Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Old name, same person.

After much consideration, I decided some two weeks ago that it was time to make that name change after all. It's the hassle of it that's kept me this long.

My first choice, as suggested by Fiore, was Hammer (as in MC Hammer), but in the end I decided that I really rather like my maiden name.

Hence my blog address ought to change. This is not going to happen. It will be one of those things I won't bother with for years to come. Officially though, as of this morning, I am a Nilsson again.

It's like coming home to an open fire, a cup of hot chocolate and Ivanhoe showing on TV.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rhetorical questions.

Grandma Simpson and Lisa are singing Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" ("How many roads must a man walk down/Before you call him a man?"). Homer overhears and says, "Eight!"

Lisa: "That was a rhetorical question!"

Homer: "Oh. Then, seven!"

Lisa: "Do you even know what 'rhetorical' means?"

Homer: "Do I know what 'rhetorical' means?"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Limitless

I've got a new friend, who has the outstanding quality of being up for absolutely everything. I have been testing her limits with suggestions for sailing courses, camping trips and half-marathon races. Her reply remains: Sure, I can do that with you!

I have now decided to step it a notch. Tonight I will suggest a spending a night in a swamp, watching the feeding patterns of dung beatles. If that doesn't put her off, I will bring her to a stinky tofu lunch in Mong Kok.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Finnish Mint Vodka

Cousin C recently went to a party. It was her sister-in-law's 30th birthday and not knowing anyone particularly well, she ended up a bit outside the centre of events. She was joined in her corner by another "outsider", and the two of them soon started laughing at their own awkwardness in not wanting to mingle.

"Perhaps we should just get drunk?" the boy suggested. C thought this seemed like a reasonable idea and asked him to produce his poison of choice.

A bottle of Finnish Mint Vodka appeared.

After what C puts down as "roughly 15 min later", she went home.

Waking up without a hangover and no apparent memory gaps, she was really surprised when told "OMG, you were SO drunk last night!!"

The "roughly 15 min" had in reality been many hours. She had spent those hours wobbling around the party, talking to herself.

"I do recall that the girl who drove me home looked strangely at me a few times, so I suppose it's possible that it went down that way".

In her typical chilled attitude she thought whatever Finnish Mint Vodka does to you it couldn't be all that bad...

"...for all the times I've woken up wishing that I didn't remember what I got up to the night before!!"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wasn't me!!

The Hong Kong Chinese never make mistakes. Ever!
If nevertheless, a mistake has been made, that mistake is someone else's. Owning up to ones failures is not desirable. Ideally, one should avoid making decisions all together.

Let me illustrate:

I received an email from our HK head office today informing us that a member of staff has taken ill with H1N1. The email was forwarded by a person called "Sarah Wang" (this is not her name). The original email was written by a "Zoe Choi" (this is not her name). Within minutes, we received a second email, again from "Sarah Wang" entitled "EMAIL FROM ZOE":

Please kindly be reminded that the email Zoe sent out one hour ago should be treated as an internal communication and should not be forwarded to external contacts. We are in our peak sales season and do not need to draw unnecessary attention to this unfortunate situation. Thank you for your cooperation.

You can see it, can't you??
"Let's blame Zoe, the stupid bitch, for sending me an email that I then took it upon myself to email to THE ENTIRE OFFICE without spending 10 sec to think about it first. It was SO HER FAULT!!"

Risky

My workplace is conveniently located on the street in Mong Kok, where the three recent acid attacks have taken place.

My company has also just announced (internally) that one of our employees is in hospital being treated for H1N1.

This seems like a good time to start negotiations for a high-risk bonus to be added to my salary.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

4th June, 1989

You know, I had never heard of the Tiananmen Square incident until I moved to Hong Kong five years ago, one of my students told me today.
She's from Tsing Dao, the beer producing capital of China, and old enough to remember the events of 1989.

So, what are your thoughts?, I asked.

It's hard to say. I think it's terrible... but the protests didn't make any difference so what was the point?, she answered shrugging her shoulders slightly.

Many of my mainland students share the same attitude. Objecting to the system is not going to make any difference, so let's just go with it and hope for the best.
Are they right? Well, twenty years on, improvement have been made.

The Chinese Government might prefer doing things at snail-speed, but the country is nevertheless set on a course of change. The economic strenght is upgrading the general standard of living. Things "foreign" are the subject of careful curiosity. The Chinese are the fastest growing group of international travellers. Kobe Bryant and LeBron James sell more basketball tops in China than Yao Ming. Prison Break is a hit TV show.
The break hits bottom, though, when communication outside of governmental control is attempted. Watch American TV, support Manchester United, learn English...but your thoughts and ideas are not to be shared with others.

Ten years ago, the Tiananmen Square was closed for visitors. Today it's open.

Twitter, Flickr and Hotmail, however, are blocked.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tongue of dog

The problem with having a cough (which I still do) is my students' insistence on offering me various witch doctor brews. I have a lot of respect for Chinese medicine. I have very little respect for the vast majority of Chinese pharmacies plonked all over Mong Kok. I know, because I've read it in a newspaper, that most pharmacists are not qualified and their remedies closely resembles hocus pocus.
If it was just eye of newt to worry about, I wouldn't mind sipping away. This is China though - balls of tiger is just too much!

I'm going to see my drug-pushing doctor instead.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Early bird

The attentive reader will have noticed that back in January, I made a resolution to start getting out of bed before 10am. This has mainly manifested itself in me waking up, checking the time, feeling pleased that I've woken up at 7.30am, then turning over and going back to sleep.

Tomorrow, however, us Honkers are celebrating the Tuen Ng festival. Some celebrate this by racing dragon boats. Others, by sitting around on the beach, watching the dragon boaters whilst drinking beer. As I am more inclined towards the beer drinking (plus I'm convinced that my bum is really too big to fit into a dragon boat), I will doing so only from a junk boat, on a safe distance from the sweating and racing.

The boat leaves at 08.45. So it seems I'll be dragging myself out of bed before 8am at least once this year.

Result!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I'm ill!

I've been struck by what is commonly referred to as a Marie-cough. It tends to happen every two years or so and sticks with me for months. It sounds terrible, it hurts terribly and it gives my voice a very "Louis Armstrong with a bad cold"-esque zing to it.

In these times of H1N1 hysteria, I have been asked if I have a pig cold, trotteritis, porkmonia, bacon flu, and S suggested getting some oink-ment.
Oh, the fun never ends!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lunchbox

I have finally found a place in Mong Kok that sells Fish Head Bento boxes. Yummy!

Mother and the black man

Mother has been to a fortune teller. I know something is up when Mother calls and in one single breath says:

- How are you, good, yes, Stinky & Smelly are ok and the weather is hot, right, what are you doing, do you want to hear something?

She then summarises the why and how she met with this fortune teller, followed by a run-down of predictions for various family members.

- Do you want to know what she said about you?
- Do I have a choice?
- Well, if you don't want to know...
- ...you'll tell me anyway!
- You're going to have babies!
- Ok. That's reasonable.
- With a black man.
- ...there are very few of them in Hong Kong.
- But isn't it fantastic?
- Well, this black man, is he nice, intelligent...a good father?
- Oh, what does that matter - BABIES!

Ever since she has been obsessing over this black man who will father my children.

- What have you done this weekend?
- I went to a party on Friday.
- Was the black man there?
- No. I went on a date on Saturday.
- With the black man?
- No.

She's insane.

Plain speaking Part 2

This morning I received the following comment to the entry below.

The blog post "Plain Speaking" is transmogrifying, albeit partiallyfrasmotic. After a diraspoculate period of pericombobulation, I willtest run the maristostriculations, probably intrafrastically.

I understood very little of it, and could find few of the words when resorting to google. I did however find frasmotic, which for now is my new favourite word. Accoriding to the Urban Dictionary it means:

To be woefully incapable of expressing your sincere apologies for worrying you to the point you are furious enough to rip the testicles off a wild bull, with your body wrapped entirely in red satin.

This is so useful I don't see how I've lived this long without knowing it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Plain speaking

Next time you're having an argument with your partner, try saying:

You know, your attitud of floccinaucinihilipilification towards me is really unfair. I am nothing but honorificabilitudinitatibus.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

(S)c(r)atching on

On the MTR (the tube, the metro, the subway) yesterday I saw a man scratch his nose. This immediately made my nose itch. As soon as I had started scratching mine, the woman opposite joined in (scratching her own nose, not mine), and her movement was imitated by the man sitting next to me.

Reading this entry will be your biggest waste of time today. So now things can only get better!

Porkstop

When you want a Hong Kong mini-bus to stop and let you off you should say something like su-poi. I never do, I use English.
My co-worker, on the other hand, makes a real effort speaking Cantonese. He knows about 10, 15 words or so and uses them to express pretty much every wish and feeling. When he wants the mini-bus to stop he says du-pai. Du-pai means pork chop.

Pork chop, please! This is my stop.

It still seems to work.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Smoked or fired

From BBC

A Chinese county has rescinded a rule urging its government workers to smoke more in order to boost tax income.

The authorities in Gong'an county had told civil servants and teachers to smoke 230,000 packs of the locally-made Hubei brand each year.

Those who did not smoke enough or used brands from other provinces or overseas faced being fined or even fired.

But the government has now backtracked from the policy, after a report in a local newspaper generated criticism.



http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8033101.stm

Hiking with Mother

I hadn’t heard of the concept hiking until I moved to the US in 1996. I was fascinated by this hiking activity that everyone was talking about. What was it? What did you need to do it? I had been camping of course, but although this hiking seemed to involve an awful lot of equipment, tent or sleeping bags were not requirements.
I remember my disappointment after my very first hike, up the Diamond Head Crater.
So it’s like a…long walk, really?


Growing up in close proximity to forests, it had never occurred to me that people planned days out to walk through them, bringing picnics and purposely designed shoes. The forest was to me a shortcut to the supermarket, a playground, the arena where “Who Can Stand Longest on Top of an Ant Hill” was decided between my brother and the other boys.


The only longer walks that I remember undertaking, was when Mother dragged me off into one of the darker corners, only to announce that she was now lost and I had to lead the way. These little games of her's were designed to make sure I could always find my way back home. I am sure they contributed not only to my very good sense of direction, but also my general self-confidence.


As devoted Mother was to making sure I would never be lost, by the time my youngest sister were born, she was tired of pacing off into the woods with a feet-dragging child behind her.
It shows too! My youngest sister may be the brainiest of us, but she can get lost in broom cupboard.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

On hobbies

I have thousands of hobbies.
My whole life is a bit like 8th grade’s “Try-an-Activity Day". One week I’m a tennis player, the next a sailor, the next I’m a wine sommelier or a kick boxer.
I’ve been criticised in the past, for never sticking with anything, but I’m actually sticking with being constantly curious.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Painting

I've started painting. Oil and canvas, turpentine and mess. Mainly abstracts since I can't draw to save my life. Big, painful blurs, as I don't know the first thing about colour composition.

I sold a painting. I sold it to a guy who needed a wedding present for his brother. I've come to suspect that he doesn't like his brother much.

So I thought to myself; hey! this could be my niche.

When I got married I received a hideous wedding present from my former step-mother, a woman who doesn't like me much. It was an acceptable gift in terms of value and quality. The evil woman would know very well though, that I would crinch at the sight of a heart-decorated glass bowl.

Save-face wedding presents for people you despise is a very marketable concept. With a fancy frame added to my colour blobs, you can with a perfectly clear conscience hand it to that best friend who stole your boyfriend, or the annoyingly perfect cousin.

The paintings I can't sell, I shall simply give away to people who are too polite to say "No thanks, it's hideous".

Friday, April 24, 2009

International Kiss a Swede Day

...it only happens once a year. Make the most of it!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Crispy dog

Walkers Crisps have launched a new series of flavours. They were composed by asking the general public for suggestions, and consists of flavour combinations such as Chilli & Chocolate, Fish & Chips, Cajun Squirrel (may contain traces of nuts?).

Unfortunately I missed the call for flavours. Otherwise I would have suggested the following, which would have been big hits on the Asian market. I'm sure.

Walker's Puppies & Kittens Crisps

Walker's Jellyfish & Placenta Crisps

Walker's Shark Fin Crisps

Walker's Yellow Snow Crisps (would have an international following - it could be beer!)

Walker's Sushi Crisps

Anyway...

Main course or just a snack?

This is from a song - no idea the title, the band or anything else apart from:

"You think you are special but all you are to a polar bear is food"

Puts life in perspective.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hush!

My friend R sometimes finds it challenging to stop herself from thinking out loud.

She had recently decided to "spice things up" at home. Being a rather shy and reserved person, she was horrified at the thought of walking into the sort of shop that would normally sell the "electronic additive" she was after. A postal order from similar places was out of the question -in case the parcel would end up at the neighbours', or the return address reveal to the postman what goes on in her bedroom.

Instead she set out to search "regular" home shopping websites, thinking that sex toys are so accepted nowadays they should be available from most places.

So it was while sitting at work, searching Amazon.com, that her brain went into to talking mode and she exclaimed in frustration:

-Oh, surely a vibrator is a small home appliance!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Time to KISS A SWEDE again

I've just realised that my favourite day of the year is rapidly approaching. No matter who you are, or where you live, the INTERNATIONAL KISS A SWEDE DAY should be noted, preferably celebrated.
I'm not entirely sure when this tradition started. I'm guessing a couple of girlfriends dove into a tub of wine one night and decided to give themselves a snog-every-guy-at-the-party justification. I salute them!
It's the 24th April - mark your calendars and go search out a Swede.
I'll be in Happy Valley.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Placidity

I know! I'm just as bored as you guys are! Nothing's happening! Zip. Not a sausage.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thieving

I've never understood why the Easter Bunny brings eggs. Did he steal them from the Easter Chicken?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sometimes it takes a lion

I was 16 when I was first exposed to jazz. I had talked my teachers into sending me to a "Weekend for the Environment" course.

There I met a boy, who used to be a Svensson or Andersson or maybe Larsson, but was now Lion-island.

He had a motorbike, he was fabulous, and much older than I was. What can I say!

Lion-island took me out of the student hostel, and with the help of the fake ID I carried, took me into one of the "in-clubs" (for environmentalists) where jazz was the only item on the menu.

Being born cynical, I found Mr Lion-island just as pretentious as he was. I did like the jazz though. I still do!

Very much so.

Many years later, my father and I found jazz a common ground to get the evil stepmother out of the room.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Easter fun

Seldom has the approaching Easter holiday been so welcome. Among the four teachers in my centre 3 are suffering from a cold, 2 are in mourning, 1 is contemplating suicide after a bad break-up, 1 is finding it very difficult to cheer up the rest, 1 has back problems, 1 is tired of living in Hong Kong, 2 are tired of the students.

We are not a very cheerful bunch. 3 days to go.

Friday, April 3, 2009

What to say?

A close friend died tonight. She was hit by a car.

I know because her boyfriend used the "last dialled number" function on her mobile phone.

She rang me yesterday. I wasn't terribly busy but I didn't feel like a chat. I rejected the call. Guess how well I feel right now!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ssssssseriously?

I think Snakes on a Plane is one of the best movies ever made.
I'm not being sarcastic, I really like it. I watch it every few months crawled up in bed, laughing hysterically, scared witless and amused beyond control.
After each viewing, I carefully check under the duvet cover, under the bed and the dining table. If there are no snakes in sight I turn out the light and go to sleep. Inevitably I then wake up a few hours later, convinced something is crawling in my bed.

I'm not entirely sure why I put myself through this madness time after time. I suppose I quite like that for a few hours I can let go of all rational thought and just behave like a crazy person.
I should add perhaps that I only do this in private.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Give me a carrot

I'm putting myself through a self-imposed detox/health kick. After months of minimal energy levels and feeling under the weather, I have decided that drastic measures are required. It's fascinating how a healthy lifestyle is really very good for your health.

Labelling

R suggested that perhaps I ought to start introducing him as "my boyfriend" rather than some nondescript person I just bumped into. The conversation sent me into a complete "Wohoo, there's my bus - gotta run!" state.

Ironically, I have actually referred to him as "my boyfriend" a number of times when he's not been around. Now that we are officially adding labels, however, I can't help but feel that I'm sitting in a moving roller-coaster not entirely sure if I like speed.

Time will tell.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

You're welcome!

It's good to know that my kind are still appreciated in some places.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Did you sit on the football?

Hong Kong is getting ready for the Rugby 7s. Out in Mong Kok, students and staff return to the centre with reports of player sightings in the area. Not knowing much about the players, or the teams, or the sport for that matter, we all still rush out onto the street hoping to spot one. We're like ornithologist chasing rare breeds.
Personally, I have discovered a definite physical attraction to Pacific Islanders. A fact, you might think, that I ought to have realised some 13 years ago when I lived in Hawaii.
I can be a bit slow on the uptake.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Planet of the Danes

UK Government X-files have been released.
In them one can read that the top secret MoD Department, was in 1989 investigating the claims by a Norwich-based woman that she had had a conversation with an alien. She described the alien as having a Scandinavian accent. What the Government Department concluded did not follow the story, but I think we can be pretty certain that "the alien" was in fact a drunk Dane. It's an easy mistake to make.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Do not sponsor me

It's that time of the year again, when my mailbox fills up with "sponsor me" requests. On principle I never sponsor anyone, with anything. Not a sausage!

Why not you might wonder. Well...

1) I think the very vast majority of the physical challenges people sign up to do are stupid and ill-advised. Especially running a marathon. Why would I ever want to encourage my friends to participate in something that will damage knees and joints; not to mention hold up traffic for the better part of a day?

2) I find it immensely irritating that people have to justify their stupidity by pretending to be running for a charitable cause. It's hypocritical. No one runs a marathon for someone else. It a stupid enough thing to do for yourself, let alone for someone who isn't even around to laugh at you as you collapse on the finishing line.

3) I applaud the willingness to raise money and awareness for a charitable cause. However, if this was indeed the main motive, rather than a selfish need to feel a false sense of accomplishment, a simple donation request without attachment would do just fine. I don't understand why my friends think I am more likely to donate money because they promise to torture themselves for a few hours.

I once offered to match the total amount raised, if my friend returned the sponsor money and didn't run the marathon. I even told her I'd throw in an extra GBP20. She ran anyway.

I give monetary support to a Girls' School in Rajasthan. It is a fantastic cause where every cent goes towards building a brighter future for a few hundred girls otherwise condemned to a poverty-stricken and illiterate life. If anyone would like to give a donation, feel free to get in touch.

I promise I will not run, climb, trek or in any other way physically exert myself just because I'm passing on your money.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Moving water

The Telegraph has posted an absolute gem of a listing today with the top 20 stupid questions tourist asked by tourists.

It includes queries such as; why they built Windsor Castle on the flight path of Heathrow; if there were any undiscovered ruins in the area; who's performing in the circus on Piccadilly; and what direction north is in Australia.

S and I were recently blessed with another fantastic question of similar caliber. Discussing Victoria Harbour and the problems of flooding in HK one lovely girl asked;

- So why can they not just move the water in the harbour?

-.................Well, it's not a lake. It's part of the Pacific Ocean.

- Yeah, so can they not just shift some water to the rest of that ocean?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Too much sleep and not enough wine...no, wait!

I ended up having a very spontaneous boozing session last night and arrived at work somewhere between "still drunk" and "sobering up". At this level I laugh hysterically at pretty much everything. I also talk non-stop. I then laugh hysterically at my own jokes. It makes my students feel like superstars.

In my lesson I asked, How many letters are there in the English alphabet?

One student replied; 24, ET has gone home.
I'm still laughing.

The hangover had better kick in soon!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Career moves

- So how comes you're looking for a new job?
- Well, my job isn't very outgoing. I would like to meet more strange people.
-...you mean "strangers".
- Is there a difference?
- Rarely.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Memorising rubbish

The Thursday Night Pub Quiz is turning me into an insane person. I just checked the cricket news!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday fun

Here's a little quiz for my bored readers. It shows snapshots of computer programmers and serial killers. Your task is to guess which one is which.

Programmer or Killer?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oldest problem in the book

On my second day as a TV owner, I have been struck with an age-old problem - there is nothing to watch!

67 channels, and not one is particularly interesting. I feel cheated.

TV

I have finally given in and bought a TV. Never having been much of a TV person, I can remember every single TV I've owned.

My first TV was red and had belonged to my auntie. It was old already in 1994. Instead of a remote control I used a long stick, made out of rulers and pens duck-taped together.

My second TV was a birthday present from my friends in Russia. It was black-and-white and smelled like gasoline. In addition to being a TV, it also served as a home to Igor, my pet cockroach. It was the only TV in the corridor, so my flat became a gathering place for important events such as the Eurovision Song Contest and the Ice Hockey World Championships.

My third TV, P gave me for Christmas because he couldn't stand that coming over to my place meant missing East Enders, Coronation Street and other important soaps.

TV number 4 is now sitting in my flat. Hooked up to my CD-thingie, which is really a pretty cool sound system, I'm liking it!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Irrelevant?

Mother's attempts to have me move home and produce grandchildren has reached a new low-point. She is threatening to sign me up for the Swedish docusoap "Farmer seeks Wife".

- Are you insane? I asked her.

- But, you like animals!

- Cats and dogs, yes. I'm scared of cows!

- You'll get over it.

The future of cosmetics

The other day I bought a vibrating mascara. Well, the brush vibrates, not the mascara itself. Supposedly it gives you longer lashes. I can tell no difference. The only difference is a new-found nervousness as I am not entirely comfortable with the idea of putting a vibrating brush next to my eye.

This mascara is joining an already established line of vibrating bathroom products - toothbrushes, razors, nail files.
The next step will surely be to find solutions for making the toiletries themselves vibrate.
Vibrating Shampoo - no hands needed!
Vibrating Toothpaste - no brush needed!
Vibrating Nail polish - you're going to miss anyway!
Vibrating Body lotion...

I'm trying to keep it clean but I'm sure your filthy minds can think of less pure-of-mind applications.

Devil's in the details

It's always those little things that annoy me.

If you every day buy take-away food from the same place, and one day you arrive to work without chopsticks. When my morning cafe forgets to send along a spoon with my yoghurt. When my fresh orange juice is so clearly not fresh.

It's insignificant! I would never dream of going back to complain. It's never going to change. I will always need a spare set of chopsticks.

I feel like I've hit a wall.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Roxette

I had a complete Crash, Boom, Bang moment tonight.

Unfortunately, I ran into the same guy a few hours later when he was drunk stupid and it all turned into bang, boom, crash.

Nevermind!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Just a talking monkey now

I'm a great decision maker in business. I'm a notoriously bad decision maker in private. I therefore recently decided to outsource Marie's decision making. I thought it would make my life more enjoyable.
My friend objected:
So you have incapacitated yourself! Is this not a bit drastic? Just to avoid getting into an argument.
I don't think so. I have bananas.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Stinky the Fish

I was watching Prison Break last night, and Stinky-the-cat, who was snuggled up next to me, must have been inspired.

As I opened the front door today, Stinky launched herself past my feet and into the corridor. Once there she rushed past the lift, searching for her get-out. A minute or so later, she realised she was trapped and strolled back with a disappointed look on her little face.

I picked her up, gave her some treats and reminded her that the boys on the TV were much better prepared. I also asked if she really thought of our home as a prison.

She gave me a look that I interpreted as:

"More like a psych-ward. Dude, you're talking to a cat!"

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Talking to Mother

The beautiful thing about Mother is that when I'm taking the piss, she believes every word I say.

- There's a new stir-fried POODLE restaurant around the corner from where I live. I thought we could try it out when you get here.

- Oh, no...don't take me there. I'll cry. It's horrible! Why would they eat poodles...

However, when I am telling her the truth, she doesn't believe a word of it.

- This blog-thingie of yours. You don't write about me, do you?

- All the time.

- Yeah, yeah, sure you do!

It's a win-win situation really.

Needles and pins

- What I really need is a dirty weekend away, I confessed to my friend C yesterday. I just don't have anyone I want to be dirty with.
- Well, I can be dirty with you. How about Thailand? I was planning to go for this half-day full medical check-up in Thailand anyway.
- You want to go for a medical check-up during a dirty weekend away?
- Eh, yes...I think this is why I'm still single.

This could open up for a whole new type of package holidays. Out with couple's massage, in with side-by-side MRIs. So hot!

Breakfast TV

If you plan to eat ever again, you should not watch the following clip. S sent it to me to enjoy at breakfast.

If, like myself, you are fascinated by the Chinese complete lack of respect for animal life, then go ahead. It does give the term "fast food" a whole new meaning.

I wonder if I should send Mother a link in preparation for her Hong Kong visit?


video

Friday, February 27, 2009

Missing the point

- Missy, Missy. Can you help?

- My name is Marie.

- ??

- My name is not Missy, it's Marie.

- Oh, ok.

- How can I help?

...

- Ahhh. Thank you Missy!

- Marie.

- Yes. Thank you Missy.

- (BIG SIGH)

Stoned

We came 2nd last night, in the pub quiz. It was about time. We've been suffering through a number of 5th,6th, 7th...last places lately.
Last night also introduced me to the effects of mixing certain pharmaceuticals with alcohol. It was...interesting.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

No, not crazy...backache!

My doctor is a bit of a lunatic. I love her. Not only is she an excellent person, she is also a very liberal drug prescriber. I trust her completely (and I like prescription drugs) so I happily pop any pills she passes my way. Through a slipped disk, acute gastroenteritis and bronchitis, I have munched my way through quite a cocktail.

I recently realised though, that a drug she's prescribed on more than one occasion is an anti-depressant. I had to ask her about it; did she think I was depressed?

-No, no! she replied. But, we all get a bit down when we're not feeling well. The pills will help you relax, sleep a bit better and recover faster.

There was a logic in this. I could accept it.

Suffering from back pain again, I went to see my crazy, beloved GP this morning. Handing me a bag-full of anti-inflammatories she added:

That's all I can do without giving you something that will knock you out. Do you want something that will knock you out? I can sign you off work for a few days.

I must admit that I was really tempted to slip into a drug induced coma for a few days. Work-guilt, however, made me pass on the offer.

-What about at night though? she continued. I'll give you something that will make you sleep really well. Don't take it before you're in bed - it's fast acting...and probably best not to drink alcohol.

-Is this another psychopharma?

- Yes, it's GREAT!

Having googled it, I am pleased to inform you that for the next week I will be sleeping on a highly addictive muscle relaxant, normally prescribed for severe anxiety, but with some pleasant sedative/hypnotic effects. It is also a strong amnesiac so I don't expect to remember much of the week ahead.

Can't wait until bedtime!

Why dead?

I try to anticipate my students' replies and reactions. I often get it right...not always.

To practise improvised story-telling, I typed up a number of silly questions. One read:

"Why are you walking around with a dead fish?"

I expected the story to revolve around why they had A FISH in their hand. Instead, every single student focused on the fact that the fish was DEAD.

Fish mongers in Hong Kong sell fish from tanks, poured into water-filled plastic bags where it can happily (?) swim about until cooking time. An already dead fish would warrant complaints. Silly me!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Events of the weekend...

I found out that it's illegal to own a pet dog in Reykjavik.

I laughed at S's insistence on calling waiting staff "my dear", be it a male or female waiter.

I OTTed on hiking again.

I decided to spend Easter with C in Sing-a-ling.

That was all!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Schadenfreude

Grandmother claims that the only true happiness is the one that comes from taking pleasure in other people's misfortune.

Japanese scientists have now proven Grandmother right (well,-ish). It was previously believed that schadenfreude belonged in the same brain area as jealousy. Instead it's our pleasure centre, the one that's stimulated by sex and good food, that lights up when we are enjoying the failures of others.

So, for those of us who are expecting neither sex nor good food today, here's something to light up our brains with.

People falling over

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Vrummmmmm

I'm going to the TOP GEAR LIVE SHOW on Sunday. I'm excited as a virgin on prom night.

I am also a bit apprehensive (not unlike the virgin I would imagine) seeing as I know exactly nil about cars. If the show somehow involves the audience, I am destined to be dragged up on stage. They always pick on me - in concerts, at Disneyland...

I like looking at cars. I like riding in cars. I think that it's cool when a cool guy has a cool car. Outside of that, I don't pay attention. I don't know how to drive them and have therefore never owned one. My knowledge of cars ends somewhere around being able to change a tyre (I know I can do this because I have once).

Back when I was "we" and "we" owned a car, I was asked what kind of car we owned.
-It's red; I would say, not in any way trying to act funny.

If, on Sunday, I am pulled up on stage and asked about my favourite car, I have decided to go with a BLUE VOLVO - because blue is pretty and Volvo is Swedish.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mother's going travelling

Mother is travelling to Australia in March, with a very quick stop in Hong Kong.

From having been at least moderately adventurous, Mother has of late developed a fear of the unknown. For months, she has desperately been trying to find an excuse why she can't possibly undertake this journey- from consulting doctors for her dicky heart, to complaining about the cost.

I think she has actually convinced herself that the trip will kill her off. In her true morbid spirit, she's therefore found it appropriate to phone around to all her kids detailing her newly drawn last will and testament. Adding "is there anything else that you'd like from the house". As all my siblings are used to Mother's insanity by now, I think we all answered something like: "Funny you should mention it. I have been thinking about this since I heard that you were going to Australia. I have a list. It's quite long..."

Other comments made recently:

- About that clear plastic bag. How am I going to be able to use the deodorant if I have to keep in the clear plastic bag? I will have to take it out - will they know if I do that? What happens if they find out?

- I am just going to stay in your flat. I don't want to walk around in Hong Kong. I don't want to catch something. I'll just stay at home with the cats.

- Ok, ok. I suppose I can leave the flat but I am not eating in any restaurants. God knows what they'll serve me. I don't want to eat Poodle!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cheap as chips

As a result of the financial crisis, Honkians are selling their private club memberships at bargain prices!



A bulle anyone?

An Australian Marine has been attacked by a shark in Sydney Harbour (while diving). He lived, but that's not why I'm relaying the story.

I read about this in a Swedish newspaper. Reading it, I thought to myself how nice it is when words are directly translatable. The man was a attacked by a bull shark - in Swedish, a tjurhaj. I then started thinking what I might have called it, had I not now known that it's tjurhaj. The most likely option was bullhaj.

Bull, or bulle, is Swedish for cinnamon bun. Suddenly I could picture the shark swimming around with a big tray of buns, offering the other fishes.

The shark looked a bit like Mother.

Check-up

September time last year, I told myself to take a year off from making decisions.

Not because my decisions up to that point had been bad. In fact, I can honestly say that I have not regretted anything I've ever done or not done in my life. I do, however, think that I jumped before I could fly. So, I reckoned a year of crawling would do wonders.

Being half-way through a year of crawling, I am bored! (as you all expected me to be)! But, I am still having an awful lot of fun.

I need to fly again. though. Not today...but soon!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

No need for slalom

I'm not an adrenaline junkie. I love new experiences and new sights. However, if they involve risking my neck in some way or another, I am happy giving it a miss. This might surprise my frequent readers, but the truth is that I get my kicks in other ways.

I told CH about my plans for another India trip this year. He replied:

India is cool. I like the idea of going to a country where a glass of water or a vegetable can kill you. That's so unlikely in France. Boring. In India I could kill my boss with a tomato!

...and that's spot on the kind of experience that gives me a new lease of life.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cantonese 101

ding (v) - to heat food using a microwave. 'Ok to ding'. 'I'm just going to ding it'.
ding ding (n) - a tram. 'Please stop at the ding ding terminal'. 'I'm taking the ding ding to work today'.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Apodysophilia

One problem, living with two cats, is that at any given point in time, there's an infinite amount of cat hair covering just about everything in my flat. Even after hours of vacuuming, when every possible surface is sparkling clean, there's still cat hair lingering around in the air.

This makes it pretty much impossible to leave my flat cat hair free. One tactic, which works reasonably well, is to wait to the very last minute before putting clothes on.

THIS is the reason why my neighbours can enjoy frequent peep shows. It has very little to do with my exhibitionist side.

Fallacy

A HK newspaper recently reported that a famous local pianist had been arrested under suspicion of domestic violence.

He had responded that, as everyone knows, artists do not hit people, so he couldn't possibly be guilty.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wraith or wine

I'm not even embarrassed to admit that last night I chose to watch 4 back-to-back episodes of Stargate SG-1 over popping down to my local.

...well, maybe a little bit.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cause and effect

- Are you scared of snakes?, I asked the student who had just declared himself fearless.
- No, no. I eat snakes.
- Yes, of course, silly me! All kinds of snakes, or do you have a preference?
- Those big ones, that strangles goats.
- Pythons.
- Yes. I had two bowls of python soup every day for 3 years.
- Wow, you must really like python soup.
- No, it's not very nice but it will clear up acne.
- How old were you when you did this?
- Between 15 and 18.
- So when you stopped eating python soup at 18, your acne had cleared up.
- Yes, amazing.
- Yes. New vocabulary to look up: puberty

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Revelations

Tonight I was told that:
"Now that I've talked to you, I've realised that you're not just a piece of meat. There's actually more to you than just a beautiful face and fantastic breasts."

I really wish someone would take it upon themselves to educate men in the art of picking-up.

Friday, January 30, 2009

I knew it!


Optimism

One pub quiz question last night was:

If you are standing south of the tropic of capricorn and looking at the sun - does the sun move from your left to right or from your right to left?

When the answer was revealed, a girl at the table next to us could be heard saying "At least we came close!"

Tallest vs dumbest

I recently read an interview with Bao Xishun, the world's tallest, living man. The first question was:
- Have you always been this tall?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Disillusioned

If a man tells a woman that he's not interested in anything but hanging out, having a few drinks and a chat, we (well, at least I) will take that for what it is - a drink and a chat.

In HK, if a woman tells a man the same thing, she immediately turns into the fox of a hunting party.

I enjoy talking to you but I don't want to lead you on. I don't do married men. So, nothing is going to happen. Nothing. Really. No, really!

And yet they keep pursuing.

Hong Kong is an infidelity buffet, and I'm most definitely a vegetarian.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Speaking of cats (I only have 2)

...have I told you that Stinky ate my goldfish? I arrived home one day to find the fish tank empty and a very pleased Stinky sitting next to it, licking her paws. She gave me a guilty look saying: "What? It wasn't me. It was like this when I got here, man!".

The fish were called Lunch and Breakfast. I suppose they were doomed from the start.

How to kill a pick-up

- I'm sorry, I said. I've seen you around but we haven't said hello.

- I know, he replied. I see you all the time.

- Oh.

- Like this morning. Were you wearing your pjs?

- Ehh. Well, it was a matter of life and death.

- How?

- I had a no-cat-food crisis at home. My cats are seriously scary when they're hungry.

- How big are your cats?

- Smaller than average.

- How many do you have?

- 54

[Mental note to myself: must stop walking around in pjs]

Monday, January 26, 2009

A dim sum breakthrough

There's a nasty little dim sum restaurant just a quick hop and skip from my front door. It is run by an evil-looking Chinese woman, who speaks no English and shows an apparent contempt for Gweilos.
I speak no Canto at all, but it's not hard to figure out that the shouting that follows my every take-away order is about me. I'm guessing it's something like:
-That big freak is in here again. Just look at her, her feet are enormous. And what's with the dim sum order at 9.30pm? No one eats dim sum at night. Those Gweilos are so bloody stupid.

In the beginning, I stood idly by as this abuse was going on. The last few weeks though I have been shouting back in the spirit of:
-Yeah, yeah! I know you're talking about me, just get me my order. Come on, hurry up!

This morning, as I popped in to get some early lunch, I was surprised to see the place full of Gweilos. My evil Chinese woman was standing in the corner looking miserable. That was until she saw me. A great big smile spread across her face. From the other side of the room, and in perfect English, she shouted:
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday fun

The recipe for a good disaster movie is:

- One gung-ho fireman/field researcher/police officer.
- One misunderstood scientist, played by a former 90210 cast member.

These two will have a past and therefore not want to work together. Old sparks will ignite however; as we all know, saving the world makes people horny.


- The kid of one of the above – for someone to save.
- One politician to make an unpopular decision and one politician who will refuse to (the latter will not survive the disaster).
- One natural disaster with potential to wipe out THE WHOLE WORLD (which means the US).


In addition it must be at least 5 hours long.


One of my many dark secrets is that I love spending a whole day watching this rubbish! With a 4-day holiday coming up I will be watching the WORLD (US) almost being wiped out by an asteroid, a hurricane, an earthquake, a super storm, another earthquake and erratic plate movements.
In that order.

Night out

It would be highly unfair to call Mother a racist. She doesn't really like anyone. In particular, she resents the idea of one of her daughters ending up with a Muslim. TV says that's bad!

I can't help winding her up though.

- So you're going out with a boy tonight?

- Yep

- Where's he from?

- Not telling

- So he's Chinese.

- No

- So he's Swedish.

- No

- Why won't you tell me?

- Ok, he's from Afghanistan.

- WHAT!!! ARE YOU CRAZY? HAVE YOU NOT SEEN "WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER"?

- I'm just messing with you. He's from Pakistan.

- WHAT!!! ARE YOU.....

Bless her, so predictable (he was Scottish, don't tell Mum).

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy New Year again

Every time someone says Kung Hei Fat Choi to me, I get this urge to reply:
What did you just call me??

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Stalking in reverse

I have one student that I like more than the others. He's incredibly smart, well-spoken and, I must admit, rather easy on the eye. Every Monday when I check what students have signed up, I look out a bit extra for his name. If he's not on my list, I switch classes with a co-worker. This means I see him quite often. Last time, I couldn't help but utter:

-You again! If I didn't know better, I'd think you're stalking me.

Other stalkers could learn from this: make sure the stalkee thinks he or she is the one following you!

My manager thinks I need to get out more.

I should add, perhaps, that I teach grown-ups. This particular student is in his mid-30s.

Still a sucker for a compliment

Snaskefar has paid me another compliment on his blog. I'm guessing he was just stuck for ideas that day but it still makes me as happy as a little a pig in the sunshine.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Love. part 2

Queen of Lalaland asked me if I was doing another street-sweep for comatosed men tonight.

Nothing good ever happens after 2am

I've stolen this quote from some rubbish American sitcom, but no matter! For the past year of being a singleton, I have lived by this!

The bottom line is, if you haven't made your move by 2am, you might as well leave it for another day. If you have made your move and you're still waiting for something good to happen, it's not going to.

So just go home, tomorrow's another day.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Love

Walking home from my local tonight I found a man sleeping in the street. This is unusual for Happy Valley. I reacted. Upon further examination I discovered that he was a Gweilo, so a clear case of booze overindulgence. I woke him up. Got him back unto his feet. Walked him for a some 50 m. Stuck with him as he threw up, then asked him where he lived.

Some 5 min later he was still unable to tell me. So I said:
- It's bloody cold outside, you can crash at my place.

The reply was the first thing he had said to me so far and the sweetest I have ever heard from a drunk-off-my-face man:

-But, I'm married.

I was saved from having to tell him, that not even if I hit the deepest darkest place of desperation would I pick up a next-to-unconscious man, by my barman, who thankfully swooped in and took over.

Despite the obvious objections, the incident did instill me with some new faith in men.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tasty

Monday I was in charge of a cheese tasting evening for my students. This evening I took care of wine tasting. Since I've made sure to take home the left overs, I now have 15 types of cheese and 6 half-drunk bottles of wine. I'm having quite a little party here by myself!

American bashing part 3

When I lived in Russia, Yank tourists would often stop me outside the underground station on Nevskij Prospect to ask for directions to the Hermitage. Nevskij Prospekt is a 4 km long road, at which the Hermitage lies on one end. The underground station where I was approached is about 800m from the Hermitage. At least three times I gave directions emphasising that the museum is at the VERY END of the road, then pointing to the opposite end of Nevskij Prospect. Off they went, happily.

I have an evil streak in me!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Niceness

I've been out way past my bedtime tonight for the only reason that a man in my local bar paid me so many compliments that I couldn't possibly leave. It seems that I am intelligent, slightly insane and unbelievably beautiful.

I do like being told all of the above. No hanky-panky followed...but I'm feeling sexy!

Rolling stones

I haven't received updates one way or another but I do believe that my beloved cousin is now a vicar. I am so proud of her. I am proud of her because she's my family but more so for the way she interacts and help people. The Church of Sweden are lucky t0 have her. (she's hot so she could have done very well in porn as well!!)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Don't get between the Chinese and their food

My students were asked to tell the storyline of a movie.

-It's a really sad movie. It's about a boy, who's a robot. He has no mother. He has no father. He can't eat or drink...

- WHAT!! He can't EAT??

Monday, January 5, 2009

Your name is WHAT? part 3

I have a new student. He's Crap.

World's best

On my teaching roster for the next few weeks, my Friday mornings are scheduled for "PROJECT" rather than lessons. "PROJECT" is my manager's way of saying "I know you'll have a stinking hangover after your Thursday night pub quiz so you can sleep in if you want to".

Smallest little place in the world

So last night I found out that my friend J, who is friends with M, is also a friend of S's, who has met M on more than one occasion. My world is shrinking.

New Year's resolutions

I know, it's passe but I just can't help myself. I suppose it's the self-reflection that comes with every end-of -the-year that makes me want to at least attempt to be a better person. The reality though, is that I pretty much like myself the way I am...plus, I'm lazy.
Nevertheless, here's my list of self-improvement(s) for 2009.

1. Get out of bed before 8 am. Opening my eyes to locate the laptop does not count.
2. Go to bed before midnight. Watching The West Wing in bed until 2.30 am does not count.
3. Eat breakfast every day, at least once (every day).
4. Stop thinking of 7 Eleven as a supermarket.
5. Reply to emails and text messages.
6. At least consider trying an illegal substance if offered (I mean, come on!! I'm 32 and squeaky clean!).
7. Make some sort of decision with regards to "what happens next" (to please Mother).

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I'm back

There were flowers waiting for me when I got back. Talk about having the world's best cat sitter!