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Archive for August, 2006

No signal Aug 31

how do you know you have dropped off the radar in japan well its quite easy. Mobile phone reception gets patchy, note I did not say non existant this is Japan after all keitei work in the underground here. A much better indicator is the number of stares on the train. Kansas Toto is back that way!

You know you’ve been in the UK too long when… Aug 27

· You believe that Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday are all good nights for drinking. Sunday during the day is also entirely reasonable.
· You have given up explaining why you are half an hour late to work as no-one notices or cares.
· Coming to work with a hangover is entirely accepted and indeed expected at least once a week.
· You can actually give directions to some of those annoying tourists in Oxford Street!
· You actually step over a drunk in the tube station rather than offering to help them.
· You don’t even bother looking out of the window when you get up in the morning to check what the day is like. You know it is overcast.
· You have considered wearing a badge that you can pass to people when you first meet them with answers to those all-important questions they all want to know. "No, I am not a Kiwi, I am an Aussie. I have been here for x-number of years. I am here on x visa. We come to the UK because it is the thing to do. No, I do not know how long I will be here for."
· You consider a suit to be normal attire for the pub.
· You expect men to actually cut, comb and style their hair (using hair products). And to wear decent clothes. Jeans and a T-shirt are no longer socially acceptable.
· You dissolve in laughter when listening to the funny accent of the NZ international telephone operator (or on TV!).
· You think 40 quid for a haircut is quite reasonable.
· You have stopped calling people ‘a dag’ because you don’t want to have to explain it.
· You can’t remember what ‘customer service’ means.
· After a big night out you find yourself looking for a Curry house, and not a 24 hour McDonalds.
· More than three hours sunlight on summer days seems excessive.
· You don’t think twice about tipping your hairdresser
· You finish every sentence with ‘Cheers’ or ‘Yeah’.
· You only just realise you have lost your sunnies, you left them in Greece 2 summers ago.
· You start thinking English cuisine isn’t all that bad after all, I mean, it’s hard to beat a full English breakfast.
· You are on to your 6th umbrella and your second overcoat.
· You buy a disposable baby BBQ from Tesco.
· You realise your sunburn cream is the stuff you originally bought from home with you.
· A day at the beach means wearing the warmest clothes you own while standing on golf ball-size pebbles and the thought of swimming doesn’t even enter your head.
· You always call soccer football and you have a team and it’s not Manchester United.
· You don’t think twice about buying a packaged sandwich.
· A sunny lunchtime means searching for a patch of grass and stripping off practically down to your underwear
· You start to accept queuing as a way of life.

Define Hot Aug 20

I’m working out that this whole heat thing is relative. Relatively constant being the first! We seem to have settled into a distinct pattern of summer now which at least means well, not sure, will get back to you on that. Last few weeks have been rather sluggish adapting to the constant changes of stifling hot outside to sub Antarctic freezer inside. Trick – loads and loads and loads of water, and a few sports drinks as well. Its stunning just how much you lose.

As you so cold once you get inside there is suddenly no inclination to drink water, bad bad bad! Its so nice and toasty warm here that I have the aircon at home switched on to bring my apartment down to a chilly 26 degree’s celsius. And trust me that really cold enough.

Summer essential is one of these things!

The Death of Common Sense Aug 17

Today we mourn thepassing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn’t always fair, and maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Panadol, sun lotion or a sticky plaster to a student – but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses, and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.

He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I’m A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone.

If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Fixing IPOD Volume Problems Aug 16

I’ve finally figured out how to get my ipod to correct the volume on the tracks that were playing at tinny level. And before everyone slams me, yes I knew about volume levelling and sound check on I-tunes, and sound check on the ipod, and volume leveling on Media Monkey, and volume leveling on a rather nifty program called MP3 gain which did a great job of fixing up some of the tracks. But what I could not figure out was why the problem kept getting worse.

In desperation I actually reset the IPOD back to factory defaults, it wasn’t like I had much of deep value on there and it was getting to the point of mega frustration anyway. I thought this had cracked it, but still Saltwater by Chicane was bung, and then every second track by Sarah Mclachlan from the same CD/download was at crap volume. Something was definately awry in the land of apple.

Now run the same said tracks into Media player and the neighbours would have been complaining (as if they ever would, way to scared I won’t understand!!!). Even odder was that if ITunes got ahold of the track it played okay as well, then did little fumble with Ipod and it seemed okay. Well there was no way I was going to manually play every single track on ITunes just to fix this up. The Sony Netman was surfacing face. I even installed Sonic stage.

I then did a get info on one of the naffed tracks and found its volume adjustment was -100%. hmmm something not right at the core of this apple one thinks. A return to 0 sound adjustment and resync and fixed. Next step, select all tracks, set to 0% sound adjustment. Resync all to the IPOD, and hello sweet sound! It took a few hours for all 4000 tracks to sort themselves out again, but the results are that I now have crystal clear constant sound! Stick that sound adjustment in your ear and level it!.

Asian Tapa’s Party Aug 11

Can report that the Asian Tapas dinner party was a huge success, food wise at least. The bad weather meant that the fireworks were delayed for a night (and yep they were visible from the Balcony).

Still a few Sangria’s and bubbles and who cares!!! This is the book that I got all the recipes from, and heres the link to Amazon (so hopefully the won’t be too pissed that I ripped off their picture!).

The recipes in it look rather complex, but when read then and think about them they are actually really easy. A little bit of prep before hand and its easy! I did go through an awful lot of red chilli!

And we never even got near the Buritto’s I had planned in case people were not feelling ‘full up’!

The Ultimate Tokyo Fashion Accessory. Aug 08

Well I’ve given up totally on trying to work out the weather here. All the western systems are saying that its either sunny, or light rain, or something else rather inane. The local weather forecasts which I am hearing second hands say, typhoon and 25ml of rain at 6pm.

Looking out the window shows loads of rain, and building wind. I did do an interpretation of a ‘proper’ weather site that says there is a tropcial storm 70km’s south of Tokyo which would handily explain said rain and wind outside. What I want to know is how come the BBC is saying mild winds of 2kms and light rain, when almost within visual range there is a big bloody Tropical Storm, that seems to be turning into a Typhoon. Anyway its off shopping tonight for the infamous spoons so I can serve the bloody scallop ceviche! And if necessary pickup some wet weather gear.

State of Grace Aug 06

What is a State of Grace. Well I saw something the to the other day that gave a rather good definition (over and above the pure dictionary/religious version). A state of grace is a touch of truth. Its when you reach a point a perceive a truth that you did not realise before, and it gives you a certain empowerment to go forward.

Does this mean I’ve found a State of Grace, I don’t think I could be so persumtious to go that far. Right now so much is going on (again) that really nothing is for certain. I’ve been dealing with my dad going back into hospital for suspected cancer and have found that I may have my own case of that just a little closer to the soul. or approximately 30cms below my neck.

But in otherways I have reached a place neutrality, certain choices have now been made and the consequences of these need to be played out. Will I get transfered to Sydney, or will they decide that hmm maybe not worth the effort. The State of Grace is that all possible decisions have now been made for right or for wrong. The outcome, well that could be a whole new blog!
But stay tuned the Asian Tapas dinner party is coming up this Saturday and that should be a load of fun. (if I can just find the bloody spoons to serve the Scallop ceviche on).

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