My Planetary Fortress

At long last, after much waiting and suffering, I have finally bought a new computer. Of course I didn’t manage it by myself, I’m simply too unskilled to be able to do such a thing. As such a friend offered to help me build a new PC from scratch. I hear about how it’s better to build a computer from parts that you pick, rather than just buying a pre-assembled one, but then it’s always been too complicated for me and so I was glad I had someone guiding me in what to do.

 

Nevertheless I have been waiting a long time for a new desktop computer. It’s been hard just using my laptop to do everything, the laptop is just horrible at doing all the important things I want to do, and yet somehow I’ve managed to struggle through to today. You’ve all seen pictures of my desk before; here is what it looks like today:

 

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My parents got me this desk because I told them I wanted a new computer. At the end of the day I also needed a larger desk so I could fit everything on it.

 

Me and Brandon went out to get all my computer parts yesterday (Wednesday). There’s actually quite a story for yesterday so here we go. The morning was heaps hot so I showered before leaving the house at 11:30am. Brandon drove his car over to my place and I thought it only to be fair that I drive my car out to Auburn, instead of making him pick me. We had spent a month or two deciding on parts to get. Brandon had a pre-prepared list of parts he thought was suitable; and I was being very conservative and keep swapping parts for cheaper and less powerful alternatives. At the end of the day, all the PC components came to an expected total of $1337 (no, I’m serious, it was the projected total). And then it was $400 for peripheral devices including mouse, keyboard, monitor and speakers.

 

We went to a few places in Auburn and it only took us just over an hour to pick up all the parts. Sadly, many of the parts we had desired were unavailable; but the people there were helpful and offered us similar parts for similar prices. I sure hope they didn’t rip us off. One little mishap that happened a few days ago was that one of the parts I had wanted (the motherboard) was found to have faults, and manufacturers had to call back the product. It took Brandon much time to research into the problem and in the end we got the part anyway, noting that the problem wasn’t as serious as we had anticipated in the first place, there’s a high chance it won’t affect me and even then I’ll still have warranty to get a fixed motherboard once the parts are available (in about 2-4 months time).

 

Fitting everything into the car was harder than I thought, because of the massive boxes and my bad Tetris skills. By 1pm we headed back to Eastwood to have lunch, where we were joined by Nat, who gave us her life story for her whacked up morning. Too long a story, and probably not worth mentioning here. We had a long conversation between the three of us over lunch. By the time it was past 3pm we somehow decided to go to Koorong; it was probably an un-wise thing to do, considering how we still needed to get back to my place to put my computer together, but urgency called for it and we popped by West Ryde afterwards. We picked books and other gifts for upcoming birthdays but even that took a while as it was hard working out which books were suitable, and whether that person owned the book already or not. Ben called Brandon halfway through our shopping trip and was disappointed that we didn’t inform him that we were going to Koorong (it was a last minute decision after all). To add insult to injury, we also failed to get him the book that he wanted. Brandon had picked it up and I thought it was meant to be part of a present to someone; I said it would be a bad gift so he put it back. That’s just the way things are.

 

Around 5pm we left and got back to my place to begin building my computer. Brandon did most to all of the work, I merely screwed down some parts here and there because it was hard to do it by oneself. We had everything assembled within 2 hours or so, and so we just needed to install Windows, and start installing all the drivers for graphics, sound, wireless card, etc. It was a long and arduous process that had Brandon staying at my house for dinner, sort of. My mum was very persistent in inviting him for dinner, considering the fact that it was late, and also considering the fact that it was Chinese New Year’s Eve. My mum kept shoveling food at Brandon and eventually Brandon was “allowed” to go back home haha!

 

After much more installing and testing stuff today, my “Planetary Fortress” is finally ready. If you don’t know what it is, Google it up. What I like about the set up I have is that my laptop acts as a backup computer to deal with minor things that I can’t do simultaneously on my main computer; most of the time it will probably be doubling up as a second monitor for various purposes. I call my laptop now the “Add-on”, as I can swap it in and out when I have to take it to uni.

 

The parts that Brandon got for me are pretty powerful. I don’t think I’ve ever played Starcraft II on the highest graphic settings and still have its “frames per seconds” as over 100 – that’s more than 7 times as fast as my laptop, and even then my laptop is running it on the lowest possible settings, how dismal my life was before getting my new computer. The Windows rating thingy rates my computer at 5.9/7.9, seems a bit weak but in reality, it was only the hard drive disk transfer rate that was slow (at 5.9). All my other parts were rated at 7.4 or 7.9 (out of a possible 7.9). So clearly, the rest of my computer is maxed out, that’s how beast it is! And for only $1.7K it’s a pretty good investment for me in my opinion.

 

Somehow this post became very long so I’m going to end it with some photos. Thanks again to Brandon for all the time he put into researching parts for me, and spending the whole day to pick up the parts and building it for me.

 

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DotI – Defense of the Identity

Well the last week has been a bit of a scare for me, but then everything new and mysterious is bound to be somewhat scary. Just a quick summary: I had my computer keylogged for a while (obviously because I was snooping around on the Internet for “stuff” and out of bad luck had my computer infected with one of ‘em spyware programs). This lead to my main e-mail account being stolen, my PayPal account stolen and a few other tid bits which caused a bit of worry for me. Let’s divide my report by date.

 

February 26

This was the day that the keylogger (guy) slipped into my PayPal account and managed to transfer about $500 AUD from my bank account into various other places. At least I think it was him but if it wasn’t then this was just a stand alone incident. Anyway, I had $500 mysteriously disappear from my bank account, which I didn’t notice until 28th February. I was paying off my bills for buying uni textbooks when I noticed my account had less money than usual. And then I found 7 PayPal transactions for varying amounts which got me very worried. Checked my PayPal account and found an extra 4 transactions which PayPal had managed to stop (the last 4 I presume), resulting in them limiting my account because they “finally” detected suspicious activity.

 

I filed a report to them to have them give me back my money, which they did after a day or two.

 

March 6

This was the main day of the attack, although I hadn’t noticed it immediately. He had decided to steal my e-mail account around noon here, and after doing so, proceeded to steal my PayPal account at about 2pm. After I checked back, he had deleted 4 e-mails which were all PayPal e-mails regarding how to reset my password – geez does he really need to reset my password 4 times? Anyway I was still on msn that night so he must’ve changed my password later. He also changed my security question, although I wouldn’t have remembered the question or the answer anyway. He also changed my alternate e-mail to his so I couldn’t retrieve my password.

 

After stealing my PayPal account he didn’t really do anything with it. But he also did steal my Twitter account, I’m not sure for what purpose but over the next few days he had bought a couple of pokemon cards, over some site. Perhaps that was just to spite and taunt me. It was funny because a couple of people thought that those purchases belonged to me; and it’s just coincidence that buying pokemon cards was not something too farfetched for me.

 

March 7

I only realised all of what happened on Saturday like at night. And the bad thing was that I had a suspicion at about 4:30pm when I tried to sign onto MSN, it said my password was wrong. But before I could investigate more, the door bell rang and the kid I was tutoring had arrived; so I decided to leave things later. After tutoring, so around 7:00pm it finally sank in that there was a keylogger on my computer. After desperately trying to log into my e-mail account, I immediately went through my computer and scanned it for anything weird.

 

The stupid thing was that I had ignored a couple warnings before, which obvious were about the keylogger; I should’ve done something about those warnings huh? Basically, a keylogger is a spying program which can “log” everything you type, and perhaps the websites that you visit. It’s not as serious as a virus because a keylogger has these three features, which anyone can deal with whether they have an anti-virus program or not:

  • It’s stored as an executable file on the computer – mine was “winlog.exe”
  • It’s visible as a running process in task manager
  • It’s located on the list of programs that start up when the computer is turned on

So getting rid of it can be done manually and easily, for the more basic ones I guess. I managed to get rid of it, hopefully. But even today I still hope I did manage to get rid of it, otherwise the battle may still be on.

 

I immediately changed my password for everything else, or everything else I could log in to. It was then I realised that my PayPal and my Twitter were hijacked as well. But I took quick defensive measures and changed my password for everything else. I filed a report to Hotmail to have them reset my password for me; they said it would be about 24 hours before they would reply.

 

March 8

After growing a bit frustrated from the previous night’s incidents, I somehow managed to reason that my losses weren’t too big. My PayPal account could be closed if he tried to spend any of my money. Twitter I’ll just scrap, and Hotmail, I’ll just change e-mails. Of course I wasn’t willing to just let him win like that; and the bad thing was that my $500 refund from PayPal from that previous incident was credited to my PayPal account, and not back into my bank. So now my hijacked PayPal account was sitting on $500, there was a reason to fight now haha.

 

It’s funny though. I now realised just how important our “identity” is over the Internet. We are all represented, in a sense, by our e-mail accounts funnily enough; that is our identity (as opposed to character and personality). We are known by our e-mail addresses, which act as our virtual mailboxes for people to find us. Having your e-mail account stolen would be like having something take over your house. Our e-mail accounts play quite a huge role in the things we do over the Internet. They’re linked to important things, like online banking/shopping, our hobbies, Facebook especially. Everything we do on the Internet requires an e-mail and so if you control someone’s e-mail, you control everything they do on the Internet. I have back up e-mails, yes, but I won’t use them unless it’s absolutely necessary.

 

I used my backup e-mails to trying and act as a safehouse for my other online accounts, like my blog and Facebook. That wouldn’t have worked so well because once I managed to get my e-mail account back, I found all these e-mails about me trying to change the contact e-mail (for Facebook, etc) and that he could’ve easily clicked a link in that e-mail saying that the change was a mistake and then I’d be back at square one. So having backup e-mails might not be as helpful as they could be.

 

At night, I took another preventative measure and called up PayPal to have them lock my account. I wonder if I supplied information to them that only I would have; I mean if anyone did their research well on the person they were stalking, they could easily pretend to be that person and regurgitate some personal details that they memorised about them. Same for “proving” your identity over the Internet

 

There was no reply from Hotmail, so more than 24 hours had elapsed. The guy bought a Gyarados.

 

March 9

I filed another report to Hotmail in the afternoon and posted on their forums. Apparently, Hotmail has a backup retrieve account system where you can fill in a form with as many details as you can about your account and use that to prove your identity; no-one knows your account better than you do, yeah? That, or the stalker did their homework and passed with flying colours.

 

Around 6:30pm someone finally replied to me and sent me a link to reset my e-mail account, and very frantically I re-established control over my e-mail account; reset the password, changed the security question, changed my details back, including the alternate e-mail. I found out that the guy lives in Morocco; and I also have his alternate e-mail – which I sent a message to, saying that I had won; he taunts me, I taunt him back.

 

I immediately got my Twitter account after that and removed those stupid tweets; he had bought a Zapdos earlier that afternoon; but neither of those purchases were with my PayPal account, not that he could link it anyway; it doesn’t display my bank account number or credit card number.

 

I phoned PayPal the following night and immediately transferred my money back into my bank account. Match over?

Andy’s B’day Dinner

Hey guys. Yeah I haven’t blogged in a while; surprised. Well you should be. I’ve been really busy since this semester started and so haven’t had time to blog. I don’t think I do either but due to popular request I’ll make a few posts since a lot of exciting things happened recently.

 

Let’s kick things off with Andy’s birthday dinner on Friday night. Let me tell you it was relatively troublesome organising this because Andy didn’t make an absolute decision on what to do, and none of us could agree on something to do. We narrowed it down to dinner but then a location and restaurant was more difficult. Eventually after much hit and miss, we concluded on a Japanese buffet, $28 at some place called Kansai; somewhere in the city.

 

We all met up at the restaurant at about 6:20-ish and all went in. The place seemed smaller and dankier than I had expected, although I had compared that with Shinara, where we had Nick’s party. We moved straight into our meal and scrambled through the menu to see what we could have, what seemed appetizing and what seemed worth the money. $28 again was a relatively high price to pay for a meal but hey, the meal was pretty good in the end, and certainly worth the money as you will all see soon enough.

 

I suppose one advantage a Jap buffet has over a Korean buffet is that Jap food comes cooked and edible, or raw and edible really. Whereas Korean buffet (normally BBQ) comes uncooked; and the hassle of having to wait while the food cooked was a bit of a hindrance to our eating capacity on that night. There was a variety of sushi, a strange variety at that fact, rolls, and other Japanese dishes like tofu, or sashimi salad, random stuff like that. All of it was sort of expensive but indeed were delicious.

 

Lots of people liked the exotic sushi – dragon, rainbow and volcano, each with different ingredients and sauces; they were fancy in a good way. My favourite was the octopus, which came in spicy and teriyaki flavours. The hand rolls were good, although most of it was composed of rice, which clearly isn’t worth as much as other ingredients. Memorably, Andy kept ordering the sashimi salad, which had a value of $13.50 I think, and it was a small dish; he stomached like three of them and was not full. Well already he had eaten his $28 fill, which means he made a gain on tonight’s buffet, and yet he was not full. He claimed that the sashimi salad wasn’t filling at all, but I guess we all wanted to try some other stuff.

 

       

 

One of our major ‘moves’ during the night was round about our 4th or 5th order. We were trying to get a good variety of dishes, calling on those volcano, rainbow and dragon sushi from before, the teriyaki salmon, Andy and his sashimi salad again, and finally some other strange sushi such as ‘Italian’, which is the second picture. The only problem was that the waiter misinterpreted what we said. Andy was like: “We want four pieces of _____ sushi, four pieces of ______ sushi…” We thought evidently that the waiter would’ve perceived it as four small pieces of cut up sushi. Instead he wrote all our orders down as ‘rolls’ rather than pieces. So instead of getting four types of sushi, 16 pieces, we got 16 rolls, which is 64 pieces of sushi. We figured something was wrong when a waiter came back and said: “Your order is too large to do in one go. We’ll give you have of it now and then the other half if you still want it.” We couldn’t remember how big that last order was but we did get a lot of sushi in one go. I think we did manage to cancel ‘the other half’ and thank God we did.

 

The rest of the night went a big bad because we had a lot of difficulty stomaching our insane order. Everyone was really full by the time we got down to the last 16 pieces or so; and everyone who ate from that point on was “taking one for the team”. But I guess most people shunned the Italian sushi because it was baked with cheese, which is already weird enough. I liked it though, I like cheese; I was just too full to finish it.

 

Anyway here is the last few moments of our dinner. The context is that we were down to the very last piece of Italian sushi; Kelvin helped us finish off, and then we started working out how much we ate in value; that’s just typical of our group haha, getting our value’s worth. Indeed it was a wonderful night to spend with friends again, got to see Andrew Peng for the first time in more than half a year; it was good to have most of the group together again.

 

Eric’s Belated Birthday Party

Well just like our gRACE last week, we managed to organise a party for Eric within a week as well; funny how there was so much success from trying to get things sorted out within the span of a few days. Our event coordinator team, me and Kelvin, usually, managed to get the job done relatively quickly but of course our magic is in being able to compensate for last minute things.

 

We had trouble finding a location for the party; we couldn’t use Eric’s house so we tried Chris, who said no. And our last hope was really Charlie, who at first said no but eventually managed to find a way to fit Eric’s party into this schedule. And then after mass mailing and phone calling, we had a pretty good turn up, nearly everyone came; albeit two people, one who was having “marital issues” and the other who was too embarrassed by his puffer fish face.

 

We all met up rather early at Parramatta and at the last minute decided to get Eric a present; it wasn’t something me and Kelvin were trying to figure out beforehand but it didn’t take long to figure out what to get him: Sims 3 haha! One thing we forgot at this point was the amount of money we all had combined; we wanted to get a cake too, and also buy lunch. I guess we just had faith that everyone would’ve just brought enough money for al of this; I mean we’re old now so naturally we should be able to pool together a fair amount of money.

 

I brought my Mahjong set to Charlie’s house where we played for a while; man I actually dragged that thing such a far distance, it was really heavy, especially when I also had to walk around Parramatta Westfield dragging it along, Charlie didn’t want us to go to his apartment just yet as we looked for Eric’s present. Joseph was a bit gobsmacked again because he failed to heed our instructions; it’s not our fault if we try so hard to deliver updates and he just simply hears wrong. I phoned him up this morning to tell him to bring his PS2 console and Gamecube controllers; I knew he wouldn’t have read the e-mails from the night before. Of course I accidentally woke him up to tell him this but when he finally came, he actually brought his Gamecube console and PS2 controllers. *Sigh*

 

We played Smash Melee for a bit while everyone else was into Poker. I was glad not to be part of the brawl; I mean what do you make of something like this:

 

 

Yeah Sharon if you’re reading this, I need you for Mahjong for this very reason: Matthew won’t act like this and turn my house inside out as long as a girl is nearby haha! Frankly last time he was behaving rather well. There were many more times when Matthew acted in those weird “horny” way of his, such as ass spanking Kelvin, or hip thrusting the chair or whatever haha! Med people T.T”

 

Oh and in the background it was Tim and Kelvin having verbal wars, just ignore that. We went off for lunch afterwards and came back to have cake. Well I think the cake is my bad because of bad funding or whatever. Our budget was $20 for the cake, which is relatively hard you have to admit. The cheapest decent-sized cake was $20.90, and the choice was between a cheesecake or a small mudcake. So much chocolate! But then if everyone was willing to chip in $1 more, we’d have like $30 and then we could get a larger cake. But Kelvin decided that it’d be better not to have other people pay up and set the limit there. Maybe I should’ve gone with the chocolate mudcake because the cheesecake tasted rather…yeah, not used to it. Lots of people didn’t want their slice which was really funny, and Jono ended up eating like a quarter of the cake. I slammed down my slice but felt a bit queesy afterwards; yeah cheesecake was a bad idea, my bad haha!

 

We gamed a bit more afterwards until about 4:30pm where we all left, and that was our party for Eric, fairly successful, considering how much we actually achieved in the last minute, oh yeah!

 

       

   

Double Take

Hmm…I think I should re-evaluate my first university experiences over the course of the entire week, as opposed to the first day. Having been through the first week I can see what university life is like now, and I can sort of project how future weeks will seem. So I think now would be a better time to put some real thoughts down.

 

First off, the whole waking up early concept is going to be a hassle over this semester; waking up at 6:15am every morning is far from cool. But purposely picked it knowing that I would have a hard first semester, but that I would also learn to get used to a “worst case scenario” so I can better adjust for future years. But yeah, it sucks having to wake up early because that means I need to sleep early; which therefore limits the amount of stuff I can do at night. But I suppose the heaviness of it all is also to do with the transport required. I’m looking at about 1.5 hours worth of travel time for one way, and just over an hour on the way back when it’s not peak hour. I’m glad I’m getting used to taking public transport because I never did during my high school years and hence I was nervous about it. And I suppose I’m getting used to being crammed on a train or a bus; it’s not so bad as long as you get a seat.

 

But anyway I guess my week was sort of like a rollercoaster; it started off well but then I hit a major down point by Wednesday but I guess now on Friday things picked up to where they were on Monday. I can’t believe that in the first week we were already expected to have done a fair amount of math homework from books that we have yet to buy. It’s not cool already being behind on the first week; and I still am but I estimate that I’ll catch up by this weekend so things aren’t as stressful. But earlier this week I was really heavily stressed by Wednesday because for three days, including Wednesday, I knew I wouldn’t have any time to do any sort of work, not even read over my lecture notes, or the course outline and stuff. I hadn’t a clue as to what I was to do at university so I was simply lost. And the reason why I didn’t have time was because I had church activities on for two nights straight, lasting 3 hours a night for two nights but simply killed off my entire night anyway. Having MLM on Tuesday and then Crossfire leadership on Wednesday really taxed on my working times at night. I kind of figured church would tax on my studying but somehow this week seemed so vitally important to me that I got stressed at forcing myself to attend these meetings even though somehow university became a higher priority for me during this week.

 

I think that the most important thing to think about is how you manage your time, and that means taking a stock of all your spare time, knowing that you need to devote some of it to studies. But think about it: you have your hours at university attending classes (for me that’s 18 a week); then you have idle hours spent on campus in between classes (for me that’s 6) plus your travelling time (that’s about 15 every week), sleeping time (30 hours for weekdays). and I guess after deducting other things then you can see how much time you have for leisure activities and stuff. I don’t have a job like others, although somehow my ministry at church counts as my job, shame there’s no income on it. So I am going to go through uni knowing I’ll be spending a major part of my spare time involved in church matters;I mean think about it: church coordinator, youth group leader, young adults group participant, and now RICE leader, I swear that’s more work than most other people have at the moment. But I won’t get the opportunity to tutor people for income I reckon; I don’t know. I’m still not sure how much time I can devote to another activity.

 

Anyway these were my primary concerns that stressed me out over the week. I didn’t have much problems finding my way around the campus even though I never went on the tours; but I guess now there’s less of a need to. I’m getting the hang of how we’re meant to learn here: it’s just sit through the lecture with notes and textbooks. Frankly with these additional sources to the lecture, I don’t really see a need to attend. I guess this is where the whole skipping lecture thing comes into play and I might consider doing it haha. Tutorials on the other hand aren’t much informative either in a sense; it’s more to do with everyone being involved in a discussion which isn’t too demanding I suppose. Well this is true for general university courses. However, I will testify that maths courses are slightly different. It’s all just math work all the time, even during tutorials; there’s no discussion. Tutorials for maths is more like telling your tutor which questions you want him/her to go through, that’s it. No discussion involved.

 

But other than that I can sort of estimate what my workload will be like so that’s why I’m slightly more relaxed at the moment. But I want to devote time to life outside of university; that’s why I joined clubs and such. Most of my other time is spent at CBS (Campus Bible Study) and through that I’ve met so many new people which unlike in lecture halls I’ve actually seen several times over the week. And then there’s the anime club (of which I shall become president over one day haha!) I’m not too involved because they aren’t running too many things at the moment. Actually they had a kick-off night tonight but because of work I elected not to go; that’s fine by me. Butt they do have gaming sessions every Tuesday afternoon, so that’s where I’ll be then.

 

And on the topic of meeting people, I personally don’t feel the need to socialize as much and make new friends and such. I’ve already met like 5 new people from CBS and have chatted to them over the week; and then I’m recommended to make more friends from lectures and tutorials? I don’t see the logic of it, especially in lecture halls because you’re bound to never see the person next to you ever again. And during tutorials you usually only see that person like one hour a week; what’s the point? Well I guess it’s not that I’m against doing it but I personally just don’t see the need to put my priority in that. After all, most of my high school friends are here anyway, particularly Yitian who I see for 8 hours a week at least. Who knows? I guess if an ideal situation to make friends does come, of course I’ll take it I guess I was too stressed this week to bother.

 

Other than that I also need to buff up a bit because the weight of my bag is sort of becoming an issue. This is probably due to the fact that I’m bringing my own lunch in a thermos tin haha; probably accounts for like half the weight of my bag, maybe. And then I might have to bring in some books to tutorials; I don’t at the moment an am surviving quite well off a single pad of  paper (that belonged to high school haha!)

 

Things haven’t yet flourished in my university life but then again I am still settling into this lifestyle after one week; still so much to do and such *sigh*

HK Chronicles: Part 2

Food

Oh boy; the food in Hong Kong was great, heaps better than in Australia, and of course  much cheaper. I remember on the first day after I got there, I had ramen for lunch. Actually, it was spicy ramen, and it has got to be the spiciest I’ve had so far. Well it’s got to be; I mean it gave me a runny nose AND it made me cry, now that is hot haha. I ramen several times in Hong Kong; most places were good, others were dull. But price-wise, a $28 bowl of ramen is perhaps the best deal; it also came with some sushi AND a free drink. That’s a mere $5.60 AUD for all that, and the bowl of ramen was fairly large. Ah I’m going to miss Hong Kong for the food.

 

Apart from that obviously we went yum cha many times, mostly with relatives. Apparently, I heard from my uncle that some of the food in yum cha restaurants are now imported from Shanghai and stuff;as in the food prepared isn’t fresh. Hmm, someone can do research for me on that if they want. But yeah, there were a few times where the food actually wasn’t good, which is a shame, and it also does support the imported food rumour.

 

And also, the whole “tipping” thing is rather confusing and annoying now. My mum says it’s courteous to tip the waiter only if they present your change on a money plate; if they don’t then you don’t need to leave any tips. So I found it strange having to leave tips in shoddy restaurants which don’t deserve anything, and also not having to leave tips in huge restaurants because they didn’t use the money plate.

 

At home dinner wasn’t exactly great, apart from what my mum made. As explained in the last part, the  servant was rather annoying with food. Apparently she’s a Jew (everything makes sense now! Just joking) so she didn’t eat pork. In fact she didn’t eat anything, which is highly suspicious because over 18 days I don’t think she lost weight; very suspicious indeed.

 

I had pigeon on the second last night; that was nice haha. My mum was sort of petrified at seeing a dead roasted bird; I was slightly taken aback by it too but oh well. I suppose pigeon is halfway between chicken and duck in terms of taste and how hard the meat was. Yet there wasn’t much to eat since obviously the pigeon is small; actually kind of got sick after eating the bird because it finally sank in what I had just eaten then.

 

 

Relatives

Of course one of the major reasons I wanted to come back to Hong Kong was to see my relatives. I haven’t seen them for 4 years now and particularly for my cousins younger than me, I wanted to see how much they’ve changed.  Most of my relatives are heaps older than me, my cousins on my dad’s side are like 30+, with my eldest cousin in mid mid 40s. There is obviously no equality with them and most of the time I think of them as a generation older than me rather than as people in my own generation. My cousins on my mother’s side are closer to my age. My eldest cousin is at 28, with a younger sister at 24. And then I have younger cousins at 13 and 9.

 

I saw all of my relatives more than once over the 18 days which was good.  The first Sunday back everyone (nearly) from my mother’s side all met up at my uncle’s apartment and we all had dinner. And this was my first chance to get a look at my cousins since four years. I guess the 28 year old one somehow didn’t look 28. He’s working in computing and yet even at 28 he doesn’t seem to be getting close to “settling down” in that sense haha. His sister was away in Beijing so I didn’t get to see her. All I know is that she’s a Hello Kitty maniac, obviously from all the posters and the plushies. My 13 year old cousin has matured massively since I last saw her; she’s still just as cute as I remembered haha. But yeah it’s interesting how she’s managed to develop quite an “open” personality so she’s pretty hype and sociable. But as I remembered she was a bit plump but otherwise she’s just as I remembered her. And her younger brother, well, I never really talked to him much but he’s getting taller pretty fast haha.

 

Apart from that huge dinner we had, me and my mum also had yum cha with his wife, my aunty on several occasions; I think I saw her the most by far. And then I met up with my father’s side for this buffet down at Wan Chai. What me and my mum didn’t was that it was my uncle’s (dad’s brother) birthday. So we were there and my cousins said “happy birthday dad” and we were like: “Oh, you serious?” But the buffet was quite good. Quite massive and all;. Oh and just for the record, I ended the buffet this way: To Sharon in particular, remember that huge bowl of vanilla ice cream I had at next gen? Yeah that one. Well after the huge dinner, imagine a bowl of ice cream that was like 50% larger than the next gen one. Now imagine all that as chocolate. And finally imagine it nearly swimming in chocolate topping. THAT was my dessert 😛

 

Funnily, the night after the buffet, my uncle from my mother’s side invited us out for an expensive dinner at an Italian restaurant, well Italian-themed anyway. The place was okay, and the food was average though considering how expensive everything was. But yeah I was more or less happy to catch up with my younger cousin, only because she was like the only person closest my age the entire time I was in HK T.T” But yeah she’s pretty cool haha, fairly popular unlike me xD Can’t wait to see her again like here in Australia. They’re rich enough to do whatever they want haha so she’s fairly powerful. She said to me like: “You know…the chicks are hotter here in Hong Kong…” and sadly I’ll have to agree with her. She helped me look for cosplay after we had dinner…in Causeway Bay…I don’t think so. But yeah it’s nice that she tried; and embarrassingly enough for me to say: “I want to buy anime costumes…”

 

Apart from meeting all my relatives, we were surprised to find that they were all giving us like red pockets even though new year’s was way over. And so that was how we funded part of our shopping; using the odd $2000 or so red pocket money to buy stuff haha. But overall I was happy to have seen my relatives again, and for them to see me haha since I am practically the only one here in Australia; unless you consider my other aunt, who now is kind of really messed up so she doesn’t count. I won’t elaborate on that here.