NYE 2010

At last the end of the year has arrived. This year CBS Commerce has managed to set up their NYE hideout at Andy’s place in Killara. I was able to meet and thank Andy’s dad today after church at Carlo Court and I still felt kind of sorry for the noise and mayhem they had to put up with on New Year’s Eve. But other than that, we were really glad to have found a place to hold our NYE party.

 

Through much collaboration we were able to organise a tonne of food (though it was limited by our budget) and games to fill the night with much rowdiness. I arrived in the afternoon with Cherie to find Jacky and Brandon, and other people preparing food. So we just prepared food and helped clean the kitchen while people continued to pour in. The highlight dish for the night was sashimi, which was also the one with the highest risk of food poisoning and turning everything that night into a “night”mare – haha get it?

 

I think we had trouble starting the barbeque again; it was probably my fault for not using enough firelighters, but then Elon said you didn’t need to use an entire box. I only used a few blocks but Andy suggested overkill by using the whole box in one go. According to some YouTube videos, you can easily light up coal by just burning newspaper, will definitely try that next time we need to barbeque something. Commando Lam, AKA Daphne, knew how to start a fire from her training as a cadet; so she went around Andy’s front yard and foraged a bunch of twigs to start the fire, but there wasn’t enough and she gave up some time later. The fire was eventually started later, somehow.

 

By the time we were ready to eat, somehow I assigned myself to the gas barbeque probably because no-one was manning it. That turned into me cooking all the meat for the next hour or so. Actually for the number of people that were there, there wasn’t much meat to cook and I was able to retire from the barbeque sooner than expected. Brandon later explained that they were over budget with the food because of the cost of salmon.

 

After that, I retired to the kitchen to help with washing up. A lot of the girls came in surprised to see only guys in the kitchen, as opposed to all the jokes us guys normally make about the girls belonging in the kitchen; quite ironic. But at the same time it did seem loving (perhaps I’m not the one to talk though) of the guys to take charge of something we would normally (respectfully) expect the girls to do. Sadly, Jacky is a complete noob at washing up and I fear that we, or he, did not wash things up properly which may lead to food poisoning for Andy’s family in the very near future. We’ll find out soon enough.

 

After dinner everyone sort of kept shuffling around the house joining in on different activities; whether it was playing music with the guitar lot, playing card games, the Wii, or StarCraft II, which became my prominent activity for the night after midnight. At about 11:30pm we gathered together and as a Christian group, we broke off into small groups to pray for the things that happened this year and to pray for things this year. I’m glad we still kept Jesus somewhere in the program and that as Christians we still tried hard to encourage one another to continue living for God even though it’s so easy to slack off in the holidays.

 

At midnight we watched the fireworks on TV and then we went outside to play with sparklers. We managed to get a nice photo of “CBS 2011! =)” using the sparklers – yes, and that also included the exclamation mark and the smiley face. The photo is on my Facebook here:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=491583638189&set=at.491578363189.269370.621608189.508477361
Soon after that everyone just settled into a passive post New Year’s mood; most people just sat around to chat and pass time or to sleep.

 

This was the time where all the guys started their StarCraft II campaigns. We played for pretty much the whole night, but with only 2 computers, we sort of took turned but most people just watched. The awesome points of the night were when we got the girls to play. We made Bec play two full games and Cherie to play one with Bec. The one where they played against each other with no help at all from the guys was hilarious. All the videos of notable games are on Facebook as well as my YouTube account – the YouTube ones will be posted on this blog later as well.

 

We played up to 5am where a lot of people left to drive off to a beach to watch the sunrise. I felt it was too far to the beach and that I was too fatigued (from gaming) to drive so I stayed at Andy’s house with a few other people, who were sleeping or still gaming. Played Modern Warfare 2 for a couple hours until they came back around 8am. Sadly, we didn’t have plans for breakfast and so there wasn’t much food left for the morning. I can’t believe they left my beautiful dessert for breakfast that morning. Still, people enjoyed it and I was happy that my food was enjoyed.

 

We left Andy’s house soon thereafter and went to Chatswood to have breakfast at a Chinese restaurant. It turned into brunch really, but the food was really for lunch. The day turned very hot so we just went home, well I did anyway. Went home, showered, slept and tried to last the rest of the evening for New Year’s Day.

 

Okay, so my blogging literacy is declining very quickly so I will end the post here. Our New Year’s Eve was pretty much a bunch of random activities one after the other, all of which would take a while to get through even from within my memory. But they’re not anything special to mention, other than it was more opportunities to spend quality fun time with friends. New Year’s Eve was again quite fun this year when spent with a large number of friends. Hopefully many more good things are to come this year.

 

In the meantime, I will think carefully about what I want to blog about in my reflection post, and also to make more StarCraft II videos. I still find it funny that most of the guys in Commerce CBS play SC2, and so now the guys all have something common to bond over haha!

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

Hatsuka

When it comes to counting age in Japanese, the only weird number is the one for 20 years old: “hatsuka” although in kanji it is still written the same way in Chinese. Nevertheless, this post will be one to reflect upon the day that was my 20th birthday party and on my thoughts and feelings of the things that led up and happened on the day.

 

I’ve never been one to care much about my birthday, let alone my birthday. It’s not really a day where I care about how I’ve turned a year older or about what type of presents I would be receiving that year, if I was receiving any. As such I guess I prefer letting my birthday just pass by silently, without anyone noticing and making any sort of fuss over it. I really do still wonder how it is that I eventually organised a birthday party for myself, and how so many people were invited and actually came. I suppose at the end of the day I should care about my birthday because it was a day where people showed that they cared about me.

 

LAN

In the morning I had organised LAN although I never forced any RSVP on it; and that was because there was no need to book for LAN, nor to find out exactly how many people were coming. After all, you can game with as many or as few people. However, at 11am I would never have expected no-one to come. Apart from Jacky who accompanied me to the city, there was only Andrew and William who was there. Jacky ran off with Brandon to organise my present while I camped in City Hunter for three hours playing games with the other two. I think it was a pretty fun 3 hours; I mean, these were two people I haven’t gamed with much and so it was good to spend some time with them. We played Left For Dead 2 for a while and then Team Fortress 2; yeah that took up 3 hours. I wanted to play Black Ops or Modern Warfare 2, but our cheap $2.50/hr computers didn’t have them haha!

 

After LAN the three of us went to Subway off George St because I was still suffering from a stomach virus, which I now don’t believe was food poisoning but in fact an illness I caught off my brother. It caused a very dismal Christmas for me. Soon after lunch, people started arriving for karaoke. But throughout the morning, I was already being spammed with a lot of text messages about where people were, and whether they were still coming or not. Honestly, it was very hard to keep track of where people were.

 

Karaoke

Many people were either late to karaoke, coming for dinner only, or weren’t able to make it at all. I guess that was a bit of a disappointment having people say they were going to come but in the end changing their minds and such. Nonetheless, there were still a fair number of people who came. The bad thing today was that there was a surcharge (stupid Christmas being on Saturday) of $2. But funnily enough, the 15% birthday discount reduced the price back down to $12 ($11.9166666) to be exact. Because people weren’t here at 3:30pm, they let us sing for half an hour and then coming back out to pay at 4pm. By then we had about enough people to fill our one whole room and maximise the discount. But at that time as well, many late people had also come and it was difficult for me to count the number of people who were now here. It was also hard for the staff to keep track of this number as well; and so when it came to paying I believe not everyone was charged. What none of you saw was that after I gathered $12 from everyone and paid, I actually had $16 left over. It was as if I didn’t pay my share AND made a $4 profit haha! Worry not, I kept that in mind for the rest of the evening.

 

The two karaoke rooms were split into high school friends in one, church in another, and CBS people constantly mixing around in both as we always do. Both rooms doubled up on songs, and I had to keep jumping back and forth between rooms to catch up with everyone that had come. Mandy at the last moment had decided to come to karaoke and of course I was especially fearful of what would probably happen at karaoke; dinner was a separate issue as well. Nevertheless, I think I took enough preventative measures to delay the inevitable, and I was glad the room she seized was the one with fewer people, and the one where nearly everyone knew what was going on. There were a still a couple of confused and worried faces but everyone did their best to provide support.

 

Presents had also begun to stream in and so I kind of just dumped them all over the place since I was more engaged with talking to people than securing my presents into a single pile. My voice was somewhat more dead than usual that day; it died before the three hours was up. Everyone made me sing Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You” by myself, with my cracked voice. I do wonder whether people were laughing at me or with me the entire time. But yes, everyone sang happy birthday towards the end of the three hours, and I mustered the courage to stand and face my friends at that moment. I already said before I didn’t like making a fuss over my own birthday and I really do have difficulty accepting any sort of “special treatment” for that day. By this time most people had arrived; there were several late comers who were just early for dinner.

 

Again, I want to make clear that I refused to give a speech on that day for the reason that I had no words prepared and in order to give a proper speech regarding all my friends, I really do have to sit down and take time to think things through thoroughly.

 

Dinner

Everyone went ahead after karaoke to go to dinner. The reason I trailed behind was to help Mandy, who struggled to walk. I would definitely have been a bad host and friend if I had just gone ahead and not waited for everyone; it’s definitely not my style to neglect even one person. The funny thing was that I had to keep relaying orders to the forward group to tell them to eat, even though by the time we got there (which was 15 mins later) my table was still the first one to order T.T”

 

We went to Kobow which isn’t too bad a place as a Korean restaurant, but there were many that were better, but perhaps not cheaper. Again because of my stomach virus, there was a restriction on what I could and could not eat. Rather there wasn’t anything I could eat, but I had hot pot anyway, it was probably the safest option. Halfway through dinner, people made me go around to each table to have them toast their drinks to me; this is definitely something I would never do by myself. The bad thing about the whole ordeal was that I had a shot glass with Korean shots poured into them at each table. I stopped at what I believed was the second shot, but everyone else said it was my third; definite signs of getting drunk there. So thank you guys for trying to get me drunk. There were many things I did which even I was aware was due to the influence of alcohol. I had about a third or more of a bottle of soju (funny, I played some guy on StarCraft with that name) which apparently approximated 3 standard drinks; that’s probably more than what I would have safely tried for my first time drinking (properly).

 

I went around talking with as many people as I could again and despite Mandy getting into trouble with the people around us, there was still a pretty good vibe amongst everyone. I was glad to have been able to catch up people I haven’t really had a chance to speak with for a long time, as well people I haven’t seen for ages as well. It turned into a pretty good night and we stayed for quite a while even after we had all finished eating.

 

Dessert

Again my stomach was not in the mood for any sort of dessert; but luckily neither was anyone else. So instead, I took everyone to George St McDonald’s near Town Hall and I used the surplus I had obtained from karaoke, to buy a bunch of soft serve cones for everyone. And with the help of Leslie’s employee’s card, I saved 20% off for 22 soft serve cones. The staff were kind of puzzled at our order and it took them a while to churn out all 22 cones. Some people *ahem* Sharon were a bit impatient in waiting for their free soft serve cone but eventually everyone was satisfied. To be fair, even after buying everyone ice cream I still had a bit of a surplus; oh well.

 

We lingered outside McDonald’s for a while afterwards again, nearly blocking pedestrians as we normally do. Eventually people started going home, and I thanked everyone for coming.

 

All in all, I really enjoyed my birthday party that day, even though my self esteem kept from feeling up for it. I guess I’m still touched, though not emotionally as much as I should be, by everyone for their company and their kind thoughts. But this point will be further reflected in my proper reflection post  coming soon. In the mean time, thank you to everyone who did come, or who tried to come. Though I haven’t pondered much on the presents I received, I am still very thankful for even the smallest of gifts. To close things off on a decent note, here is a picture of all your birthday cards to me sitting above my desk:

 

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God “Calls” Nat

This is directly related to a video I posted on Facebook (no link here, sorry).

 

Context

Essentially the idea came about while a few of us were mucking with Bec’s phone (wonder if she’s noticed yet?) during MYC. Leaving your phone unattended during dinner is a no-no (just like with leaving your Facebook open) and sadly Natalie was victim to perhaps one of the most creative pranks I’ve been a part of so far.

 

Me and Ben both changed our names on Nat’s phone to “Jesus” and “God” respectively. Then we decided that I would send Nat a text (so she gets a text from Jesus) and then Ben would immediately call her (so she gets a phone call from God). I decided to send the text: “Natalie, have you read Matthew 28:18-20?” which was in relation to Jesus’ Great Commission, what Carl will be going through in CBS this week.

 

In the video, take careful note of Nat’s phone; the text gets sent while I was conversing with her and Charlie. I honestly wasn’t sure if the text would be sent well enough so that she would immediately notice it. Meanwhile, you can see Ben disappearing downstairs as he calls Nat, and viola, “mischief managed”.

 

Consequently, Nat doesn’t pick up the phone call from “God” despite him calling several times.

 

Note

Despite the context and the nature of the prank, there is a somewhat more profound meaning in tonight’s little shenanigan. There are times when God does try to tell us something or try to make us understand something. But often we ignore that particular moment when God does have something to say to us for hardly justifiable reasons.

 

We always need to be ready when God calls on us for something. We mustn’t put off that call just because we don’t want to hear His voice at particular times (when we’re distracted). As Christians we must always be ready to hear His word and respond to it.

 

Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:
   "Today, if you hear his voice,
      do not harden your hearts."

– Hebrews 4:7

Holidays Are Over (Part 2)

Holidays are definitely still over and there definitely isn’t a chance to bring them back this time round haha! Apologies for the bad layout of these last few posts.

 

Monday

I had originally planned to watch a movie on Monday of the second week of the holidays but I had forgotten that we had a youth group social that afternoon. Nonetheless, having watched Toy Story 3 on Sunday, it was satisfactory enough. I didn’t really get time to organise anything for this social so I pretty much rocked up and let William and Ken do all the organising.

 

This was our first super long holiday program which went from 3pm till 10pm at night. A 7 hour program is extremely tiring. We had the church set up with a projector and some sound equipment. William had the leaders help set up games, all of which were interesting in a sense. We had a game where we had to balance coat hangers on one another, there was another game where we had to transfer cotton balls using whipped cream on our noses as an adhesive. Then there were other strange games like trying to flip metal spoons into cups. I forget the games that we played but the youth were all very into it. A handful of photos:

 

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The last photo was for a game where pretty much you slide coins over the table and try and get it as close to the King as possible. My note here was that all the coins were Galaxy World tokens. William had a whole bag full of them…strange.

 

And to sum the rest of the program, we mucked around afterwards and the youth just played whatever games they wanted to with each other. Some of us looked at past church photos and all. For dinner we made pizzas using Coles ingredients and some flat bread or something like that. It took quite a while because the kitchen wasn’t big and we had quite a large group, more than 30 or so youth in total. After dinner we made the youth watch “Up!” and after that we called it a night. So I suppose the last couple of hours weren’t too bad but we still had to keep watch over everyone; it was sort of like a daycare thing once the youth started getting a bit more wild.

 

 

Friday

Despite the fact that it’s a four day gap, Tuesday I went out grocery shopping with parents and then had a youth group leaders’ meeting at night. So that was a full day too. Wednesday and Thursday were my days off to relax and do some stuff that I otherwise couldn’t have done because of going out everyday. Friday I finally took care of some university stuff. Went down to university with Jacky and Brandon to get textbooks and so transfer my swimming pass to Brandon since I honestly don’t have any time to use it, last semester and this coming semester. It was more my mistake of buying it prematurely without having planed things properly.

 

Haven’t figured out all my textbooks either, but for now I’ve managed to ascertain that I need at least 1 book and 1 course pack. There were a couple of other textbooks, some prescribed, some recommended but I honestly am trying not to buy too many of them, particularly for maths. I bought a Calculus textbook last semester that nearly doubled up on the one I used last year AND I didn’t even use it last semester. Goes to show just how “unnecessary” prescribed textbooks are.

 

There was also a $20 transfer fee for my swimming pass which was quite annoying, the university gym is such a rip off I probably will never use any of their resources ever considering the fact that they don’t give refunds on anything even if you try to return it straight away.

 

Walked around in the city with Jacky afterwards. Had Pepper Lunch and then walked around a couple of Morning Glorys. Saw David Loon in one of them and we both we’re awkwardly like: “So…what are you doing here?” Kind of funny really to see him there of all places.

 

 

Sunday

The last day of my “holidays”was by far the most extreme day of them all, since it sort of extended over 3 days in a sense. Woke up early on Sunday morning to catch the 3rd place play off match; wasn’t a complete waste of time like the finals. But anyway, after getting about another 3 or so hours of sleep, had to wake up and deliver my camp luggage to Rebecca’s house who was going to camp early today and we needed to offload some luggage early for the other cars that were going to pick us up the next day. This meant I had to speed my packing up to last night; frantically figuring out what I needed to bring to camp. At the least I would bring my mahjong set, regardless of the circumstances haha!

 

After church, went off to lunch with church people. Most of that time was spent chatting with some of the youth. We reached some point in the conversation which led to playing those weird puzzle logic games (eg: Black Magic) that have those weird stupid tricks that some people just can’t figure out because they over think about the trick involved with those games. I showed them Aaron’s game from last year’s MYC with the counting fingers; won’t get into the details of that one. But the thing is that the youth had such difficulty in figuring it out. In fact they were torn between not playing the game and desperately wanting to figure out the answer. I was going to leave early to pick up some stuff from home so that I could head down to the city early to get a present for Chris’ party later that night. The youth continually bugged me to stay so they could continue figuring out Aaron’s puzzle and consequently I missed the train.

 

The strange thing about it all was that I caught the next train to find that Jono Wang was also on it, quite a coincidence. We chatted during our train ride; he was heading out a bit early to the city too to get some poster paint for his brother, from some hobby shop in QVB. I was meant to meet up with Tim, Sophia and Eric on the previous train that I had missed. The extraordinary thing that happened was that me and Jono came across those three in that hobby store Jono was going to. So we just merged groups and continued looking for a present for Chris together. We couldn’t really decide on that to get but we ended up deciding on getting a cheap PS3 game and a Gundam model thingy, for a total price of $110. Jono had to call up Chris multiple times so we could work out which Gundam model Chris didn’t have haha! So much for the surprise. We also went to Woolworths to get a $2 card for Chris. I never knew the Town Hall Woolworths had like 3 levels, such a strange layout for a supermarket.

 

Chris took us to Choga in Haymarket for $10 Korean buffet. Sadly there wasn’t much variety of food there, but that’s okay. Chris’ party reached about the mid 20s in numbers. We “got to” (or forced to?) sit in this elevated section of the small restaurant by the window that had some really low barriers; it almost made that section of the restaurant look like a zoo area or something, and we were going to be the main attractions haha.

 

Chris made us play a few interesting games which I do intend to steal for our youth group haha! He gave everyone a label with a commonly used word on it, such as “this”, “that”, “I”, “a”, etc. And the objective was to not say that particular; doing so would result in forfeiting the label to the other person who catches you. Player at the end of the night with the most labels wins. Chris had several cash prizes for his games, so it potentially was possible to win back the $10 for the buffet haha! Other games include some trivia challenge and a final challenge where the contestants had to eat a hot chilli, read through a list of colours writing in a different colour to the word being depicted; eg writing “Red” in blue; then finally strapping on a pedometer and shaking their hips to rack “steps” on it. Julian won it since he was able to continuously shake his “hips” without stopping for the minute or so.

 

After the party I quickly rushed home to get some rest to wake up for the FIFA finals. I was going to have had 8 hours of sleep over two days, not a good start to a 5-day camp especially.

 

And that’s my holidays over. After this comes 5 days of MYC which I know is going to be awesome, but somehow being tired from having so much on in the holidays really lowers the hype from what potentially could be the best five days of this year.

Holidays Are Over

In a sense, my holidays are over, before they even began. But I suppose I speak too rashly since only one week of three is down. However, my holidays are definitely “booked out” now; it was booked out since before they started haha. Let’s re-cap over the last 7 days.

 

Friday

After trying to relax from all that immense studying for that one final statistics exam that kept me from my holidays, I spent the whole of the following day preparing for my youth group seminar on Apologetics. It was quite a stressful day; it’s on the same level as doing an assignment from scratch that’s due on Sunday. It was pretty bad timing, because I was mentally exhausted from uni at all; a lot of my thoughts weren’t flowing well so it was additionally harder for me to get that seminar done. To make things worse, I really only had one day to get it done since I was going to be out all day on Saturday.

 

Saturday

Had a RICE meeting today out in Croydon. Sam Mak gave his thoughts on how as serving Christians, we might lose the focus on our ministries and simply call them “ministry” rather than it actually being “service”. Christian ministry is about service after all but amidst people’s busy schedules (such as mine), we might start having a different attitude towards wherever we serve; be it church, youth group, ISCF groups, or one-to-one ministries. There’s always that tendency to become overloaded and suddenly start getting tired from it all, and letting it become routine, without putting the heart into it. It was a good reminder for me to rethink my motives in wanting to serve at church, at uni, and for RICE.

The rest of the day was spent in the actual planning of a number of things, as well as to run through team procedures with all the extra leaders that signed up over the last few weeks. We have a large team of leaders again this year, maybe not as many as last year. But it never ceases to amaze me how a bunch of uni students and workers can get together and put together such a huge event that causes change in so many high schoolers. I look forward to the actual days of the events.

Had to give up work today, and for two weeks later at the next meeting; but money wasn’t the issue. In terms of what I really needed at the time, I really needed this day to work on my seminar for tomorrow. Managed to get enough of it done once I got back home. Though I was exhausted from the day, I pressed on till 11pm and called it quits, hoping that what I had done was enough.

Sunday

This was my 10th talk or so, and of sorts, in front of a Christian audience but this one just seemed really unprepared. But like every other time, it seemed as if I knew what I was actually talking about and I was able to pick out the right wording more often than I had expected. Apologetics is my area of “expertise” so to say; I’ve spent a lot of time reading about it, and pretty much the other Christian articles on my blog are the fruits of my knowledge in Apologetics. Having said that, it’s clear I’ve had a mental block in that field for a while now, but that’s probably bound to happen at some point anyway.

I’m glad the seminar went well, but of course I can only guess at how the youth felt about it, whether it’ll actually help them or not. The main goal is to stimulate thought, that in itself should be more than enough of a push for them to think harder about what they believe in.

After church I had the option of going back to high school to attend a reunion of sorts. But pretty much none of my friends were going so I didn’t end up going back. Guess I’ll have to pay my teachers a visit another time. Instead went up to Hornsby to have ramen. Spent $135 on a 1 TB external hard drive and went home to tutor.

Monday

Started working on a church camp video, I’m slowly making progress when I can, or when I’m in the mood. The rest of today was spent either gaming or catching up on anime. In less than a week I finally managed to watch all of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Yeah, that meant going through more than 10 episodes a day, amongst doing other things but it was definitely worth it. The 64 episode series had much more depth than its original counterpart and was animated much better; much more gory as well. I’m slightly shocked at how they’re planning on showing this to American kids after translating it and all. Given the level of animated violence in the anime, it should easily be given an M rating, possible M15+. *Sigh* at the Americans who keep (poorly) translating anime.

Tuesday

Went out to go shopping with parents and pretty much did what I did on Monday again. Hmm…I could’ve sworn the week was much more busier than how it appears for Monday and Tuesday. Oh right, it makes sense because of all the business with having to oraganise upcoming events in the following days. It becomes more stressful when a lot of things don’t get sorted out properly until the last minute.

Wednesday

Met up with my pastor in the morning to have a chat and stuff before heading over to Jie’s place for Mahjong. Five of us were there: Jie, Jacky, Nathaniel and Sharon. I had actually wanted Nat to come, so she could bring her small dog to play with Jie’s 4 big monstrous canines. His dogs were huge, two black, two white, the black ones were very aggressive. If Jie had a third black dog, I swear you could put those three together and you’d get something that resembles Cerberus. Wonder what Nat’s dog + Cerberus equals?

Haven’t mahjonged in a while and haven’t mahjonged with those people for a while too, since maybe some time last year. It was good to repeat old times, with the table trash talk and all. Me and Sharon came up with the biggest hands in the game, at 10 fan. Jacky also sought out this opportunity to try out Jie’s new flat screen TV, clocking at 52 inches. He made me bring my Wii and we mucked around with a couple of games. Didn’t feel that special, but that’s maybe because both Kelvin and Yit have equally as large TVs, the experience is already common.

Later that night we went back to church for a young adults social type thing. As I parked my car, some of the youth were also there for some meeting for a holiday crafts program or something for primary school kids. Sadly, they were “lost” because nobody else was there for the meeting. So I dragged them over to our young adults thing where they could sort of find shelter from the cold night to call their parents to pick them up. So after all that, spent a half hour on the phone with Kelvin (and then gamed for another hour or so) before finally calling it a day…the longest day this week.

Thursday

Our group’s meet up today turned into Eric’s birthday dinner. I suspected this was the case when Eric first offered to have a social thing on today but it wasn’t until maybe the week before that I recalled it was Eric’s birthday just on Tuesday. Which also means that we didn’t have much time to get presents and sort other things out.

 

I went down to the city a bit early in hope of looking for a present but I didn’t have much luck. Instead I spent the rest of the time with Charlie looking for a suitable birthday cake. I couldn’t find the Michelle’s under Myer in that food court for some strange reason and so after a long search I managed to get a Vanilla-Strawberry sponge cake from a place called “Dough!” I think

 

Eric took us to a Korean restaurant named “大長今” funny name haha! We managed to take the top level of the restaurant and had dinner there. There was a fair variety of cheap and expensive food there, but there was no BBQ buffet which was a shame. Me, Kelvin and Erica had BBQ while some of the other people who weren’t willing to spend much chose from the cheaper end of the menu. The food wasn’t too bad, neither was the price. Eventually we got down to the cake. Me and Charlie had also decided to get candles at the time; we bought a “1” and a “9” candle, two dollars each, what a rip!

 

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After dinner we went karaoke for an hour at Big Echo. Some new songs as usual, need to learn them again.

 

Sunday

Friday and Saturday were spent recuperating from everything that happened throughout the week. But Sunday again proved to be a long day. After church Nat had decided to go watch Toy Story 3 with a bunch of people from our youth group. At the same time, I was trying to arrange to watch a movie the following day in the morning, since it’s $8 movie tickets on Monday, But no-one was free on the Monday so I opted to just tag along and watch a movie with them. This day would be the first occasion ever that Nat beats me to any location by driving. I had major bad luck finding a parking spot in one of the Castle Towers car parks that I have never parked at haha. Anyway to my disappointment (in some sense), the movie was very popular and normal screening sessions were booked out, leaving us the only option of watching it in 3D (at the $17 price). My resolve to watch a movie there and then was stronger than my urge to save money so I went through with it. Won’t comment on the movie, other than that Toy Story 3 was a pretty awesome movie.

 

Watching a movie was not part of my plan at all for the day, and was about to severely impact the rest of the afternoon/night. After the movie I immediately rushed home to get changed for Josef’s 21st. The major issue at hand was that I had to work out the route to get there. This was the first time I’ve ever driven as far as Seven Hills on my own since getting my P’s last year. I took about 10 minutes to memorise the route on Google Earth, got changed and immediately sped off to the party. I was so glad I got there successfully and on time a s well. I was really pushed for time, seeing as I didn’t know how long it would take to get there.

 

Josef invited like more than 150 people that night and managed to book out a whole seminar room in the RSL club. His parents were also willing to shout all the guests dinner, seeing as it is his 21st. There was a structured program to the party and so we weren’t able to eat the entire night. But I think I had more than my fair share for the night. There were a number of speeches and some trivia games, a slideshow and a speech from the birthday man himself. After the party everyone moved off to the bar to chill; designated drivers obviously weren’t allowed any alcohol.

 

SAM_1128 (960x540)

 

I went off by about 10:30pm to get back home. But on the way I decided to swing by Ken’s place where our church was having hotpot; I obviously opted a free buffet over hotpot haha. I watched them play “the hat game” and then we left.

 

So that was a full week of action, nearly. But clearly it was enough all-day action to keep me exhausted at the end of the week. Apologies for the lateness of the post. But the second week of the holidays was also just as tiring. And it all starts with Monday, the day right after all that happened on the above Sunday.

Quick Play (Updated)

Just as the mid-sem break started, a couple of event came up without me realizing that they were there; and so the Easter weekend that just passed was filled with a lot of tiring activities that have set this week to one of recovery rather than study.

 

Ronnie’s R (something…)

Ah forget it, I couldn’t think of another R word to make some alliteration haha! Anyway Ronnie was free Easter Saturday and for some reason or another wanted to come up to the Hills area, where most of us CBS people lived. So he called up Nat asking is he could crash her house and form some sort of impromptu social; that was Friday night. I tried to help organize it, we were trying to work out what to do for dinner – whether we should cook or not. The idea of cooking as a group sounded like fun only the problem was that we couldn’t decide on what to cook; not to mention that we had to buy the stuff just prior to the night.

 

An e-mail was sent like on Saturday morning and I tried my best to rally some forced through Twitter at work, since Facebook got blocked >.<” Things didn’t get far and so the cooking idea was a no go. A number of us showed up at Nat’s place around 5-6pm where we tried to figure where to go for dinner; again that was a kind of fail discussion because nobody had ideas or preferences. Jumping onto my end of the story, I was talking to Athena in the afternoon and she offered the idea to eat at the pizza place she was working at that night. And looking back now, that was probably a better idea than no idea.

 

Nonetheless we ended up going to Castle Towers to see what would happen, walked around for a while, not wanting to go into any expensive restaurant – Athena’s pizza place was clearly a good idea at the time had we not already parked there. Eventually we listened to Matthew’s idea to go eat at Nando’s T.T” and so we all had like the family feast meal deal or whatever it was, spicy chicken, lemon chicken, random sides and a big plate of chips. Didn’t fill us up all too well, but hey, fail dinner is fail dinner haha!

 

We all drove back to Nat’s place again afterwards and this is probably a good time to introduce our multimedia item for this post:

 

 

Just to add more to the story than what’s on YouTube, Nat was trying to park as close as she could to the left wall of her garage but she was afraid of scraping the side and so she continually ended up slightly away from the wall. I just thought it was funny that she just kept going rather than just give up and leave it as is; in the end she didn’t manage to fix it up (on her own). There is Cantonese dialogue, which I’ll add annotations for later, for the non-Chinese speakers.

 

Played “Articulate” and just chatted, watched some YouTube videos and had ice cream. It was a nice chill time for all of us. Nat’s sister later complained about Ronnie’s loud voice, which projected very well within Nat’s house – he had it coming, he always does. We left at around 11pm, before Nat’s parents came home from their weekly mahjong-ing with family friends.

 

 

Cherie’s Baptism

The very next morning, we all had to wake up early to get ourselves up to Thornleigh CABC (Chinese Australian Baptist Church) for Cherie’s baptism – same group of CBS people, hence why we had to leave by 11pm, but then we had the daylight savings extra hour of sleep. I haven’t been back to that church since I left it in year 4; so many years ago. I hardly remember the people there anymore, a lot of new people came after I left so I don’t really know the church anymore.

 

Anyway Jacky was paranoid of not getting a parking spot, which was fairly likely to happen because their carpark was heaps small. So we drove there early, carpooled Sarah and Bec at the same time to save driving space. We were like the first ones there funnily enough, though we were only like 15 minutes early. We sat down in those nostalgic pews (to me) while the music team practised. I now realise that they also had those huge baptism pools as well that few churches have (I think). The only other one I’ve seen was at Matt’s church.

 

Anyway the rest of out group arrived soon; we had two closely-connected groups, one was for Cherie the other was for Michelle, whom I met at next gen like last year. Anyway the baptism video is on my Facebook, in all it’s awesome HD glory now haha thanks to my new camera (finally). And just randomly, seeing Fairen Tam today reminded me of how she bullied me when we were kids, I don’t remember the scene too well but I remember it happening a lot T.T” She gave me a small wave, and I’m pretty sure she remembers it too haha!

 

After their service some of our group decided to come crash our church since our service had yet to start; and so we all drove back and today our church had lots of new visitors…from CBS haha!

 

After our service we went out for lunch in Eastwood at the Shanghai place, because everywhere else was full and stuff. Paul Chan helped us scout for restaurants that weren’t full and in the end only 6 of us went out for lunch, oh well. That was Easter Sunday.

 

 

Steph’s Party

Oh wow it just goes on. The very next day again, Easter Monday, we went down to Bicentennial Park for Steph’s barbeque party, which was organized by Eva. Me and Jacky met Adrian again on the train at Epping, and we were like the first ones there. Olympic Park was packed with people by 11am, and it was very hard to find a spot. One of Steph’s friends, Janice, managed to guard a barbeque with her parents but we didn’t have a table. Luckily the Asian couple just next to us were happy to let us use one of the tables, and even gave us a mat to cover it (at least I think that’s what happened).

 

Anyway we waited for Eva to come by with the food, though no-one else was here. But that made sense because of traffic and how difficult it must’ve been to park there today. Eventually Eva came with the food and we began to cook. The party was more Abbotsleigh Girls than CBS but hence I overlooked the fact that someone had to cook for the barbeque. I volunteered myself in other words. I don’t mind cooking, I’ve cooked at like the last few barbeques we’ve had so yeah.

 

Today’s special restriction for the barbeque was…using only two tongs. That’s right, two tongs ONLY! Eva admitted she doesn’t barbeque much and so she only brought two tongs. I thought “okay, challenge accepted” although in hindsight  whether I accepted or not didn’t change the fact that we only had two tongs to use. I’ve barbequed enough (with mistakes) to think that the following materials are needed at a barbeque (minus obvious ones):

  • Spatula
  • Tongs
  • Oil

Give me those three things and a barbeque can go alright. Having only the tongs was indeed challenging; but there were ways to get around not having the other two things. Oil was of course the hardest thing to compensate for, but that’s what sausages are for. Although I forgot to do so at the beginning, I should’ve cooked the sausages first, let all the grease come out and use that as oil for the other meats. A tip for next time I guess. We cooked anyway and did our best without any oil and such. The spatula is there for the cleaning process rather than cooking. Last time we demonstrated that coke is an excellent cleaning agent to get all that burnt carcinogenic crap off the barbeque, you just need a spatula to help uproot it all.

 

Hope nobody is eating and reading this because your appetite is now about to be ruined. We turned on the barbeque right next to us, so we were using two, and about 10 minutes afterwards, little cockroaches began to spawn like from a crack next to the second barbeque. They were just crawling around on the brick parts. I suspect they came out because of the barbeque getting hot and forcing them to spawn. The really bad thing was that some cockroaches panicked a bit too much and ended up running onto the barbeque. Yes, that’s right. Fortunately they didn’t run onto any of the food as it was cooking but they did run onto the barbeque and I watched them suffer a very painful death. Extracting the corpses proved to be rather…disgusting and disturbing for onlookers at the same time. Eventually there was another group who wanted to use the barbeque after us. so we just gave them the infested one and halved our production.

 

Halfway through cooking we had to clean the barbeque slate, and without a spatula to scrap all the burnt meat off, it was going to prove exceedingly difficult. Thankfully, the people we gave our other barbeque to were kind enough to let us borrow theirs, in exchange for letting them use our knives, and so we mutually shared some utensils for the rest of the afternoon; it was nice of them. Everyone stood around and chatted, I think. I was too engaged to worry about what else was happening. Food eventually was served and we finally had a party going.

 

Brandon and Jacky helped with the cooking, I took a break after about the 3 hour mark and left them to do the rest of the cooking. You have to admit, it’s hard to cook for a long period of time without taking a break. I ate a bit while I was cooking but yeah it is tiring haha. Everyone just chatted into the afternoon until we had the cake and then proceeded to clean up.

 

 

Mandy’s Déjà vu

This post will be left off with this hanging: tomorrow is Mandy’s party, exact same format, exact same place. So tomorrow will be exactly like Steph’s party, and perhaps the same people once again haha! I’m still deciding whether I should go or not. Saw her today at Eastwood with Elon buying the food for tomorrow. Hmm…

 

UPDATE

 

Okay so I ended up going to the party. Nat came and gave me a lift there, though she was exceptionally late; she was meant to pick me up at 12:30pm but ended up picking me up closer to 12:50pm T.T” And then she still had to pick up…Cassian? One of her law buddies. So by then it was already 1pm so we were clearly late. Nat kept freaking out on the way because she didn’t know the directions too well. I had the map in front of me but it was slightly hard to follow Brandon’s instructions; probably because Nat copied bits down wrong or something.

 

Eventually we got there, after much childish panicking and people questioned our lateness. Nevertheless I got straight to picking up the cooking with Elon and Brandon and also dug into some food. Mandy provided more vegetable alternatives to meat (or simply alternatives I guess) and Ronnie pulled in later with more meat because we had pretty much run out.

 

Throughout the afternoon we chatted much, Mandy brought some board games for us to play, Jacky came in much later but brought a ball so the guys had something to do. The icky thing was that Cassian kind of slipped on the ball and nearly twisted his elbow, I’m not sure what was going on, but it was bleeding, not severely. Oh I almost forgot, Mandy’s theme for the party was to dress up as Cartoon characters from when we were young. Few people bothered to; and it was wet also so it wasn’t entirely desirable. Funny though because it was pouring around 8am but Mandy still decided to hold the barbeque.

 

We played cards as the sun went down and cooked the rest of the chicken drumsticks which took ages to cook. We then packed up and were going to head back to Mandy’s place before dinner, which was moved from the city to Parramatta now. Dinner was at 6:30pm but it was already 5:30pm so getting back to Mandy’s place seemed inefficient. Nevertheless we moved off. I stayed with Nat because after dropping Cassian off at Concord West, she’d be the only one left; I mainly doubted her ability to get back to Mandy’s house given the way she panicked on the journey here.

 

And as I expected she panicked once again because there was quite some traffic from the Easter Show and we soon lost sight of our convoy, so we were on our own. I didn’t know the way either so it kind of was a fail plan. I vaguely remember Olympic Park well but we drove past the Aquatic Centre and ended up back on Parramatta Road, I was at least comfortable with that area. I directed her back onto Silverwater Road and she knew the rest of the way which was good.

 

The ironic thing from all of that was that we were the first ones there at Mandy’s house, not even Mandy herself was back yet, which was mightily strange. But I just thought given Nat’s driving (from the above video too) that we were naturally be the last ones to get there. But we were first by more than 15 minutes which was a huge surprise. The reason was that everyone took the M4 but that was uberly flooded because of the Easter Show and so everyone else was stuck in traffic except us. Nat was very pleased at herself.

 

Mandy’s parents let us in and I finally got to meet her huge dog, who was like 50 times as big and as active as Nat’s entree (we were going to eat him that Saturday night after Nando’s haha!) Eventually everyone else turned up and Mandy pushed her restaurant booking back half an hour. We sat in a circle in the living and played some simple games, Mandy opened her presents in our midst. Eventually we had to go, some of us weren’t going for dinner (like me) because of the need to study. And when you think about it that’s fair considering how much I’ve been out this mid-sem break. And now it’s Friday as I wrap things up and I have camp later on today. There goes the mid-sem break >.<”

Pre O-Week Week

Okay, here’s some unstructured blogging, won’t be easy to follow, maybe. Anyway this week has been pretty hectic for me. Of course there’s no official title for it, and it didn’t follow any particular pattern or trend; things that happened one after another. So let’s get started shall we?

 

 

Sunday

Okay so perhaps the week doesn’t start on Sunday, but whatever. As everyone should remember this was the Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day, the awesome 2-in-combo that Chonny V-logged about. So at church we had to give in to the Chinese side, respect tradition and at least have lunch with them. Things were already rough because our pastor kept refusing to have a combined service with them. Skip the intricate details in the middle and we end up having a heaps shorter service, followed by lunch, which was pretty awesome. As always, when Chinese people want to celebrate for Chinese New Year, they do exceptionally well in regards to food.

 

I can’t quite remember what there was to eat but there were some good desserts. Anyway after lunch some of us from the ABC side stayed for the Chinese side’s afternoon shenanigans. There was singing, followed by some reflective words from the minister about things that happened over the year. It completely skipped my mind that our church is nearing its 1st anniversary of having moved to its new location. A lot has happened over the year at church huh? We had performances from the elders, as always. It’s not something that sparks our young minds in particular, but one can come to appreciate what they enjoy at their age; it was just some dancing and singing. There were some games which involved charades and guessing the Chinese New Year phrase, the ones that your parents say apart from…”Goon Hei Fat Choi” – whatever the proper English ping ying for it is.

 

It was quite a boring afternoon but I managed to sit through nearly all of it. Not the most interesting of all Sundays but certainly one that was pretty time consuming.

 

 

Monday

Okay Monday was another sort of bad day, hoping that certain people don’t read this. The legendary “Tensei” Victor Chan was having his 18th party at Bicentennial Park. It does bring a bit of shock, a bit out of normal expectations. The thing that became apparent for me was that Victor is a year younger than the rest of us; I knew there was something weird when I read he was celebrating his “18th birthday”. But such is the “Tensei” that he would start school a year early, according to him.

 

We met up at Olympic Park station at about midday. “We” was a very ambiguous term at the time; I had imagined “we’ would encompass…a decent number of people. But the net result was only 6, including myself. Yitian dogged me for his parents, some post-CNY celebrations? And then many others were no-shows. It ended up being me and 5 Ruse people – all of whom weren’t as rowdy as my group, or as the NSBs. There was a lot of silence, while walked back to the park.

 

But I’ll just keep things short here. There was a lot of awkward silence while everyone silently wondered what we should do, or rather, was waiting for someone to say something. There was a lack of initiative which for the first time in my life, actually created minutes of complete silence. It was sooooo awkward…but I couldn’t stand up and take charge and provide direction. The party was not mine and these were not people I’ve ever seen before in my life haha, how could I be complete “chill” or “lax” with them? We did play cards, for most of the day, played handball a bit later in the afternoon. Food was complete fail; lunch was nothing more than chips and lollies. I was really hungry when I got home *sigh* I bought drinks and cups in the morning, really saved the situation because otherwise we’d only have chips and lollies, hardly fit for lunch.

 

Victor suggested bike riding in the afternoon; not something I’m familiar with, but it was a good suggestion, despite the hot weather and the odd cost of $15 to hire a bike for the first hour, and $20 for two hours…odd. After Ellen’s party I’m trying to be more cautious in my spending. Other people weren’t so keen for the idea either, so we just continued to play cards…fail. I left closer to 4pm because I was sort of at my limit for wanting to stay. It was not a fun party, I was there solely for Victor’s sake, and I am glad to have been 1 of 5 people that actually showed up as guests. It’s not always that you get to celebrate a “Tensei’s” birthday haha!

 

 

Tuesday

Had my wisdom tooth (singular) taken out. Talked to Jess the next day and she raised the observation that everyone seems to be having their teeth taking out these days; true or not? Anyway went to a family friend who was a dentist and had him perform the operation. Because it was only one tooth – and because it was a local dentist – I didn’t get knocked out, unlike most of you people, who were given the grace of sleep. I, unfortunately, was kept awake through the entire horrific sequence of events. From the first needle in the gum, to the second in the tooth, to the third, etc I lost count of the needles that I was stabbed with, the first one hurt a bit, that weird numbing pain, and a quarter of my mouth went numb. If you’ve never been awake for the operation, trust me, you don’t want to. Essentially the dentist just hacks awake at your teeth and the gum around it. And there’s the classic high-pitched whirring from some instrument which gives kids nightmares. That thing was so loud that it gave me a headache throughout the operation.

 

It took an hour to get one silly tooth out. Of course, my tooth resisted, by having to grow in a retarded direction, like nearly perpendicular to how the rest of teeth normally grow. Yes, it was growing sideways, and so the hole that eventuated was quite a big one. The dentist was trying to just force my tooth out; he was using a lot of force and perhaps got tired of the slow hacking process with that gum-cutter. He had a lot of problems and had to revert back to other tools before trying again.

 

Finally it came out, and I was lucky to get a good look of it before he chucked that annoying tooth out; other people don’t get the privilege to huh? He stitched me up and I was out by midday. The anaesthetic lasted until 4-5pm in which pain finally took over and worsened my headache. As most animals are, pain really does annoy you, it just sits there in the background constantly annoying you, and it really does mess your mood up. I wasn’t feeling sick, I was heaps annoyed because of the pain and the headache; sent me into a pretty bad mood for the rest of the night. Haha but that was night one, things would get better the next day, yes?

 

 

Wednesday

CBS Orientation Day (which I didn’t go to last year because I was in Hong Kong). Caught the train with Jess but saw Katie and some Baulko kids from the year below us at Pennant Hills station, how fortunate sort of. Oh I almost forget to mention. On Tuesday afternoon, while it still hurt to open my mouth for anything, be it talking or eating, Alan (our MTS) called up to ask me to be a Tour Guide for today’s Orientation; conscripted at the last second, nice. Anyway we got there and registered and met up with people we hadn’t seen for a few weeks haha. It’s funny because the last time we actually went to uni was for our final exams last year; so we haven’t stepped on uni ground for a good 3 months.

 

The Orientation was mostly like others except there was a talk from Carl Matthei and some interviews with older people about “Surviving as a Christian at University”, that is quite an interesting topic to address which might’ve given me a head start last year, rather than having me figure out first hand what being a Christian in university actually meant. Most of it was just sitting and listening. We moved off into faculty groups and guess which one was largest? Obviously Commerce; there’s no need to comment on the others haha! We had so many new first years, but we also nearly had the same number of second years, so our “grade” haha. I’m glad that there’s so many dedicated Christians in my age level.

 

During morning tea I ran off with Quentin to fix up our ID cards. Me to get a new travel concession sticker and Quentin to get a brand new ID card. He was unfortunate to not have had a haircut before today, and to not brush up on his complexion haha. Sad thing for him was how his ID photo turned out. I don’t have it of course but just to Sharon (if you read this part), if you haven’t seen it go do so. Poor Quentin was darker than…Obama in his photo. And I thought my photo was bad because I was dark, he was completely black nearly.

 

We hurried back and joined everyone else for more “lectures”. We eventually moved out towards lunch to conduct our tours; but before that we played a game and introduced each other. We made a huge circle in the quad because of the sheer number of people that were there. We had an intro from Alan and Emily, people in charge this year. And then we had some short interviews from older people. We played “Bang” with half the group (so two games), using it as an opportunity to learn names, a classic variation we played at church earlier this year.

 

The tours were rushed but we took them up and down campus. We made the first years trek the stupid stairs that supposedly “transport [us] from lower campus to upper campus”. They’re a pain and everyone who goes to UNSW must learn of it haha! Lunch was sandwiches with cordial, a nice budgeted lunch. I for one had a huge problem having lunch. In light of Tuesday’s events, today was a real test for me; it was pretty impossible for me to eat solid food, even with three quarters of my mouth intact. I had a banana and slowly got through my sandwich, with the hard hot dog bun. It was a very hard lunch time for me haha.

 

The afternoon session was rather short, just a few more words of encouragement about how to continue living as a Christian in this new uni environment, given also the lifestyle changes. Let’s face it, there are heaps more distractions now than back in high school. High school was simply bliss and ignorance. I went to pick up some of my textbooks after the orientation. They were so damn expensive; I haven’t bought them all and the bill comes to over $400 T.T” I’m still missing 3-4 more books, which come to another $300 or so, dang this term. My Actuarial Studies courses are horribly plagued with 3 prescribed textbooks. Impossible!

 

Everyone else went to get their travel concessions so I eventually caught up to them. Some of us went out to Town Hall to get Charlie Chen his present. It’s safe to talk about it now because he has obviously received it by now. It’ll be fun to look at what happened behind the scenes. We went to Myer, where Steph had the idea to get him cologne. None of us minded so we all looked hard and carefully at what was on sale. I don’t know how many different products we tested; Bec was holding like 20 or 30 so test cards with different scents on them. We spent a good hour and a bit just sniffing this and that, wondering what was suitable. Eventually we finally decided on one and we were all on our way home. It was hard to decide though, a lot of fun however.

 

 

Thursday

Got called up by work to pop down to the office for “further training”. The e-mail I got from the main receptionist that works on weekdays also mentioned problems that I had. I was so freaked out from reading that, I thought I was close to getting sacked. I admit that I like how easy my job is; I really do need to value it properly. I thought I was going to get a scolding about missing this and that, I hadn’t felt like I messed up a lot that it should draw the attention of everyone. Nevertheless I walked in thinking that they won’t dare sack me, since they had told me once that it was hard to find casual weekend workers who were constantly available. I secretly felt I was safe from being sacked; just had to distance myself away from that edge.

 

Luckily the receptionist told me only a few things. The ordeal lasted no more than an hour, which was interrupted by phones calls once a while. I suppose today doesn’t count as adventurous but I was pretty worried after reading the e-mail on Wednesday, thinking that my job would be in jeopardy. Tooth was still slowly getting better today, being the second day.

 

 

Friday

Ronnie’s housewarming party. I was the first to show up at his place, at 11am. His apartment is rather interesting, the building I mean. The lift didn’t work when I first got there; so I went back out and called Ronnie. Apparently he had to activate the lift from his apartment so guests could use it. That’s pretty cool, so random people can’t just invade the property. But there were stairs I heard?

 

Ronnie put on The Dark Knight in Blu-Ray and left the apartment in my stead when he went out to pick up Anita from the station. Others arrived before he got back so I had to answer the phone and get the door. Ronnie’s apartment is pretty good, rather nostalgic of Hong Kong really. They had a lot TVs and computer monitors; fairly loaded so it seems.

 

Ben brought mahjong, including a portable table; I so need to get myself one of those. His mahjong tiles were inside a…picnic basket. A lot of people were expecting to find food in it but found mahjong tiles instead, that was funny. Some of us played mahjong, others played with Ronnie’s board games; anything groupy was fine. We had lunch at about 1pm, everyone pooled food and snacks together and we had a decent lunch together. Poor Ronnie had to run out and drive several rounds to pick up people who were arriving at different times and then to get some chicken because Mandy faced traffic and failed in bringing Coles roast chicken.

 

The afternoon was long, we chatted and played more games. Some of the discussion went on to what games to play for another CBS day for O-Week next Tuesday; yes the fun hasn’t stopped yet. So we played a few games to see how they went; anything that was group building was good. We tried doing that activity where you sit back to back with someone else, link arms and then try to stand up. We tried it with 4 people; the girls failed repeatedly at standing up but us guys succeeded in one shot – that just shows the synergy that us guys have with one another.

 

I can’t remember what else we did. Oh, we played blind poker (sort of) where everyone holds a card on your forehead, so you can see everyone else’s card except your own. And then you’re trying to not get the lowest card, a bit of deceiving here and there but it was pretty funny at times when people traded away their really high cards for lower ones.

 

People started leaving as it got closer to night, the few of us stayed were juggling between my suggestion of The Princess Bride, and Mandy’s Italian movie Life is Beautiful. In fact let’s have a vote here, which do you prefer: The Princess Bride or Life is Beautiful. I shall make a poll on my blog here soon. Me and Mandy kept arguing, but she was more persistent, and whinny so I just gave in, out of courtesy. Adrian and Ken were playing some weird Lord of the Rings chess, and Brandon was just bored out of his mind; he wanted to watch Battlestar Galactica, which had near zero support haha!

 

At night we went out to Ikea to have dinner, because there’s heaps cheap food there. We had chicken schnitzel with chips, or pasta, for like $4 which was pretty good. Doesn’t fill you over the top but the price certainly makes it worth it. Ronnie bought some glassware as we walked through the rest of the store, and we then went to Coles to buy ice blocks. There wasn’t much food at Ikea at night, the restaurant was nearly out of food; but then we actually went there at like 8:30pm so that was sort of expected. And there was no desserts, how fail.

 

Went home after that. Jess drove me back to her house. While I waited for my dad I went inside and watched Family Outing along with Marcus; it’s fairly funny, I might not mind picking it up if I hadn’t made my commitments to anime already, otherwise I’ll have too many things to download haha. Oh and last thing, my camera broke today. I think I know why but it’s a fairly stupid reason. The touch screen cracked so now I can’t use it. Damn I hope warranty covers this; but even so it’s going to be a pain to get it fixed. But still I’d hate to blow another $350 to buy a new one; argh so frustrated from breaking my camera today.

 

 

Saturday

That’s today. I had work. It was long. I am tired. Badminton tired me out more. Me and Tim were nearly evenly matched, he beat me 21-19 for two games and the last one went to 22-20. Teased Claudia about being a weird NSG girl, but then again they’re all weird haha! And now it’s Sunday and I really need to sleep because of youth group in the morning. What a long and adventurous week, sort of. Ah, my beautiful camera. But on a brighter note I think my tooth had nearly healed up. The stitches are sort of coming out because I keep playing around with my tongue. I need to get them out on Monday next week.

Ellen’s B’day Bash

Having only known Ellen for less than a year, I was indifferent to her idea of having a triple party, with two of her friends who shared the same birthday as her. In total there would be about 40 guests packed into the Belgian Beer Cafe. But anyway let’s backtrack to events prior to the party.

 

Caught the train down to Town Hall; City Rail is once again slow as always; so many delays which tempts you to rage at them; and it would work if only they weren’t a monopoly for rail transport. Either that or I’m just bad with buses. Anyway met up with Nat after work. She spent the day buying the present and card for Ellen. Don’t you just love leaving gift-buying to the very last moment? Anyway she got Ellen some girly things so I won’t make much of a comment – I’ve never heard of a make up bag which is called the “Pencil Case”, in fact I had mistaken it for a pencil case at first haha. Anyway I brought my collection of Papermate pens in case we needed them to sign the card. I actually had a revelation this morning which persuaded me to bring the pens. I thought that Nat wouldn’t have pens on her seeing as she had work. And so she would rely on me to bring pens. But then I thought she wouldn’t call me to tell me to bring pens in hope that I would just bring them without her telling me to. And funnily enough she told me exactly that. Talk about synergy! The card was a bit weird because apart from a traditional “Happy Birthday” at the front, it was a card for pregnancy. I can’t believe she and Adrian jointly decided to get that card.

 

Okay back to the restaurant. We all loafed around for a long time at the back, just chatting and stuff. 6pm is a bit early to eat anyway. So we talked until about 7pm and then all sat down to order. In case you’re wondering,the menu is on the website, go take a look and come back. I found it a bit heart-aching that the entrees started at about $18 while the mains were priced from $25. I didn’t even look at dessert as a result. We all decided to get one main each and then share in 1 Kg of mussels, for $26 (that wasn’t too bad). Despite the price, the quality of the food almost matched the price:

 

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The top left one is mine. We all shared our food, just to get a taste of what each one was like. They were all pretty good. The mussels were good too; one whole pot between perhaps 5-6 people, easily filling. A  lot of people got drinks, particularly Belgian beer (duh!). Of course not all of us were keen to drink (or buy drinks for that fact) so we shared the drinks as well, just a couple of sips for tasting. Phil was full on about how the Belgian beer was really good for the entire night, even after the bottle was empty. Kevin was simply a guy who didn’t like the taste of alcohol.

 

Andy raised a good point tonight in regards to photos. The aim of taking photos for the night was not to catch people in poses, but rather to capture them for what they’re actually doing if they weren’t disturbed. Which makes sense because posing and turning to the camera doesn’t really reflect what actually happened at the event. Therefore it is better to take “natural” photos. I don’t know, you compare:

 

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Of course the third photo truly reflects some of the things that happened at the party; Steph engaged in texting people.

 

We ate for a long time, a couple of people showed signs that they were drunk, just from their cheeks; there wasn’t any bizarre behaviour thank God. And the moment of truth came; that is, the time to pay the bill. I hadn’t thought about how it would happen, but if everything was this expensive, then this photo should be no surprise:

 

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Yes, between the 40 or so people there, the bill came to a figure I have never seen before at a restaurant. Ronnie begged indifference at the bill, saying that he once reached over $2K at a Chinese Restaurant (because of lobster, etc). Anyway it was a real pain collecting the money. And once again, this is what your future actuary and mathematician is here for. Phil helped me mark off the dishes as people paid for it. It was my job to keep track of the money and all. Of course Adrian was also a banker so he helped me double check the money. It’s certainly hard to keep track of a wad of bills that is meant to come to a total over over $1000.

 

We fell a bit short which caused us to shout aloud and round up the rest of the money. Eventually we had it all, but in exchange we missed out on the birthday cake. In the end I only managed to grab this photo:

 

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Yeah I couldn’t get the cake in it as well, Michelle’s mud cake, nice! Nobody had room for cake anymore, and chocolate mud cake for that fact. I tried to finish it as best as I could but the final verdict was to just leave it behind. My Asian side perked up and I ended up taking the cake home. I will not let food go to waste like that, just leaving it behind, what foolishness. Kudos to Adrian for his generosity in giving money for the cake and slipping $50 to cover his main dish and the mussels.

CBS Commerce Year-End Socials

Now that I realize it, I haven’t really blogged on the boxing day social, so I’ll take the chance to take care of both socials we’ve had in the last week haha!

 

Boxing Day Social

On boxing day we had decided to go out to the beach; but due to the weather we instead went to Steph’s house to have lunch and just chill around until the afternoon. This was a fallback plan, but Steph graciously made a Pass the Parcel…parcel; so we played with it. Talk about awesome luck, there were exactly the same number of layers and people in the game; go Steph! Each layer of the parcel had a slip of post-it note, and maybe a treat. Each person had to do whatever was written on the post-it note; things ranged from simply sharing minor personal things, all the way up to Brandon having to do the Macarina. All videos on Facebook.

 

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There was of course more mahjong-ing to be done. We stayed until about 4pm before we decided to head off down to the city to go karaoke, and then do other stuff at night. That was just great considering that in the morning to meet up, I had gone down to Town Hall to help back up the people coming from south of Sydney. Came all the way back up to where Steph’s house, and now back down again, and soon to be back up once more T.T”

 

Ellen had originally planned to go to Live, but due to a potential concern for Chinese and English music, we went back to Big Echo again, as always. So we stayed the 3 hours there doing the same thing as always. I don’t think there’s much I can blog about our karaoke sessions; it’s normally the same songs over again, even the Chinese ones haha! Love Story, Backstreet Boys. I got into the room first, checked the new songs list; they have Wedding Dress now! Got so excited I sang it before everyone had come in haha!

 

For dinner, we were all over the place; some of us had dinner at 5pm before karaoke, the rest of us went to a Hungry Jacks at 8pm for food. Afterwards we went down to Myer to go Boxing Day night shopping. It was still pretty packed at 9:30pm. Lots of stuff was gone but heaps more was still there. I’m surprised Paul could look at a $75 shirt and say that it was cheap *shudders* Regardless of the savings made off an uber expensive shirt, it’s final net price still causes the same amount of hesitation for me. We walked around for half an hour or so. Only Liz actually bought stuff for her parents, the rest of us walked home empty; well we drove home, yeah same thing. That was a really long boxing day!

 

 

New Year’s Eve Sleepover

And so soon after a social we had another set right at the edge of the new year. A lot of things came together to bring this social to form, mostly the notion of using Nat’s house for a social while her parents were gone. What better than a “sleepover” at her place. The reigns were in my hands, right after my own birthday as well. It’s been a really tiring week for me.

 

Anyway I had the original plan of booking out for dinner; trying to find a mutual place for dinner. Since everyone was coming up to Nat’s house anyway, it’d be reasonable to have dinner as close as possible to Nat’s place for the convenience of those who live in the immediate area. So Eastwood it was, and after like a bit of snooping on Tuesday (29th) I just chose the Peking restaurant. In my books it’s one of the better places to have dinner in Eastwood. People would train up to Eastwood if it’s far for them, and then other who live near Nat drive down to Eastwood and there’s our transport issue solved.

 

Organising dinner was a slight pain because it was hard to get exact numbers. Luckily on the actual day the numbers became stable and I managed to book the exact number of seats required. We all met up for dinner and we all ordered a lot of awesome food. Everyone just had to have some of that infamous Peking duck; fine alright, though it was…what? $40.80 for like those strips of skin plus one dish of noodles it was still ordered on the basis of the occasion? We had to order so many more dishes afterwards because we were all hungry men on the table. Ordered another 8 dishes and yet still the bill only came to like $13.45 per head which was awesome compared to my party T.T”

 

We all carpooled back; this was the second time I had the car out, and still just a bit more than a week on my Ps. It was of course relatively risky for me to drive and all; had to pull a few strings to get the car as well. Anyway me and Jacky detoured back to Ken’s house first where we said hi to the few from our church who were left at their own NYE social. It was small, and it was missing 5 people who were now attending our CBS one haha!

 

The night went on with my Wii, Jie’s Xbox, Mahjong, Taboo and Poker. Everyone was involved in something which was good. Heaps of noise as well; we found out only very recently that Nat’s dad was coming back from Hong Kong that day, so much for having the house all to ourselves. But I was glad he still let us use the house, despite there was a bit of drinking going on and such.

 

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At about 11pm we decided to have a formal thing, split off into small prayer groups so we could reflect on the year that has passed and the year that is to come. Came up with a bunch of thank points and prayer points, and then we just prayed till about 11:45pm. That was finally when things started to get hectic; we brought out the drinks; tried to use as little alcohol as possible because of the environment that we were in. There was heaps of sparkling juices and that was more than sufficient for the occasion I guess. The countdown came and we all gave a huge roar which I suspect would’ve made Nat’s go: “what the hell?!” (in a Chonny accent for added bonus)

 

The fireworks were really bland, I don’t see the point in watching them anymore; you can’t see the Harbour Bridge at all because of all the smoke, and I would expect that to be the case in the morning. And hence with all the smoke you can see the fireworks, fail. But afterwards we mucked around in the backyard with sparklers. We managed to get some really good photos here, especially this one, sorta:

 

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Oh yeah we are set for next year CBS with this now!

 

After everything was okay, “play” resumed. Back to our normal activities. Some people started playing spin the bottle truth or dare. Me and Ronnie were just like: “Urgh guys don’t play that game…” They’ll learn next time. Everyone was still really lively throughout the night; the volume levels stayed constant, I really do wonder how much of our noise carried upstairs to where Nat’s dad was sleeping.

 

I guess you could probably skip everything that happened up until 4am where we started watching “A Walk to Remember”. Yes it quite a sad movie but no it wasn’t compelling enough to cry over. At 5am we left Nat’s house to try and catch the sunrise. We went out to Thompson’s corner where the Australian flag was; there was a small patch of grass which had a good view of the city. There were already traces of people being there last night to watch the fireworks. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to catch the sunrise because of the clouds. And I guess that was okay because no matter where we went (some wanted to beach) there wouldn’t have been a chance to see the sun anyway, with weather the way it was today.

 

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We went back to Nat’s house to have breakfast, served by Paul and Nat, who went to buy it earlier on NYE. There was pancakes, raisin toast, french toast and boiled sausages. By the time it hit 7am everyone started to die. And there were heaps of people just lying all over the place, clearly too tired to move. People slowly poured out of Nat’s house when it hit 8am, others who were still dead stayed on the sofa to try and sleep it off. The word “sleepover” is rather inaccurate to describe the event, because obviously we weren’t going to, and those that tried to sleep weren’t very successful.

 

I was pretty tired too, had to drive Bec and Jie back home, and it was raining. Luckily coffee kicked in and I was able to stay awake for this last bit of driving before I got home. I had to drive, with my minor skills because Jacky obviously looked more wrecked than me, playing NBA ‘07 all night long. Man, the last time we played video games (7 hours of Mario Kart 64!) we were really dead the next day.

 

But that was the new year. It was an epic night as they always are. But on a serious note, the actual reminiscing for me will have to come at a later time when everything settles down. Let’s make 2010 even brighter than it was last year!

My Belated 19th

Wow the last few weeks have been pretty packed; I haven’t even had time to sit down and reflect over what has actually happened over those weeks. One step at a time. I decided to set my party a fair time after my actual birthday for a number of reasons. The first was that I didn’t actually want to have a party, until people actually asked me what I was planning to do for it. I pretty much couldn’t decide between having a party and not having one. I don’t know, I guess I wasn’t in the hype to hold one this year. But I eventually dragged myself into the decision, so I had to push the date back to allow for more time to plan. The second reason was that I had my driving test very soon after my birthday, pushed back because of NTE Mission, so hence I had to push my birthday back accordingly as well.

 

Guests for today’s party extended outside of my regular Baulko group for a number of reasons. A few of us were overseas and the rest of us are now sort of scattered here and there, so chances were that there wouldn’t be a large group for the party. And then I also wanted to try having a mixed group for a party; seeing what would actually happen. So my guest list was a mixture of high school, uni, CBS and church friends; quite a bizarre combination, but you’d hope that “Asian connections” would quickly drive away any unfamiliarity. All in all…16 came for the movie, 13 came for ice skating and 22 came for dinner; in a Venn diagram sort of format.

 

First thing we did was watch Avatar in 3D at Macquarie Centre. I wanted to use that venue for ice skating, but never did I initially think of watching a movie; it was going to be a long expensive day haha! A few people were persistent in wanting to watch Avatar, and unfortunately they only had Silver Seats for the non-3D sessions, which were all $20.50 without any Cinebuzz discount. I had hoped for Student Monday deals in case we did have to watch a movie but I guess that failed. By the time I got there, there was an unprecedented long queue which surely would’ve had anyone going: “Nah forget this!” I persisted as there wasn’t really any other choice, and against all odds I managed to bag 16 seats together; the only slight catch was that they were near the front, 4th row. But still, I managed to get seats and just in time too. Watching in 3D was definitely a worthwhile experience, and Avatar was quite a good movie. I won’t review such a grand movie, in case I get things wrong here and there, but for 3 hours it was definitely worth the $16 haha; plus a headache later on. Oh and that stupid blonde at the counter miscalculated the ticket prices and I ended up losing $20. I can’t believe I didn’t stop her in time. She said to me $173 for 9 tickets; which is so bull as you can tell 173 isn’t divisible by 9. And then 173 is a prime number, what the hell. So when I got $7 chance back the first time, I went back to her saying she gave me the wrong change; but she reassured me that it was right. And I don’t know why I couldn’t calculate it in my head that the actual price was $153, stupid “kenpatsu” >.<”

 

After the movie, a few people reparked their cars and we had lunch. More people then began to pour in for ice skating. Some people came late and had to pay the student price of $19, while we all paid the group discount price of…$18. Baulko Ice Arena snaps this place easily. The skates were really bad as well; I would never have expected it as my first time here haha! Ice skating was relatively fun, like I said, I haven’t been for more than a year, and we did have a large enough group to play tag on the ice; quite dangerous now seeing that there were so many little kids enjoying the holidays. It was sort of a packed session. That meant there was heaps of room for accidents, in fact there were. Heaps of people were stacking it everywhere; it was kind of hilarious. There were these two guys that stacked it ON TOP of each other; and they were both struggling to get off each other which looked really…ecchi haha! The two hours went by slowly, it was a good way to “relax” after the movie.

 

For dinner we had our first problem, which was leaving Ben back at Macquarie when we all drove off. Apparently it was Matthew’s job to notify me that Ben was running slow; and with the difficulty of keeping track of everyone present, I obviously forgot about him. So sorry. The people that didn’t ice skate went and got a cake for me, gave them money and stuff. We drove over to Carlingford Village to Jane’s Kitchen along Pennant Hills Road. It’s an expensive place but then other places were closed, and for one particular place…just not worth mentioning at all. The tables were divided into Baulko plus Aman, and then everyone else haha! Ben should’ve swapped with Brandon but Brandon wanted more food. That’s all nice but they eventually paid the bigger bill. I thought it fair that Kelvin and his $163 bill should be rewarded more than Jacky and Andy Wong and their $191 bill. Dinner was filled with trash talk on our table, as usual; sometimes getting a bit too graphical for our liking. Never knew Aman was vegetarian, so we had to cater for him, with dishes that he didn’t really touch and which we had to give to the other table later; I thought Matt and Yit would’ve gobbled all our food. The bill seemed really fair, because of the “rice money” as well as 10% surcharge for public holidays, forgot about that when I organised dinner, the surcharge.

 

After a bit of discussion, Nat opened her house for my party so we could have the cake there, Some people didn’t want to disturb the other guests, I was indifferent haha! Some people didn’t stay so we bid farewell to them, the rest of us drove over to Nat’s. We mucked around in her house for a while, played with Milo her dog, Taboo. Yeah. I remember Adrian was trying to through a Ball at Ben’s? head while he was on the treadmill, full missed him and knocked the flyscreen right off it’s hinges where the window was. Took a couple of minutes to repair that funny scene. Nat was there watching it. Nah, we weren’t going to trash her house like that haha! The guys ushered me into another room as they set up my cake and then we did the usual Happy Birthday sequence. Luckily I prepared well this year round, otherwise I would’ve burst into tears of joy, like last year nearly haha! Yes, I’m not the type where anything about me is ever celebrated so they don’t mix well with my emotions.

 

Anyway we split the cake, we stayed a little longer and then we left. Such an epic long day, so many things went right and only a few went wrong. I was somewhat glad I had organised a party, it was cool. Aside from the presents, I was just glad to have been able to have fun with friends, from all sorts of locations and “backgrounds”. One thing I did learn from today is that having a lot of guests as a party really takes a toll on the host’s capabilities. It was hard keeping track of everyone, and hard to make sure I was talking to every person. I don’t know if I want to do this again next year; but maybe I’m just tired from organising too many things in the coming days haha! All photos of the day were taken by Andy Wong, I was a bit too busy to take my own photos bah.

 

A big Thank You to everyone who came, even if it wasn’t the entire day. It was great spending that time with all of you, I really appreciate you guys taking the time out and spending a day with me. Thanks again!

 

Oh that’s right I forgot, here is what I got from all of you ❤ ❤ ❤

 

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SMAC End of Year BBQ

I am well aware of the fact that it’s not quite the end of the year yet, but every year our church has their barbeque at about this time. Close enough I suppose, being at the start of December. With our new move to Cherrybrook, and our inability to use Aunty Betty’s house; we chose to use Edward Bennett Park, which was sort of behind the school. Thumbs down at everyone because they all left right after church to go to the BBQ site, while I was stuck packing all the tech equipment; far out. I can see how hard Quentin’s job is and how much I do commend his efforts over the year; oh well.

 

I didn’t help with the cooking, but instead took the initiative to plan a game; which was just my excuse for a water balloon fight. So I spent all the time before lunch filling up water balloons; it’s annoying doing them on my own, especially when there’s two bucketfuls needed. And then there was only one tap, which was in the toilets. Would’ve helped heaps if there was another one like in the middle of the park, the other one was in the girl’s toilets obviously.

 

Some of the younger girls already started up trouble after lunch. They brought large balloons and proceeded to fill those up and started splashing other people. And within minutes there was an all-out war, guys against girls. And the guys kept coming into the toilets to refill their cups and bottles, disturbing my “investment”. And it was an investment, because their naive “splashing” was very short-lived; but my large collection of water balloons would call for a very long over-killing siege haha!

 

It was good to see everyone shout and laugh and “playfully” “attack” each other. Nobody got hurt which was good, and hopefully there was no intention of such. After witnessing how wild it can get from that social at Steph’s house a few weeks back, I was afraid our youth group kids would be just as wild as us. Other people took on a quieter activity and just sat and talked, just the older girls. The older guys were playing rugby, or whatever.

 

I guess the game was a bit fail because it was really hard to get everyone’s attention, especially since they were all going so wild as it was. A few people were completely soaked already. Maybe I need to become more assertive to stop them going overboard? Anyway I didn’t have much of a game, made them play a relay race where you have to hold a water balloon under your chin and walk to some predetermined point, and then pass the water balloon onto the next person, but without using your hands. That was quite a funny challenge; there was a lot of teamwork going on, which was the main goal, and everyone just had a lot of laughs. Mission accomplished. Only Phoebe had the accident of squishing the water balloon under her chin, resulting in…yeah, that’s the whole point. But she was already drenched so it probably doesn’t matter.

 

After the game, the rest of my water balloons disappeared within 5 minutes as the kids just all grabbed a handful and bombarded each other as kids do. Fast forward a bit and I eventually got dunked, twice even, because I let my guard down and Calvin took the initiative to go against his leader. Whatever. As much as I wanted to retaliate, I can see now that there was no point and that me getting dunked was for their amusement; that’s fair, if they have fun then I’ve served my purpose haha!

 

Everyone was exhausted after that so there wasn’t much commotion afterwards, ever since the water balloon stock ran out and we were like down to 2 or 3 of them. We started playing on the swings, obviously we were all too old for them, but even at our weight we still couldn’t break it. I know that I can go high enough such that I’d actually free fall for a bit. Think about it, if you swing up real high, then the horizontal distance of the swing from the bar above becomes less, after you pass the 90-degree point. At which you will actually fall down because of gravity. That’s how high I would dare to go. Andre was behind pushing me and I swear several times he threatened to push me off; I hadn’t planned a safety fall at the time and am glad that I didn’t fall off.

 

The barbeque was fun; too wild but fun nonetheless. And this being my fourth post for today, in order to catch up, will therefore end abruptly without reason except that I am getting tired from spam blogging so much today. As for me now, I have to research on a camera to buy with my “hard-earned” receptionist money, in time for NTE and my birthday!