ( )The Bible - ( )Wuthering Heights ( )Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (X)His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman ( )Great Expectations - Charles Dickens ( )Little Women - Louisa M Alcott (X) …

What a sight!

Kosh and I were walking around downtown yesterday evening, and decided to take advantage of one of the free things to do in Chicago: checking out the series of Chinese sculptures recently installed at Millennium Park.

This is the sight that greeted us. ... this piece is supposed to symbolise greed... well, what with the overly-endowed sow, and the glitzy gold, and bright red... it certainly shouts EXCESS to me!

You can see more photos of this and the other sculptures in my flickr photostream.

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Hi All!

This just might happen to me soon:

Over the course of the next few days, I hope to be moving ALL the links from my blogrolls in this sidebar into my Google Reader PLUS lots of newer ones I never did get around to adding to said blogroll. I don't know if this will be a quick endeavour, or whether it'll transform into a monster that sucks me into another dimension of space and time. I don't know whether I can add categories / subfolders into the public "Blogs I Follow" -- I sure hope so, otherwise I really WILL be "overfed" by all those RSS feeds!

Lots of unknowns.

Wish me luck!

btw - liked this cartoon? It's from We Blog Cartoons - check it out!

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Wow, I feel like I've been slapped in the face.

I got this email the other day regarding the submission of my a malaysian abroad site to a Malaysia-based blogger's directory:

Dear lynne Naranek,

We are sorry to inform you that we could not approve your blog listed below to [yaddayaddayadda].com.

Blog Title: a malaysian abroad
Blog Owner: lynne Naranek
Blog URL:

This could be but not always true due to the following reasons:

* Too new, less than 5 posts.
* Inactive blog, no update.
* Incomplete submission.
* Submitted link is not a Blog.
* Not a Malaysia Blog (we are [yaddayaddayadda].com).
* Blog contains material that is illegal under Malaysia government law.
* SPAM / Website contents are plagiarism from other websites.

If you think your submission doesn't violate any of the above, please contact us at by replying to this email and we will reconsider your blog submission again.

Thank you!
Yours sincerely,
Dr. [blah blah blah]

Photo Hunt: stripe search!

Do you ? I started two weeks ago at a malaysian abroad, with the objective of coupling relevant photos with some sort of commentary related to my theme of observing, comparing and celebrating the differences and similarities between Malaysia, Switzerland, the USA and more!. If you haven't already, do check out my entries for yellow, and hands and tell me what you think, k?

For this week's STRIPES assignment, I ended up with more photo ideas than could be made to fit into my other blog(s), so here's the spillover of sorts :)

... ↑ vertical blinds provide stripes of light ...

... discarded sweaty striped clothes, after the gym ↓ ...

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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1st Quarter Book Review: a pictorial report

I feel I am off to a slow start: can't believe I have only read 11 books so far this year! (Then again, at this time last year I had consumed 10, so I'm not too far off... yet...)

Please click on each image to go to my review of each book:

The most outstanding of all the above? I have to say Twilight. Just because it was such a painful read. I mean, it is SO OBVIOUS that the target audience is angsty hormonal tweenage girls in the exciting world of first love. Yuck! And I really have a problem with the whole sparkly vampire thing. Double Yuck!!

Also, you might notice that there are *gasp!* FIVE nonfiction books in this list, which is amazing considering I usually go for fantasy, high fantasy and dark fantasy before moving to fiction then other genres.

The reason for this is simple: I was doing research for my a saying three ways series over at a malaysian abroad while on vaykay last month. See those three "no image found" ones? Yeah, those. Funny how the locall…