Kamis, 31 Januari 2008

0 Seek and Destroy Your Stress

stressYour phone is ringing, your blackberry is vibrating and that annoying email alert notice is starting to sound like an oncoming train. Add to that a stack of bills on your desk and the "relaxing" dinner you're suppose to have with you in-laws tonight and you can almost see the steam coming out of your ears. There's no two ways about it, you’re stressed!

Stress is all around us - at home, at work and in the car. With it so prominent in our lives, it's important to look at what's causing all this tension, some warning signals that you're on the brink, but most importantly ways to reduce it. Stress can show up in our live in a variety of ways, the two most common are behavioral and cognitive.

Symptoms of Physical Stress (Behavioral)
  • Lack of sleep and/or poor sleep
  • Over/Under eating
  • Aggressive behavior (can you say, "road rage"?)
  • Nervous habits (pacing, nail biting)
Symptoms of Mental Stress (Cognitive)
  • Impaired Memory
  • Lack of Clarity
  • Deteriorated Judgment
  • Scattered Thoughts/Racing Thoughts
Stress can wreck havoc on your life, but you don't have to let this happen. If you’ve noticed these symptoms in yourself or others around you, it's time to take action. You can improve your productivity by creating some peace in your life - starting today!

A level of sanity in your life is important for a healthy well-balanced lifestyle, but stress can leave you feeling overwhelmed. When you’re in this state of anxiety or panic, it's hard to see the big picture of your life. Creating a plan to reduce stress may be the last thing on your mind. Well, stop worrying, the tips below can help you start attaining nirvana sooner than you thought.
  • Stress Busters For Your Body

    Exercise can blast away stress and tension, leaving you refreshed and rejuvenated. Endorphins are nature’s mood boosters, these guys make you feel great, exercise releases your endorphins.

    • Yoga - Yoga helps stretch your body and encourages proper breathing. Through Yoga you become more relaxed, leaving you calm, collected and ready for what lies ahead.

    • Run/Walk - A change of scenery can be just the trick you need to beat stress. On your lunch break, take some time and go for a walk, or run. Walking and running can reduce tension, plus it energizes your body.

    • Qigong - While not quite mainstream (yet), Qigong is known for its calming and centering benefits. The natural, slow movements of Qigong help to lower stress by reducing your respiratory and heart rate.

  • Stress Busters For Your Diet
    What you eat directly affects how you feel. Start your day with a healthy breakfast and maintain a proper diet. You'll feel better and will be healthier.

    • Reduce Caffeine - Caffeine is known to cause stress, by increasing your body's cortisol levels. Removing caffeine from your diet, or cutting back, can help reduce daily stress.

    • Reduce Alcohol - Alcohol increases your body's adrenaline, which can lead to tension, irritability and insomnia. Never use alcohol as a night cap or a stress buster.

    • Camomile Tea - Camomile tea contains nutrients that have a sedative calming affect on your body. This tea will help calm and relax you, try some before bed.

  • Stress Busters In Your Environment
    With a little planning, you can make your surroundings the eye, to the outside world’s storm.

    • Look Inward - You don’t have to look far for relaxation. Deep breathing, Yoga Breaths and Meditation give you a moment of peace. Stress is melted away as your respiration and heart rate lower. For those who are curious about meditation, but aren’t sure how to start, I suggest Guided Imagery. It’s similar to meditation, but is considered easier to do. Simply relax and listen to a soothing voice and music, as your worries drift away.

    • Get Organized - Your surrounds have a huge impact on your emotions. Feng Shui is based on this principle. Getting organized makes life easier and you’ll be able to concentrate better. Find a place for all your items, and put them in their place!

    • Music - According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, "students who listened to a well-known gentle classical piece of music during a stressful task had reduced feelings of anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure."

    • Aromatherapy - Your sense of smell can alter your mood and emotions. Scented candles and essential oils are two great ways to find tranquility.

Now you have stress busting tips for your body, diet and environment. Use these tips to reduce your daily stress so you can stay happy and productive.

Gregory Schnese is the Web Producer for beYOU.tv and is an editor and blogger at blog.beYOU.tv.

Rabu, 30 Januari 2008

0 Is it Reality – Or Is It Life?

As you go through life, how do you process what happens around you? When a situation comes up, how do you perceive them? All of us form our perceptions of life based on our past experiences and our personal view of reality.

For example:

I may see someone broken down by the side of the road and think,
“If they would have maintained their car better, they wouldn’t be in this predicament.”
You may drive past that same person and stop to offer assistance because you're thinking,
“I remember when that happened to me last winter and how hard it was to change a tire all by myself”.
My past experiences in life helped me shape my view of the current situation, just as yours helped to shape yours. Neither one of us is wrong – we just have different realities in which we live.

Our brains are marvels of science. Scientists and doctors to this day cannot fully explain how our brains store and retrieve information. They are unable to explain how thought processes take place -why one person may be a whiz at mathematics, while another person is an expert in foreign languages. Yet we do know that our brains process experiences into concepts, beliefs and opinions. As we see things happening around us, we base our realities and perceptions of those events based on what we know to be true from our past and our personal experiences in life.

When we see a situation occurring, we often form an emotional response to it. We act not because of people or outside events, but on our perception of what is going on at that moment in time. We interpret what our senses are telling us, and our analysis is based on past experiences, values, and ideas.

Emotions are then expressed to others through our tone of voice, our body language, and/or our facial expressions. Think back to how you have reacted when someone who may be dressed shabbily has approached you in a public place. Did you pull back away from them and put up an invisible shield around you as you sensed possible danger, or did your face form a look of compassion and understanding with your vocal response being one that was more soothing and relaxing?

The emotional response that you gave brought about a reaction from the other person. They sensed that you were concerned about a potential threat or that you were genuinely interested in helping. They may have taken a step back away from you to show you that they meant no harm or explained to you that they were sorry for bothering you, but merely wanted to ask directions to the nearest shelter or church.

It’s a self-fulfilling process that is taking place each and every time. We see a situation, we pull together our view of the current reality based on our past beliefs, upbringing, and values, and then we apply an emotional response to the situation. It helps to validate who we are and what we believe in. There is no right or wrong response. We have formed our personalized definition of reality that we use every day in situations in both our personal lives and in our professional lives.

How can each of us learn from our realities? Are your realities helping make you the person you want to be in life?

Written by David B. Bohl of Slow Down Fast.

0 Narrative Infrastructures

[Image: Some examples of work by Imaginary Forces].

For those of you in Los Angeles, 1) consider kidnapping me and driving me back there in a van full of architecture books and coffee, because I can't even believe how much I miss that place, and 2) consider stopping by the Apple Store tonight in Santa Monica to hear Tali Krakowsky, Director of Experience Design at Imaginary Forces, speak about "trends in the fusion of design, technology and architecture."
It's the narrative infrastructure of built space:
    Transformations in design thinking, inspired by emerging technologies and a fascination with storytelling, are changing the entertainment, educational, corporate and retail environments of the 21st Century. In her session, Krakowsky will break down interactive environments into their components: re-imagining content in motion, re-imagining media delivery systems, and re-imagining smart, interactive spaces, [to] examine several key projects in terms of process and design methodology.
The talk is tonight at 7pm, and it's located here. Tell Tali I said hey.

0 Everything Does Not Require a 'How To' Manual

My brother used to sell computers and software. Customers would regularly phone with questions that were already explained in the manual. RTFM (read the f***ing manual!) was a standard reaction among the technical help personnel.

But there is something in us that does not want to read the manual. We do not want to get bogged down in details. If we read the manual we might convince ourselves that something is too difficult. If we do not have some hands-on experience, the manual is often meaningless. We know from experience that we will not remember what we read in the manual anyway. So we just start without the manual and either figure things out, or ask for help when we are stuck.

There are many situations in life where following your inclinations, without the manual of instructions, is the best approach. I can think of at least five.

  • Business. I worked for two large corporations in the 1970's and 80's. They were both established leaders in their field. Millions of dollars were spent in meetings, studies, Return on Investment(ROI) analysis and more studies, usually resulting in the decision not to go forward. Neither company exists today.

    I have now had my own company since 1987. The "gut-feel" decisions are the ones that really worked for me. I made my way forward and adjusted as I went. Dealing with the mistakes we made was what strengthened our company in the long run.

  • Language learning. I speak nine languages fluently and am working on three more. In a recent post on his blog called, "How to learn any language in one hour", Tim Ferriss tells us to "deconstruct" languages. In other words, analyze and compare their grammar in order to decide which one to learn. Nonsense. I choose a language based on my interests and passion.

    A friend who speaks the language, the sound of the language, the culture, a desire to visit the country, a professional need; these factors will keep me at it, not the instruction manual. When I study languages, I avoid the grammar. I just listen and read and accumulate words. I let my brain get used to the language. I usually progress more quickly than most people in traditional classrooms, and I enjoy it more. How many people deny themselves the joy of learning another language because they think it will be too much like school.

  • Child rearing. Parents all want to do the right thing for their children. Play Mozart to them in the womb, read to them when they are little, drive them to activities, build up their self-esteem, and follow the latest parenting theories. But is there really a danger that you can love your children, lead a normal family life, and somehow still damage your children? Doubtful. Certainly Judith Harris in her acclaimed book "The Nurture Assumption" makes the case that parenting is not as big a factor in the child's development as we think.

    Parents should relax, and enjoy their children. There is no need for a parenting course, just follow your instincts. If a person's instinct is to abuse a child, an instruction manual will not help.

  • Music. My wife has been playing the piano for three years. She has no teacher. She knows no theory. She plays pieces she likes, which she chooses. She jumps from classical to popular music. She plays when she likes and if she likes. A course of instruction, music theory and a teacher would immediately turn her off. She loves her piano and has improved a great deal, gradually progressing to more and more difficult pieces. How many people hesitate to play music because they do not have the time or money to hire a teacher, and do not think they can do it on their own?

  • Self-improvement. There is an abundance of advice on how to better manage our time, lose weight, influence people and get ahead in the company. Much of the advice is good, and in fact has been around in one form or another for a long time. Often the advice rings a bell because it conforms to what we know, or have already experienced. The problem is that we cannot apply all the good advice. Maybe we would be happier by doing what we know is right, where we can, and then not tormenting ourselves over things that are just not going to improve.
Of course there are situations where the manual is necessary. You need the manual for assembling IKEA furniture, or you will end up with extra parts and some things will not fit together. If you are studying for the Conservatory you will need to study music theory. In college you will need to review the text books before your exams (although you may not remember much later). The latest personal development book might just change your life. But for many situations in life, it is best to jump right in and enjoy yourself. You will probably have a richer and more rewarding experience.

Written by Steve Kaufmann of LingQ, a site with a unique methodology for learning nine languages. Steve also maintains a blog on language learning.

Selasa, 29 Januari 2008

0 Tio virus

After a heated argument on MSN with Shengrong about Mac lovers evangelising (SR: "I just want to share something good with you!"), I PROMPTLY GOT A VIRUS!

STUPID DUMB PCs. I wish virus creators would go create viruses for Macs instead so they would shut up! I know the former 2 sentences are not connected, but yeah.

So this time, my newly-bought comp, which I had JUST finished installing all the appropriate programs on, decided that, after a viral infection, it has no programs and no files on it!

The start menu shows that I have zero installed programs, although I can still run them from the "run" option thingy.

SO I HAD TO REFORMAT! And I lost my downloaded photoshop brushes and cursors! -GROWLS-

Anyway, boring stuff aside.

I AM SO BORED! All that happened today that was exciting with the mass circulation of the Edison Chen and Gillian Chung (and Bobo Chan, whoever she is) sex photos.


For those of you who haven't heard yet, apparently Gillian Chung was caught in a very compromising position (Legs spread wide open. I call it the Byebye Camera Angle) with Edison Chen's head popping up from a corner of the photo looking very pleased with himself.

From what I can gather, Gillian Chung has a very disgustingly hairy bush (Honestly woman, SHAVE/WAX/IPL/EPILATE! I guess she doesn't bother coz she knows that even if she doesn't shave, men like Edison still want to go down on her), a small pussy (perhaps obscured by the massive amounts of hair), mediocre tits, and very clean feet.

The second porno photo is of Edison Chen with his ex-gf Bobo Chan going down on him.

Bobo Chan is acknowledging the camera and is licking the tip of Edison's shiny pink member in its full glory. Now I can die in peace. At least I know Edison's size now!! All that's left is for me to see Jerry Yan's and I'll be quite pleased.

I am linking Cowboy Caleb, whom I have no idea or not whether he is linking the scandalous photos. The stars have made a police report and they are catching people who are spreading the photos! (Since Cowboy is anonymous he ought to be safe...)

Initially when I got the photos yesterday (I have a lot of gossipy friends), my first thought was that this is a hoax.

However, the person who hacked Edison's comp/hp must have gotten very angry with his photos being labeled everywhere as fake, so he spread a new series of photos...

Of Edison going down on a very pleased Gillian Chung.

And this made everyone shut up.

Obviously I cannot post the photo without it being mosaic-ed, but look at the faces! How can anyone find so many photos Gillian, including a Cum Face?!

Well anyway, in this series, the first one had Edison touching Gillian's ahem, and the rest has his face at the peril of being drowned in her award-winning pubes. I must say, he seems to be doing a good job! Gillian looks really pleased in pic 4.

Proof no. 2 that this is real?

The bear, bed, toys that were seen in the photos all coincide with Edison's room shown in a MTV!

Have no idea why when freeze-framed Edison Chen looks disturbingly like Dick Lee.

Edison Chen is such a douchebag!

Before this incident, I've already heard rumours of people whom he had fucked before (and he ALLEGEDLY tries to film them too), and even a friend's friend who claimed who have had cybersex with him and saw his wee-wee via webcam.

Well, now we know... probably true!

That being said, he IS very handsome, so I suppose it is good that he is so willing to share his body and make many girls' wishes come true. My phone number is... -SLAPS SELF- ... is... erm... unavailable as I am attached. Ahem.

I was discussing with friends online and theorizing why Gillian Chung would be so stupid as to let Edison take such photos of her.

MAYBE she was high on something and couldn't think straight?

MAYBE she thought that Edison would never spread the picture since he is famous too?

MAYBE she didn't know the photos were taken? (Unlikely as Edison was clearly acknowledging camera)

MAYBE she is really a dirty slutwhore who was the one who spread the photos herself?! Well this seems impossible since if she were to plan on doing this she would have at least went for a good wax first...

Well, I guess we will never really know, will we?

And don't give me that bullcrap about pitying poor Gillian!! She, along with many examples of other celebrities who also took naughty pictures only to have them exposed later, had it all coming! If you don't want your vagina to be shown to the world and criticized, then don't take photos of it!! -_-

I am awaiting video clips.

Zzzzzzzzz. I can't believe I blogged about this. It's so stupid! Hahaha... But very juicy!

Next blog entry gonna be about my best purchases ever. I know I said that since long ago, but I already took and uploaded the photos! Soon soon!

p/s: While installing Picasa for the hundredth time I found a photo of myself circa March 2006... With a fabulous tan!! And my old nose, which is double of this size.

I'm totally inspired and shall force myself to go tan everyday till I look this colour again.



There is even a full-on byebye shot and the picture is so high-res, you can literally zoom in until your whole computer screen is just her vagina!!

She is super hairy leh... Maybe Edison just likes hairy girls?! That must be a 5cm pubic hair there!! (PS - that's a cut-out of one of her pics, but I obviously can't show the rest! Go find them yourself!)

0 Robbie Williams CDs will be used to pave roads in China

EMI has announced that "unsold copies" of Rudebox, by British pop star Robbie Williams, "will soon be used to resurface Chinese roads."
More than a million copies of the CD "will be crushed and sent to the country to be recycled," we read, where they "will be used in street lighting and road surfacing projects."
This reminds me of a house I visited back in September, in Chicago – about which I wrote a short article for the March 2008 issue of Dwell – wherein the owners had pulverized boxes of old vinyl records, added them to a glass aggregate, and used that to surface the floor of their master bathroom. You could actually see tiny, vaguely recognizable pieces of crushed 45s catching sunlight near the toilet... National Geographic also covered the house.
In any case, does all this imply some strange new infrastructural claim to fame?
"You know that CD they used to pave the King's Road?" a man asks you, putting his coffee down as if to emphasize the point. He crosses his arms. "I played bass on that."

(Thanks, Steve!)

0 Colored Magma

[Image: ©Michael Nagle for The New York Times].

Seeing this photo of the Galapagos Islands, with its strange, almost hand-painted color scheme, like something from an old British postcard, made me wonder if perhaps we might yet discover a way to deep-inject colored dyes into active magma chambers, producing technicolor flows of liquid rock in a million years' time.
Volcanoes will erupt in Chile, forming bright green hillsides, yellow cliffs dotted with blue boulders. A fine pink gravel will wash up and down the steaming beach.
So can we introduce color into underground reservoirs of liquid rock – with the effect that, far after humans have died off, these weird and fantastic displays of dyed geology will arise, poking up beneath eroded soils, revealing themselves in fissures after earthquakes? Colored bulges of bedrock push toward the earth's surface, seeking the sun.
And isn't that exactly what will happen anyway, as mineral belts of industrial waste and plastics compress over time into new stratigraphies? We could pattern future hillsides like Scottish tartans. Like shirts from J. Crew. Like Sol Lewitt: give him a whole magma chamber to play with. Like some vast underground ink-jet cartridge ready to print colored landforms onto the surface of the earth.
Can we dye rock itself?
Unsupervised geological interventions are the future of landscape architecture.
What Ted Turner did for film, we will do for geology: the re-colorization of the planet.

(Photo courtesy of The New York Times).

0 Getting Things Done (When You Really Have To)

Like many people, I have a procrastination problem. Sure, I always end up getting things done but it can still put me in a bind. Surprisingly enough, I have no problem with being a chronic procrastinator. As far as I'm concerned, the key is to be able to really get your hands dirty and get the job done when the time comes and as long as I can do that, I'm happy doing everything at the last minute.

I've put together a list of ways to get things done when it's really critical that work for me. Try some of these out and hopefully you'll find a couple that work for you too.

Cloister Yourself: It can be really useful to block out some time with the specific purpose of doing whatever you need to do. This doesn't mean planning to "work on it" after you get home from school or work or whatever you do; it means setting some time aside on a weekend or another free day when you can lock yourself in your study and focus on your project and get things done. Make sure you tell friends and family so you don't have a ton of unnecessary distractions.

Plan for Yourself: To get yourself into the mood for productivity, it can help to make a schedule ahead of time. If, the day before your retreat, you write out something telling you what to do when (e.g., 10:00: Outlining, 10:30: Writing, 12:00: Revisions) you will find it a lot easier to focus and you'll spend a lot less time staring at a blank screen. Keep in mind that's it's okay to take breaks. Just be sure that you plan a definite start and end point and keep to it. If you don't think you have the self-discipline, forego breaks altogether.

Unplug Yourself: Don't worry, I'm not going to tell you to put away your computer and dust off the quill pen. However, putting away the parts of your computer that you don't need will help you focus. Turn of mail clients, RSS readers, IM programs or even disconnect from the internet if you won't need it. One quick distraction can lead to many others, so don't leave anything open that you don't absolutely need.

There are applications that can black out everything but your current workspace (Think, a free application for Macs from Freeverse, is one example) but I don't find these to be particularly useful. If you do use these, bear in mind that they're not an excuse to leave distracting applications open, they're just one more level of security for your focus.

Threaten Yourself: You've probably noticed that it’s a lot easier to do things when someone of authority, a teacher or boss perhaps, or someone you like has told you to do it. This can make tasks for work or school relatively easy to finish but it doesn't help any with personal projects.

One way to help gain initiative is to set a clear deadline for yourself. This may be helpful to some, but, quite frankly, it's pretty easy to blow yourself off. Next, you may want to ask a family member (preferably someone such as a parent or spouse that you respect enough to do what they say) to set a deadline for you. If even this doesn't help, you'll need to get serious. Have that same family member give you a deadline and impose some sort of consequence if you don't meet it. With your reality TV on the line, you should have a much easier time getting to work.
Judge Judy
Inspire Yourself: Although this isn't strictly a tip for getting things done when you're right up against a deadline, it can be really handy for making sure things never get down to the wire in the first place. Make sure that whenever inspiration hits (it visits everyone from time to time) you run with it. If you don't get things done when you're really ready and rearing to go, you'll have a much harder time doing them later when the inspiration passes. Don't even say "I'll do it when this show is over" because you won't. Turn off Judge Judy and do it that instant, you'll thank yourself later. That said, you can't always whip out your laptop and spend an hour or two working away. If this is the case, make sure you write your idea(s) down in great detail and get back to them later.

This post was written by Sidney Clark (A.K.A. Gnome) of End Kvetch, a blog about Macs, productivity and general stuff.

0 10 Things You Can Do to Cheer Yourself Up

Whether you have the winter blues, you're suffering from a disappointment, or you're just feeling a little down, we all have times when we could use a little lift. Here are 10 ideas to get you back on the upswing.

1. Plan Some Fun. Get out your calendar. Next do a search for things to do in your area. Local newspapers usually have a "What's Going On" section. Pick out your favorite 5 or 10 things. And remember the things you choose don't have to be big events. It can be as simple as taking a long drive in the country or going for a walk on the beach. Write them into your calendar. Invite someone to join you on some. For others go and meet some new people.

2. Express Your Creativity. Do some painting. Decorate your house with flowers. Do a paper mache project. Pick up that guitar, practice and write a song. Practice juggling. Make a funny photo album with all those old photos you've got in boxes by adding quirky caption above each picture. Learn how to play the harmonica. Write and illustrate a mini book or comic book. Maybe pick your favorite movie get a friend to act out one of the scenes with you while you videotape it. It doesn't have to be good. Just doing these things will make you feel good. And if you keep doing them you'll naturally get better.

3. Get Outside. Fresh air does wonders for your body and spirit. If you can go to a park or a place in nature, even better. Here are some things you could do: go for a walk, fly a kite, plant some vegetables or flowers, roller skate, ride a bike, or go on a 'treasure hunt" to find things for an art project.

4. Let Music Take You Higher. Turn on your favorite music and sing! Pull down the shades and dance. Rent a video on belly dancing. If you're in your car, you can still move a little to the music. Go for it! What do you care what other people think? Have fun with it! Sing, dance, play an instrument. Practice your favorite song and then go to karaoke and let the world hear your talent!

5. Walk a Dog. If you don't have your own dog, offer to walk a neighbor's dog. Or even better yet, sign up at the local MSPCA to walk the pooches who have no one to love them. What a nice way to make a difference!

6. Volunteer. There are so many ways to help others. Here are a few ideas.
7. A Change Will Do You Good. Get some order in your house. Change your furniture around. Change your decorations, or maybe go minimalist for a change. Clear out the clutter. It doesn't matter where you start. Just pick a place in your home that's been bugging you and attack it! Then sell, throw, or give away stuff you don't need. You'll feel great afterward and you'll have made a dent in making your living space more peaceful. And maybe it will give you inspiration to tackle another area tomorrow.

8. Plan a Party. There doesn't need to be a good reason other than it's time for some fun. Start with a small idea and build around it. Maybe you can get inspired by a theme, certain foods, or your favorite music to get the ball rolling. Then think about who you would like to invite. When and where will you have it? Will you cook, hire caterers, or make it pot luck? A meal or finger foods? Will there be dancing, contests, games, or other fun stuff like costumes? Maybe it will be low key with some jazz music, wine and cheese. Or maybe it will be a Hawaiian luau. Or maybe if you have a lot of singe friends you can have a white elephant party. Call a friend for help with the logistics.

9. Personal Spa and Relaxation Day. Include as many of these ideas as you like or have time for. Get a massage, pedicure, and haircut. Take a bubble bath with candles, music and champagne. Give yourself an egg-white or mud mask facial. Line up 2-3 movies to watch in bed while eating your favorite delights: ice cream, chocolate, whip cream, jello, popcorn, finger food hors d'oeuvre, and more. What else would you include to pamper yourself?

10. Reach Out. Connect with friends and family. When was the last time you wrote and mailed an actual letter? Why not do it today? Or how about making some home made post cards with materials you have lying around the house. Cutout some pictures from magazines or from your photo collection and make a mini collage. Maybe just call one old friend from college or high school that you haven't talked to in forever. Or maybe you could visit a neighbor who might need some cheering up too! Bring some cookies!

What's your favorite way to ditch the blahs and cheer yourself up? Please share!! We'd love to hear from you!!

Written by K. Stone of Life Learning Today.

Senin, 28 Januari 2008

0 Immanent islandry

Two Chilean scientists believe that the world's largest tectonic plate, located beneath the Pacific Ocean, is "tearing apart," and possibly on the verge of cracking in two, New Scientist reports.

[Image: Courtesy of New Scientist].

The northern half of the plate has been drifting west, into the Mariana subduction zone, nearly seven times faster than the westward drift of the southern half, creating a massive linear cramp of tectonic stress that may eventually snap altogether. Indeed, the scientists suggest that "several archipelagos in the south Pacific – running from Samoa to Easter Island – including the Pitcairn and Cook islands, and French Polynesia," are evidence that this "future border," as the scientists call it, has already begun leaking magma, producing tropical island chains.
The seafloor is unzipping, one could say.
So will future archipelagos bloom there, like rocky fruits of the sea – and could we prepare for this? Mapping those islands in advance, even naming them? And might someone yet design a new, sub-oceanic architecture for these and other future spreading zones, awaiting the arrival of new landmasses, slowly explosive islands that don't exist yet? The virtuality of the tectonic.
And, for now, could we arrange a kind of psychonavigation of this future shear zone, some boatbound summer design studio on a yacht, involving martinis, bikinis, salt-bleached beards, and SPF 100, taking echo-locative readings of the Pacific seafloor, determining edges and boundaries for these islands yet to come?
Perhaps there is a whole new version of the earth that remains both immanent and imminent inside the one we currently live on – with all due implications for tomorrow's philosophy. Or geophilosophy, as Deleuze would say, sipping pinot grigio on a boat in the mid-Pacific.

0 Learn to Manage Your Manager

Unless you are self-employed and are you own boss, it is likely that you have someone you report to – a boss, a manager, a board of directors etc. This person will likely hold the key to your career success and possibly determines how quickly you can make progress at your company.

As such, one of the most important parts of your job, one that is never explicitly stated and unfortunately a lot of people do not pay much attention to, is being able to manage this person. It may sound clichéd, but to ensure that you can climb the ladder of success you first need to learn how to manage your manager.
  • Market yourself to your boss: Your manager is likely to have a lot more responsibility than just managing you. In the midst of all their other responsibilities, it is possible that you will occasionally be tossed to the back burner. Take subtle steps to ensure that what you are working on is not forgotten. Make sure your manager knows at all times what you are working on. This may require you to speak up during meetings, copying them on emails to clients (especially those where the clients express satisfaction with your work), inviting him or her to meetings that you have with your peers (even if he or she is likely to not attend) etc.
  • Don’t be overly sensitive: Managers are humans too and are likely to show emotions every now and then. Occasionally, because of the pressure that they are under, these emotions come up as anger and frustration. Do not be overly sensitive to criticism – more often than not it is the circumstances and is not meant to be a personal rebuke. When caught in such situation, filter out the negative statements and find what it is that you need to do to rectify the situation. And even if you are effected by an outburst, do not mope around or worse create a scene and make a perfectly salvageable situation worse.

  • Make your manager look good: Remember, your manager has a manager too! While it is his job to offer you guidance and leadership, he will be much more inclined to do that job well if you make him look good and help him shine before his superiors. Learn the difficult and dark art of making your accomplishments known to the upper brass without snatching away the glory from your boss.
  • Your manager is not your friend!: It is possible that as time goes by you get quite pally with your boss. But don’t ever forget that when it comes right down to it, he still has in his hands your future and your fate. Things said in jest may be perceived as insulting which can cause unnecessary issues later. Sharing confidences and personal secrets could make him/her biased against you when it is time for a promotion or a critical project. While a certain amount of camaraderie is always good, never let you guard fully down.
  • Don’t be a pain in the butt: Don’t be a whiner or complainer. If you have issues with your peers or are dealing with a lack of resources, try to handle the situation yourself first. Do not be a tattletale and do not demand stuff that is not really important. When things are falling behind, keep him or her updated about possible slips in schedule, so no one is caught off guard.

  • Actions speak louder than words: You need to gain your boss’s respect and confidence and in the workplace, usually, the only way to do this is to prove your worth. Let your work speak for you – it goes a lot farther than just kissing ass. It does not matter if your actual job is significant or critical from the company’s perspective – but if you do it well anyway, it will be noticed and will open doors for you.

  • Don’t hog your boss’s time: Your boss will likely have a whole lot of tasks to juggle and people to manage. So make sure you do not hog your boss’s time. While discussing issues, make sure you can summarize the situation in a few sentences. The same goes for status updates. The more effective you are at conveying all that needs to be said in the least amount of time, the better you will fare in your boss’s books.

  • Identify your boss’s weakness and take advantage of it: Since you boss is only human, it is likely that he/she will have a few weaknesses. Some of these can be quite frustrating. But if you learn to identify these weaknesses and play them to your advantage, in the long run you could benefit immensely.

    For instance, if your boss is a pompous ego-maniac, instead of being frustrated by how he claims credit for all your hard work, find ways to fuel the ego and look favorable in his eyes. If your boss is too timid, step up to the ladder and be his right-hand man while representing your group to further higher ups. If you make sure you make your boss look good in the process, you can not only gain points from him, but from upper management as well. Manipulating a boss’s weakness to work in your favor is very important if you do not want to be brought down by them!

  • Make sure your boss knows your personal career goals: If you are hoping to earn a promotion, make sure your boss knows that you feel ready for the higher responsibilities that come along with the promotion. If you would like to change the direction your career is going, make sure your boss has an idea. There are several opportunities that may be visible to your boss, but not to you. If he/she knows what it is that you want in the long run, he may find a way to steer you in that direction. Remember that managers are not mind readers, and if you want something, you need to tell them explicitly. Annual reviews are a good time to bring up these matters.
Ultimately, it all boils down to remembering that your boss is also human. And the human that is most important for the progress of your career, at that. So, like all aspects of life, improving your relationship with the boss and treating him/her with some respect and some subtle manipulation can go a long way in ensuring that your career fares well.

Written by Sam Baker of GradMoneyMatters.com - a site dedicated to providing students a choice of money making ideas so they can say no to debt.

0 The great nowhere at the edge

I'm back from London now to find the news cycle absolutely abuzz with so many interesting stories that it'll be hard to keep up – but I'll start posting the best of the best in a bit.

[Image: A photo from Jacob Carter's ridiculously gorgeous River Thames Series].

First, though, last week's lecture was a blast; I talked way too fast, of course, bungling several points in the process, but, in the main, I had a great time and can only hope that everyone who came out on a Wednesday night in London – including my father-in-law! – to hear perhaps a bit too much about geology and not enough about offshore structures, or about the colonial politics of naming alien territories, or about urban iterative architecture, had a good time, as well.
The Bartlett may or may not be uploading a film of the lecture at some point, meanwhile; until then, a few notes from the talk can be seen courtesy of Matt Jones and Mark Simpkins. Also, if you attended BLDGBLOG's recent lecture at SCI-Arc then you would have heard a lot of this before – but you would have missed out on instancing gates and billboard houses and the Indonesian mud volcano and China Miéville's "slow sculptures" and what I thought was a really fun Q&A.

[Image: Another one from Jacob Carter's River Thames Series].

So here's a huge thanks to Iain Borden for hosting the lecture, and to Alex Haw, both for setting it up and for introducing me. Expect more from Alex here on BLDGBLOG, by the way, hopefully soon.
Now: back to regular posting...

(Note: The title of this post is a line from London Orbital by Iain Sinclair).

0 Top 5 Muscle Tips for a Buff Body

Would you like to build a truly impressive physique?

Sculpted Abs?
Defined Pecs?
Big Biceps?

Whatever it is, there are basic fundamental principles that will get you there. With so much confusion and conflicting advice in the world of bodybuilding & fitness, it's time to cut through the noise by delving into the scientific fundamentals that guarantee success.

Here are the top 5 muscle tips to take you from fat to fit; from scrawny to brawny.
  • 'Progressive Overload' will Guarantee your Results.
    The body adapts. It's been doing it for a loooonnng time and will continue to do so forever. So how do we use this to our advantage? Well the key is to place ever increasing demand on the body, thereby forcing it to continually adapt. If you workout with the exact same weight every session and perform the same number of repetitions, how can you expect your body to grow?
    "The law of progressive overload simply says that you must increase the amount of reps or the weight lifted every single workout (or as close to this as humanly possible) in order to ignite muscle growth."
    So, if you want bigger biceps, you must increase the weight you are curling every session or the amount of repetitions. Remember: Progressive Overload = Muscle Growth.

  • Work In The Anabolic Rep Range
    'Rep' is short for repetition. A repetition is simply the process of lifting and lowering a weight again. But is there an optimum number of reps you should perform for muscle growth? I believe there is.

    8-12 reps on any given exercise will stimulate most muscle growth. Lower rep ranges of say 3-6 work well for building strength but not necessarily muscle hypertrophy (growth).

    Higher reps e.g. 15 - 20 can indeed stimulate muscle growth but it is far from optimal. In higher rep ranges, type 1 (slow twitch) muscle fibers are mostly stimulated which can grow in diameter but do so to a lesser extent than type 2A and 2B fibers. Type 2A and 2B fibers will grow more in response to a rep range of 8 - 12.

    The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) holds this position on optimal reps as does Tom Venuto who states,
    "The advantage of the 8-12 rep range is that you get maximal hypertrophy".
  • Increase the amount of protein in your diet.
    Muscle = protein. In order for muscle tissue to repair itself after your weight-training sessions it needs an abundance of protein. Some beginners don't take enough protein and some more experienced guys take ridiculously extreme amounts of protein.

    So how much protein is enough to supply those hungry muscles?

    Use the following formula for the most accurate daily protein requirements.
    Lean Mass Weight (Kg) x 2.75 = Daily Protein Requirement
    Your lean weight is your total body weight minus the amount of fat you are carrying. You will need to know your body fat percentage for this. If you are unsure about this, you can get a good estimate by using the Body Fat Calculator in the sidebar at MuscleHack.com.

    Another good rule of thumb is to take 1 gram of protein for every pound of total body weight. So a 160 lb man would take around 160 grams of protein per day.

    My favorite sources of protein include:

    • Chicken
    • Steak
    • Pork
    • Eggs
    • Cheese
    • Whey Protein Powder Shakes
    • Seafood - tuna, prawns, salmon...
    • Nuts
    • Seeds

  • Increase the amount of fat in your diet.
    Increase fat?! Yes, absolutely. Increasing the amount of fat in your diet increases the amount of anabolic (muscle building) hormones in your body. These are:

    Some people resort to taking anabolic steroids in order to accelerate muscle growth but you can get comparable results by implementing the ultimate bodybuilding diet.

  • Decrease the amount of carbohydrates in your diet.
    If you want to build muscle without gaining fat, I advise you cut down on the level of carbohydrates in your diet. With a high carb dietary approach, you prevent your body from using body fat for fuel and actually encourage the laying down of new body fat. That's

    • Decreased Lipolysis (use of fat for energy)

    • Increased Lipogenesis (creation of fat)

    This is the bane of every bodybuilder on the planet. There is the erroneous belief that in order to gain muscle, you have to gain fat too - wrong. You can build muscle, in fact more muscle, with controlled carbohydrate nutrition than with the standard high carb, low-fat diet.

    Carbs are important for muscle growth but only at the right time. I encourage you to read an article I wrote previously for a full breakdown of the best bodybuilding diet on the planet.
Written by Mark McManus owner of MuscleHack.com.

Sabtu, 26 Januari 2008

0 3 Ways to Embody Emotional Maturity

One of the factors that define adulthood for many is the ability to look at situations and take action based on the facts. Children tend to see a situation and base their choices not on facts, but on how they feel about it. It is often said that many people may have a chronological age that is defined by their birth date, but their emotional maturity does not match their age.

Emotional maturity is not something that is automatically given to someone when they turn 18. Emotional maturity is something that we must develop in our lives by knowing how to respond to situations in a mature and responsible manner.

Three factors that define emotional maturity are:
  • Ability to Face Reality -- Acceptance
    We know that we need to stop smoking because it is not good for our health, but we don’t do it because we want to avoid having to face a difficult challenge in our lives. Many of us like to avoid difficulties and pretend that they don’t exist. It isn’t until we can face reality and accept the situation that is before us then we can mature. We have to stop denying that situations exist and instead move towards assessing the risks of situations and taking actions based on those risks.

  • Ability to Relate Well With Others
    This is a big world, and we need to get along with others – even those that are different from us or have beliefs that differ from ours. All too often we look at others with a critical eye or let anger and frustrations interfere with our perceptions of others. We must learn to forgive others (and ourselves) and start making amends with people for what we have done wrong in the past. Instead of looking at people with a critical eye, look for the good inside them. Be compassionate, not critical.

  • Willingness to be Honest with Ourselves
    We must be willing to do a self-appraisal of who we are and what we want our of life. Chances are that there are areas in your life that could use improvement. None of us is perfect. Sometimes change starts from within – and when you change, the world around you starts to change with you. We don’t have to be in control of everything in our life – sometimes we have to put our faith in a belief that things are going to work out. Being honest with ourselves can lead us to understand that some things in our life just aren’t worth worrying about.
So now it is your turn. What is your emotional maturity? Can you see yourself in the above statements or are there areas you want to improve upon? It’s never too late – whether you are 18 or 81 there are chances for you to increase your emotional maturity age.

Written by David B. Bohl of Slow Down Fast.

0 Literary Atmospheres

A British novelist has been awarded legal damages in excess of £100,000 because she writes thrillers, not literary masterpieces. What's at fault?
She's been inhaling fumes from a nearby shoe factory.

The author "claimed to have become so intoxicated" by the fumes that "she was reduced to writing thrillers." Indeed, the fumes grew so intense "that she was unable to concentrate on writing her highbrow novel, Cool Wind from the Future, and instead wrote a brutal crime story, Bleedout, which she found easier."
That book went on to sell 10,000 copies.
So there are several unspoken arguments being put forward by her claim. Such as:

1) Literary judgement. Why is one "reduced" to writing crime thrillers? Perhaps Henning Mankell is more interesting than, say, Zadie Smith. This writer thinks so, at least. I.e. me. Perhaps the traumatized British author under discussion here should actually owe money to the shoe factory – a small percentage of her royalties, for instance – or at least an acknowledgment in the book.
2) Environmental causality. Perhaps BLDGBLOG is caused by the fact that I do not inhale fumes from a nearby shoe factory. Perhaps I find it difficult to concentrate on anything but architecture because of my city's aroma... I'd thought it'd been all the coffee.
3) Paranoia. Perhaps you, right now, are inhaling something that prevents you from writing your own Ulysses. Perhaps you are being held back by untraceable smells. Perhaps your life is being quietly reshaped by something you can neither see nor properly talk about, some vast and mysterious influencing machine that manipulates you from the outside. Perhaps that machine is a giant shoe factory.
4) Theft, unauthorized use of services, and/or copyright infringement. Perhaps this woman has been using the shoe factory's fumes without permission. Perhaps, Delphi-like, they have been wafting through the neighborhood for someone else's use, mesmerizing home scribblers into a state approaching hypergraphia. Perhaps there was another writer in the flat next door furiously pounding out thrillers and loving every minute of it. Perhaps this woman had no right to use the fumes in the first place – like taping a film whilst sitting at the cinema. Put the pen down, love. These fumes aren't for you. It's a form of neurochemical shoplifting.
5) Scapegoating. Perhaps you can't finish the novel you started writing last summer because of London. You don't live in London – in fact, you've never been there – but it's distracting you. It's forcing you to write emails to friends, instead. You haven't touched your novel in ages. You should sue London... Or perhaps all those buildings you see everyday are preventing you from being a good architecture critic. It's not your eye for detail – it's the buildings you're forced to write about. Perhaps the streets you take to work each day are not inspiring you to travel abroad and be interesting and do something fun with your life. Perhaps your coworker's cubicle makes you terrible at data entry. Perhaps nothing is your fault at all. Perhaps the color of Manhattan taxi cabs prevents you from writing good music. You're now homeless. You prepare to sue.
6) Aromatherapeutic innovation and/or the future of global perfume. In 2010, Burberry will release a new scent. It will smell like the fumes of British shoe factories. Within days of buying your first bottle you begin to convulse – and write thrillers...

So is your neighborhood causing you to write – or not write – highbrow novels? Can you prove it? Or do you only cook spaghetti because of the sad little street you live on – when, really, you're a gourmet chef...?
What is your city doing to you?

(Thanks, Steve T!)

Jumat, 25 Januari 2008

0 Is Your Life Complete? 5 Tips for Living a Fulfilled, Complete Life

When we talk about living a complete life, what do we mean? Are we talking about simply achieving goals as a way to show accomplishments? Not exactly – a complete life means that you live a life that is fulfilled and full of happiness.

Goals are an important part of it, but so are personal and professional relations, passions and desires. For almost everyone, living a complete life is an ongoing process – every day we take steps or perform tasks that help us achieve the goals and desires we have set forth in our life.

It’s very easy to live life – to go through the motions – without living fulfilled. Far too many of us are getting up every day and we don’t have a passion or purpose in what we do. We’ve lost track of our life goals and are not sure how to get back on the path towards living a fulfilled life.

So how do we get back on track in our lives? Or if we already are on track, what are some of the tips that can help keep us on track? I’ve compiled a list of 5 areas that you can focus on that can help you achieve living a fulfilled and complete life.
  1. Turn Your Desires and Wants into Goals
    We all have desires and wants in our life. For some of us it can be a desire to be able to retire early, for others we may have a want to get the latest BMW. For many people they have a desire to make sure that they leave behind a legacy of doing well in both their personal and professional lives.

    In order to achieve your wants and desires, set up goals for yourself. In fact, many people find that by having goals – and milestones to achieving that goal – that they have the motivating power to actually make it happen. Setting up goals gives you the purpose for getting up in the morning and helps fuel the drive to succeed. Make sure your goals are achievable by breaking them down into smaller steps. Then celebrate each time you achieve one of the steps towards the larger goal!

  2. Turn Your Goals into Habits
    Now that you have defined your goals, or better yet you have achieved them, don’t step there! Turn those goals into habits. If your goal was to finish your college education then make it a habit – make education a part of your everyday life by always learning and doing. If your goal was to get rid of the clutter in your life then make sure you don’t stop once you have achieved it or else the clutter will find its way back into your life!

    Habits help us continually achieve goals and even help take small goals and transform them into larger ones. For instance, if you have achieved your goal of reducing your energy and water usage help others see the benefits of doing so as well – expand your goal by making it your habit! People learn by seeing others do.

  3. Track Your Progress and Celebrate Your Accomplishments
    If you remember, I said that in order to make your goals achievable to break them down into smaller steps and celebrate each step as you achieve it. It’s important that we recognize the progress we make in our lives – and that our friends and family make in theirs. It’s positive reinforcement and it is one of the most crucial ingredients in leading a happy, fulfilled life.

    Celebrate accomplishments and use the momentum from achieving that milestone as the catalyst to propel you towards the next milestone! You will find that soon you have developed a positive self-feeding cycle in your life and you will be able to achieve anything you put your mind to!

  4. Watch Out For the Negatives
    How many of us limit ourselves by listening to old, outdated and just plain wrong advice and conventions? When people tell you that you can’t do something because you haven’t done X or Y first, just smile and tell them “Thanks, but I think I’ll give it a shot!” Never limit yourself or your beliefs.

    It seems that in life people are always more apt to listen to those who want to spread the negative emotions and thoughts around than they are those who want to spread around the message of “Yes you can!” Learn how to overcome those who want to be held back by old, outdated beliefs and propel yourself forward knowing that you can do something if you work hard at it.

    Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, didn’t believe in the old belief at the time that IBM didn’t do business with small companies – and look at where he is now!

  5. Keep Your Mind Open Change
    We should always make sure that we have an open mind and learn that change happens and sometimes we need to modify our desires or goals. This doesn’t mean you should give up on something because you think it is too hard to achieve, but rather you should be open for new ways of achieving that goal or modifying the goal to take advantage of advanced in technology, science and the world around us.

    Successful people know that change is part of life – and that change does not, as many people believe, happen suddenly but rather is a gradual process that takes place every minute of the day. By being aware of the change that happens around them they can better focus their goals and desires to take advantage of change instead of being surprised by it.
Are you preparing to bring fulfillment to your life? Use this list as guide then watch as change starts to happen around you. People will notice when you change your attitude and outlook, and when they do it is almost viral – they begin to change theirs as well! Before you know it, not only are you living a full, complete life but you also were the catalyst for others to find fulfillment in their lives as well!

Written by David B. Bohl of Slow Down Fast.

Kamis, 24 Januari 2008

0 Read before Lunch: Eat Less Fast Food Because...

Fast food has become an integral part of the modern busy lifestyle. Despite the common knowledge that fast food is not healthy, people scarf it down out of convenience (or is it laziness). Ah, I digress. Let's all agree that people prefer fast food because it is easy to purchase, is inexpensive, requires no preparation, is convenient to consume and very appetizing.

While tasty, there are several good reasons to restrict it or stop eating it altogether. I am sure you have heard some of this before but still every drive through on the planet is loaded at lunchtime.

Let's visit a handful of these reasons and explain what they actually mean to your body.

  • High palatability. Palatability of fast food is really guileful. It makes you to eat fast and want more of it. If you do, you are in for a gut busting, artery clogging ride.

  • Rich in calories. Fast food is loaded with calories. Did you know that fast food meals usually contain about 1,000 calories in just one meal? Getting so many unnecessary calories in a single meal almost ensures that you will be overweight, especially if you do it on a regular basis. Before you go to lunch today with your co-workers, check out the restaurant you are going to to see what your likely meal has in store for you.

  • High in saturated and trans fats. Fast foods are probably the biggest source of trans fats in our diet. Many fast foods are cooked with a lot of oil, and very often in ultra-hot oil high in trans fats. Fried meet, fish, chicken, french fries, cheese, bologna, mayonnaise, and dressings are all common high-fat ingredients of fast food. Too much fat can contribute to obesity, high cholesterol and heart disease. This is especially true of saturated fat and trans fat.

  • High glycemic index. Foods that contain carbohydrates are given a glycemic index, which indicates how quickly the carbohydrates are digested and thus how a food affects the level of sugar in the blood. Foods that contain large amounts of sugar and starchy foods have a high glycemic index because they are quickly digested and quickly increase blood sugar levels. Most fast foods have a high glycemic index. Desserts, candy, syrups, jellies and jams all contain added sugar. Corn flakes, French fries, white bread, soda drinks have also a high glycemic index. The studies confirm that fast food increases the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

  • High levels of salt. Salt makes cheap food taste better, but too much salt is bad for you. You can reach your daily sodium intake in just one meal. Consuming less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day is recommended. To see how simple it is to blow past this number, a single 7-layer Burrito from Taco Bell has 1300mg of Sodium.

  • Lack of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Fast food tends to lack whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. Any food that has poor nutritional value is considered unhealthy and may be called "junk food" or "empty calories".

  • Numerous food additives. Fast food is given a very attractive appearance by adding food additives and colors to enhance flavor, texture, and palatability. Additives like preservatives, colorants and sweeteners may be harmful to the health. In fact, something I find to be disturbing is this statement:
    "The FDA requires that all ingredients be listed on a food’s label, but often additives will be listed as “spices” or “artificial flavoring,” making it impossible for consumers to determine what, exactly, has been added to their food." - U.S. Food and Drug Administration/International Food Information Council, “Food Ingredients and Colors,”
  • Large portion size. The large portions encourage overeating. Large, extra large, and double portions are the rule for fast food meals. And most people don't need super-sized portions.
In the end it's up to you but at least consider indulging in moderation versus making it a daily habit.

Written by C. Simmons of HealthAssist.net

Rabu, 23 Januari 2008

0 Long post about nothing

I have like 160 photos to post and I need to get to Munkysuperstar by 3pm tomorrow! And it's 4am now! So chop chop!!

You know how at the start of Ugly Betty they will flash all these stripey faces? (Btw Ugly Betty is like my new favourite TV show coz every episode is just so cheerful and funny)

I had enough of those mysterious faces! WHO ARE ALL THESE UGLY PEOPLE?! How they look like if they had no swapped features?! Would they look good?

Here's what they let us see:

Normal face

Urgh! So ugly!

Unfortunate chick with Betty's famous ugly mouth - insured for US $1 million.

(No, I'm serious. Also, for those of you who didn't already know, Heath Ledger died like yesterday.)

And of course...

Betty herself

With a camera and some photoshopping, I PRESENT.........


Amanda? Is that you?!


I know they don't look completely right, but these are the best fit I could find! I KNOW! How can someone be half blonde and half brunette right? WHATEVER! If you think you can do better go do it!

Colourful hundreds and thousands spilled on an NTUC shelf. Pretty!

Qihua and I did our nails:



They are really chio but the diamantes keep snagging on stuff! My hair, satin clothes, etc etc. Really annoying.

My latest efforts in my attempt to buy every single thing in pink: Contact lens.

CHIO NOT! I bought it from some spree, and the contacts have pink hearts on them plus a dark black rim to make your pupils bigger. It's chio (but a little too big for my irises as you can see)!

Went with Qihua to get her new kitty cat:

NIAP NIAP is its name! Isn't it just fucking cute or what!?!?!

It's a Persian Flatface and it's Baileys-coloured. I helped her choose it!

It is a pedigree that cost $1,400. (got up to like Great great grandfather's name and they all sound damn aristocratic like Javiar King of Hearts II or something like that... Unfortunately the kitty's original given name is Jaffa... Well now it's Niap niap, so I think old Javiar might flip in his grave if he knew how un-regal his great-great-grandchild's name is...)

Sibeh cute la! The kitty is very calm and sedated one... and it's super snuggly lor! I think I have officially changed from a dog person to a cat person leh!

Dogs are damn jumpy (most of the time) and always try to lick you and shit... Cats just crawl up to your lap and lie there purring and sometimes pawing your tummy.

Anyway Niap Niap somehow got himself some ringworms and is now shaved bald. Oh well.

Mike and I in St Paul after our flight from Japan.

Just in case you are thinking I'm mad to wear make-up for a 20 hour flight, you are wrong! All I had on was eyelash extensions for my top lashes! The "coloured contacts" and "lower lash mascara" are all added by my leet photoshop skills. Teeheeheehee!

Snowing in Minneapolis! Fucking minus 7 degrees can!

So unfortunately for us, just when we were about to board the plane there, they decided to load the plane's food on, so Mike and I were stuck in the open air area between the plane and the walkway.


While the people loaded their shit, we stood there in the muthafucking cold for like 10 mins lor! I almost died I was so cold! And the snow fell onto my head! (that part was kinda nice coz the snow is very fluffy... but I was concentrating more on how my fingers were all numb even under Mike's armpits)

Finally, we reached Dallas, Texas. Mike's mom came to fetch us.

That's Mike in the guest room we were staying in.

US houses are so nice... Everyone's got carpet and there are NO INSECTS coz it's winter!

They even have an attic I climbed into. I touched the fluffy white stuff on the floor of the attic (it looks like cotton wool) and Mike shouted "DON'T TOUCH THAT!!!" at me.

Turns out it's shaved fibre-glass which insulates the house but is deadly to the touch. I could have dead!!

Xmas tree! (This blog entry is really late, isn't it?)

My fav decor on the tree

I kept pestering Mike to bring me to the mall, which is a good half-hour drive away. He drove me there and waited stoically at the bookstore for 3 hours, which pisses him off really bad.

WHY MUST ALL (ok, most straight) GUYS HATE SHOPPING??? And what's with the crowd phobia? They get all angsty and stressed when there are more people around? I don't get it.

A happy but tired me after VS shopping.

When I stepped into the store I felt like I was stepping into the inside of my head! Everything is fluffy, pink, and frivolous! LOVE!

Mike and I in his mom's, Ann's, car... Ann was really sweet to us and even rented a car for us while we were there! She's really nice! I like her! And I'm not just saying that coz she might read this, which I hope she won't because I use expletives. Which doesn't mean I am not a good type of girl. Ahem.

Lovely Texan skies

At Chilies!

That little black pan with the orange gloop on it is... ok it's some Mexican name that I cannot spell. But anyway, it is Chili mixed with melted cheese and it is damn super duper yummy!

Chili is not our traditional kind... it's a little like curry but it's dark brown and it has chunks of soft beef and sometimes also beans inside it. Very nice with corn chips!

Mike's cousin and best friend Kellet who says he wants to be on the blog and famous, haha... He is an army ranger!

Kelly (it's a nickname and apparently Kelly is a guy's name in US) with his wife, Tracy

Kelly with his mom, Aunt Martha, whom I really like and cooks really good food!

Xmas Eve at Aunt Martha's place!

Traditional Xmas tree and presents underneath
(not that they can all fit in there)

Me with an shriveled angmoh durian

It was a lovely crisp day so Mike, his brothers, and I ventured outside to hang out.

Everyone was dressed in a black top and jeans for professional photo-taking! Stupid Mike didn't tell me until the last min (ie, day before) that this was the plan, so my special Christmasy green dress which I specially brought to US for photos was not used. Boys! He didn't think it was very important, he says!

And I had no other black top but a lousy black turtleneck and my jeans were so blah! (Tucked into cream cowboy boots)

I wish I had a black shift dress that I could pair with black leggings and black, patent oxfords. And maybe gloves? Satin black gloves. Maybe a white belt and a white hairband so it doesn't look so funeralish. OK... Thinking too much. The event is over!

Mike with his brothers Daniel 24, and Jacob, 11. Paul (23) is missing...

"There he is!" says Jacob.

So cute right! Their eye colours are (from left) greenish-brown, Hazel (sometimes blue, sometimes brown), dark blue, and light blue.

Dad's eye colour is green and mom's is grey.

Their hair colour is all the same though! Ashy brown? Mike's feels a bit green to me sometimes.

I was talking to Mike's mom about her sons eye colours and I asked her if it is a big deal to Caucasian mothers the moment their newborn babies open their eyes, because isn't it a mystery? It could take on mom's colour, or dad's, or something else isn't it?

She laughed and told me that most white babies are born with blondish hair and dark-blue eyes, so it's not that exciting. It is only later than their eye colours change and their hair darkens to their final colour.



Mike + cousins (minus Kelly who is missing) who are ALL BOYS?! He says the boy gene runs very strongly in his family so I should be prepared for boy babies if I ever marry him.


I'm going to fucking give birth 20 times until I get a girl lor, I DON'T CARE. I don't want boys, boys are dirty and smelly! Girl I can buy her pink stuff (I don't care if she doesn't like pink, I'd make her like it) and tie her hair!!

Anyway, I was also invited to take photos with the family!!

I am semi-family now! I am in Xmas photos!

Since I was standing on the edge (of the group), I delibrately put my arm around Mike's waist so that just in case he breaks up with me, they cannot crop me entirely away!! MY ARM WILL ALWAYS BE THERE!! MUAHAHAAHA! Evil not!!!

I imagine this scenario in future:

Mike's future slut girlfriend who is completely incomparable to me is at Mike's mom's place for the first time.

Future slut girlfriend (who is also fat): Is that your family portrait on the wall?

Mike: Yup, taken Xmas 2007.

FSG: You seemed very happy then.

Mike: Was not bad.

FSG: How come you are staring lovingly into... nothingness?

Mike: Eh...


Mike: How did you... why do you say so? It wasn't.

FSG (raises a fat, jiggly arm to point at portrait): That is a cropped off hand of a girl!

Mike: Oh yeah that's my ex... Remember the one I cheated on with you? Yup.

FSG: But you told me she was a slutwhore whom your family and friends disagreed on! AND that she's fatter than me! You said she's like at least 50 pounds fatter! Which means she's like 350 pounds!

Mike: She is!

FSG: HER HAND IS SO NOT FAT. Show me this photo in its entirety!

Mike hesitates but his mom, who has been eavesdropping, rushes out with the non-cut-off photo and presents it to FSG.

Mike: Mommmmmm........ Why?

Ann shrugs, whispers: Son, you can do better than a whale. Look at you! You are handsome!

FSG: OMG OMG SHE IS GORGEOUS! I OUGHTA EAT SHIT AND DIE! WHY????! Why would you cheat on her with ME?

Mike, muttering to himself: I guess I was just a tad sick of screwing a perfect girl...

FSG goes on: She's like 100 times hotter! Is she smart? Tell me she is totally stupid or I'll just die right here.

Mike keeps quiet.

Mike's mom, whispering loudly to cat: She was in Mensa, wasn't she, kitty kitty?

(FSG runs out of the house in terror, and even falls down comically on the frontstep, leaving Mike to totally regret his decision to cheat on me)

Yup. That oughta be good.

Disturbing Mike while he eats

He ignores me

Full of hate!

So cute

At around this time, I started being sick... On Xmas day it became a full-blown fever.

Despite this, I still insisted we go to Northpark Mall, the upmarket mall an hour's drive away that houses Juicy Couture (among all the other big brands)!!

After all, this was the main highlight of my trip! Besides spending a REAL Xmas of course...

Had live ducks inside the mall!

Juicy monopoly set!!

Cupcake undies!

Inside Neiman Marcus, which also sells Juicy stuff.

But that's not what I wanted. What I wanted was...

The real Juicy store.

With real Juicy products!

For a whole half hour I spent inside there, my fever disappeared.

(I'll show u guys what I bought later.)

Humongous crab legs that Ann cooked for the family one day! (compare to a normal-sized salt shaker)


I used to think that eating crab legs was stupid coz the crabs we eat in Singapore have puny legs, but snow legs have very big legs apparently!

Definitely comparable to eating the claws or body - and plus the shell is very easily removed so it's much more fuss-free.

We had an awesome meal with the crab legs... Simply oven-heated and dipped in melted butter. Oh my goodness, so good!


Can you imagine if I separate the top and bottom part of the nail a little bit you can see blood and pink flesh inside the crack!? Ewww! And fucking painful!

Had to cut off my chio acrylic nails... :(

BTW in case you are wondering what happened, after a few days the top part of the nail just DROPPED OFF! It didn't hurt, just that the part that was supposed to be covered by my nail just felt a bit tender, that's all.

Ann's super cuddly kitty cat.

I miss it! It likes to cuddle up in warm stuff (laps, clothes, bedsheets) and purr when you stroke up. It especially likes Mike's squishy belly (which admittedly I like a lot too. I see the appeal).

It would suddenly have a change of temperament and bite though!

Mike's treat at Red Lobster. Prawns, jumbo scallops and lobster tail! Yum, yum and yum.

We go back to Singapore after 3 very cold but very enjoyable weeks.

Transit in St Paul, Minneapolis again, and it's snowing outside on New Year's Eve.

What's that on the window?



Aren't they beautiful?


I know that snowflakes are shaped like that, but I never thought that every single snow that falls from the sky forms 1 flake! I tot one drop of snow is made of many flakes that can only be seen under the microscope or something!

But no! The snow keeps hitting onto our plane's window and even time it hits, it creates a beautiful symmetrical pattern! Nature's quite wonderful sometimes, isn't it?

Those little fluffy flakes of white makes me quite happy, and I totally don't regret having a snowflake tattoo now. Hahaha!

Ever wondered what those big round plastic backing of the business class seats contain?

The answer is...


That's right.

It's just an empty, useless space.

Its sole purpose of existing is to taunt us Economy people even more.

Says the seat backing: "Oh you poor people! Can't afford business? No space for your legs? Ha! Not only does Business Class have space for legs, we also have EXTRA space that we put to no good use! What do you mean we can give that space to economic passengers? Why would we? YOU THINK WE ARE COMMUNISTS NOW, HUH? Nope, I'd rather put that precious airplane space to no good use at all. That's right. Being poor sucks, doesn't it?"


Now for my US shopping! I don't care if you are bored by now, I just wanna show off all my awesome buys!

US shopping is FANTASTIC man! Things are actually much more fashionable here, and the quality is really good (as compared to like Bugis Village kinda quality, if you get what I mean) and they have really, really nice stuff!

Ann recommended DFW (Dallas Fort Worth) shoes, much to Mike's displeasure, which is humougous place completely filled with designer shoes at really low prices.

I bought these...
Guess slippers and Steve Madden Mary Janes.
Comes in brown velvet and a chunky heel trimmed with gold.

They totally don't have my size (5) but it's too chio to miss so I bought one in 7 for myself and one in 9 for Shuyin!

Both are too big but nvm lor, can stuff tissue in front!

The Steve Maddens at USD59.90 (and still looks the part) are now USD11.99!!! Can faint or not?

Forever 21 is my favourite shop in the mall. Things are super duper cheap there, and like, the most expensive thing there is possibly... 30 USD? Which is 45 Sg bucks maybe?

I dug through their sales rack for around 4 hours (there is a lot of clothes there) and bought a multitude of things from 0.99 to 7.99. The best thing is, all the summer clothes are on sale, and unlike the fucking annoying Forever 21 in Singapore where the size available is only L, everything there is XS and S!


How many times have you been inside Forever 21 in Singapore, found something you like, only to be told you can't get it because only fucking L (or worse, XL) is left?!


If there are so many people sized S in Singapore, why is F21 stocking in so many GODDAMN Ms and Ls for?

And if something is only left in L, why don't they put all these clothes into a separate part of the store for fat people, so I DON'T FUCKING SEE THESE CLOTHES AND NOT BE ABLE TO BUY IT?!

This is actually getting me pissed off. I hate hate hate it when I see stuff in L I can't get!

From now on I'll only buy F21 stuff from the website.

To happier stuff:

Mesh black oxfords in 4 inch heels and satin ribbons

White heels

Both from F21 at around 20 bucks.
(They are still being sold on the website btw)

IT WAS SO FREAKING AWESOME. The shoes were all lying on the floor and they were all so so pretty but nobody wanted to buy them because... the only size left was 5.5 and angmohs cannot wear that.

So I grabbed them up! I ought to have bought more but my luggage was full to burst, not to mention very close to being overweight...

Which is why I bought another luggage!!

Pink satin with brown polka dots.

Very pretty right?! There is a luggage place in the mall where you can get all sorts of designs from leopard print to yellow polka dots and the luggages are like 20.99 for the small ones to 49.99 for the bigass ones. Mine is 29.99 I think, Medium.

From Walmart:

Diet pills for 14 USD each that don't really work. Oh well...

Watermelon flavour deodorant!

Singapore's choices are so limited... Now if you smell watermelon near to me you'll know it comes from my armpits, haha...

I don't know why I bought this since I can get Veet in Singapore...

Self tanning moisturisers and Sally Hansen's Hard As Wraps nail polish.

The polishes are like 4 USD. They cost $13 each in Singapore!

I reckon the best brands to buy in US for cheap are F21, Coach, and Sally Hansen. Nods sagely.

Purple colour toothpaste! It's so cute I had to get it.

I don't understand what's with all the cavity-protection, or whitening, or total protection whatever...

How many percent of toothpaste is just foam anyway? Can't they just DUMP ALL THESE ATTRIBUTES INTO A SINGLE PASTE?

What happens if I buy 5 tubes of paste with different properties and mix them? Does it mean I get whiter, brighter teeth with fresher breath and at the same time get total protection plus a green tea flavour?

I don't give a shit!

Just make a chio-looking toothpaste and I assure you toothpaste makers that there will be mindless females who will buy them!

I'm thinking a baby pink Juicy Couture toothpaste. Squeezes out in a light pink paste with and the shape of a crown! Or or... a jet black Chanel one with a white logo and black diamante cap. YOU TELL ME YOU WON'T BUY THEM!?!

Jelly Belly soda flavours!

My fav is Root Beer and Cream Soda... The rest is all Mike's.

Walmart house brand's whitening strips.

They taste horrible! They work but I haven't been using them often enough...

Tank top for like 9 bucks or something...

I bought another one that is black, has a bunny on it too, and reads "I am not spoilt, I deserve all my stuff" and it mysteriously disappeared! Qihua says the cat probably carried it off somewhere coz Niap niap does that. :(

Hair curler - USD 14

Makes hair like this! Nice hor!

Pink gemstone bracelet!

Like 6 USD I think.
It's really tough to find large gemstones in Singapore, and I love them!

Hot pink Bratz webcam.
It's not cheap leh, like 25 USD I think.

Baby pink fleece jacket, 10.

Baby booties and 6 pairs of baby stockings
(taken unceremoniously out of box coz luggage no space) for my cousin's baby!
She's gonna give birth soon!

3 USD for 3 pairs of stockings, and around 4 USD for the boots.
Pink suede with fur trim!

Shorts from Target: 9.99

Can you believe I lugged this home? I think this is only 16 bucks!


Mike's Xmas present for me:

USD 88.

Set of 3 bracelets that writes "For Nice Girls Who Like Stuff". I super love it so much lor... I look at it and tear in joy. Ok, being a bit dramatic. My bf is the best!!!

Juicy undies! In a lollipop!

Small bottle of Juicy perfume bought in Walmart for 12 bucks. Urgh, it doesn't smell very nice! But it's chio. :D

Keychain: 15

Can you see how super gorgeous even the receipts are?!

Bracelets from Claire. The wood one was on 80% discount or something!


Starting from accessories:

Set of 2 gemstone rings, 3.80.

For Qihua. As you can see, I went a bit mad with the gemstones stuff.

I don't know which one I am (dyed), so...

(this is like 99 cents)

Awesome sales rack clothes (mostly):

Major chio velour shorts in Hot Pink and Navy...

First day I went, I saw Navy in XS and Pink in M, so I bought both, thinking the pink is too chio to miss so I'll wear it a tad loose. Next day, I saw pink in XS too! So I bought it and give the M to Shuyin (who is wearing it loose too, haha!).

Backless halter top that strangely enough fits really well! I think 5.99.

The sequins trend haven't even started to really hit Singapore, (shops are selling but not many people wearing yet) but in US, the sequined stuff are already starting to go on sale.


Terry turquoise romper. 7.99

Preppy black skirt 4.99

Casual shorts. 7.99 or something? They are really cheap la! I'm not gonna mention price from now on coz all the clothes are around 5 bucks each.

Low-back halter with built-in bra padding!

Orange skirt. I have boots in that exact same colour!
(Colour is more like almond in real life)

Keyhole at the back, and ribbed material! Very comfy. :)

F21 is still selling this.

I saw it in Vivo City in (what else?) size L and is selling for some atrocious price.

Chioest of the chio white satin heart quilted jacket!

$27.99!! (non-sale la of course)

I saw Singapore's F21 selling this for 79 or something ridiculous like that.

Black eyelet bra


Purple satin

All these are around 8.80.

Ok end of F21 products.

Baby pink Fendi-inspired spy bag!

I saw this at the mall and was super surprised to see fake products being sold in US. Turns out it's not illegal coz there is no Fendi logo on the bag!

I super love this bag lor, it is has a total of EIGHT compartments and the inner lining is also baby pink and has the brown leather trim.

$25.99. Sing dollar $38!

10 bucks

12.50, with rhinestones

Must be guilt for making Mike wait while I shop...

Fleece shorts, 10 bucks.

Super chio nighties for only $16.99!!!!!!!!!!!

The second one even has a hole for you to show off your ass crack lor!

Rompers @ 4 bucks each!

Black, grey, and rhinestoned leggings


Moisturising spray with glitter!

It smells really nice and looks awesome on legs. 12 bucks? I forgot how much.

VS bronzers at a major discount of 80%.

Are these like 3 bucks each? I don't remember!

Purple for Qihua

These VS bags are madness... 12 bucks for the 2, and 16 for the gold. As if that's not cheap enough, each of these bags contain 3 largish bottles of moisturiser, body mist and shower foam or something. Which means 12 bucks for a chio bag and 3 bottles of toileries!

This means that bag and each toiletry is 4.5 Sing dollars each.

I gave all the bottles to Mike's mom coz I know I won't really use them (9 bottles how to use all?!) and my luggage was already so full.

10 bucks each.

I don't know what got into me, but the santarina outfits were really too FUCKING CUTE TO RESIST!

I bought them and told myself it's gonna be next Halloween's outfits.

Are they really cute or are they really cute!?

I don't know who the hell can wear the ribbon on the ass skirt... Afterall it only has a very flippable ribbon covering the ass!

I had no idea how much I spent shopping... but now I do, due to this bill:

Almost jumped out of my skin. I honestly thought I spent like 700. :(

And what the hell did I buy at walmart for 179 dollars?!


From Mike's family (I think Mike's dad bought this for me)

From Mike's grandma.

Can matchy matchy my velvet hot pink shots!

And nicest of all...

Mike's family bought me a real diamond necklace.

I must go back to Thailand to give my thanks to the four-sided god. I prayed to him eons ago that I should get a good bf and now I got one!!

Got some more pictures but I'm too tired to continue this! It's now 8am, JESUS!


Please watch new shows!!

Chick VS Dick!

Qihua and Paul Twohill are in a new show! In each episode they pit each other on and do various challenges. Who will you vote for, and can you really eat a spoonful of cinnamon? Check it out! CLICK.

Xiaxue's Guide to Life

In this episode, I give away my ultimately sacred recipe. I'm secretly an awesome chef. CLICK.

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