2005-12-30

一地小白

今天不知吹甚麼風,大清早屋外喧聲震天,原來一群十多二十隻「小白」(cockatoos)正在屋外不遠處吃早餐。這個美食團似乎頗有組織,因為不時有幾隻小白站在欄上為團友把風!

Here's the frangipani paver structure at the front of the house

Outdoor furniture

As year-end approaches, the desire to make some changes to the house escalates. We have therefore moved all our existing wooden outdoor furniture to the front balcony, and bought new ones (a table set and a swing chair) for the back patio.


2005-12-29

廣東話能力基準試!

據明報報導,有位人大常委因為看不明白香港的報紙,而向某港區人大代表問道﹕「『骨痺』到底是什麼意思﹖」該人代一時不知如何應對,只能勉強回答,指那是類似「肌肉麻痺」,不過今次是「麻痺在骨頭?」。

人大常委不懂廣東話,不明『骨痺』何解情有可原。但該港區人大代表的解釋就認真丟架。建議人代到朋友介紹的一個網頁,接受粵語四級考試標準試題測試。

例如:"縮骨"的意思是 形容人很瘦? 形容人很窮? 形容人很吝嗇? 形容人很小心、謹慎?
例如:再阿支阿左,信唔信我拍__咁拍你啦! 薑? 蔥? 蒜? 胡椒?

2005-12-26

Broader-band Internet!



My ISP has recently upgraded its service (using its own DSLAM instead of Telstra's), which raises the potential download speed from the previous 1,500 Kbps to a staggering 24,000 Kbps.

The funny thing is, I can't really feel the difference! I don't do much download-intensive activities these day. In terms of web browsing and uploading/downloading of small programs/files, the observed difference is negligible.

It's only when I download a big program that I can see the speed hike. But then, actual speed is still affected by the server and general traffic condition. I have yet to experience actual download speed anywhere near the potential. As far as I can remember, the top speed I have actually achieved was somewhere between 1,000-2,000 Kb/s, which translates into around 12,000 Kbps.

2005-12-23

Hotter than white hot

Latest forecasts suggest that we are going to experience a high of 36C and 38C respectively during the Christmas weekend.

Temperature is expected to remain at around 35C for the remaining days of 2005.

2005-12-22

炎炎冬至 涼涼夜飯

今天是中國節令中的冬至,理應在寒冷天氣下一家人吃一頓熱騰騰的夜飯。可我們住在澳洲,天氣炎熱,於是反其道而行,決定泡製幾道冬至「涼菜」應節。

原本的打算,是吃越式米紙鮮春捲,凍蝦,加蕎麥涼麵。但今天去買魚蝦時,又忍不住買了愛吃的青口,於是以青口取代涼麵。

這就是我們的「炎冬宴」:



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New travel site: North Island, New Zealand

2005-12-21

Bird Bath

This is a video I took when I was walking along the Marine Parade in Napier, New Zealand. I noticed several little birds having a party, bathing in a shallow pool of water. I dared not walk close nor did I have the video cam ready. So I just used my camera to capture these precious moments.

Bird Bath (File size approx. 3 Mb)

2005-12-20

The Restless Children of the Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama's approach to liberating Tibet from occupation has been non-violent and largely non-confrontational. But will the next generation of Tibetan exiles change tack? Pankaj Mishra profiles some of the new guards in the New York Times.

2005-12-19

Blogging photos through Flickr



Originally uploaded by joetsang.


This is a photo I took during my recent trip to the North Island of New Zealand. It has a similar feel to the background photo for this blog. Incidentally, the background photo was taken in the South Island of New Zealand, almost exactly a year ago.

I'm dreaming of a white hot Christmas

According to weather forecast, Brisbane can expect a maximum temperature of 35C for Saturday. Looks like we are going to have a white hot Christmas.

2005-12-15

數天之內 ...

... 母校九華的一位同屆同學和一位人人敬愛的老師相繼辭世,實在感慨不已。在我的印象中,他們都是和三十年前一個模樣,一個是薯頭學生,一個是少爺老師,與死亡扯不上任何關係。然而,十年人事尚且可以變化萬千,看看自己,看看身邊,岳母和母親也在這十年內相繼離去,何況三個十年?

2005-12-14

Photos of North Island, New Zealand trip

I have never been a fan of putting hundreds of travel photos on a photo storing site to share with others. Having said that, it is a relatively simple method and can be done in a short time.



Before I finish my specific site on this trip (I haven't even started), and if you have time to spare, go to the following addresses to view my travel photos:

Wellington / Napier / Taupo / Rotorua / Whitianga / Auckland


幹部!

老眼昏花 ...

... 還以為是黃耀明反滯銷帶隊示威

黃耀明反傾銷帶隊示威

2005-12-12

Back from New Zealand

Just got back from Auckland this morning, ending an 8-day trip of the North Island. In Auckland, we stayed at a historic CBD building recently converted into an apartment hotel. We had an apartment with very high ceiling, a lounge room, a bedroom, and a toilet fitted with washer and dryer, all for a very reasonable rate.

Since it is a business-traveller-oriented apartment hotel, occupants need to enter/leave the building with the room/electronic key outside of office hours. This morning, when we got up at 4am to take a taxi to the airport, we looked out to the street, which was not surprisingly almost totally deserted. But when we pushed open the big door to get out of the building, we were shocked to find many people sitting or sleeping on the street, seemingly queuing for something. Later, the taxi driver told us that they were queuing for hard-to-get tickets for a U2 concert!

2005-12-09

Life is full of mysteries

On my third day in New Zealand, I felt a slight pain in my left ankle. It got worse and worse in the evening. After a sleepless night, the pain got so bad that I thought I had a fractured bone somewhere. I am a positive thinker and seldom imagine bad things happening to me. But the pain was so bad that I couldn't walk and I thought the trip would be over. Fortunately, we were leaving Napier to stay in Rotorua for two days. I asked Cindy to drive and rescheduled all activities that involved walking to the next day.

But as mysteriously as how the pain came in the first place, it also went gradually but inexplicably. I walked for hours today visiting two major thermal activities sites in Rotorua. No pain whatsoever!

2005-12-07

Art Deco walk in Napier

This is my second full day in the North Island of New Zealand. After a brief stay in Wellington (amidst pouring rain), we drove to Napier yesterday afternoon.

Today, I did the Art Deco walk. Napier was destroyed by an earthquake in 1931. When the city was being rebuilt, the then most fashionable architectural style - At Deco - was used. So within the city centre, there are dozen of buildings with Art Deco and Spanish Mission style. Personally I find Art Deco rather bad taste, but it is still interesting to see such a big cluster of buildings of this style.

I shall be driving to Lake Taupo and Rotorua tomorrow morning.

2005-12-05

North Island, New Zealand

We are flying out this afternoon to the North Island of New Zealand. Around the same time last year, we had a great time touring the South Island. Say tuned for trip photos and commentaries.

2005-12-01

The Rebel Jesus

OK, just one more Jackson Browne lyrics. No more.

As we enter the Christmas month (or the festive season, or the silly season, whatever you like), Jackson Browne's "The Rebel Jesus" comes to my mind. He wrote and sang "The Rebel Jesus" specifically for a collaborative Christmas album - "The Bells of Dublin" - by The Chieftains. Certain versions of Jackson Browne's latest album, Solo Acoustic Vol.1, offers a live version of this song as bonus cut.

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants’ windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
As the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

Well they call him by ‘the Prince of Peace’
And they call him by ‘the Savior’
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill his churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

But pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgement
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
We have need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus

2005-11-27

Frangipani

We love frangipani (雞蛋花).

We have just removed a small patch of lawn in the front garden to make way for a paver structure with a frangipani tree in the middle.




Below are two common types of frangipani flower.

2005-11-26

Jackson Browne Solo Acoustic Vol.1



Go to Jackson Browne and listen to samples of songs from this album. You can also view an exclusive video of Lives in the Balance from the album (animated editorial by Andrew Thomas).

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The Pretender

I'm going to rent myself a house
In the shade of the freeway
I'm going to pack my lunch in the morning
And go to work each day
And when the evening rolls around
I'll go on home and lay my body down
And when the morning light comes streaming in
I'll get up and do it again
Amen
Say it again
Amen

I want to know what became of the changes
We waited for love to bring
Were they only the fitful dreams
Of some greater awakening
I've been aware of the time going by
They say in the end it's the wink of an eye
And when the morning light comes streaming in
You'll get up and do it again
Amen

Caught between the longing for love
And the struggle for the legal tender
Where the sirens sing and the church bells ring
And the junk man pounds his fender
Where the veterans dream of the fight
Fast asleep at the traffic light
And the children solemnly wait
For the ice cream vendor
Out into the cool of the evening
Strolls the Pretender
He knows that all his hopes and dreams
Begin and end there

Ah the laughter of the lovers
As they run through the night
Leaving nothing for the others
But to choose off and fight
And tear at the world with all their might
While the ships bearing their dreams
Sail out of sight

I'm going to find myself a girl
Who can show me what laughter means
And we'll fill in the missing colors
In each other's paint-by-number dreams
And then we'll put our dark glasses on
And we'll make love until our strength is gone
And when the morning light comes streaming in
We'll get up and do it again
Get it up again

I'm going to be a happy idiot
And struggle for the legal tender
Where the ads take aim and lay their claim
To the heart and the soul of the spender
And believe in whatever may lie
In those things that money can buy
Though true love could have been a contender
Are you there?
Say a prayer for the Pretender
Who started out so young and strong
Only to surrender

製作乾花乾辣椒

2005-11-25

香蔥芝麻大餅



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雜錦煎餅


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位極人神!

港人最叻無厘頭小念頭,在用字方面都唔例外。近年時興稱人為神,甚麼歌神食神,乜神物神,真係一街都係神。

讀林超榮寫李小龍銅像周日揭幕再三致敬,正文一本正經,毫無林超榮式的失驚無神,但簡介卻絕對是寫得入化出神。全文如下:

這個星期日(11月27日),在香港尖沙嘴的星光大道,李小龍的紀念銅像將會揭幕,以誌他的65歲冥壽。銅像造型取材自他的電影《龍爭虎鬥》中的經典姿勢,從此大家便可在維港畔一睹這巨星的永?風采了。電影人懷念李小龍,無他,蓋因居功至偉,位極人神。

好一句「居功至偉,位極人神」!面對這神來之筆,我只能俯首稱他為神了。

再接再厲,齊來猜謎

劉心武 《劉心武揭秘紅樓夢2》

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2005-11-21

Solve the "unsolvable" Sudoku

Michael Mepham may have said goodbye to Sudokus which require "Ariadne's thread" (aka trial-and-error or forking or bifurcation) to solve, but some expert sites persist with these "unsolvable" Sudokus, in the hope that someone uncovers a hitherto unknown logical method to solve them. Could that someone be you?