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?

2005-11-19

Smile, you are entertaining the audience!

Just read an interesting article on whether orchestral musicians should put on a happy face. There have been reports of audience dissatisfaction with unsmiling musicians in Bournemouth SO, and Birmingham SO as well.

We know that the age of marketing and customer relations management have reached the classical music scene when the marketing guy for Bournemouth says that "a perennial problem is that the orchestra members don't seem to enjoy themselves. It tends to be the ones that don't who people notice. The violins and the cellos, who are at the front, often get noticed." The director of communications for Birmingham adds that one woman complained that her enjoyment of a concert had been wrecked because 'she caught one of the musician's eyes and gave him the thumbs up, but he lowered his gaze. It destroyed the evening for her.'

暢所欲泳

朋友說我最近較少更新這個網誌。當然啦,這隻老狗最近運動成狂,其他事務自然較難兼顧。

經三個星期以來的持續練習,現在我已經可以以每程200-250米,完成每次1,300多米的總長度了。

2005-11-16

How wikis are changing our view of the world

A CNET special report: How wikis are changing our view of the world

Not sure what a wiki is? Have not heard of Wikinews or used Wikipedia before? Then there is even more reason why you should begin to know about this hot web phenomenon.

2005-11-15

紅樓夢對健康文化建設一丁點兒意義也沒有

我知道吳祚來的銜頭,但除此以外我對他一無所知,但想來在大陸是有一定名氣的。他猛烈批抨劉心武的紅學研究,並由此闡明他對紅樓夢的評價。我向來對不讀或不愛紅樓夢的理由很感興趣,故摘錄如下:

吳祚來認為,「紅樓夢裡充滿了人生失敗、人生虛無的腐敗氣息,人與人天天勾心鬥角,沒有真誠,沒有慈善、沒有寬容、沒有坦盪的愛與熱烈的表達」,「對我們健康文化建設一丁點兒意義也沒有」。他少年時不愛讀紅樓夢,現在「仍然沒看出它是一部偉大的著作。我擔心眾多讀者也是如此觀感,我想把真話說出來。」

我眼中的紅樓夢跟他的剛好相反。不錯,紅樓夢裡充滿失敗虛無,勾心鬥角,但卻同時充滿真誠,慈善、寬容、坦盪的愛與熱烈的表達。這本書對國家健康文化建設有沒有意義,我不得而知,也認為是無謂的提問。就我自己而言,紅樓夢對我的心靈成長有重大正面意義,而「賈寶玉精神」更是我的座右銘。如果讀紅樓夢而不能感受作者通過賈寶玉表達的真誠、寬容、熱愛和博愛,那就不如改讀其他作品好了。

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2005-11-13

誰說老狗不可能學新招?

我說過,我是那種不怕不沉,敢玩任何水上水底活動,但又不懂泳術的人。扒扒撥撥尚可應付,但呼吸換氣對我始終是個大難題,顧此失彼。今次在白日夢島泳池,不知何故,頓悟開竅,懂了!

經過兩週以來八次泳池練習後,現在我終於能夠「暢泳」了!

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「悟」了以後,自然豁然開朗,進步神速。但誰又能夠肯定,「悟」來不來,何時來?俗語說,不應「等運到」,我認為,「悟」也不應等、不能等的。

2005-11-11

See-through lens! Yes, see-through lens!

My teenage fantasy has come true! Kaya Special Optics has introduced the Infrared See-Through Filter PF which, when used with a CCD equipment like a digital camera or camcorder, "helps to visually penetrate an object's surface in order to view whatever lies below".

And yes, it can be used for THAT purpose. To show you how powerful this optical technology can be, Kaya has produced a few demonstrations. Below is one:



See, the eyes behind the sunglasses are clearly visible ...

2005-11-08

運動成狂

我一向是條大懶蛇,但最近卻幾乎運動成狂:

1. 每天早上,步行一大圈,約一小時,下雨休息
2. 步行後到健身房運動,約二十分鐘
3. 一週游泳三次左右
4. 一週一堂初級哥爾夫球課,一小時,有時週中加練一小時

Free streaming of the entire "Running on Empty" album by Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne is one of my favorite singer-song writers. There was a time, especially during my university years, when I couldn't survive without a daily dose of JB songs.

May be "Running on Empty" is not typical Jackson Browne. May be it is not Jackson Browne at his best. But it is definitely the most accessible and most popular Jackson Browne album:

Free streaming of the entire album from mp3.com

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Below are my previous attempts to set a Jackson Browne lyric to a photo. As you can see, and which should come as no surprise to JB fans, both photos are rather gloomy.





Note: neither "Sleep's Dark and Silent Gate" nor "My Opening Farewell" is from the "Running on Empty" album.

2005-11-06

Buying books by the bag (continued 2)

Couldn't resist the temptation to treasure hunt again this morning. Brought home quite literally two "mixed bag"s of titles.

2005-11-05

Buying books by the bag (continued)

As it turned out, Australian Book Centre is a distributor of remainders.

When I arrived there at five past nine (ie 5 minutes after opening time), a few dozen bargain hunters were already there in action.

I used a big carton box to store the books I intended to buy, and then paid for "$10 bag"s to put them in.

In total, I bought 23 books costing A$30 (ie they were stuffed into 3 bags). It was like a treasure hunting exercise and was quite fun.

Here's the list of books:

Martin Amis, Other People
Tom Bridge, Essential Cookery Pasta
A. S. Byatt, Little Black Book of Stories
Serge Dansereau, Food & Friends - A chef's Gastronomic journey through France & Italy
Rodney Dunn, Roasting - Technique for the perfect roast
Jonathan Franzen, The Twenty-Seventh City
Gao Xingjian, Return to Painting
John Grisham, The Pelican Brief
Peter Hoeg, The Woman & the Ape
Randal Keynes, Darwin, His Daughter & Human Evolution
Alice Munro, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage
Joyce Carol Oates, I'll Take You There
Sara Oldfield, Deserts - The living drylands
Joan Peyser, To Boulez and Beyond - Music in Europe since the Rite of Spring
Jonathan Spence, The Chan's Great Continent - China in Western minds
Mitchell Symons, This Book
Christopher Tadgell, Imperial Space - A history of architecture
Rosie Thomas, Sun at Midnight
Sandro Veronesi, The Force of the Past
Rebecca Wells, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Elizabeth Wilhide, The French Room - Simple French style for your home
Fresh & Tasty Biscuits and Cakes
World Atlas

2005-11-03

Buying books by the bag

The beauty of junk mails is that one in a thousand could be of interest to the recipient. And I have just received one this afternoon!

The Australian Book Centre is having a "warehouse clearance" this weekend. In a designated "$10 bag" area, customers can fill a bag (measuring 30x40cm) of books for A$10.

I have never heard of this company/shop, and have no idea whether it primarily sells remainders or second-hands (the former, I suspect). Judging by its address, it is located in an industrial area, so it could really be a warehouse of books.

I am hooked. Stay tuned to read my account of the experience of buying books by the bag this weekend.

2005-11-01

The ethical economist

Joseph Stiglitz reviews Benjamin Friedman's "The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth" (Foreign Affairs, 11-12/05)

Can economic growth improves the environment, reduces poverty, promotes democracy, and makes for a more open and tolerant society?

Are there policies that promote "moral growth" -- growth that is sustainable, that increases living standards not just today but for future generations as well, and that leads to a more tolerant, open society?

Should we rely on the invisible hand of the market, or are government interventions needed?

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I don't know why, but Foreign Affairs didn't mention that Stiglitz was a Nobel Prize in Economics winner. According to the magazine:

Joseph E. Stiglitz, University Professor of Economics at Columbia University, has served as Chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers and Chief Economist of the World Bank. His books include "The Roaring Nineties" and "Globalization and Its Discontents."