Tuesday 13 January 2015, 7.09am HKT
2.58am local time, 12°C (54°F), cold with heavy rain
I think most of us should be on 2015 by now — and probably falling apart like everything else is already in this world of ours.
Normally on the first day of the new year, I post this sort of embarrassment to remind peep’l just who (and what) is behind the unfunny hilarity of this blog. I broke with my own tradition and posted this shameless nonsense for 2014.
I might as well go with breaking the tradition for this year.
Because heaven knows when the next post will ever come…
For your viewing pleasure, some nosey-parkery random fun facts about The Naked Listener.
Each item originates from at least one serious, factual, objective detail about me. They’re only done up in a special way to make them seem less serious.
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)
Thursday 26 January 2012, 11.09pm HKT
8.45pm local time / 13°C (55°F) at 88% relative humidity
YESTERDAY WAS the third and final day of the Chinese New Year holidays in Hong Kong.
I couldn’t post a follow-up yesterday as promised, mainly because:
- I was lazy because of the rich meals I was having
- my camera conked out
- managed just now to salvage some pictures from the camera memory card
* * *
Here’s what happened yesterday (Wednesday, 25th January):
Actually, this happened:
That’s a friend’s iPhone screencap. You don’t even need to know Chinese to realise it’s pretty high on the WTF-ness scale.
That was 4.8°C (40.6°F) at 7.10am in the suburbs yesterday. In the urban areas, it was 8°C. It was 10°C in London.
The bottom of the screencap says we can expect this Saturday to rise to a maximum of 19°C (66°F). Some rise, huh?
* * *
I forgot to post these food pictures on the last day of the Year of the Angry Rabbit (Sunday 22nd January), so I’ll just leave these here.
Hotpot dinner of lean beef, fatty beef, mushrooms, meatballs, fishballs, mussels and greens.
‘Popcorn’ the housecat … not part of the dinner gig.
* * *
And yesterday (25th):
No home is without snacks during Chinese New Year — especially pistachios (underneath the Doritos and crisps).
Australian beefsteak, seared on the outside and rare on the inside.
That’s just MY portion (four pieces).
All the other pictures can’t be salvaged from the memory card. (Grumble)
* * *
Street scenes from yesterday:
It was pissing down all day yesterday and the traffic was chockablock everywhere.
Like I said, it was around 8°C to 10°C (46°F to 50°F) yesterday in the urban areas. People stood practically motionless in the street, so adding to the general chockablockness.
After two full days of being locked indoors because of the cold, everyone was dying to come out of the woodwork by the third day yesterday.
As expected, our overimaginative but under-promiscuous pouty chicks refused to wear anything but miniskirts in the face of low temperatures and rain. (Sorry, those pictures didn’t make it out from the memory card.)
Possibly the world’s most expensive shop space (Swatch timepieces) stayed open throughout the three-day holiday. And going strong even at night.
* * *
And today (26th):
With mefolks this afternoon.
(Guess which one of them is slightly loopy.)
© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. All photos by me.
Wednesday 25 January 2012, 10.30am HKT
10.20am local time
8°C (46°F) in Hong Kong / 10°C (50°F) in London
THAT’S RIGHT, peep’l, we’re finally more brain-damaged than our previous rulers. It’s now colder and wetter in subtropical Hong Kong than it is in temperate London.
Today is the third and final day of our Chinese New Year holidays.
It’s the Year of the Water Dragon — but you and I know already it’s really the Year of the Salamander.
I’m just about to hit the streets, so stay tuned for pictures later.
Kung Hei Fat Choy
© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. Image via Linlithgow Liberal Democrats.
Tuesday 24 January 2012, 6.00pm HKT
Updated 25 Jan 2012 (correcting typos).
This is the final part for now.
I realise Part 2 was a bit brain-damaged, so here are more of the same.
The pigeons having their new year’s feast.
Officially, we’re not allowed to feed pigeons. but what the hell. Live and let live!
This tree is 15 years old.
(Yeah, everything is fast-growing here in Hong Kong.)
The last tree on the same site was 120 years old, then it kicked the bucket in a tropical storm. I fetched bits of the old one back home, and I love it.
They’re still suffociating the tree with these concrete barriers!
The lone white pigeon stared at me non-stop. It was eery.
The groundsman at the nearby cricket club threw some bread crumbs to the birds, saying “Happy New Year to you guys!”
Awww, that’s nice of him, wasn’t it?
The hated crowd-control barriers.
We’re having 23 minutes of fireworks tonight around eight o’clock.
Hate it. I used to love fireworks, but not since after living in Beirut.
Now, I get really scared when they crank up the fireworks because they sound exactly like artillery fire.
© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. All images by me.
Tuesday 24 January 2012, 2.53pm HKT
WE CONTINUE with the second day of the Chinese New Year.
Some street décor from this morning (around 7am to 8am):
It isn’t glowing. It’s just the camera strobe.
Gilden dragon with frog-face on its back.
Dragons and frogs … salamanders and frogs … amphibians.
So it’s the Year of Amphibious Creatures. The furry animals have their years, so why not the amphibians?
So the ‘frog’ is not actually a frog … maybe he’s a ‘Frog.’
Salamander, salamander, salamander.
Mr Father Fortune (‘Tsoi Yeh’) on the gilden
Tsoi Yeh is the giver of monetary fortune (cash!) and fortuity (the non-cash kind). He is the Chinese patron saint of moolah.
Lady Fortune may be a woman in the West, but he’s one cool badass dude in the East.
Money does not buy happiness (we know that), but you can sure live a better class of misery with moolah though.
His attire is traditionally from the Tang dynasty (AD 618–906), the high point of Chinese civilisation.
That’s the dynasty responsible for bringing us individual bank accounts, public examinations, modern census, taxation, export goods, multiculturalism, public boozing and modern equality of the sexes.
Mr Father Fortune in Technicolor.
Trumps the motorcycle any day.
And not many things in life can trump the motorbike. Ever.
The Tang dynasty is replete with tales of dudes riding on
motorcycles dragons and other creatures.
Tang dynasty people are well known for their ability to shoot lasers from their palms, a.k.a. Star Wars light sabres.
(Those who have watched old Hong Kong B-movies from the 1950s will know what I mean.)
Yee-harr! Ching Chong Chowmein Hell’s Angels!
Like the decorations?
* * *
It’s still 12°C (53°F) and drizzling, so it’s exactly like Athens now.
I’ve had half a bottle of port already while posting this because of the cold.
* * *
© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. All images by me.