Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New direction

Hope I'm not jinxing myself here, but it's been 2 days and I've not gone on Imgur.

Seeing it written down shows me how little time has lapsed between one Front Page and the next, but keeping it up sounds good.

I didn't set out to quit anything cold turkey. Somehow, framing it like that seems to be a way of setting yourself up for a fall. The No Imgur initiative started out as "hey, let's read one of those think-pieces I've been bookmarking to read 'at the right time'".

As it turns out, the right time is when you decide to do the thing, to be clich├ęd. Instead of blindly loading Imgur as I used to do every morning over coffee, I now ask myself what else there is to read.

(That Terry Pratchett book and the Ultimate Absolute Sandman that husband got me come to mind.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How to buy a house: N00b edition

Get a flyer in the mail.

Realize you might just be able to afford the houses advertised.

Decide it's too far away.

Look at the prices again; show flyer to husband.

Visit sales office, which is nearby.

Get excited by the models displayed.

Drive to location to have a look anyway.

It's actually not that far, just away from the shopping areas we're used to.

Drive back to sales office.

Make booking, pay booking fee.

Spend rest of the day screaming "OMG WHAT HAVE WE DONE?"

The next day, call loan officers we spoke to at the sales office.

Spend the rest of the week scrambling to get financial records in some semblance of order.

Fill out home loan applications, submit.

Back-and-forthing between loan officers from different banks trying to gauge how committed we would be.

Argue over whether to go for MRTA (mortgage-reducing term insurance). Or was it MLTA (mortgage-level term insurance)?

Receive calls saying offer letters have been prepared.

Maybank SS2 loan sales associate scuppers her own deal after turning nasty when informed we want to think it over.

Loan officer from Public Bank SEA Park wins the day thanks to his laid-back outlook.

Sign offer letter.

(There isn't much difference between interest rates at this point.)

Spend rest of the day screaming "OMG WHAT HAVE WE DONE?"

Scramble finances a little bit more when the memorandum of transfer, lawyer fees, etc., are due.

Collect sales and purchase agreement from developer, which includes floor plans and fixtures of the soon-to-be house.

Hunker down till 2016 when house will be completed.

Plan how each room will be done in the meantime.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Then and now

I showed Enfant Terrible the photos we took at the high school state athlete reunion thing I attended last Saturday, and he killed himself laughing at how much weight my seniors have gained.

"They...," he gasped, "used to... represent... Selangor?!"

Well, we all did; that's why our coach invited us back there (it was also his birthday. Good timing!).

He's also writing a book, but this post is about how people change after they leave school.

I mean, how are you going to fight gravity? In the 1980s, my seniors were young men and women in their prime whose very presence struck fear in the hearts of their rivals. That might have had something to do with our coach's fearsome reputation, but yanno, we had to hurdle those hurdles ourselves.

Anyway, that was then, and nigh on 30 years have passed since their glory days. People grow emotionally and also sideways over time. Can you actually blame a person for looking increasingly comfortable as they age?

For my part, I was actually quite chunky in Form 5, and mightily unhappy with it. I lost the weight when I went to matriculation and university, then regained it, plus interest, when I started this blog. I've lost that weight since then, and am quite happy being 52-53 kg. I had ranged 49-59 kg, which I guess is within the standard deviation?

I feel privileged to have met these people (younger and older) in Saturday. We were/are all part of something, and somewhere out there are still people who shiver with fright when they hear our names.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mobile blogger apps

My WPBlogger app returned "posting failure" messages all day today, and notification emails to the developer have all bounced back with delivery failure messages of their own. Consequently, I've uninstalled the app and am on the lookout for a better one.

I say "on the lookout" as if there are better options available, but the truth is, options remain limited for the early Lumias. Y u do dis, Nokia

I do believe this means I should get a new phone. Now to frame a good proposal for it to get the husband on my side (he has the credit card). Or I could just order that beauty of a Moto X from that not-at-all dodgy online shop. OR... write my own app? How do you even start with that?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Dining solo

I don't have a problem with eating alone per se, it's just that instead of sitting upright at a table, I prefer eating while slumped on the sofa, and what restaurant offers such dining arrangements? (Don't answer that.)

Anyhoo, I was planning dinner for one last night (didn't know whether anyone in my family would be eating in), and thus decided against anything "fiddly".

That's how I wound up roasting an entire head of cauliflower, hacking it up, and mixing it into a cucumber raita* I'd made earlier.

Granted, it sounds fiddly, but you just rub oil on the (rinsed) cauliflower and sprinkle it with salt (and pepper if you like) before putting it in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about 1 hour. Here are some of the recipes I vetted before settling on the simplest one:

Roasted cauliflower thing I tried
The oft-cited Bon Appetit recipe
Paleo-friendly version
One that features yoghurt

The fiddliest thing is checking that it doesn't brown too quickly for your liking after 40 minutes (depending on how hot your oven is). Also, if the stem doesn't yield to a knife or fork after 1 hour, then another 15 minutes won't hurt (cover it with foil if starts to look disturbingly dark to you).

After seeing what I'd done, mum asked:

Why did you roast the cauliflower?
Why did you roast the cauliflower whole?
Why did you roast just cauliflower?
Why didn't you cut up the cauliflower?
Where did you get the idea to roast just a head of cauliflower?
May I try some?

Why does a person do anything?

*Mash and mix in a raw garlic glove and you're good to go. Don't forget the salt!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Getting on in age

There's going to be reunion of sorts being arranged by a high school junior of mine. I say "of sorts" because we're just gonna meet our athletics coach on his birthday.
Said junior asked if I'd contact others from my school, but for the life of me, I can't remember which of us represented the state :(
I could say something about the apparent exclusivity of this gathering, but criteria are criteria, and I think I'll have to pull out my yearbooks if I hope to make any headway.
If only I could remember where those are.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Christmas OTW!

Today's work face mainly involved alternately peeking through my fingers at the manuscript on screen and groaning, "Aiyo!" before correcting another redundant section of writing.

(I once showed Enfant Terrible a manuscript I'd edited heavily. It was a good 5 minutes before he said anything.)

Elsewhere, I think my car battery has gone flat again. The last time that happened, my mechanic hooked me up with what he called a see-through battery, so I could top-up battery water as needed. I take it he's kind of a lot of tired of having to make house calls of this sort. But but but... How am I going to get battery water without a ride?