Saturday, 28 June 2008

Why marijuana growers should publish in scientific journals...

I came across the article "Can Weeds Help Solve the Climate Crisis?" through the Alabama Studio Style blog...

Ziska, a lanky, sandy-haired weed ecologist with the Agriculture Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, matches a dry sense of humor with tired eyes. The humor is essential to Ziska’s exploration of what global climate change could do to mankind’s relationship with weeds; there are many days, he confesses, when his goal becomes nothing more than not ending up in a fetal position beneath his battleship gray, government-issue desk. Yet he speaks of weeds with admiration as well as apprehension, and even with hope.

It is easy to share the admiration and apprehension when you consider the site that Ziska planted with weeds in downtown Baltimore in the spring of 2002. Tucked in next to the city’s inner harbor, the site is part of a barren expanse of turf rolled out over a reclaimed industrial landscape. This unfertile scrap seems an unlikely choice for growing anything, but Ziska saw in it, ominously perhaps, a model of where the global habitat as a whole is headed.

“Ingenuity,” Ziska says, “may be the mother of invention, but poverty is definitely the father.” For some time, he had wanted to create in a laboratory setting the elevated temperatures and increased concentrations of atmospheric CO2 predicted for the mid-21st century by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the leading international scientific authority on the subject. Carbon dioxide has received a lot of attention as a greenhouse gas, a major cause of global warming. But it is also, along with water, light and nutrients, one of the four essential resources for plant growth. The effect that boosting this gas’s concentration in the atmosphere will have on plants is very poorly understood...

The article goes on to discuss the impact of CO2 on weeds, the obsolescence of Darwin's theory of "natural selection," how human intervention have changed the ecology of the planet in ways hitherto unexpected (by me, at least), and why marijuana growers should publish their findings in scientific journals. I recommend it as an informative, topical, and well written read. Enjoy.

p.s. you may have noticed that my links on the right side-bar are gone. That's because a Spanish blog template ATE my widgets. I plan to update the look of the page in a day or 2 (yeah right), so I will leave it until my page is pretty - then I will put them back up.

Fucked it up again.

Boohoo! I lost the contents of my widgets (again). Twelve hours after my first attempt at changing templates, we are back to less than where we started. Grr. Something tells me that this should be tackled tomorrow, perhaps over a nice cup of oolong tea. Hm.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Mucking around with blog layouts at work... and the dangers thereof

So I find some templates on line and go, "unoriginal, but pretty!" - and decide to upload it for fun. Now it's gotten rid of my widgets (fuck). Also it's coming on 6 pm and my body clock drives me toward food at this particular time, so I can't fix thing now. I've put the old template back, but it's not returned everything to how they were. I can't say that I wasn't forewarned though... it did tell me it was going to delete my widgets. But I didn't realize that my template was in Spanish.... hahahaha. I don't even speak Spanish.

This will require further attention when I get back from my dinner break - what will it be tonight? I feel like the Chinese noodle joint that I've been neglecting for so long. I used to be a regular. I wonder if they'll remember me.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Blogs, Guilt, and why I am (in part) a Medieval Monk

I've been getting really into some blogs since I discovered the ease of setting up and receiving updates through GoogleReader. I keep meaning to try some other programs for feed gathering, but haven't really gotten around to it yet (sound familiar?). Google tends to recommend blogs which may be of interest to me. I discovered that my blogs fall into 4 general categories:
  1. Fashion & Style
  2. Crafting (predominantly knitting)
  3. Issues (commentary on current affairs & others)
  4. Personal blogs (like this one)
It's got me thinking about blogs - their significance and the importance of this (relatively) new medium.

If you're expecting me to come up with something clever, you can stop reading now. It did strike me that the medium of web publishing will dramatically change how we understand literature (this being on the forefront of my mind because I am a literature major, or was and will be again soon). Still, it's a little premature for me to be gassing about web based literary theory, since I haven't devoted enough grey cells to the matter just yet. So I'm mainly going to gibber.

My old (both as in "older than me" and "my previous") dance partner once asked me why I blog. I got the feeling that he didn't really see the point of the thing. What's it to me? Well, I've always fancied the idea of writing/keeping a journal/scrapbook - but all that's lead to is a whole bunch of journals/diaries/scrapbooks with half-filled pages before I cave and buy another one. The ever present desire to consume gets the better of me. When I move, I debate with myself whether I should bring all these half written journals in case if I want to add a new entry. Well, I debate no more - because my blog is a journal and a scrapbook and it's fully mobile. In that sense, the purpose of keeping a blog and a journal is the same: I enjoy scribbling, taking note of things, venting my feelings, and perhaps most importantly, to be able to look back on them a while later and discern changes in myself during the intervening period.

In another way, a blog is much, much better than a paper journal. Though it doesn't have the physical presence of, say, a journal bound in Italian leather, my blog is out in the open for anyone to read. This means that people who care (friends and family) can communicate with me - but it also means that I have a chance to speak to people I don't know at all. It's like broadcasting my voice into nowhere in particular: and the surprising responses, positive or otherwise, are like slivers of gold found whilst mud-larking on the bank of the Thames. I am sure that the sense of surprise and pleasure I get is universal to bloggers - and perhaps the desire to forge relations with people we have never met is part of the drive to blog.

But doesn't it freak you that strangers are reading about the details of your personal life? (asked my old dance partner - or rather, he may have done, I don't remember). It would of course be a little freaky if a stranger was spying on me - but through my blog they can only access what I choose to disclose. You may think that I am very forthcoming (or not) on my blog - but I do practice self censorship in one way or another. There are often things I'd like to say (but don't) and it sometimes occurs to me that I should get a completely anonymous blog (though I haven't, because it kills the first part of the purpose of having a personal blog - i.e. for friends and family). I could of course limit the people who have access to this blog - though that would prevent me from casting my net wide and far. So I settle for a compromise. I refrain from badmouthing people who may be reading this, and I try to keep my mouth shut about things that I'm not sure I'd like to share. The rest is free.

It's no surprise though, however, that blogs devoted to a particular topic tend to draw a broader and more devoted audience. I don't flatter myself in thinking that many would care about the cryptic messages I leave for my future self in the form of indecipherable blog entries, or even that they would care about what I had for dinner (though I have found myself becoming interested, strangely, in the minute details of quotidian lives of strangers - but usually not for long). Unless one can make one's life extraordinarily interesting (I can't), readership will likely be limited.

So that leaves me with blogs that are actually about something. I have a little voice of snobbery in me which always asks "ah, but is this really worthwhile?" This voice tends not to crop up when I read The Far Eastern Sweet Potato (political commentary) and Opinio Juris (discourse on international law) - as these, at least to me, are self-evidently "worthwhile." The same goes for most of the crafting blogs, such as Cotton & Cloud, and BrooklynTweed - they serve a purpose for people with a common interest. The question tends to plague me when I sped hours looking at girls & their frocks on Only Shallow or Liebermarlene Vintage (of course "Only Shallow" is already a commentary on itself) - the pleasure of browsing pretty pictures is somehow accompanied by a twinge of discomfort and guilt.

I realize that here I am touching on a rather well-worn point - is fashion frivolous? Can't the same be asked of art? One could argue that a girl who has a blog devoted to her outfit, with a picture everyday, is vain, shallow, and frivolous; however, the purpose of said blog is to feature this facet of her life, so to judge her thus would be one-dimensional. All I can safely assume of these people is that they have a penchant for pretty things, perhaps mostly sartorial.

Maybe what troubles me more is the fact that looking at pictures of people in pretty frocks makes me want to consume. Yes, that's it - it's the materialistic nature of these blogs which makes me uncomfortable. Looking at them too much is like having a surfeit of consumption: shoes, handbags, dresses, accessories (a catch-all term that is verily loaded with potential consumption) - all of them things, things, things. I have gotten to the point of considering my predilection for pretty pictures of frocks (now easier than ever to access for free! Ohhhh I never used to be able to justify spending money on Vogue and the like) an addiction, with associated guilt. If not guilt arising out of some kind of moral/intellectual snobbery ("Don't you have better things to do? Shouldn't you be spending your time on something more important? Isn't this frivolous?"), then at least the guilt of wanting a new frock, which immediately makes me think of the environmental impact of production & consumption.

In all honesty I don't quite understand why I have such an insatiable hunger for things. Topher, for instance, seems to get by fine on much less materialistic things than me. I begin to question if my mild obsession with buying loads of cheap and plentiful shoes/clothing/accessories in Taiwan is really healthy. But would I really consume less if I looked at less blogs with pictures of pretty things? Or does it in fact work the other way around?

All this non-productive back and forth debate leads me to a few conclusions.:
  1. A part of me is very definitely a medieval monk - I self-flagellate (albeit only mentally) when I find myself prizing the material over the spiritual (being sadly devoid of true spirituality of the religious sort, I settle by lumping all things immaterial, i.e. intellectual, into this category). In other words I can't feel at equilibrium unless I spend some of my time being serious and pondering what I consider to be serious things (cue The Far Eastern Sweet Potato & Opinio Juris), in order to balance out my appetite for frivolous things (cue Only Shallow, Liebemarlene Vintage, Bluelines). But I confess, the amount of time I spend on these two categories (shall we call them the material and the spiritual?) is entirely disproportional. There are 25 unread items in my GoogleReader under Opinio Juris, and 0 unread items in my "Style & Fashion" folder. What does my inner medieval monk say? mea culpa (I am, after all, just a poor sinner).
My second conclusion actually brings us back full circle to the first list, so I've taken it out of my conclusions list (which makes a list with only one item). The kind of hunger, or compulsion to consume, for me, can be fulfilled equally by creating. What I mean is, if I really really want to go out and buy a frock (but feel guilty about the implications), the urge can somehow be assuaged if I look at a knitting pattern and start on a new pair of mitts, or at a tutorial on how to convert an old t-shirt I have into a skirt. So in a way, I guess my "Style & Fashion" folder is balanced by my "Craft" folder. Similarly, my environmental conscience is appeased when I craft by using materials I already own, rather than going out to feed into the ever growing stream of consumerism - even if all that I buy are craft materials.

Either way, this leaves me where I started: at work, reading blogs about frocks & shoes, whilst knitting. It's a wonder that they haven't fired me already.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Yellow roses, anyone?

I saw this on the Bluelines blog (yikes! though it's Martha Stewart, the blog has so many pretty pictures that my allergies to Martha has been conquered) - and it seemed to me like something that a bit of crafting could copy? There was a while when fabric roses like those were really popular in Taiwan - everyone made them and sewed them onto everything. Ok - maybe not everyone and everything... but you know...

Not sure that I would wear this particular dress - yellow doesn't suit me as a colour generally... especially not in such a large quantity. Still I quite liked the simplicity of it. At 251 pds though, it's quite firmly out of my reach.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Convenient Chinese, disposable Burmese

What's happening in Myanmar? The issue seems to have dropped below the radar of the international press. This reminds me of an article from the Taipei Times archives, in which Simon Jenkins calls a spade a spade. I meant to put this on the blog earlier, but truth be told, it is no less relevant now than it was a month ago.

The Sichuan earthquake provided relief to Western leaders whose hypocrisy on intervention is exposed by post-cyclone inaction

By Simon Jenkins
Friday, May 16, 2008, Page 9

You don't have to be cynical to do foreign policy, but it helps. A sigh of relief rose over the West's chancelleries on Monday as it became clear that the Sichuan earthquake was big — big enough to trump Myanmar's cyclone.

To add to the relief, Beijing was behaving better than it has over past calamities. Since this might have been thanks to the West's "positive engagement" with China's dictators — even awarding them the Olympics — we could possibly take credit from the week's tally of disaster. Sorry about that, Burma.

The cyclone of 11 days ago has already slid into liberal interventionism's recycle bin, a purgatory called Mere Abuse. The regime's refusal to aid some 1.5 million people reportedly facing starvation in the Irrawaddy delta has been subjected only to a "shock and awe" of adjectival assault.

In the UK, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called the refusal "utterly unacceptable" (which means accepted). British Aid Minister Douglas Alexander professed himself "horrified." Foreign Secretary David Miliband used the words "malign neglect ... a humanitarian catastrophe of genuinely epic proportions." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon registered "deep concern and immense frustration." French President Nicolas Sarkozy found the inaction "utterly reprehensible" and German Chancellor Angela Merkel found it "inexplicable." US President George W. Bush declared the regime "either isolated or callous." As Rudyard Kipling would have said, if Kruger could be killed with words the Myanmar regime would be dead and buried.

What is it about Myanmar? The very same politicians who spent the past seven years declaring the virtue of intervening wherever the mood took them are now, if not tongue-tied, then hands-tied. Where are the buccaneers of Bosnia, the crusaders of Kosovo, the bravehearts who rescued Sierra Leone from its rebels, the Afghans from the Taliban and the Iraqis from former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein? Where are the gallants who sent convoys into Croatia in 1992 to relieve human suffering in conditions of chaos and hostility?

Overnight they have become signed-up members of the "you can't solve all the world's problems" party. Those who claim the lunatic Afghan adventure "a good war" and remark that "we cannot just leave these people to their fate," find no problem in "leaving" hundreds of thousands to die, abandoned by their rulers in Myanmar. It is said to be a long way away, a matter of national sovereignty, very difficult, a harsh environment, not covered by international law.

The same legal experts who burned midnight oil trying to justify invading Iraq are now doing overtime to justify not sending relief into Myanmar. In 2005, the West's leaders boasted the UN's "responsibility to protect" principle, claiming that this "R2P" justified the UN Security Council in authorizing action against negligent states. It would provide cover for intervention if, for instance, a government in Kabul or Islamabad or Khartoum was experiencing domestic massacres but denying access to aid workers.

Legal opinion now asserts that this meant only cases of genocide, ethnic cleansing and "crimes against humanity." It did not embrace deliberate negligence following a natural disaster, but rather acts of overt violence. The R2P doctrine is, I am told, "an immensely delicate instrument" that would be better tested somewhere other than Myanmar.
Myanmar's dead, in other words, are just the wrong sort of corpses.

All the UN's fine print was not needed for a contested humanitarian intervention in Kosovo in 1998. It was not needed to topple the Taliban or Saddam when political retribution demanded it. Anyone who wants to help the Burmese within the law need only summon former British attorney-general Lord Goldsmith from retirement. He does exonerations to order.

Regular readers know I do not favor inappropriate interventions in the affairs of foreign states. They usually breach the UN charter on national sovereignty without meeting any of the tests legalizing such breaches, including the informal one that a breach must at least work.

Myanmar validates any breach. If ever so-called humanitarian intervention were justified, it is now. Just as many civilians may have already died as were lost in the entire 2004 tsunami, when 230,000 were unaccounted for. Over a million civilians are at risk as a direct result of decisions made by a dictatorial government that places pride and security ahead of the care of its people.

On the most optimistic estimates, only 30 percent have yet received any help at all.

As veteran French aid worker Pierre Fouillant of Comite de Secours Internationaux said on Tuesday, "It's like they are taking a gun and shooting their own people."

Yet there are ships, planes, helicopters, supplies and doctors aplenty waiting offshore. They do not want to topple any regime. The US commander aboard the one relief plane allowed into Yangon at the weekend offered three ships and two dozen helicopters that could land supplies and leave Myanmar’s territory for Thailand each day by nightfall. Myanmar soldiers could be on the planes. He was sent packing.

I am not in Myanmar and I am not an aid worker. For that reason I am ready to be convinced that there are logistical reasons why dump-and-run operations from ships offshore are impractical, even if Yangon airport remains closed. I am less persuaded by the Pentagon’s reluctance to extend possibly hostile activities this far into Southeast Asia, or by some aid agencies that value their relations with odious regimes too much to welcome unauthorized drops.

After days of hand-sitting and abuse-hurling, the thesis that "diplomatic pressure" is going to burst the dam of Myanmar's hostility seems naive. I have read not one observer who believes this regime will admit aid workers, while many accept that it would be unlikely to contest a dump-and-run airlift under appropriate air cover. If the West refuses even to plan such an operation, it would be more honest to admit to doing nothing and stop counterproductive abuse of the regime.

What is sickening is the attempt to squeeze a decision not to help these desperate people into the same "liberal interventionist" ideology as validates billions of dollars on invading, occupying, destabilizing, bombing and failing to pacify other peoples whose governments also did not invite intervention.

Offending national sovereignty is apparently fine when it involves oil, opium, Islam or a macho yearning to boast "regime change." It is not to be contemplated when it is just a matter of saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

I don't feel so good...

because I ate too much at dinner.
I went to a local restaurant and had a dish of veggies in sesame oil and garlic, and a dish of tofu, plus a big bowl of Chinese pasta with meat and tofu sauce and finely shredded carrots and cucumbers.
When I am really hungry I order too much food, then I force myself to finish because I hate wastage. The meal cost me NT$130 - almost exactly 2 quid. The abundance and quality of food in Taiwan has made me resolve to never live in Britain, where edible things are A. expensive, B. mostly underwhelming. It's much easier to be a satisfied gourmand on a budget in Taiwan.

有點不舒服... 因為晚上吃的太飽了. 公司旁邊有一家周胖子餃子館, 我之了一盤涼拌龍鬚菜, 一盤豆腐, 加一大碗炸酱麵. 肚子餓的時候會一次叫太多東西... 又怕被雷公打, 所以勉強吃完. 這餐總共 NT$130, 正好兩英鎊. 台灣的東西真是便宜又好吃, 讓我發誓絕對不住英國... 那裡的食物又貴又不怎模樣. 荷包小的好食者還是住台灣來的好.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Lost in Translation (at home)

Once I got back to Taiwan I realized that I'm sadly out of touch with the lingo of youths. I learned that 機車 (moped) means "really fucking annoying" - because if you drive in Taiwan, that's exactly what they are. Also, 炒飯 (fried rice, or to fry rice), means to shag, and 炮友 (literally, cannon friend), which means friends with benefits.

I enjoy collecting little pearls of vernacular wisdom.

ps. a new one today is 台客 literally "Taiwanese customer/guest," meaning Taiwanese hick

Friday, 6 June 2008

Watermelon Balls: The Third Degree

Here's a little something from the Taipei Times a while back, which you won't find on their site. It comes from the weekly Johnny Neihu column - the irreverence and humour of which I truly appreciate. The elusive Cathy Pacific appears to be Johnny's main squeeze, and has only made this one, very special, guest appearance. (ppssssst: I heard she nearly made Johnny lose his job).

Anyway, without further ado, I present:


What's green all over, lives in an ivory tower, and has balls the size of watermelons?

You have three guesses.

Or, better yet, while my man Johnny is busy in the bathroom making offerings to the porcelain goddess (he read a New York Times article by Edward Wong last night, immediately took ill, and asked me to step in), allow me to elucidate on this cryptic question.

Take a look at the article
"Intellectuals must be the watermelon effect's foe" in the Taipei Times (March 8, page 8). Did this piece of obnoxious, idiotic and masturbatory crap also make you projectile-vomit onto your morning paper? Good, because I did.

You really don't want to visit Neihu Mansions right now.

For those of you lucky enough to have kept your
youtiao and doujiang down, let me update you on the latest theory why the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will lose the presidential election.

According to
Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), professor of political science at Soochow University, the DPP will eat shit on March 22.

Not because the general public understands that their idea of governance is putting assclowns like Government Information Office Minister
Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉), Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) and Tu's lapdog Chuang Kuo-jung (莊國榮) in the spotlight to divert attention from incompetence elsewhere.

Not because they have been caught funnelling money from the public coffers into "private" businesses set up to provide a cushy landing pad for party VIPs.

Not the myriad other reasons why we would be disappointed - and more than a little pissed off with - the party that promised so much and delivered a lot less.

No, no, no, no, no - these reasons are far too simple and straightforward for the great and abstract mind of Professor Hsu.

Hsu has been kind and condescending enough to inform us that the real reason why the DPP is bound to bite electoral dust is because the masses are fundamentally misguided, psychologically unsound and incapable of rational analysis.

I quote: "
As many believe that [KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou 馬英九] has a good chance of winning the election, they are flocking to jump on the bandwagon and demonstrate their correctness... voters want to be in the winning camp to avoid the psychological consequences of losing... they deliberately ignore squabbles over the character of candidates, as these background noises would interfere with a sense of personal fulfilment."

Abso-frigging-lutely brilliant. Don't even bother pardoning my French.

If that's all the intellectual prowess and rational faculty required to become a professor of political science, then I should have tenure at Oxford and my own shaded parking spot by now.

The strange thing is that Hsu is not being original in hiding his head between his legs and licking his watermelon sized balls for comfort, all the while banishing the possibility that the DPP is responsible for its own failure from his undoubtedly brilliant mind - over-taxed as it is by concerns for the public's welfare.

Sorry, Professor Hsu - was that too long and complex a sentence for you? Let me rephrase it: It's time the DPP examined why it has let Taiwan's fledgling democracy down. It's time to pull your head out of your ass and smell the coffee. Has it ever occurred to you that the DPP is not infallible? That it should, in fact, take responsibility for its own cock-ups? Or are you really so far up shit creek that you can't see the paddle lying in your lap?

I especially like how Hsu says the public ignores mudslinging election campaigns because "the background noise would interfere with a sense of personal fulfilment." Allow me to wrestle your outsized head out of your rectum for just a moment, professor: the background noise, which you refuse to hear, is the sound of public discontent at having assclowns for politicians. Sorry if this interferes with your sense of personal fulfilment, but one day when you're all grown up and understand the meaning of responsibility, you'll thank me.

By the by, Professor Hsu, how does one go about proving that an election is won or lost on the strength of this "bandwagon effect"? I mean, while we're on the topic of rational thought and argument and all those other faculties that you seem to imagine are the sole property of the intellectual class, let me ask you this: Pray, have you conducted double blind tests on the voting patterns of the public? Though I am only a mere member of the rabble, I'd still like to see hard proof, just so I can take a leaf out of your book of "independent judgement."

Otherwise, if you are merely pulling this "bandwagon effect" out of your pie-hole as an Ah Q Consolation Prize for having cast your lot with the assclown camp - and so you can point your finger at my commoner's abilities for rational thought from the top of your lofty ivory tower (the heights of which you and your watermelon-sized balls undoubtedly require a roped wheelbarrow to climb) - then you should bloody well stay in that tower because my stiletto heels and I are waiting to make your acquaintance on all too intimate terms.

Don't get me wrong, Professor Hsu. Like Johnny, I love democracy and I support Taiwanese independence - but I don't feel inclined to excuse the real failings of the DPP, or console myself for their losses by blaiming the rabble. Regardless of whether the DPP Is fit to govern (and I'm not implying that the KMT is any better), your arguments are a tautological and obviously an attempt to assuage your pride.

By the way, I admire your attempt to appear unbiased when you say that "rational examination" will reveal "who is the best suited for office." Of course, given that you had just pissed on Ma and his "lack of ability" in the previous paragraph, you really leave alot of room for readers to discover "who" the "bested suited" candidate is.

What's the matter? You have the
lam pa to call ordinary people feeble-minded but can't come out and say that you support the DPP for fear that we'll dismiss your argument for the empty tripe that it is?

And while we're on the subject of letting people make up their own mind - well, isn't that the point of having a democracy? You say that "efforts for Taiwan's democracy" should be factored into a candidate's suitability for presidency - yet you just spent, oh, some 400 words telling us that we are collectively incapable of thinking for ourselves.

You then propose a solution. We plebs are to be guided by some group you belong to called the Intellectuals' Alliance, whose members are motivated by their ability for "independent judgement" and their desire to leave room for "rational debate despite the spread of the watermelon effect."

Oh, I get it: You clever folk with PhDs, ABCs and other letters after your names have got together to form an alliance so you can do the rational thinking and "independent judgement" for us poor, misguided souls who are being led by our simple desire to be "in the winning camp" inspite of our welfare and that of our nation - and all for our benefit, I presume.

Well, thanks, professor - but for your information, that's called an
oligarchy. You want me to spell that out in Braille on your ass with my stiletto heels? (Just to warn you, I charge extra for pseudo-intellectual boffins who think they're exclusively blessed with the ability to think independently just because some fluke in the educational system failed to expose the fact that they are egomaniacs who believe they know better by dint of having made their way through higher education.)

Take it from Cathy, darlings: When I went to college, I met plenty of PhDs who didn't know independent thinking from their right tit.

Need I remind you, professor, that when "independent judgement" is formed on behalf of others, it ceases to be independent. It seems to me that you fail to grasp one of the fundaments of democracy - that people will choose for themselves regardless of what others may think or say.

You can sit there and speculate on the whys and hows of others' decisions, but next time have the decency to keep your condescension in your ivory tower, hmm?

One last thing before I run off to check if Johnny has finally emptied the contents of his outraged tummy. With all due respect... actually, scratch that... with no respect at all, Professor Hsu, intellectuals like you have no place in "comfort[ing] the disappointed and frightened." The only thing that disappoints and frightens me is you.

So leave the ruddy flames of reason alone. You're likely to give yourself a third-degree burn.

Note: Cathy Pacific is a retired flight attendant with Asia the Invincible Airlines. The rest of her curriculum vitae is too long and too confronting to list here.

What does this button do?

I don't know if you've noticed that a new button has appeared on my blog, on the right hand column. It looks like this . Do you know what it does?

I never used to be a subscriber of feeds, not until I started feeding. Basically, a feed is a stream of information which can be grabbed by a reader - so that you don't have to do it. For instance, if you read my blog, then you have to keep coming back once in a while to see if I've posted something new. It's arsey because I sometimes post alot, and sometimes very little. Now, if you subscribe to my blog in a reader, the reader will keep checking the feed and collecting all the new information. Then it stores the information in a orderly, easily digestible manner for you, until you are quite ready to go through them.

I've found this to be a great way to keep track of websites and blogs that I frequent. I now have about 20 blogs/sites in my GoogleReader, which organizes, and marks them as "read" when I go through them. I find GoogleReader to be simple and extremely functional (like lots of other things Google designs) - also, it's web based, so I can access it where ever I go.

So if you've not started subscribing to feeds yet, try it. It's like having free subscriptions to alot of magazines for free!

p.s. of course of also have the option of burning a feed, so others can subscribe to it...! Google's Feed Burner also makes that quite simple.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Little black dress

I found this dress on Etsy (from a vintage seller based in Sacramento) while I was at work last night.

I was initially really tempted to just buy it right away, but now I am having second thoughts (mostly after Toph said he didn't like it). On seeing it again the lapels do look a bit big. Is it far to 80s? These are things that are a bit difficult to decide unless I get to try it on. I was thinking of wearing it with with some nice fishnet stockings and a little black hat. I think it might have potential.

So, what do you think? Should I go for it? Was I really just so tempted to buy it because I was at work and desperate for distraction? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think of it. Of course it could get sold before I even decide - then it wouldn't be a problem any more...

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Flowers & all

Rhiannon from Liebemarlene Vintage posted a blog entry about shoe DIY and I replied that I'm really into flowers on my shoes right now...

I've been making these accessories from pre-made fabric flowers. I take them apart and reassemble them slightly differently, with a little bead in the middle. I also like them in my hair and on a lacey choker... they're good for all manners of purposes... I'll post other photos later.

The shoes are a very cheap pair of fabric shoes which I got in Shanghai. All the waitresses wear them.