Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another Facebook-status post

On this last night before I head back home first thing tomorrow morning, let me squeeze in a quick post (I will be with boo shortly—can't wait to kiss him and hug him!).

It used to be company policy here in Papua New Guinea that people connecting to the Internet through the company network were only entitled to Facebook for 30 minutes a day after 7.30pm but I guess like many other pointless rules here in the camp (eg. no caps to be worn and mobile phones to be used in the mess—currently still enforced though), it must have been struck out due to multiple complaints. Anyway in my previous rotation, I found that I could actually get by two whole weeks without even logging on to Facebook a single time. You see, the days in PNG are so long that relaxing time to yourself before bed is such a scarce commodity that you really don't want to spend any effort after dinner to do anything other than to lie in bed with the TV turned on (CNN and BBC are my two favourite channels).

That being said, I find that Facebook is still the best platform to document one's own life. With the advent of social media, society has evolved and privacy has become less of a concern. People used to keep diaries as one of the most private things but I (along with many others) now use Facebook as an interactive diary-writing tool where thoughts and ideas are broadcast to other people by choice. However there are still things in my life that are too private for social media so I guess in that regard human beings have either not evolved enough or there is still some hope left in our species, depending on how you see it.

Here's a snapshot of my Facebook status updates for the three months before I left for my second rotation in PNG. They really give a very good idea of what has been going on in my life of late, that is if you are patient enough to read them all! See you back in Melbourne in a bit!

"Ooh. Been invited to participate in an MTV shoot with an ARIA accredited songwriter/performer and a Billboard charting Melbourne-based producer/songwriter”. No face, just shooting my body in swimming trunks. Only 2 male models required in the shoot in July. Hope I am still around in Melbourne to do it!"

"I will be wearing pink all weekend to be with you guys in spirit. I will join you for Pink Dot SG one day. Keep up the fight guys!"

"Cardio... why must we meet again???"

"Wow. Absolutely pouring now. What a rare sight in Melbourne!"

"What are the odds of chancing on the moment when your blog hits reach 88,888?? This must be a good omen!"

"Mushroom and meatball curry and bak choy with caramelised onion. So simple yet so delicious. Thank you booboo."

"Looks like the PNG deal is going to get delayed with the visa-application process going much slower than expected. Estimated time of departure = September. Well, more time with my boo"

"F*#¿ing hell! Car space rent payment late again! A piece of golden advice: if you are renting something out, make sure you have some “late payment penaltyclause in the contract. I have learnt this lesson too late."

"Watched “Transcendence” last night. It is an unexpectedly good movie!"

"Just spent close to an hour saving all my Facebook posts since I started this account. Well worth the time and effort, seeing how postings on Facebook practically document all our lives nowadays."

"Just sent a warning-of-eviction message to the bitch who rented my car space. No reply or no money in my account by Tuesday and she will be locked out with bond forfeited. Some people are just out to cheat other people's money and they should be eradicated from the face of this planet."

"Meeting the model that will co-star with me in my upcoming MTV shoot. Hope he is mega hot!"

"I might as well start getting lean for the MTV shoot. Did 30 minutes on the treadmill and 90 minutes of walking today."

"As expected, no pay rise again for this new financial year (4 out of my 6 years working in Australia saw wage freezes). Someone told me I should count myself lucky that I am still employed in this shrinking local chemical engineering market. But how long can this go on with inflation never halting?"

"I suddenly feel a strong urge to take a long holiday. It's been too long and I think my body is sending me alarms."

"What's with people on Scruff and Grindr with essay-length profiles? Isn't that just another form of narcissism? I better not hear them whinge about how self-indulgent those who put topless pics of themselves are."

"I really want to see this shot of Madonna before Photoshop to marvel at the ease of which technology can help make the decrepit palatable."

"Is there a difference between watching Tour de France and watching paint dry? I struggled with the answer. Then I learnt that people actually stay up at night just to watch it. Out of this world."

"Just finished watching “Snowpiercer”. I must say the movie is a breath of fresh air compared to the mostly rehashed productions coming out of Hollywood these days. Although I needed a little time to digest the show at the end, I still recommend it to everyone especially when it has an Asian director."

"Every time I see Clive Palmer move from one place to another, I can't help but feel that he's going to drop dead in a heart attack or stroke after just a few steps. Imagine how much inheritance I'll get if I were his child."

"Does anyone know if there's a way to configure Facebook so that videos on feeds won't automatically start playing when the page loads up?"

"Hmm... Looks like I might be doing background vocals for a singer next week. That's not a bad start as an entry point into the Aussie music industry. Zero expectations though."

"Thank goodness the World Cup ends in less than a day. Sports broadcasts will then have no chance of coming up during the main section of bulletins to steal air time from news that actually matter."

"Lychee pound cake = this Sunday's afternoon baking exercise with Ision and it starts in 3, 2, 1..."

"It's past 10pm already. Why am I still not sleepy?!?!"

"The MTV shoot is no more... The official reason is that there are just no willing models in Melbourne for sexy male/male videos. I think the real reason is poor co-ordination and a lack of budget and experience. Anyway the singer is such a diva-princess that I am now glad I don't have to work with him."

"Sprained my back at gym and now it hurts like crazy. Looking in the mirror, my entire body is curved towards the right to avoid the pain of being vertical. Has my spine gone into misalignment??? Oh and it doesn't help we are moving at work today from one cubicle to another along with stacks of project documents."

"The weekend is FINALLY here! Time to focus on healing my back a.k.a. veg at home all day."

"Tonight is a great night for composing. But the inspiration department is not in the right gear. Oh well, more downloaded videos it is... while waiting for boo to come home from work so that the weekend can really begin."

"Extreme laziness permeates the apartment on a Sunday winter afternoon—exactly how it is meant to be."

"I'm after what is called a “shredder tank”. I have lived in Australia for more than 6 years and I haven't come across a single store here stocking this kind of cut. WHY? Anyone knows where I can get one? PS: I have tried cutting a normal singlet myself but it didn't work the way I wanted."

"Better bundle up. It will drop to 1ºC tonight."

"Papua New Guinea work permit granted! Now I am that much closer to my new job assignment!"

"OMG. I am hooked on Jason Mraz’s “Everywhere”. Best song on his new album “YES I reckon."

"It's horror movie night alone at home again and on the menu tonight is “Oculus”. Hope it's up to my standard!"

"With increasing number of air traffic disasters involving established airlines, how safe could my upcoming “chartered flights from Cairns to Papua New Guinea be?"

"My allergies have been acting up for the past few weeks and it is getting worse. Oh, the things I will sacrifice to rid myself of this life-long nuisance"

"Got intrigued by the trailer and so I am watching “Divergent” tonight to see what's it all about."

"Booboo cooking me dinner despite being sick. Such love!"

"There is going to be more than sparks at work tomorrow.... when two strong personalities will clash in a fiery debate. Luckily the caustic British woman and the stubborn Iranian man are separated in two continents and the meeting is via a teleconference. I hate conflicts but I think I am going to be inevitably caught in the middle of this one... not looking forward to it."

"Woohoo!! Officially reached the 100,000 hit-mark on my blog!!!"

"Snowed in Melbourne today, even in the city! And boo experienced hail on his way to work earlier!"

"In the midst of talks of becoming a column writer on this site [http://www.queerclick.com (NSFW)] and being a beta-tester of the upcoming launch of it's own premium content. Bring it on!"

"Have you used Google AdSense on your Blogger accounts or monetized your Youtube channels and videos before? How did it turn out? Do you think the integrity/aesthetics of your sites and content is compromised in any way as a result? Most importantly, have you earned actual money from the venture?"

"Booboo making yummy buckwheat pancakes with blueberry jam this morning for our breakkie. Warmth on a cold cold morning on all levels."

"Ooh!! Going to pre-order “Dragon Age: Inquisition Deluxe Edition” today to get the bonus items. Didn't know it's going to be released on Xbox 360 as well. Phew! And there I was still fretting over the need to buy the non backwards-compatible Xbox One in order to play it. Contrary to once thought, it's not a next-gen console game..."

"Whoa. It's been a while since I bought clothes and it sure feels strange doing it again. It's like meeting a long-lost kin that I used to know so well."

"The thing I look forward to most on Sundays—movie night all cuddled up with boo (the actual movie is the icing on the cake). The flavour this evening is comic-book action: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”."

"So drained from work today. Can't wait to leave this project and get to PNG for a fresh start!"

"I can't stay up anymore... Feeling sick with muscle aches. It's off to bed for me to rest up.... And it is only 8pm"

"Friday, you shall give me strength to tide me through the day with the rudest and most condescending client I have ever encountered in my life."

"“Police to seek Interpol's help to trace nude foreigners at Penang beach in Malaysia”... Have you heard of a more ridiculous news headline???"

"“Rosemary’s Baby” looks interesting. Downloading in progress..."

"F*** YEAH! Yet another victory against low-life prudes! Incidentally my photos were reported 4 hours ago ie. 4am Australian Eastern Standard Time, or 1am Singapore time, or 11am/2pm USA (West/East coast) time. Now who from my friends list could it be that reported the pictures?"

"Gotta use up my movie vouchers that are expiring soon. This is exactly the genre Ision likes and is what we are watching today [“The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom” (“白发魔女传之明月天国”)], in fact now."

"Woohoo! Picked up by QC Asians once again! Looking forward to working more closely with the site."

"Papua New Guinea visa granted! I am finally good to go! Tentative departure date fixed. Will announce it properly when the flight is booked. SUPER EXCITED!"

"Today is the 27th death anniversary of my father. I can't believe it has been that long (I was only 8 back then). How I wish I could get to know him a little more."

"Looks like 6/6 has been deemed too cruel for my first rotation in PNG, which means that it will now be 2/2 first then the proper 4/4. Having 2 weeks paid leave after just 2 weeks of work will be such an awesome experience! I think I know what I'm going to do for those 2 weeks."

"Movie night at home. Now who am I in the mood for? Chris Pine (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), Russell Crowe (Noah), Will Smith (After Earth), Jake Gyllenhaal (Enemy), Robert de Niro (The Family), Ashton Kutcher (Jobs) or John Travolta (Killing Season)?"

"I can never get too much of nature on my skin, raw and unadulterated. Naturists rule"

"Before the weather turns, I better go for my topless jog around the park now. There is just no other way to do cardio in the open!"

"OK, my fish and chips lunch is going to negate the effects of my earlier jog (and then some). But that is why I exercise... to be able to eat whatever I want whenever I want."

"There is a drawback to being photographed too many times. For the first time I got rejected by a photographer because my face is not fresh enough. Hmmmphhh~~!"

"Maybe it is time to finally take karma seriously... Worked in my old job with a lazy-arsed colleague which meant a greater workload (and stress) for me back then. Earlier today I had a chance to provide feedback to my boss regarding his performance. Apparently he is (still) out of a job and is looking to join my office. Guess what I told my boss? Hor hor hor! (Stevani, you know this person!)"

"Wow. Praised by my boss (2nd time in a week) and my team lead for 2 different things I did today and they came minutes apart. What is happening???? *feeling scared*"

"Hooked on this song (“Gladiator” by Dami Im) at the moment. So well-written!"

"From a fan: “...I am a fan of your photogenic poise and skill in front of the camera. Your body training must be extensive to maintain such definition, I would love to explore every cm in detail as I enjoy the perfection of the sculptured body it is a thing of beauty. Very few of us look so good naked...”. Little does he know I put on weight too and need to condition my body 1-2 weeks in advance before a shoot. Well it's still a great compliment!"

"Another very well-written song I cannot get enough of recently (“Try” by Colbie Caillat)."

"All flights for my first Papua New Guinea rotation have been confirmed and I am finally almost-100% ready to fly (still need to tie up loose ends at work and at home and also to pack). 3rd September is the big day!"

"Just lodged my income tax for FY 2013/2014. That much poorer within such a short time."

"Got poked on Facebook today. The last time that happened was eons ago. Do people still do that???"

"I am falling in love with Hokkien songs more and more. They are like the oriental version of American country music but much more lyrical and usually more meaningful."

"My Spreadsheet™ is built around “CTRL+F”. A chill goes down my spine whenever I start to imagine life without this function."

"Critics from Rotten Tomatoes are always so strict. Let us be the judge tonight (for the movie “Maleficent”)."

"Surprise hot pot dinner from my bestest boo! So happy! Nomming away now..."

"Wow. Asian Brit as the host of an SBS documentary. Now I've seen everything!"

"I thought I had started to count down at work ie. time to wind down. But why am I still so overworked today? So drained and so ready for bed at 8.30pm."

"Official week-long countdown has started. T minus 7."

"The actual total number let go by my company including “non-overheads” is 4,000. Tsk tsk tsk... so dishonest in reporting. Suffice to say it's not a good time to be working for my company right now. Well at least my job is secure for the next year or so. Still counting down... T minus 6."

"This guy managed to save loads of money but had to live a pretty extreme life by normal standards. I lead a much more reasonable lifestyle (albeit frugally) and manage to save more money than him. Either he is doing something wrong or I am doing something really right. *not impressed*"

"Leaving for my last day at work. It will be a day spent packing up and saying goodbyes. Hope they will let me go on time so my busy weekend of more packing and goodbyes can begin. T minus 5."

"Spring is almost in the air!"

"Packing should start some time today... or not, depending on the power of procrastination. In the meantime, enjoy another “nude” pic from moi. T minus 4."

"Off to buy the necessities for my upcoming trip—raincoat amongst other things (it's pouring every day in PNG right now)."

"Shit! How will this PNG volcanic eruption affect my flight next Wednesday?!?! And why didn't I see it on the news this morning????"

"The last time I had Korean BBQ was in Tokyo in the beginning of the year. I am going to really enjoy tonight's Korean BBQ farewell dinner with my Malaysian friends. Too bad boo's working..."

"Such a perfect almost-spring day in Melbourne. Just done with cardio and now off to lunch with boo. Oh, and I must remember to get some PNG kina today (it is not easy to find!)"

"Ready for spring! But leaving home again soon. Here is my last blog post before I fly off. T minus 3."

"Boo called in to work on his off day... one less night spent with him before I fly."

"It always feels strange to not be on holidays yet not working on a weekday. Off to gym soon (again a weird time for me to gym). Hope the down-for-more-than-a-month steam room and showers are up and running today! T minus 2."

"Got caught jaywalking just now by the police and I only presented my NSW photo ID card and tried my best in not giving them my Melbourne address (my heart was pounding like mad as I had to resort to “creative reasoning”). They gave up after a while after their database did not give them my current address based on the photo ID details and I only got a warning in the end. Luckily I stuck with my line of reasoning and did not waver. And I am so glad I am not living in Singapore anymore—I would have been fined already!"

"Is it weird for me to not feel upset about my pictures being used illegally for gay massage ads in Thailand?"

"Something's cooking in the kitchen!"

"It's time for movie night (“Godzilla”) with boo—the best thing of the week. The movie to me is secondary, it's the time spent cuddled next to boo that counts."

"There's no flight update that is going to affect my flight tomorrow due to the PNG volcanic eruption. Looks like everything is go. T minus 1."

"If only boo didn't need to work tonight..."

"Off to bed now. It's a little strange knowing that you will be sleeping in a totally foreign place tomorrow night"

"OK it's time to go. Flight is in 2.5 hours. Hope I don't get eaten alive by cannibals or mosquitoes. T minus 0."

"Off to Moro!"

"In case you think that I have been eaten by cannibals in Papua New Guinea and gone all quiet on Facebook, here is an update for you guys from my new home away from home."

"Finally back on Facebook proper, and finally caught up with all Facebook posts in my feed (only captures 14-days' worth and so in my next 4-week rotation, I will miss half of them). PNG is a really good way to wean off Facebook."

"Why oh why must the plane be late to take off this afternoon? I could have given my boo a great surprise (he wasn't expecting me to return today). Now he knows and I have to stay up and wait for him to come home from work (I got up at 4.30am today). I think I am past the point of sleepiness and I think I'm going to make it!"

"Switched over to Optus. This new pay-per-usage prepaid plan that never practically expires is GREAT for light users like me. Highly recommended."

"It can get a little frustrating playing a remake of an old game when you are more used to the better graphics of the newer games (however I have to try the remake after hearing so many good things about it, not to mention the innocuous-looking game is actually rated 18+). At least this will make me appreciate “DragonAge: Inquisition” more."

"Blueberry/raspberry ricotta cheese pancakes in the making for a very late breakkie. Anticipation building..."

"Ricotta cheese pancakes with yoghurt-berry compote a huge success! And super yummy! Thank you boo!"

"OK, let's get gym over with and then it is Xbox 360 for the rest of the day. Ah... it sure feels good to reap the benefits of the FIFO assignment after putting in the hard labour!"

"What an early rise on a Sunday... but at least this very late mid-autumn festival potluck at Melvin's means I can introduce Ision to one more friend. And I also need to take a little breather from Xbox."

"Break from Xbox is officially over. Onwards and upwards."

"It feels so decadent to stay up late, have supper and play Xbox on a Sunday night! Better cherish this while it lasts. And having boo next to me is the massive icing on the cake!"

"Urgh... was planning to finish “Fable Anniversary” before I go back to PNG but seeing that Ision wants to have equal time on it as me, I think I might have to come back to the game when my next rotation ends."

"Simple dinner whipped up by boo on the fly. Satisfying and yummy nonetheless."

"What perfect timing! Ision having 4 days off-work while I am on my break from PNG."

"Another decadent night of staying up and suppering with boo on a weekday. This is the life! (Have to watch my weight though)"

"How do you solve the problem of gym getting in the way of Xbox?"

"Ooh. The spring weather is just right now to be naked at home. Ah it sure feels nice."

"Believe it or not, I haven't really done much gym selfies so this is a trial run so be kind! (and pardon the low resolution)."

"Plitter platter on my window. What a soothing sound to lull me to sleep tonight."

"I feel like clubbing one of these nights before my break ends. Too bad I am always left without dancing buddies that really dance instead of posing around the floor."

"Back issues of the magazine I was on the cover of last year are now on sale. I wonder if they are still given out to gay tourists free of charge in Thailand. I already hold a copy and it sure feels nice to see yourself on a magazine!"

"Ooh. Booked us in for Peninsula Hot Springs this coming Monday. Finally something we can do together outdoors that Ision can truly enjoy!"

"Is it strange that I pick protein powder based on its flavour instead of nutritional value?"

"$8.95 displayed as the sale price but was greeted by $10 as the price “in the system”. By default, sales people try to get away with charging the higher amount by saying the display price is wrong. But this is nothing “the displayed price is xxx so you'd have to charge me that” can't fix!"

"A 3-kg tub of protein powder is about the maximum I'll ever purchase (and did). But then again what's that compared to sacks of 20-kg supplements I have seen in Sydney."

"In order to enjoy the finished product, you'll need to put in the effort and that is what I am doing nowpost-recording editing in progress."

 "Even with GPS, I think it's prudent to research the way to Peninsular Hot Springs in Mornington. My sense of direction is appalling!"

"Thought of the day: If you want to be famous and loved by many, you better be talented to the max and/or good-looking to the max. When you are not quite there at the max, your life is just going to get stuck somewhere between boring and mundane." 

 "Leaving for Mornington's Peninsular Hot Spring now. It's the first time we've rented a car in Melbourne for a day trip (since we've moved to it almost 3 years ago—it's a long time coming indeed). Looking forward to a relaxing time with boo!"

 "The perfect end to a perfect day with boo. Homemade chicken rice!"

"It's an early night tonight for an early flight tomorrow. Work has already started entering my mind—I didn't sleep well last night. I hope tonight will be different."

"OK, time to go. Melbourne I will see you in 28 days' time. I will miss you boo..."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Musical journey (51)

Here is a quick update of how I am coping work-wise in Papua New Guinea. I would like to think I am doing well especially when that is what my boss told me. He said if I don't hear a lot from him it means that I don't need his supervision and that in his books is the measure of good performance. He did ask others I work with for feedback though and I guess these people feel the same too. One thing to note is that there are many expatriate employees here who are not working as hard as they should be. They would find whatever means to get out of a job (eg. postponing it so that it becomes the problem of the back-to-back, jumping to conclusions quickly so as not to spend the time investigating, cooking up some excuse why the job need not be done, or simply ignoring messages from people asking for their help).

Case in point is the process engineering superintendent and I have such ill luck to have to work closely with him (he gets to the office in the morning every day close to one hour later than all of us). I however cannot slack off like that as I want to have some kind of longevity in this secondment seeing that 60% of my colleagues back in the Melbourne process engineering office have been retrenched (effective end of November) which will make competition in the already-weak job market super fierce. I dodged a bullet on that one as it could have been me. That being said, the pace of working life here is far more relaxed compared to the hectic rat race back in Australia. Also I have been given verbal assurance that my contract here will be extended till at least the end of next year due to the massive amount of work yet to be done.

OK, update over and now on to this month's musical sharing. Back in February I shared a song I wrote for an online forum I was very active in when I was living in America. I also wrote another up-tempo one for that community during the peak of my involvement. It was very well-received back then because I wrote in the lyrics a few of the main members of the group and what I thought of them. If you look closely at the lyrics, you can also see something that further associates it with that website. From the words of the song, I can relive the warmth I got from those characters, none of them whom I have actually met in real life (bar one—the leader of the group). That site has recently become inaccessible and I wonder how all of them are doing right now...

In case you find the backing track familiar that is because it is from this song. Originality is often frowned upon in the pop arena and that is why the same few chords are used over and over again. This composition of mine is no different although it is in the rock genre which is something I seldom dabble in (it hurting my vocal cords being the lesser of evils). Lastly I used the geekiest video I could find to suit the theme of this song and voila I have myself yet another music video.

["Jimmy's Forum" Theme Song]

It came out of nowhere
From "Episode Heaven"
How it has grown
No one could have envisioned
If you like to watch TV
Sit down and have a listen
This is a song written for "Jimmy's Forum"

It's a place where we share all things from A to Z
It's a place to laugh and cry and act all silly
It's a place beyond all of your wildest dreams
It's a place where you can be you and I can be me

Just another website that the geeks all like
It's like a drug, we all need it to survive
Man! It's gonna be such an amazing ride
Maybe it's a feeling that just cannot be described
You and I, a family connecting right
Say! It's the world's most wonderful site

Cyber with "The Simpsons"
On the dot every time
Count on Helix to link you to any porn site
Moderator PB Gal's the first girl in sight
We all love to hate and hate to love Solo, that's right

Courage is our mother hen, his love warms the cold
Pabelo dexing on, spinning out of control
Our Forum police, Kimbal is on the patrol
If I have left out anyone, that's 'cos I'm getting old