Archive for 2009 年 02 月

First day of 2009 @ Taipei

We were completely shagged out from the countdown the nite before. Its the first day of 2009 and the sky didn’t look very good.

Had the rice dumpling for breakfast.

After breakfast, we leisurely strolled around the underground shops near the Taipei main station. Bought some books there while my gf happily spent on some pair of shoes.

A short walk back to the hotel to leave the bought stuff and off to the local sim lim otherwise known as 光華商場.

Its was this time when i decide to get some PC games otherwise not available back in singapore. Speaking of the games, i have till now yet to install and try them out.

After a few good hours in 光華商場, we saw this stall selling 車輪餅.

We bought two of the cakes, one is cheese and another is 菜圃.

Basically, it looked very much like the one you get from Jollibean locally but the difference lies in the fillings. They were very rich given that one costed only NT$10. Now this is what i call cheap and good!

After some more shopping at the nearby DVD, VCD shop, we went back to the hotel. The next destination was rather too far to carry all these around.

淡水, 漁人碼頭.

Nice cool night to stroll around and take photos.

The fishball soup here was famous.

Bought a bowl of the soup…

And this pack of boiled squids.

This was really an impulse buy. Boiled squids by itself don’t taste fantastic and served as whole, the internals can taste quite horrible (you don’t know what the squid ate before it was caught). I tried to enjoy the squids given the atmosphere and the fact that i should try things out while i am overseas but my gf was quite reluctant to go pass her 3rd one. In the end, i managed to down seven and had to throw the rest away. So sayang.

Its time to find some decent food so we went back to the night market opposite the 淡水 station.

淡水老街.

It was not as crowded yet as some of the more popular night markets but you can still find some good food.

Fried chicken. NT$45.

Sausage. NT$35.

After this night market, we decide to cut the night short and go back to our room. The train ride took about an hour to the main station so it was actually quite tiring. By the time we got back to hotel it was like…

Movie review – He’s just not that into you

I am not really into romantic comedies like this one, but watching these shows become routine when my gf likes them. I try not become too resistant and accept whatever i had to watch. Luckily, Scarlett Johansson is absolutely fucking hot in this show and for me, that’s good enough.

There are 4 guys and 5 ladies in this show, so i don’t have to elaborate and you should know that at least one person is going nowhere at the end of the show. First, we have Neil (Ben Affleck) and Beth (Jennifer Aniston) who are not married despite together for seven years. Beth is getting increasingly frustrated at Neil’s reluctance for marriage.

Then there is Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) who is out looking for a mate, taking what guys said too seriously and ends up making a fool of herself. Connor (Kevin Connolly) didn’t think much of Gigi after one date but got her all eager and waiting for that promised phonecall. Connor’s friend Alex then became Gigi’s guide to how to tell a genuinely interested guy from his words and signals.

Connor, on the other hand, was into this on-off relationship with Anna (Scarlett Johansson) but never quite got to  know what she is thinking about. Anna, met this charming Ben (Bradley Cooper) and fell for him even though he confessed early he’s already married to Janine (Jennifer Connelly). Anna’s friend Mary (Drew Barrymore) encouraged Anna to take her chances while she is busying interacting with guys over phone, email, messages but have never spoken or seen anyone of them.

1) Storyline – 20 / 30

Run of the mill, nothing unexpected nor exciting. A very easy show for a lazy afternoon and although the ending is kinda abrupt (at least for Connor) but i think i didn’t mind.

2) Entertainment value – 15 / 25

Would have been getting higher points if i am a sucker for romantic comedies because i think girls will like this show. And only girls.

3) Cast – 20 / 25

Scarlett Johansson, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston. There is no lack of eye candy (whether you are male or female) in this show, i must say that the lesser known actors and actresses did a pretty good job of keeping the show going too.

4) Pace / Flow – 12 / 20

The show was alrite until the ending part where one guy got together with one lady very abruptly, one lady got all alone again. Didn’t explain much i guess.

Overall: 67/100

Keep the money in your pocket if you don’t like romance flicks like this. Watch it unless you are forced to, but then there is always the so hot Scarlett Johasson.

Made to feel like a sucker

Just had a phonecall which had basically demolished the “rules of the game". So for almost eight years, i had blindly followed a set of rules which suddenly is not applicable anymore under the new modifications. I had myself to blame for being stupid, its not anyone’s fault.

I understand now. I think i will try to adjust myself to get back to what i am eight years ago now that i don’t have to follow meaningless guidelines anymore.

Nike ad – Take it to next level

Very interesting ad from Nike.

Countdown day @ Taipei

Its 31st of Dec and we were to spend out first countdown at Taipei. We woke up pretty late since the highlight of the day is at nite, so there was nothing much we planned to do that morning.

We went to the cinemas, hoping to catch some show and spend some time.

We saw the ticket price and changed our mind. The cheapest timeslot are from 8am till 12noon and it was like S$10. Since there was no show that really caught our attention, we left for some window shopping nearby.

It was nearly time for lunch and we bought something small to last us till we can find this japanese eatery we planned for.

This rice burger with onion pork sells for NT$30 at 7-11. Looks like MOS burger, tastes like one too.

The japanese eatery we planned for is called 肥前屋 (中山北路一段, 121巷, 七條通內).

The queue was there even though it was like 1:30pm. Thought lunchtime was almost over.

It was very packed and we had to share table with two guys who looked and sound like fellow singaporeans. I saw mostly tourists here and saw two other people holding the same tour guide book as me.

I ordered the highly recommended unagi rice box, unagi means eel.

I was very hungry so i ordered the bigger box.

Came with a whole eel. Order the smaller box and you will get half instead.

My gf ordered this pork with omelette rice.

Side dish ordered was two sticks of the grilled chicken.

After lunch, we went back to the hotel to pick up the tripod and other stuffs for tonite’s countdown but mainly was to rest. We guessed we had to be there before the concert starts at 7pm and won’t be coming back until past midnight. Better to catch some sleep.

We arrived at the concert venue at 6pm.

There was a slight drizzle even though forecast mentioned that there should be no rain that night. Some people came earlier than us and had already gathered in front of the stage. We found a spot away from the crowd since it would be more convenient to setup a tripod.

Good view from where i was standing, able to see the stage and Taipei 101 together.

The concert started at 7pm promptly with 苏打绿. The guy wearing red is the lead singer. Hosts were 胡瓜 and 藍心湄.

The crowd got bigger as the concert went on. This pic was taken around 15min after the concert started.

S.H.E!!!!!

Selina looked so cute.

Hebe apparently had some problem with her blouse and was tugging it all nite. She disappeared for some time to adjust during the commercial break. Since the concert was beamed live, the performers would take a break and just chat on the stage.

梁靜茹.

There were plenty of other artistes but i couldn’t take well-shot pics of them. The crowd grew and i couldn’t place my tripod properly without people tripping.

I relocated to another spot to get away from the pushing and shoving crowd. My short-fused GF was not suitable for crowded places like this.

As the time approaches, the crowd felt the growing excitement of seeing the firworks lit up on Taipei 101.

All the big shots went onto the stage before the fireworks go off.

Sad to say, i only took the video of the fireworks since i want to capture the whole duration. And since i have not found a way to upload video onto wordpress, i can’t share with anyone here.

Still, i would like to say that the fireworks from Taipei 101 is one of the most spectacular, if not the most i have seen so far. Lasting over 3 mins, the whole already impressive building was lit up and really brought up the new year mood and atmosphere.

2008 ended with a bang, for me at least.

After 12, it was pop group 五月天’s turn to perform.

Although we would very much like to stay on and watch, it was just too freaking freezing out there. I guess it was like below 5 deg and we were hungry and tired. We decided to leave after like one song.

But as we would have guessed, it wouldn’t be easy going back. The authorities have sealed up the roads leading to the countdown venue, restricting the crowd to use public transport (read mrt) instead. So at the nearest station entrance, it looked something like this.

I was stuck here for like 30min before i can get into the station. I think the crowd here was not any lesser than the one in front of 五月天.

For it was really a good thing that they had this crowd control at the station entrance. Only a handful of people were allowed into the station every few min, so it was not crowded inside the station and we could get into the train easily. Can’t imagine all these crowd squeezing and trying to get into the trains.

The dreaded “R" word

The mood in my office is one of stale air, restlessness and waiting for the dreaded phonecall to come. We knew that some of us, one of us, maybe myself is going to get the handshake.

I am looking at the retrenchment exercise that is going to happen in my company in a few days time. At it is during these times that you see a different side of my colleagues.

When we first heard of this R thingy, we were still able to jokingly talk about it and even gossiping about who is going to get the cut. As the date draws near, the jovial atmosphere is gone, replaced by stress and the feeling of lost.

There are these few people who knew that either they are surplus to the current company requirements, too expensive to keep or just simply didn’t click with the boss and thus get this feeling or hunch that they will be chopped. Some resigned to their fate even before the announcement is made, start to hand over their stuffs with tears welling in eyes.

There are also these few who knew that even though they maybe surplus, expensive to keep but simply because they are favored by the boss and thus knew that they are very safe from the storm. They can be recognized by the way they walk and talk. Just fuckers.

While i have nothing against the confidents and important personnels in the office, i do not like the way they carried themselves during this period. For instance, while i am pretty sure that my boss will have a hard time should i go, i try not to talk about my confidence. It will only make those vulnerable feel the impending doom and feel worse. I knew the person sitting beside me is very worried, because there is this fucker who knew that being the bloody boss’s favourite bj, always come and talk to my neighbour about chances of getting chopped. It only made to worsen the already tense mood. My other neighbour, while being confident of her position, also tried to engage the stressed neighbour into her potential payout should the cut comes. I don’t see any meaning in doing so, there is no point in discussing these when you know how the person is feeling. Extremely insensitive i will say.

The bunch of colleagues that i always hang around also show signs of stress and to some degree, wanting to hang out more before chances are gone. I can see who really enjoyed the company, who are sincere in hanging out and being friends.

It is during these stressed times when you really can get to see the true side of a person. While i am happy to know my friends better, its more often the ugly side of my colleagues that i see, and its not a pretty sight. Even more so when i know that i have to continue to work with them.

Day 7 in Taipei

On day 7, its finally time to get some stuffs back for the family, friends and colleagues back home. I thought that 九份 will be a good place to get the local stuffs.

To get to 九份 from Taipei main station, I bought a train ticket from the main station. Its the railway train, not the mrt. We bought tickets to this place called 瑞芳.

The ride is about an hour long so prepare some food and drinks for the ride.

Once out from the station, we cross the street and found the bus stop, recognizable by the disorganized group of people waiting for the bus. Try to get a seat if possible, since the ride is about 20min and going uphill, similar to Genting.

View from the viewing shelter. You can get to the shelter once you alight from the bus.

The tiny streets of 九份. It was raining that day, kinda made walking, shopping difficult.

This is a quite famous shop selling local delicacies like flavored moochi.

The bike the postman used. You will know this if you watched 海角七號.

We saw this uncommon wild boar sausage and gave it a try. Didn’t taste different from normal sausages though.

There are a lot of interesting shops selling souvenirs.

Forgot wat noodles this is.

But i will never forget this 豬油飯. Its just plain rice with some lard over it. I have heard many times from my parents how they adored this simple fare when they were young. Finally i have a chance to try it. The lard made the rice smell good but don’t taste too salty. I think its ok to try it once a while, since it made me felt very greasy after eating.

Mixed fishball soup. The shop sells many different types of fishball or meatballs so even though i got like four types in this bowl, i still haven’t tried all the variety.

On just a raining day, when we don’t have to worry about meeting schedules or rush to the next place, we just took our time after lunch. And where else to spend some time other than a cafe that looks out to the sea?

I ordered this flower tea.

And my gf had this coffee.

This was the view from our table.

After a good rest at the cafe, we then did what we meant to do at 九份, that is to buy the stuffs for people back home.

After shopping, we carried all the foods and gifts and went back to Taipei the same way we came. It was definitely much harder going back down since now we had all the bags to carry.

Once we reached back Taipei, we immediately went back to our hotel room but only to come back out again to get some more food.

This very cute hello kitty box actually was…

steamed dumplings.

One more of the 肉粽!

We were quite shagged out so we just went to the shopping centers around Taipei 101. We were there to find a good spot to take photos the next day. Although we did manage to find some good spot, we were unsure if the spot is still accessible the the countdown day itself.

It basically just rained the whole day.

Dinner at a foodcourt.

We were getting excited for the countdown tomorrow.