Laptop rules, napping, and saying goodbye

The Sports Guy just had an all day chat with his readers. It's for the Jimmy Fund. Here is one question from his readers:

"Rick (Boston): I have taken 2 poops during your chat, but taken the laptop in the bathroom both times. Just thought you should know this is must see chatting."

Reminds me of PNGF's story that someone was typing inside the bathroom at HPC. There are somethings that are unwritten rules about laptop usage. Not bringing it into the bathroom is one of them.

Here's another article that's worth reading. If you ask me what the moral of the story is:
  • tis not the importance of napping at work
  • tis the importance of "inemuri, which literally means 'to be asleep while present'"
Brilliant. For you all MBA fresh grads out there, note that inemuri can only be undertaken by "only those high up or low down." In other words, only entrepreneurs (high up) and bankers (low down) can inemuri. Sigh. I knew I should have been a banker.

A friend of mine is a lawyer. We were chatting and she told me that today she saw her client off to jail. Which made me wonder... how do you bid farewell in that circumstance?
  • Have a nice day? See you later? Take care? Don't drop your soap? Hand in there! See you in 20 years.
Instead, she said "see you in appeal." Makes me appreciate my job that much more.

Later, some news on my new toy Wii and the movie "Thank you for smoking."



Well, it had to happen at some point. Subway has finally made its way into Hong Kong.

Combined with the fact that our office has moved (temporarily) to the center of all restaurants, I'm literally 10 minutes from all the restaurants in Central. And of course, Subway is high on the... I mean it would be nice to have Subway every once in a while.

Steak and Cheese was good... though the bread really sucked.

Subway, Eat Fresh!


Thoughts from wedding

Holy crap, it's been 10 days since I last blogged! Past weekend: saw Sampras-Federer in Macao, bought a Wii, played too much Wii, worked a bit, and heard one of the most disgusting "I let him stay at my place when I wasn't around" stories.

Attended a good friends' wedding last Tuesday (missing Linkin Park concert, sigh).

First the ghetto story. Chinese weddings give you a little laisee (red pockets with a small amount of money) to thank you for coming. Since I was helping organizing, I put down the envelope on my designated seat at the banquet. Well, when I came back, the envelope was still there... but the invite and the laisee was gone. GHETTO.

I found out during the wedding that another good friend (also present) is engaged... through another friend. While prompting wrath from those who were not informed in person, I digress into my selfish little world.

I have never been asked to be best man or groomsman. PNGF says it's because my BFs aren't married (Best Friends, not Boyfriends). There is a more direct explanation: I'm not a good enough friend for such responsibilities. Yeah, that's kind of depressing, (I thought about this while on the tram, by the way... I knew it!) but then again...
  • most of my BFs got married when I was in a different place
  • more of them haven't gotten married yet
Ah, all those silly thoughts on the tram.


All in One

This is an all-in-one post.

Yesterday (Sunday) was election for Hong Kong's district council. I know nothing about these elections, so anything I say is basically from my behind. Not that different from reality. ha.

The job of the district council is to make districts, on a street-to-street basis, better. What does that mean? Well, based on the election material I get from my mail box and from the street, the district council will alleviate sound pollution and air pollution, take responsibility to add plants in a garden, reduce traffice (and therefore inconvenience). In other words, they are responsible to make my life better.

Well then. What will be the outcome? The winner will have to fulfill his or her promises. The loser will have to intensify his or her work at the district level to get a chance at the next elections. Either way, I win.

Oh, and the results. The pro-Beijing camp won by a landslide. The pro-Democracy camp will have their taste of victory in the legislative council, due next year.

I watched a Hong Kong movie called SPL. Stupid story, mostly horrible acting (Yum Tat Wah is still good as usual), great action shots. The fight scenes were very well done. It's not a Jackie Chan style of using the environment to fight; rather, more of a let's slug it out with fists and knives. Awesome shots.

On my Christmas wish list: a low-light macro lens. I'm thinking the Nikkor 60mm/2.8F. Also on the list is the 105mm/2.8F. Decisions, decisions.

Also on my list: Wii. Just because.

Yet another Japanese food place. SAE's traditional stuff was pretty good. I'd skip the fusion menu. Here are some pictures:

I have to say, sashimi mountains are better than sushi boats

One of the best shrimp sashimi I've ever had

The shrimp was very fresh. You can tell when your first bite consists of the feeling of having good paste. El dente. The taste was slightly sweet but not overpowering. A bit of lime helps to get a bit of freshness into the taste though I'm not a big fan. And of course the bed of ice helps the overall taste of the sashimi.

Delicious desserts


Gossip Magazine

Last month, I (barely) made an appearance on the front of a local Hong Kong gossip magazine. This gave me some insights on how these low life magazines worked. Oh, and if you are wondering why... it's cus I had dinner with a good friend who "works" in the entertainment industry. Yet I digress.

Truth: her birthday party with about 14 people, with a mix of gals and guys
Magazine: many guys are chasing her

Truth: we all take different transportations to the movies
Magazine: a Porsche is her mode of transportation

Truth: we leave the theaters
Magazine: three men surround her to get her attention

Truth: everybody proceeds to a night club
Magazine: she's desperate for men

Truth: she leaves alone
Magazine: nobody wants her

Truth: it's a birthday dinner, movie, party with a bunch of people
Magazine: she is dating a dozen guys

Some of my friends are angry that I am portrayed as one of the dozen guys. I'm actually more amused than anything. Plus I get some insights as to how gossip magazines work. Speaking of which, if you remember the porn cab, I'm starting to regret that I didn't ask more questions as to how his business worked - for example, if a family of three comes on, will he play Disney movies (thanks to RL who infused creativity beyond porn)? Why am I showed porn? All single men? What about two guys? I'm beaming with questions now.


Eating alone

One of the things that people hate to do is eating alone. I admit that I don't enjoy it very much... then again, I don't dread it. Or at least that's what I always tell myself. The propensity to call a friend when dining time comes tells me that I'm probably a hypocrite. I too need company at a restaurant.

"Luckily," I've been able to put this to test in Taipei, where my last consulting case took place. I was the only person on the ground... and so I was also the only person doing pretty much anything related or not related to work. And yes, that included eating.

For most of three weeks (weekdays anyways), I ate alone. It wasn't bad though it had its moments. I tried to stay out of the spot light the first time, picking a corner seat so I don't look out of place and lonely (yup, I'm a hypocrite!). Then I got better at it. Second meal, I started to look up more and notice the environment. I started to note the operations of restaurants (man are they inefficient!). I took note of a couple flirting and then fighting in a span of 10 minutes. I even smiled at others who gave me weird stares.

Best of all, I took my camera. Here's my lonely (alonely?) set up at Ton Sushi, a well regarded sushi establishment near Taipei 101, the world's tallest building.

In sushi restaurants, you often get extremes. Either the stuff is not fresh and you're wondering why you shelled out $50 for some seafood that's been sitting in the fridge for a couple of days; or it was $50 very well spent on every aspect of the meal from the salad to the sushi to tea to dessert. Imagine my surprise when the sushi came with fresh fish and plain rice. I don't even think it is Japanese (read: vinegar!) rice. The fish was so good I found it hard to believe that the rice was sub par.

The following pictures are eel sushi and a assortment dish. Overall, still yummy... but the rice was a big big disappointment.


Flying week in and week out

Silly things happen when you fly so often:
  • Forgot to turn off phone as it goes off when the plane is LANDING
  • Left laptop in the seat pocket in front of you (not my story
Hey, I'm just saying. It's a matter of probability.

I've flown to Taipei the last three weeks and I've never noticed this announcement:
"It is illegal to take drugs into Taiwan. The most sever punishment could be capital punishment. Please pay attention to the video supplied by the Taiwanese government to learn about the details of the regulations."

(Repeat in Cantonese, and then Hongdarin - pretty bad Mandarin)

If you are wondering, I was probably in deep sleep my previous two trips. Anyway, I found the announcement funny so I prepared to pay full attention as instructed.

The video had bad video quality and even worse audio quality. This led to the next announcement:

"We apologize for the poor quality of the video and audio. Please be reminded that the highest punishment is capital punishment. Taiwan also has strict regulations on the import of vegetable, fruits, blah blah blah"

(Repeat in Cantonese, and then Hongdarin - pretty bad Mandarin)

And just to drive the point home, there was a final announcement:

"We would like to remind you that the punishment for bringing drugs into Taiwan is the death penalty."

I gotcha.


Without Techonology

"Damn, what did they do when they didn't have SMS/blackberry/etc?"

Chances are, you've thought about this question when you are furiously typing away during a meeting, on the plane, in the lounge... and you've probably also wondered how people lived without TV, phone, and all those gadgets that make our lives work.

Well, I've put that to the test last few week:
Internet - limited. Client site doesn't allow Internet access. There are several Warm to Cold spots around the office where I can hook to wireless networks.
Phone - good. I can't call. But I can receive calls. And send SMS.
Blackberry - luckily, I don't have one.
TV - virtually none. Hotel TV shows Taiwanese and Japanese stuff.

There were some frustrating moments obviously. Not having Internet is kind of nuts, but I've come to find that it isn't disastrous. Things take a bit longer, but they nonetheless work. Not having a TV hasn't even affected me a bit.

You know one thing I can't not have though? It's the air conditioning. I needed that.

Well, so in the end, comfort trumps convenience. =)


Time to wake up, baby!

I have a tendency to wake up several minutes before my alarm sounds. Don't know why. It just happens every now and then. Today, however, was a bit different.

I woke up to an earthquake! At least I thought I woke up to an earthquake.

Funny how the human mind works. Instead of snoozing - most evil invention #6 - for half an hour or so, everything cleared and I took a quick look around the room to see where I can hide. So instead of staying in bed, I was up immediately with all joints working.

Which leads to my next consultant / entrepreneur thought: an earthquake alarm clock!


You have another hour...

Watched Transformers at home last night (yes, that also means I finally have a TV after... oh... just 2 months in Hong Kong). Two points. The girl in the movie is quite hot (no good at acting though). The movie is decent, but very corny (come on, the defense secretary blasting a shot gun at Decepticons!?).

Nonetheless, as I carried no expectations whatsoever in the movie, it was cool to see my favorite cartoon come to life. Optimus Prime, how I miss you. I still remember the days where I would nag my parents until they got my Prime. And we're talking full size Prime here, not the mini one made of plastic. Of course the toy is nowhere to be found now. Anyway, I have one big question...
  • Hoover Dam began construction in 1931
  • The great great great grand father of our hero discovered Megatron in 1871 or something
  • So how would his discovery of Megatron in reveal that the Cube is in Hoover Dam?????????
I am perplexed. And how everybody suddenly converged on Hoover Dam is beyond me. How Megatron died (did he!?) is also beyond me. The fight scenes were kind of cool and the transforming wasn't bad at all.

In other news, housewarming / Halloween party was a bummer. The TV/sound delivery didn't happen since I was in Taiwan. So a party with no noise. Friday nights are not good for bankers. So I was the only one "dressed up." If you count dressing preppy as dressed up.

Had a pretty good Japanese meal. Pictures coming later. The tasting menu was $25 and the fusion menu was $45. Should have suck with the tasting menu... one of those cuisines where you can't do too much fusion on it. Raw fish... is raw fish.

When my reminder went off at 3:30pm, I quickly finished off my work product, packed and printed things I needed and started to leave the office. Out the door. Into the elevator. Then I looked up at the TV screen and read... 3:45pm.

Now... I have been planning on departing for Taiwan at 5pm. For some reason, I kept thinking it was 4pm.  And it's not 5pm yet. In fact, quite far from it. So suddenly I have a whole hour to spend, which resulted in some work done and also this blog post. Quite unusual sequence of events. I'm quite good at timing. And now... I suddenly have another hour on my hands. (Just like day light savings, which also happened this weekend. Weird.)


Taiwan Taxi

I can't imagine what it is like to not have Internet access. But I'm getting close. I've spent most of this week without Internet access during business hours. Let's just say that it is excruciatingly painful. Doubly so when you are left alone.

Taiwan taxis are like taxis anywhere in the world. The drivers are slightly crazy and have an opinion on just about anything. Most are friendly (Shanghai the lone exception) and are curious as to who you are and what you do. All are talkative. Most are courteous (Shanghai is the lone exception). All are dangerous drivers. Cars are nice and clean. Most are small (Hong Kong, of all places, being the lone exception) size cars that can barely fit you in the door.

This particular Taiwan taxi, however, was mind bottling.

Travelling between two client sites, I slipped in the cab and quickly snoozed. The ride is usually 20 to 30 minutes long. I just had back-to-back client meetings and I was feeling quite tired… by the meetings certainly, but also by the prospect of the impeding work that I have to deliver. Anyway, I was drifting in and out of consciousness. I did try to stay awake and alert and notice the roads and where I am, but it only worked for a few seconds before I went back to nap again.

Yeah, so far it's like a regular cab ride. I finally woke up probably 5 minutes from the destination, noted that I'm very close to the destination, and started people watching from inside the cab. Suddenly, some corny music starts in the cab, stopping the radio broadcast. I looked back in the cab to see what is going on... and there it is, a porn video - yes, PORN VIDEO - was playing on the DVD screen of the taxi.

Did I say porn video?

Now you have to understand that this is a very awkward situation. Do I watch? Do I talk? Do I keep looking outside the window? Uh... and I hope the driver isn't distracted. Luckily, our man the taxi driver knew exactly what to do.

Taxi driver (TD): Nice, huh?

Slightly amused Josekin (SAJ): uh, yeah

TD: where are you from

SAJ: Hong Kong

TD: Can you buy these in HK?

SAJ: Yeah

TD: For how much?

SAJ (thinking): About $10 Hong Kong dollars

TD: Oh, that's $40... this one is only $20

SAJ: Oh, that's cheap

TD: Yeah, even in Taiwan you can only get one for $50

SAJ: Oh, how did you get yours then?

TD: I'm selling these for $20

Very stunned Josekin ( VSJ): ......!? Huh!?

TD: Yeah, you want Taiwanese? Japanese? American? I have Hong Kong too.

VSJ: What do you mean?

TD: No worries... I'll wrap them nicely for you. Just a regular VCD. You can play this at home. Oh, let me show you the Japanese one (changing discs)

VSJ: ......

TD: It's already very cheap... this price beats the entire market. Can't go lower...

(Arriving at client cite)

VSJ: uh, no thanks. , here's my stop. Thanks!

(All figures in Taiwanese Dollar, unless otherwise indicated)