Monday, January 26, 2009

THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD!!!

If you haven't already heard about this amazing publicity stunt by Tourism Queensland, you can check out the website HERE. They have created a new position as Island Caretaker for the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef, which basically turns into a PR job as the lucky employee will be sent around the various islands while they blog about the whole experience. So they have essentially turned this job application into a global contest as people around the world upload videos explaining why they should have this job. Brilliant marketing. Brilliant. Their site has crashed at least once (when the press release was first announced) because of the major traffic it created. You can watch the latest applicants' videos, see pictures of the islands (particularly Hamilton Island where the "office" is located...and by office I mean 3-bedroom, rent-free home with a pool). It's only a 6 month position but it pays $150,000 Aus. dollars and involves a lot of writing, picture-taking, some occasional videos and a few moments with the press. Seriously, someone would PAY ME to do this job? Obviously there are a lot of people in the world who really do think this is "the best job in the world" (I think so far they've had around 10,000 videos sent in) and I happily agree with them. And you better believe I am applying. I'm taking advantage of the fact that my husband works for himself from home and we can be fairly mobile. He can still work, I can blog...basically sounds like our set-up right now, to be honest. With the amount of publicity they're getting it's turning into something akin to winning the lottery, but this doesn't cost me a dime so I'm happy to give them my video, shamelessly self-promote on my blog and Facebook page, and cross my fingers.
video

Friday, January 23, 2009

bugged


I was tagged by my sweet s-i-l Min for a "bugged" tag, so I get to vent about 10 things that "bug" me. I'm kinda' grumpy this morning, so this should be cathartic.

  1. Ants in my kitchen. Well, ants anywhere, for that matter. (funny, considering the picture that goes with this post)

  2. Dust bunnies on the floor - especially after I've just swept it!!

  3. Inconsiderate drivers (i.e. don't let people merge, don't signal, take 2 parking spots...)

  4. My husband leaving his clothes on the floor. (Ahem! But I still love you, sweetie.)

  5. Grown women who gossip. Seriously, grow up.

  6. People who smoke. You smell. Bad.

  7. The fact that I can't find the battery charger for the video camera when we just used it 2 weeks ago.

  8. The love-fest for Obama going on in the States. He's not the Messiah, people.

  9. Strangers who try to hold my kids in public. In know it's cute, but it's mine. Just because I like your purse doesn't mean I'm going to pick it up and walk around to see how it looks on my arm. And this is my KID. I like it more than you like your purse.

  10. My "clean" clothes coming out of the washing machine with tiny blobs of leaves/mud all over them.


OK, not surprisingly, I don't feel better. I think I need to counteract that with a "not-bugged" post...or maybe we could call it 10 Things That Make Me "Buzz" With Delight...or something.

  1. Playing peek-a-boo with my one year old. Especially when she does it upside-down between her legs.

  2. Wrestling with my kids.

  3. Wrestling with my husband.(Especially when he lets me win.)

  4. The fact that I can do 10 push-ups without breaking a sweat.

  5. Having a house. And a yard. And a blow-up pool.

  6. Books to read on my nightstand.

  7. Listening to my 2 year old sing "I Am A Child of God" or "Families Can Be Together Forever" to himself.

  8. Wearing sandals 365 days a year.

  9. Making up "green ball" stories for bedtime.

  10. Fresh mangoes all the time.


OK, I feel better, I need to go play with my kids now. I highly recommend making a list of your own! (Whichever one will make you feel better.)

odds & ends.

so, emily started sort of walking today. (!!!) that's right, give it up for the baby of the house. she took a dozen or so tentative steps at different times of the day and i'm pretty sure once she gets started she'll NEVER STOP MOVING UNTIL SHE DIES AN OLD WOMAN so i'm not in any hurry to help her along.

in other news, i think i found my new favorite website tonight. if you like indian food, click HERE and i think you'll likey.

finally, i want to say i am thankful for underground water tanks that are close to the surface so that in the afternoon sun it naturally heats up the water and i can actually have warm water to wash dishes in my kitchen!

that is all for now.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chinese Wedding

A few days after Christmas Michael and I were able to escape our little monsters (THANK YOU, MIOW LIN!!!!!) and attend the wedding feast of some kids from church. They were actually married a year ago, but they moved to BYU-Hawaii right away and for some reason there was never a formal affair. The groom is from an Indian family, but apparently this event was all about the bride (whose family is Chinese) because the whole thing was done Chinese style. Which, for my intents & purposes, was perfect because I already blogged about an Indian wedding. I'd hate to get all repetitive here.

So Michael & I went a little early and had fun walking around City Square Mall which is nearly abandoned because it is being renovated (translation: completely demolished) in a few weeks. We found a tiny shop with Chinese curios and bought an awesome green vase and some souvenirs for the guys in our family and then quickly made our way to the Flower Drum Restaurant, where the reception was being held. Now, having lived here for so long, we should have known that it wouldn't start on time. We always know that NOTHING starts on time. Ever. We even snuck munchies into my purse in case we had to wait 2 hours like we did at the last wedding. But we still decided to show up on time. Here's why: the invitation asked us to be there at 7:00pm SHARP. Seriously, it said that. But, of course, here is what happened:

And it was at least another 45 minutes after taking this picture before anything even started.

A little worried at this point, I sent an SMS to our wonderful babysitter to say that we hadn't even started yet and she replied, "It's a Chinese wedding. I don't expect you back until at least midnight." Bless her. But seriously, someone should have told us that.

Oh, and here is Dolly, the fabulous mother of the groom who MADE me get an Indian punjabi suit to wear to a Chinese wedding. She's wearing a gorgeous sari, which is infinitely more formal than my punjabi suit, and she looked fabulous as the mother of the groom.


The punjabi suit is basically a long top (about to the knees) with leggings underneath. Here is a better picture of the design.

It's also supposed to have a sort of scarf with it (I think it may be called a "pantar"??? but I need to verify that), but I had my suit made in only 3 days by a woman whose only English were the days of the week and the number 35 (the amount in Ringgitt that she charged me). That is an entirely different post for a different day. Long story short, I didn't get my scarf.
But anyhoo, if I could ever get away with wearing it anywhere, I would totally have a sari made. Unfortunately, I believe you also need a degree in Engineering to tie the thing. Apparently it's quite a process. I think she only demanded that I wear the punjabi because she didn't want to be the ONLY Indian influence at her son's wedding feast. One of my favorite lines of the night came when we told her the menu looked delicious (menu picture below) and she screwed up her nose at me and said, sort of disgustedly, "It's all Chinese food," and walked away. Michael and I laughed for 10 minutes after that.

So we were pretty excited, looking at the menu, and deciding what we'd each order so that we could have tastes of each other's plates, when our friends the Friends (heh-heh, I bet they never get tired of hearing that) informed us that we would be receiving the ENTIRE menu. NINE courses. Whoa, maybe we should have held back on those munchies.


And these are the Friends...Tracy had also been politely coerced into wearing a punjabi so at least we had each other.

(At some point in the evening they informed us that their kids had received Rock Band for Christmas, at which I squealed impolitely and almost fainted...but they must have forgiven me because they invited us over later to play. We accepted. It rocked.)

Anyway, in case you can't read the small print way at the top of the menu, the first course is translated as "Flower Drum Five Happiness" which was pretty correct because it was all happiness and yumminess. Each platter was served for our entire table of 9 people, none of us Chinese. I don't remember what ANYTHING was (the dangers of blogging too late after the fact) but the one on the right is sitting on a sort of sour bread that was fabulous and I think the bottom one was pork. Nice appetizers.


This next dish is "Braised Shark's Fin Soup with Eight Treasure Seafood"...not sure what the eight treasures are, but this was a surprisingly tasty & rich soup. If there are any environmentalists reading this please don't send me any hatemail. I didn't order this, it was just brought to my table. And I wanted to try it. So sue me. (Just kidding, please don't.) Knowing there were SEVEN MORE COURSES ahead I found it sufficient to sip about a quarter cup, just to say I had tried shark's fin soup and wait for the next dish.


Next up on the list, "Barbecued Suckling Piglet in Hong Kong Style" which initially had me drooling because I am deprived of pork too often and now crave it constantly. However, upon arrival of the dish I sort of lost my appetite for it.

If the glassy eyes weren't enough, check out this killer profile.

Honestly, the look wasn't enough to deter me, but once we started turning over those nicely sliced pieces, we realized someone had removed all the meat--on PURPOSE. That's right, just a nice plate of pig skin and fat. Now, I am the first to admit that skin & fat are absolutely desirable on a piece of meat. They add invaluable flavor to a dish. But the flavoring isn't supposed to be eaten on its own! Period. We only hoped that this meat wasn't wasted but perhaps used in our first dish with the yummy pork appetizer. Our Chinese friends at the neighboring table were thrilled, however, when they realized we were not going to finish this delicacy and so were only too happy to pass it over. I'm pretty sure they literally licked the platter clean.


We were extremely pleased with the next dish on the menu: "Steamed Pomfret with Superior Soya Sauce". This fish was amazingly tender and flavorful. As a plus, I didn't find a single bone, which is sort of a pet peeve of mine when eating fish. Or any meat, for that matter.


"Deep Fried Tiger Prawns with Butter and Garlic"...how could you EVER go wrong with this? I am positive I ate more of these than anyone at the table, and that included two grown men. Our table-neighbors tried to steal these, too, when they thought we were done, but I was only at a lull in my eating and nearly took off someone's hand when they got near the plate. LOVE PRAWNS. I think I need a bumpersticker with that phrase.


"Braised Sliced Abalone with Assorted Mushrooms Vegetables"
At this point I was getting uncomfortably full (feeling like I had just eaten my weight in prawns) so really only nibbled on some broccoli.


"Fried Rice with Assorted Meat in Lotus Leaf"...that pretty well sums up this rice dish (and I was so full by this point that I could hardly eat another thing, much less a RICE dish) but if you know the wonderful, floral flavor of lotus, you'll know why I ate it anyway.


And for dessert? How about some "Sweetened Red Bean Paste with Glutinous Dumplings" (shown at top of photo in the tureen & bowls) AND "Sweet Double Delights" on the plate. The round balls on the left of the plate are one of my favorite little treats, a sort of sweet, fried dough rolled in toasted sesame seeds. The flat bread on the left wasn't nearly as good, tasting more of cooking oil than anything else. No matter, the sesame balls were the perfect end to this (overly) satisfying meal.


And to finish everything off, I WAS going to post a video showing the "toasts" made to the bride & groom...but after 5 FAILS with the uploading I'm tossing it. But I will tell you that the toasts consisted of the bridal party visiting EACH table in the hall one by one (with probably at least 25 tables in total) to basically play a drinking game. Everyone would shout progressively louder & louder, end with a hurrah, and take a shot. Good times. And this was AFTER dinner, so people had been drinking for about 3+ hours by this point, and I'm sure most guests were completely hammered. This prompted our other favorite quote of the night...one of the emcees stood up and said:

"Remember, don't drink and drive! But if you HAVE to drive...DRIVE SLOW."

Seriously, you can't make this stuff up. (*wipes tear*)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

rental woes.

OK, no Chinese wedding yet (i'm sorry tracy! they just won't load!!) but our contractor just gets funnier and funnier so we have to share. He actually sent work-men to our house to fix the air conditioner in our room today (yay!!!), of course that was after the landlord had finally phoned him and I'd called him twice within a few hours. The funny part is that each time, after I asked about the air-con workers I tried to ask if he'd talked to the plumber and both times he just said dismissively, "OK, OK..." and hung up. Seriously, hung up. Wait, it gets better.

For over 6 weeks we've been trying to get him to come fix plumbing issues. Some clogged drains, some loose faucets, a non-flushing toilet...and these are all things for a specialist so of course he can't come do it himself. He needs the plumber. Well, first he told us that the man he uses as a plumber had to go back to Indonesia for visa reasons (translation: illegal immigrant). Oh, you say it should only be a few days, maybe a week? OK, no worries, it's not really my problem, just get someone else. No, no, apparently that is not possible. Apparently it is only feasible to work with one plumber and not make any attempts to contact another one, regardless of how long someone is having to open their toilet tank and lift the flushing mechanism by hand so that they can use the toilet!

OK, so it's a little inconvenient, but it's not like we're using an outhouse. We can manage...so we wait. After a week or two we try again. No, there's been some problems, he's still in Indonesia. OK, so now I'm ticked and I insist that you find someone else to come fix it. TOMORROW. "OK, OK..." he says dismissively, and hangs up. Three days come and go, no contact. We have our Chinese friend call him, hoping that if she can communicate to him in his native language the message will get through. "OK, OK, I come look tomorrow." Fine. Thank you. Tomorrow comes & goes with no word. So we wait.

Now, it's getting to be Christmas holidays. We wait a few more weeks and decide to try again. "Sorry, sorry, no plumber, he is sick." Ummm, OK, so he's back from Indonesia but he's sick. Can you please call someone else? "I only have one plumber. He is sick. He has smallpox." I'm sorry, my ears must be ringing, can you say that again? It sounded like you said he has smallpox? "Yes, yes, he has smallpox." Well, I'm certainly thrilled that you only work with this ONE plumber and will wait until he GETS OVER SMALLPOX SO THAT HE CAN COME INTO OUR HOUSE and fix our toilet. Yes, thank you. On second thought, I don't really mind flushing my toilet this way, it's sort of quaint. We won't be bothering you again.

Monday, January 12, 2009

posts coming

I am trying to write about a Chinese wedding we went to a couple of weeks ago but my computer is taking FOREVER to upload pictures and there are a lot. A LOT. There was a ton of food and we took pics of EVERY DISH. Plus there is a sweet video that I need to upload, but that just may end up taking DAYS to do so...

In the meantime I am sitting in my un-airconditined room because our air-con pooped out on us this morning and we have a useless contractor who is on retainer by our landlords and is supposed to fix problems like this but we can NEVER get a hold of him and are still waiting on a plumbing problem we talked to him about almost 6 WEEKS ago. Argh. So I'm off to a sweaty, sleepless night. About half of the pictures from the wedding are uploaded so please be patient, grasshopper.

Also in the meantime, here is parenting tip #461...if you are trying to get your toddler to stop screaming at you while you are in the shower, it may or may not be a good idea to open the shower door and spray the child with the shower nozzle. There is the possibility it will make you feel better, even giggle a little, but the child may not take it so well. Make your choice wisely.
That is all.

Friday, January 09, 2009

ew.

I read this headline in a Malaysian newspaper today...

Limp U.S. porn industry seeks federal bailout

At first I thought it was a joke (as the writer obviously intended) but when I realized it was not...well, it made me throw up in my mouth a little. Hopefully only a PR stunt from the porn industry, and aside from the neverending supply of dirty puns, this only made me too aware how much of a closer watch I need to keep on what is going on in politics in the United States. I know we're not currently living there, but we still pay taxes and that is still my money floating around. I still want my children to be raised there and be proud to be American, not embarrassed by those with the biggest voices because they have the most money.

I really have more to say on this, but I'm afraid it will end up sounding trite and insincere. If this ridiculous stunt ever does become a bill submitted to Congress you will definitely hear more about it from me and hopefully a lot of irate citizens writing to their Congressmen. That is all.

readers