First post for 2014, and a happy new year to everybody!
Friday 3 January 2014, 4.26am HKT
12.30am local time, 18°C (64°F), warm
Bonne année! Pleins de bonne choses pour cette nouvelle année!
(Happy New Year! Full of good things for this new year!)
This year, I’m breaking my own tradition and instead start the first post for the year with a straight-up post.
My first post for every year had always been a repeat of that inane (and insane) About me page — that longwinded, uninteresting, self-serving interview done a hundred years ago.
I’ve decided that my readers after five or six long years on WordPress should get a reprieve from that unfunny hilarity.
But there’s a twist. And I wished I hadn’t broken with my own tradition, as I’ll explain later.
This month’s background image
First of all, the wallpaper for this month is the maze at Longleat House in England. Photographer unknown, via Imgur.
(Click image to see full size)
Longleat is a stately home in South West England designed in the Elizabethan style by Robert Smythson and John Shute. It’s next to the small village of Horningsham (‘hor-ning-shum’) and near the towns of Warminster (Wiltshire) and Frome (Somerset). It is currently the seat of the Marquess of Bath.
Interestingly, the proper Chinese translation of ‘stately home’ is 貴族豪宅 (guì-zú háo-zhái in Mandarin, gwei-tsook ho-tsaak in Cantonese, literally meaning ‘nobility luxury mansion’).
Goody bye-byes to 2013
Jam-packed in Causeway Bay district, New Year’s Eve, 10.30pm.
(Click image to see full size.)
Uneventful hours towards The Countdown. Nothing more than just chockablock with people shoving and pushing everyone else as everybody scrambled from one place to another, for no apparent reason. Note Arctic clothing, for a temperature of 15°C (59°F).
Really, nothing special happened, apart from the sardines above.
Last picture of me for 2013, Causeway Bay, New Year’s Eve, 10.40pm.
I did some SFX (‘special effect’) on it because the original picture was crap. Like the year itself.
The picture looks as if I was unhappy or angry or maybe a nuclear warhead up my arse. That’s untrue. The picture only looks that way because I’ve practically lost the tail ends of my eyebrows from lack of money, sex, booze, rock ’n’ roll and everything else during the year.
At IKEA, 30 Dec 2013.
Slightly better effort of me from the day before, suitably photobombed by a Chinese skinhead less combat boots.
Hi-dee-hi, hi-dee-ho to 2014
New Year’s fireworks in Victoria Harbour at the stroke of midnight.
(Image via WallWideHD. Click image to see full size.)
Unusually, I was at home at the time. I was dozing off. The boom-boom-twang-bawang woke the shite out of me. I thought something terrible was happening. For a person who is fascinated with colour and motion (see About me for more lurid details), I sure don’t find fireworks all that fascinating. Not after living in Lebanon, at any rate.
First picture of the year, New Year’s Day, 7.12am.
Nothing says more than workaholic than waking up shite-dirty early in the morning on New Year’s Day. Again, SFX because the original was even worse than crap.
First day’s early morning sun. Reflection from the other side of the harbour, New Year’s Day, 8.47am.
In reality, the light from it looked more like it was being hit with a low-orbit ion cannon.
Or was it actually an I/O portal that links this place to the ‘outside,’ like the one in ‘TRON: Legacy’? Hmm…
Sun’s up! Up in less than a minute later, New Year’s Day, 8.48am.
That ain’t winter morning haze, my friends — it’s wispy smog…
Shop window decorations, New Year’s Day, 8.51am.
(Click image to see larger size.)
Trundling along the street, and noticed this. Dafuq am I seeing? The first day of the new year hadn’t even passed yet, and we’re gearing up for Chinese New Year already.
Those gold thingies in the bottom middle of the picture are traditional Chinese gold ingots. These gold ingots are called 金元寶 (jīn yuán-bǎo in Mandarin, gum yuen-boh in Cantonese).
Obviously, they’re not REAL gold ingots, or the shop would’ve been destroyed by raiders long ago.
By the way, Chinese New Year (‘CNY’) takes place from 31 Jan to 03 Feb. It’ll be the Year of the Horse. Expect funny horse-trading this year, if you know what I mean.
A bill posted in a side street, Causeway Bay, New Year’s Day.
Deep, in a shallow sort of way. Clearly not an effort by the locals. Maybe a homegrown tourist like me, geddit?
The date’s wrong in the photo creditline. It should’ve been 01 Jan 2014.
Police deployment in preparation for the annual political protests, Causeway Bay, New Year’s Day, 12.41pm.
(Click image to see larger size.)
Every year since the 1997 Handover, the pro- and anti-Beijing politicos and their supporters put up a nice and quiet walkathon protest on New Year’s Day. The demos have always ever been 100% violence-free. Still, the Old Bill outnumber the protesters by two or three to one.
I’m pretty sure “the best police force money can buy” (a sarcastic catchphrase disliked by the police) were deployed to seek and destroy the persona non grata who put up the bill above. Can’t have people writing in good, clean, crisp English in our ex-British/now-Chinese colony, can we?
Prospects for the new year, IKEA, New Year’s Day, 2.05pm.
Strawberry (a.k.a. raspberry) and a red face. I think it’s trying to tell me something about 2014. Or maybe it’s something about my hair that needs fixing.
The Director’s Cut, 02 Jan 2014, 12.20pm.
“In order to create, one must first destroy.” — David the android, in ‘Prometheus.’
Off! Practically no one thinks I would cut my ponytail. That being said, those who bet against me usually lose their shirts. I’m not a gambler by nature, which is why they end up shirtless.
That’s a full 10 inches (25 cm) of the stuff there. Criminally overpriced pen for scale. And those are my reading glasses and my gormless laptop, by the way.
Like I said somewhere (in my About me or the Fun facts page), mum preferred that I have long hair. It was her final wish too. Personally, I’m not terribly fond of long hair on myself. (I have no problem with long hair on others.) Final instructions are … well … final. Not about to break with THAT tradition, I don’t think.
But there’s a limit to having long hair without also appearing too weird and uncomfortable in a high-humidity place full of angry psychopaths like Hong Kong.
Refreshed and repurposed, 02 Jan 2013, 4.43pm.
It’s a lot simpler than a software upgrade (which corrupts) or a hardware overhaul (which causes things to break to pieces).
Mum’s idea was that the long hair was something available for whacking off. With nothing whackoffable, a person can’t be refreshed and repurposed. Get the drift now?
Brilliant, mum was.
So what was the thing that made me regret my own tradition?
No big deal, really. The first working day of the year and it had been a horrible one. It made me wonder, even if momentarily, whether my decision to write a straight-up post (this one!) instead of recycling the ‘About me’ had been a good decision.
Traditional ‘tradition’ traditionally (and groundlessly) has it that if a person gets into a tizz before Old Christmas Day (a.k.a. Epiphany on 6 January), the rest of the year is going to end up a tizz for the person.
I’m a bit superstitious in this department, so I’ve now got a careful eye on proceedings for 2014. So there.
(Image sources as indicated. All others images taken by meeeeeeeeee!)
© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2014. (B14003)