Monthly Archives: January 2011

celebrity malaria cases

I really love reading Nicholas Kristof. He often writes about something thought-provoking or inspiring. I bought this book, but haven’t had a chance to read it. I’m sure it will be similarly thought-provoking and inspiring.

Today, I was amused by Kristof’s latest “ask a question”.  There is a part of me that is sad that it takes a celebrity getting malaria to make the general population want to learn about an illness that can be devastating and that millions around the world suffer from. But then again, there is something about George Clooney that would make even malaria pretty sexy.

Wait. No. Malaria is bad. But Clooney with malaria is probably still sexy.


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Filed under Surf the Web

stuff to settle down

This post reminds me of a conversation Grinchy and I had recently. After living in Sydney for two months, Grinchy wondered if I felt settled yet. He did, since he started work over a month ago. Whereas I have been wandering the streets of Sydney, exploring neighborhoods (and doing altogether too much shopping).

I felt settled in the sense that I was comfortable in Sydney. I knew where the post office was. We had a bank, and could easily get money. I could relatively quickly rummage through my wallet and bring out the correct cash to pay for things. And I knew how to ride the bus and train.

Despite this, I didn’t quite feel settled. Partially it was because we had our stuff packed up and shipped (via slow boat) to Sydney, and therefore it still had not yet arrived. Which then made us wonder: “How much stuff does it take to feel settled?

There’s the stuff that we couldn’t live without, which we brought on the plane with us.

  • computer
  • MP3 player
  • Kindle
  • camera
  • cell phone (sadly, we had to buy new ones since the ones we had in the US didn’t work here)

Then, there’s the stuff that we really want to have. I was a really missing my cookware. Not that I cooked as often as I’d like to–but it was still annoying to be cooking with crappy pots and pans. The pot (that I used almost every time I cooked) with the wiggly handle was particularly annoying.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I am seriously attached to my stuff. Sure, I can live without it, but there are definitely things that I missed. Now that our stuff has finally arrived (yay!) and I’m in the midst of unpacking–unwrapping each item is like opening a present.

But I still have to be careful–and not get too attached to things. I’m already stuffing our apartment to the ceiling. I need to stop finding things that I love when I shop (or surf the web). Because there’s a definitely line between making a house a home, and being so settled down that you’re buried under all your stuff.

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Filed under Musings

lights and sounds

I’m not always a fan of modern art. There are definitely times when I simply stare and do not understand what I’m looking at. Other times, I don’t try to understand, I am simply happy to experience.

The other night, we went to an art installation, at the Chinese Friendship Garden in Sydney. There were strange sounds, which I didn’t always enjoy. Although I suppose it is interesting to creating an “instrument” out of objects you wouldn’t normally consider.

But even if I didn’t love every aspect of it, I was continually amazed by the creativity. And I couldn’t help but think that it must have been a fantastic opportunity–to have the Chinese Friendship Garden as your canvas–and free reign to add lights and sounds to it.

Even better if your light consists of balls of fire.


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Manly Ferry

It must be an urban legend, but I heard that Manly Beach got its name from someone who met the locals and thought they were manly. Really? That seems like a story that couldn’t possibly be true. But at this point, it doesn’t really matter anymore.

It was fun to check out the beach. There were a surprising number of people there, considering that it was a Wednesday afternoon.

And coming back on the Manly Ferry, you get some great views of the Harbour Bridge. Lots of sailboats were out on the water.

No matter how many times I’ve seen it, I just cannot get enough of the Harbour Bridge.

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Filed under Wandered

nothing compares to home

Several years ago, I was in the midst of online dating. I kept meeting all of these guys who had never left the Seattle area. Well, they did leave and travel to other places. But, they never lived anywhere else. More importantly, they had no desire to move. For them, Seattle was great. Why would you want to leave?

This really turned me off on these guys. They seemed very narrow-minded.  To me, it’s important to live somewhere else–because you gain a different perspective that you can’t gain from traveling. You can always move back home–but it’s hard to really learn how another community lives until you live there yourself. I think it makes you appreciate home more–but it also allows you to see that there are other ways to live (better and worse ways).

Then I thought I was being a snob. It’s expensive to move. Not everyone has the resources. Not everyone is willing to make sacrifices to move. But as I continued thinking about it–I realized that if you really wanted to move. If you really wanted to try another place out. You would find a way.

What’s interesting now, having moved to Sydney, Australia, is that almost everyone I’ve met has moved here from somewhere else (even my dentist). And while there are some wonderful things about Australia (and Sydney in particular), all of us can’t help but compare it to home. Sometimes, Sydney doesn’t compare favorably to home. Not because Sydney is lacking–but because home has an unfair advantage.

I suppose it’s different if you move to another country when you’re younger. But, if you move as an adult, do you ever get to a point where your new country becomes home?

I was thinking about my parents, who moved to the United States from Taiwan. They left a country that was practically under military control. They have lived in the US for 20 years longer than they have ever lived in Taiwan. They have been US citizens for more than 40 years. Despite that, Taiwan is still home for them.

Maybe this is the danger of moving to another place. Home still beckons. Home becomes idealized. Home loses all of its flaws. That is, until you move back.

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Filed under Musings

peg bag

I am still learning Aussie English. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fake the accent. But, hopefully I’ll remember to call an elevator a lift. And to call a pepper a capsicum. In the meantime, I think I’ve gotten down that clothes pins are pegs.

And since it seems pretty common to hang your laundry outside to dry (it’s hot enough here that things dry relatively quickly), I crocheted a little bag to hold my pegs.

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Filed under Handmade

wrong direction

Sadly, I got on the bus, heading in the wrong direction.

Thankfully, I figured this out relatively quickly.

Patiently, I waited across from Frank’s Self Serve Fruit Market.

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Filed under Wandered


I can’t remember where I first saw this. Probably on one of the many blogs I read. Since Grinchy is working on a website–I was helping him with picking the colors. It’s not super easy to convert colors that look great together, into colors that look good on a website together. But, we argued about it and eventually came up with something that looks okay–especially considering that we are a bunch of amateurs. Check out Kuler. It’s pretty kool.

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Filed under Surf the Web

camera phones are fun

I have been jealous of all the iPhone owners who shoot cool pictures using Hipstamatic. I was this close to getting an iPhone as well–but then I decided to get an Android phone. Thankfully, Vignette is a pretty good camera phone app. And I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. It is definitely a lot less intimidating than my DSLR. I still need to learn how to use that thing properly.

In the meantime, here are some pics I recently took. This one was taken right by the Sydney Fish Market. I pass this way fairly often.

I love how there are shades for the children’s play ground. It makes complete sense, since the sun is so intense here.

This one is from Festival First Night (of the Sydney Festival). We are watching very old film clips. I like how the camera effect makes it seem as though the picture was taken years ago.

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Filed under Fun with Gadgets