Saturday, October 25, 2014

Beautiful things and Newark

There are a lot of things to see and do around Newark. Spouse's signature not required!
There are beautiful views. I find that the circle of trucks reminds me of an Einstein's bagel. Luckily, my rental car GPS took me there.
Less luckily, it was cold enough that I had to scrape my car with a loyalty card. And in my jetlag, I didn't realize that my car was (clearly) Canadian, and therefore drove inappropriately slowly before I clued into kilometres' generosity.
Meanwhile, the conference was in a quaint country hotel. This means there are numerous paisleys, plaids, and fried foods. If you avoid looking at them while falling asleep, you can avoid crazy dreams.
A common hotel feature, the heater had boat engine loud, and nosebleed fury settings.
Here is where the fridge wasn't, and the ice bucket in which I stored my extra Einstein's cream cheese.
Usually hotel "art" is for aiding sleep. This one, with the man creeping up on a woman trapped on an island, not so much.
Meanwhile, back in Singapore, we had Thanksgiving!
In so doing, we proved that our bar works as planned.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Stopover in Disrupted Times

While travelling, if faced with a protest, it is recommended to walk away along a perpendicular route.
It is not recommended to approach the crowd.
One can see protests and riots in France and Vancouver. But how often do you get to see a peaceful suffrage protest, in one of the world's best cities?
I admire the relative peacefulness, the stamina, the clever use of tie-wraps, above, and the use of the latest technology.
During our quick stopover, this is as close as we got to Hong Kong island.
I've figured out how to do another awkward transition to food. I also admire Hong Kong as one of very few places in Asia where strangers offer to help you on the street, and where you are offered iberico ham in a Japanese bar.
And, oh, the food. The picture below seems posed, but it was a serious conversation, actually.
Thank you Will and Catherine for the culinary delights!
And here is my closing sentiment.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cycle Spousing

4:45 is a very very early time. Why would anyone wake up then? This is not right. This morning, Barry was not a ninja. He was crashtastic and loudatious. There was much slam. I tried to get back to sleep after his stomping bike shoes finally walked away. Then the fridge, whose door he left ajar, started to cry and need attention. That was not very nice. Then the combination of my subtle yet aggrevating malaises began to demand my attention: body aches, work stress, headache, and a lack of 5am joy. So I got up again, and addressed these concerns with coffee and peanut butter toast. I am now in a semi-zombie caffeinated state wondering what to do with my life.
It is now that I realize, with all of the 5am brilliance that I can muster, that the cycling spouse deserves much acclaim. Could my friends tell you how many cycle overall-kinis and jerseys will fit in the wash? Whose idea was it originally to develop the cycle station super storage center? Who figured out how to book Barry’s race trip on airline miles? Finally, who was here when this happened (the crash)?
This is the cyclist, sometimes, when he comes home.
This strange species, pumped up with sport-dorfins, skips across the impractically white marble floor, tries to embrace his freshly showered partner, forgets where to dispose of his soiled spandex.  Most importantly for him, this is the man who has an urgent need to “upload his ride” to the mysterious land of Strava. Here, the like minded lycra-clad with abruptly awoken spouses plot important life achievements, such as who biked fastest, furthest, and longest. His (or her, but in this case his) strava “friends”, whom he cannot recognize if they’re not helmet-clad, send “kudos”, which is the sport’s equivalent to social interaction. His rides, kudos, computer-calculated score of suffering, which is inexplicably a good thing, and other such features help him to validate his bikexistence and bikenjoyment, and enable him, finally, to get into the shower. I do not think a “I woke up too early” Strava would have the same effect for me, regrettably.
Other practices of cycling life that impact spouses include tribal hair-removal practices. Much like maori tattooing, or Koteka gourds, this is a way to belong to the tribe of spandex and wheels. However, it also can lead to strange and alarming scenes in the bathtub during and after the process. These practices also include the use of the oven for baking footwear, which is then formed around the cyclist’s shaven feet. Barry has an unusual love of sock patterns, and I have yet to identify if this is normal cyclist behaviour, or just him. However as bike spouse I know that the worshipped socks must not enter the dryer!
As I went to take this sock picture, realizing it’s still very, very early, I put on a load of laundry. Mostly spandex. There were some odours. And that about summarizes why the cycle spouse deserves some kind of medal. Or spa treatment. As does the cyclist too, of course.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fishtology Level 2

Valentinni's sharpnose puffer welcomes you to Fishtology Level 2. This level has fewer fish and more confusion.
According to poissontologie, all three of these fish are the same blackspotted puffer. I think we've been shammed by the fishman.
Especially with the one below, which looks like a dog.
The Yellow boxfish, below, is different and does not inflate even though it looks like it has extra skin. It squirts poison instead.
The Spot-fin porcupinefish below inflates, is poisonous and was clearly the originally source of large scary googly eyes.
The subtype of moray eel is not identifiable in level 2. Other than mean and angry, like all moray eels.
Le fishbook tells us not to fear the Lionfish's poisons, as you can negate them by heating the affected area to over 42C. This, however, frightened Barry even more.
In Fishtology level 3 we'll learn what this is. We think it's a tiny baby Lionfish. All we know is that it's freaky.
Finally, we learnt that the day will end before you can get tired of watching an octopus.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Glamcationing Online

Barry and I figured that if you go on a beach vacation in the middle of nowhere, you would normally be ok to, say, go outdoors. However, we noticed that several travellers could neither tolerate the terrifying skin-darkening sun, nor could they swim. With nothing else available, what did they do?
Well, mostly, it seems they posted pictures to say they were having a fabulous time. Apparently, while dining next to the ocean, you should have at least 2 devices to photograph your food, as shown above and below. Clearly, this view is not good enough to disconnect.
Barry and I, realizing we'd been vacationing wrong, decided to assimilate. This is as actually seen at neighbouring tables. Why enjoy your fakation when you can live life online?
That your online impressafriends see pictures of each meal is more important than enjoying said meal. So here is a picture of my banana.
The other very important thing to do is to take outdoor glamour shots. Here, you uncover from your full body sun cloak for 30 seconds in order to pretend you're having fun outdoors. (Actual fun is not relevant to your online glamour).
Above is another actual shot we saw, as is below. Unfortunately we were missing the recommended beach heels and dresses.
Barry got pretty good at glamcationing, but we quickly got bored.
So we went back to the water. Non-swimmers meant more reef for us.
It's harder to take selfies and to update your status underwater anyway.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fishtology Level 1

This time on our Snorkelcation, we got serious about fishtology. However, the book was only in French. So we learnt poissontologie, and it took us a bit longer to identify the Orange-lined Triggerfish, above.
The Scribbled Unicornfish, below, is a badass. You can tell because his tail is partially bitten off, and since he's blue, which means he's not frightened of us larger, uglier swimmers.
Below, a Bridaled Parrotfish youth, which in French is named after dead leaves.
This one is a Singapore Parrotfish, and is the same colour as the Singaporean passport, a fact missed by the livre de poissons.
Fishdentification can be tough. The fish below is the adult version of the fish above, so you get no extra points. I was disappointed with fish who change looks and gender, making them very hard to chercher dans le livre.
Barry called this a Batfish, which is wrong but does exist, (as do catfish, dogfish, goatfish, lionfish and frogfish, showing a lack of creativity). It's actually a Phantom Bannerfish. I call it the angry eyebrow fish.
This well-named Picasso Triggerfish refuses to be photographed elegantly.
The titan triggerfish avoids plaque buildup by scraping his teeth on rocks all day.
The Sixbar Wrasse (Labre en Fran├žais) is vain, has crazy tattoos, and kept requesting more pictures.
This trip, Barry tried to stop being afraid of sharks by realizing he was larger than them.
Below is the Short-nosed Unicornfish. I would not have gone with a nose-naming, myself.
This is the Forceps Butterflyfish, not to be confused with the Long Nose Butterflyfish. Here, a nose-naming makes more sense.
The Scrawled  Filefish is super creepy, and you would freak out if you saw one in the grocery store.
The Squaretail Coralgrouper should be called the Crazy Bluespots Grouper.
The Common Bluestripe Snapper were good to bully and scatter their school a little to get out any snorkel frustration.
The Lunar-tailed Bigeye, which can be red, silver or striped, pictured-bombed the Clown Triggerfish.
Poissontologie helped me to not confuse these Indopacific Sergeantfish with Convict Surgeonfish, so this is something that will help me in life.
Redtail Butterflyfish are one of a zillion type des Poissons Papillons that we saw.
True facts about the starfish: Did you know that each leg is made of a long gonad, that they can change gender, or that they can just reproduce by growing a new leg, as is being done here? So if you don't like the pickings, you just clone!
Finally, how about a Stingray for good measure.