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Archive for March, 2007

Boracay, ahoy!

We leave tonight at 1:20 am (I wonder who’s the brains behind that brilliant departure time on Cebu Pacific Air?). We’re packing light, because apparently you’re only allowed 10kg on the little prop plane from Manila to Caticlan (plus, I’ve heard you have to wade in the water to get from the ferry to the island). Thanks to all the wonderful help from my new friends (especially Nina!), I’m sure this trip will be fantastic! Pictures and stories as soon as we get back, of course!

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Where in the world?

I just had a short chat with a good friend that lives in the UK (previously he’s lived in the US and Korea), and he happened to mention that he likes the UK, but “there are better places.” Now I’m curious:

Where would you live, if you could live anywhere?

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Brushes with the law

To prepare for our move to Thailand, I need to apply for a Criminal Clearance Record. We were advised to do this as soon as possible, either in our current home or our country of origin. Given my lack of understanding of all things beaurocratic here in Malaysia (basically everything requires a chop (stamp), the costs of which vary by some unknown law), I’m opting to apply for mine from the State of Connecticut, which is officially a Letter of Good Conduct. Fancy. Now, obviously I expect all of this go quite smoothly, although I have had one very, very slight brush with the law.

The year after I graduated university, and was working as a Property Manager in Farmington, CT, I accidentally (and very gently, I might add) rear-ended the car in front of me at the stop sign just outside my old (and absolutely beautiful apartment) in Manchester. The guy in front of me had completely stopped, and then started to drive away, so I took my foot off the brake (I did not step on the gas). At the same time, he slammed on his brake and I bumped him. In the US if you rear-end someone it’s your fault, no matter how it happened so I freaked out a little bit.

The driver of the other car was Eastern European (I am not making any generalizations here, but he wasn’t a very good representative for his part of the world) and he did not want me to call the cops or my insurance company. Pretty soon after I started talking to him I figured out it was a scam and he was just looking for some (probably young, impressionable) American to pay him off. He kept claiming that my insurance would go way up if I called in the accident and that I was better off just giving him $500 or something crazy (there were no scratches or dents). So, being a complete goody goody (and now kind of scared of this strange man), I called the cops and the insurance company. The cops had a few questions and then told me not to pay him any money at all, to get 3 quotes for the non-existent scratches, and pay the repair shop directly.

The guy ended up calling my house every day for weeks trying to get me to give him money. Finally I called the cops myself in an attempt to get him to stop calling me. I never paid him a cent, he never sent me a bill, he just disappeared. It was totally bizarre. And the insurance company didn’t raise my bill at all. So there, Mr. Eastern European scam artist.

Then, of course I have a speeding ticket or two, but that’s about it. Let’s hope this all adds up to a clean criminal record.

Have you had any brushes with the law?

Image 1: http://www.joburg.org.za/images/stop-sign.jpg
Image 2: http://www.fotosearch.com/comp/IMZ/IMZ001/ski0082.jpg

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Thirsty

Lately I have found myself drinking glass after glass of cold water. Unfortunately I prefer the bubbly kind so it isn’t as satisfying as it could be. I can’t tell if it’s the hot weather or the food I’m eating, but I’ve only been this consistently thirsty once before – when I was visiting Alex’s parents in Colorado. I think it was pretty dry up there near the Rockies, so I’m not really sure why I’m so thirsty lately. But, my constant running to the toilet, combined with last week’s PhotoHunt topic, has prompted me to think about my favorite thirst quenchers:

My absolute favorite has to be Thai lemon soda – it’s not actually soda, it’s fresh lime juice, sugar syrup (which you add yourself) and fizzy water – always served with ice. So refreshingly sweet and sour! I am definitely looking forward to our move to Bangkok and the constant availability of this tasty, tasty drink.

Here in Malaysia, I would say I have two favorites: iced lemon tea and lime juice. The iced lemon tea is similar to iced tea in the US, but with lots and lots of lemon to make it a bit sour. Sometimes you get lucky and they basically fill up the glass with sliced lemon. Yum. The lime juice here is similar to the lemon soda in Thailand, but no fizz. It can be very sweet, or very sour, depending on where you buy it. In Chinese restaurants, you can also get lime juice with sour plum which is absolutely delicious. It could only be better if it was fizzy.

Back in Germany, my favorite drink is johannisbeerschorle – cassis berry juice mixed with fizzy water. Any sort of fruit juice can be mixed with fizzy water to make a schorle in Germany. I almost always chose a fruit schorle over beer (remember, I’m not a big drinker). Although I did occasionally enjoy a nice cold radler – kind of like a beer shandy – part lemon soda, part helles beer. It usually gave me a headache because of the sugar and the alcohol, but I guess I prefer the sweetness of the lemon soda in my beer.

At home in the States it would have to be fizzy lemonade – that gourmet kind you can only find in “fancy” grocery stores and restaurants. When I visit Stew Leonard’s, I always buy the fizzy pink lemonade. I think they pretend that it’s from France, but it’s probably made in New York.

What’s your favorite thirst quencher?

Image 1: http://www.khiewchanta.com/images/lemon-soda.jpg
Image 2: http://www.odenwald-quelle.de/produkte/images/schorle-johannisbeer.jpg

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1999

The year I graduated from college. Also the year I stopped really listening to new music. Why is that? Why do we stop being interested in varied things when we start to “grow up”? As a teenager, you watch your parents and think about how lame they are, how they can’t keep up with the times, how they just don’t understand you. You never think that you will end up just like them. But when I hear my students listening to music, my first thought is: that’s just a rip of of (insert my favorite band name here), do they even know about (insert other favorite band names here)?

I remember when I first watched Clueless and Travis Birkenstock is realizing that the music his parents listen to was actually “cool” back in the day. He says something like “So the way I feel about The Rolling Stones is how my kids are gonna feel about Nine Inch Nails?” Yikes. That’s totally me.

In recent weeks Alex and I have discovered, thanks to the many invitations from our friend Mr. G, the (and I really hesitate to use this word) underground music scene here in KL. We’ve started going to some avant garde concerts to watch Robert perform, and in the process, have started meeting some interesting people. They’re adults, just like us, but they’re totally into music – still. One of the guys I met a few weeks ago was asking me what my favorite bands are and I could not think of a single “current” band that I could list as my favorite. They’re all groups from the late ’90s. Yep, this is how the process starts. You get older, but your tastes stay the same…

I have to admit, part of my problem is my deep-seeded hatred for myspace. I can not stand those poorly designed pages, with blinking things everywhere, the oversized pictures, the ads, the comments on nothing. It’s completely awful. I mean, what is the deal with myspace anyway? Is it a blog? Is it a website? I understand social networking, I really do, but myspace is just too ugly to exist in the web 2.0 world. I thought design was becoming more and more important because all the rote, non-aesthetic, non-creative jobs were being exported. Who designed myspace? They should be fired. OK, end of rant. I guess I have to surrender to it. myspace is where the bands are. But I will hate it every step of the way. Every. Step. Of. The. Way.

So, in a desperate plea for help (and in perpetual avoidance of accepting the worldwide domination of myspace), here are some of my “old favorites” – anyone have any recommendations for more recent bands I might like? Or perhaps, a good place to find new bands that will allow me to continue in my hatred of myspace?

  • 2 Skinny J’s
  • Ani DiFranco
  • Bad Religion
  • Beck
  • Bettie Serveert
  • Bjork
  • PJ Harvey
  • Blur
  • The Clash
  • The Cure
  • Daft Punk
  • Echo & The Bunnymen
  • Fiona Apple
  • FretBlanket
  • The Future Sound of London
  • Gus Gus
  • James
  • Jawbreaker
  • Julian Cope
  • Jesus and Mary Chain
  • Laika
  • Lamb
  • Letters to Cleo
  • Loop Guru
  • Love Spit Love/The Psychedelic Furs
  • Machines of Loving Grace
  • Massive Attack
  • Morcheeba
  • Morphine
  • Morrisey
  • New Order
  • Nine Inch Nails
  • Pixies
  • Pizzicato Five
  • Portishead
  • R.E.M.
  • Radiohead
  • The Rentals
  • Sinead O’Connor
  • Sister Machine Gun
  • The Smiths
  • Sonic Youth
  • Soul Coughing
  • Stereolab
  • Sublime
  • Superchunk
  • The The
  • They Might be Giants
  • The Toasters
  • Tricky
  • Weezer

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Photo Hunt: Empty

I’ve seen the “empty your purse and list the contents” meme many times, but never participated. But, this week’s PhotoHunt theme was too perfect to pass it up again. So, here’s my empty purse:

empty.JPG

Inside my $9 TJMaxx sparkly purse was:

  • my wallet (which I often take out and put in my back pocket)
  • a cute change purse that matches my wallet – black on the outside, hot pink on the inside
  • tissues
  • my bidder number from the carpet auction last weekend
  • a list of books I want to buy
  • a small zippered pouch where I keep my chapstick, hair bands, an extra pen, and some lip gloss (for those extra fancy moments)
  • Trident whitening gum in wintergreen flavor (my favorite flavor of all time)
  • My slim Sony Cybershot DSC-T7, which I used to take this picture

Have you emptied your purse lately?

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On the road again

Well, I’ve been waiting to post about this until it was officially official. And now it is:

We’re moving (again)!

I accepted a position at the International School Bangkok as the Elementary School 21st Century Literacy Specialist – a combination tech specialist/librarian. I’m thrilled about the new position and the new move (though, of course, I will be sad to leave KL). We’ll be here in KL until mid June, then traveling for a month and a half, then Bangkok!

Image: http://www.bangkok-hotels-links.com/images/t_watprakaeo.jpg

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