31 12 2006

Resolution analysis from New Year’s

  1. Work less (days): achieved. Yes!
  2. Work more (in yard)
  3. Spa more.
  4. Travel more.
  5. Play more piano.
  6. Read more.
  7. Give more. Yes!
  8. Be nice to everyone, especially the stupid ones in the ER: partly achieved
  9. Unclutter life. Partly cleaned up
  10. Keep it simple. Finally!
  11. Be less anal. (This will not be achieved): achieved. Unbelievable. Without drugs
  12. Fulfil goals*

 *Numerical Goals:

  • work no more than 200 days and 100 nights: achieved
  • sleep 7 hours nightly: achieved
  • complete 2 rooms: achieved
  • spa 7 times a week
  • run 1 marathon
  • drop heart rate to 55
  • see 2 new countries
  • piano every day
  • read 26 books
  • give 10% to charity: achieved. Yes sir!

Banoffee Pie

29 12 2006

If you have a food emergency (hungry, using pantry, not much time available once you have the toffee mixture ready), consider the Banoffi Pie which was invented at the Hungry Monk in Sussex in 1972. Rumored to be Mrs. Thatcher’s favorite pudding, here is the original recipe which serves a dozen’s party:

* 12 oz uncooked shortcrust pastry

*1.5 13.5 oz cans condensed milk

* 1.5 lb firm bananas

*  375 mL double cream

* 0.5 tsp instant coffee; some freshly ground coffee beans

* 1 tsp castor sugar

Historically (secret here), immerse cans of milk unopened into a deep pan of boiling water. Cover and boil for 5 hours, ensuring that the pan does not boil dry. If you do not top up the pan with water CONSTANTLY, the cans will explode with grave results to life, limb and kitchen ceilings. Trust. Suggest you boil several cans at once and leave toffee unopened in the pantry. Remove the tin from the water and allow to cool completely before opening: inside you will find the soft toffee filling.

Prehat oven to 400F. Grease a 10×15″ flan tin and line with pastry thinly rolled out. Prick base with a fork and bake blind until crisp. Allow to cool. Whipe cream with instant coffee and sugar until thick and smooth. Spread tofee over base of flan. Peel and halve bananas lengthwise and lay on toffee. Spoon on cream and lightly sprinkle over freshly ground coffee.

Dream Girls

25 12 2006

The oft belted Broadway musical has spawned its own filmed iteration featuring the classic song “And I am Telling You I’m Not Going”. While critic trip over themselves to laud Jennifer Hudson, others have offered their own take on this song including but not limited to the original Jennifer Holiday, the reduced Jennifer Holiday, Frenchie Davis, Tamyra Gray, Marty Thomas (from “Wicked”), and Ms Whitney Houston herself.

We’re part of the same place. We’re part of the same time.

We both share the same blood. We both have the same mind.

And time and time we have so much to share

Roasting Chestnuts

24 12 2006

You’ve probably heard or seen any iteration of the heart warming “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas” song immortalized by the Judy Garlan character as she sings it to the Margaret O’Brien character in the film “Meet me in Saint Louis” (The Trolley song is the more famous) but the song, first published in 1943 with lyrics by Ralph Blane and music by Hugh Martin, is easily the most depressing of the season.

The original lyrics:

Have yourself a merry little Christmas – It may be your last
Next year we may all be living in the past
Have yourself a merry little Christmas – Make the Yuletide gay.
Next year we may all be many miles away.

No good times like the olden days,
Happy golden days of yore,
Faithful friends who were dear to us
Will be near to us no more.
But at least we all will be together – If the Lord allows.
From now on we’ll have to muddle through somehow.
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

Garland’s adaptation (the filmed version):

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Let your heart be light
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas – Make the yuletide gay
Next year all our troubles will be miles away

Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were near to us
Will be near to us once more
Someday soon we all will be together if the fates allow.
Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

Frank Sinatra’s spin:

Christmas future is far away
Christmas past is past
Christmas present is here today
Bringing joy that may last
Have yourself a merry little Christmas – Let your heart be light
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas – Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on, our troubles will be miles away.
Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are near to us
Gather near to us once more.
Through the years, we all will be together,
If the Fates allow, hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

James Taylor (2001):

Christmas future is far away
Christmas past is past
Christmas present is here today
Bringing joy that may last
Have yourself a blessed little Christmas – may your heart be light
In a year our troubles will be out of sight
From now on
Have yourself a blessed little Christmas – Make the yuletide gay
In a year our troubles will be miles away
Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Precious friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more
I know that in a year we all will be together
If the fates allow
Until then, we’ll just have to muddle through somehow
And have ourselves a blessed little Christmas now.

I guess we’ll just have to muddle through somehow as long as the yule tide remains gay (how did that go unnoticed?). Needs must go to the mall early on Boxing Day to return that hideous jumper with the square faced reindeer and the tie with the sparkly lights.

Christmas Numbers

23 12 2006

This year, we will fork over $795.86 (up 5% form last year) over Christmas shopping and total spending will be a record $154 billion.  We will spend $454 on presents for family, compared to $86.13 and $22.29 on friends and coworkers, respectively. Factoring in lights, wreaths, inflatable snowmen and electrified Santas for the lawn, it is the most expensive decorating holiday of the year with an average expense of $47.14. The average home will send 26 Christmas cards (tip your postal carrier) costing $30.77 (not including postage) for a total of some 2 billion cards. Forget Mothers’ Day, Christmas is more popular when it comes to flowers as we spend an average of $19.11 each, with everything comin up poinsettias in 83% households. Between fruitcake and eggnog to ginger bread men, we shell out $91.83 on food. This includes spending on the more than 1.8 million candy canes being confectioneered. 40% of celebrators are hoping for something electronic in the stocking, preferably MP3 players. And you thought that was so last year. We plan to buy 31 million real Christmas trees this year. Because what would be more festive than a dead tree in the center of your home?

Happy Christmas

22 12 2006

I insist on being most ornery and wishing everyone a very unPC Happy Christmas. Let us not pretend we know not what the reason for the season is (they play that song on satellite radio every 74 minutes) and call it like it is. None of this Holiday Tree and Breakfast with Frosty the Snowman for me. I want my Santa, I want my gifts and I want my fucking Christmas tree. But a tree in my sitting room? Then I began to think. Which is always rather tedious. Why bring in a conifer into the home? I am thinking pine needles stuck in the ball of my tender feet and all those accoutrements around the base. It is literally a tinder box ready to go up in glorious flames. A ded tree does not bring life to my Sitting Room but it merely reminds me of the horrors of deforestation. Porch lights are fine if they are meant to act as sentinel lighthhouses but my neighbors have action figurines and holographic present boxes. Electrified Santas will eventually plunge us all into darkness. Buy LED lights instead.

I do not do gift exchanges any more. It is rather a nasty habit. I like to make my own gifts (and I don’t mean doll’s houses out of toilet paper rolls but baked goods) and that serves a lovely purpose as you cannot place a $ value on them. The gift-matching calculus is too macabre to behold. Instead of re-gifting, I exchange for money or gift cards, which I can then give away to the home help. The groundsman, the maid, the paper delivery man, the post delivery lady, my very hot UPS driver and sundry deserve more than Belgian chocolates on discount at the World Market. I am for once delighted to say that materially I am more than content, I am sated. I do not need anything and therefore prefer much to be the giver. Except of course I can never turn away tea in any form. There are several charities that need funding and you should pick your favorites and rotate among them. Like manure, charity should be spread around for it to do any good.

Are people still eating turkey at the feast? Feeding an animal (ugly while it is) for months on end simply that it might be electrocuted, plucked, mutilated and roasted in wasteful and downright cruel. Being vegetarian can be bloody enjoyable and a cracking time was had by all last night at the Christmas dinner at home. Of course, we completely forgot to eat the lovely vin santo soaked (and I mean 64 days) pudding cake and German sugar cookies. M made his lovely cheesecake with a black chocolate crust and a delicious goeey cranberry topping. A prepared her legendary salad with halved grapes and a cranberry pomegranate vinaigrette. Bring out the Rieslings and pizzetti, who needs foul fowl?

I hate Christmas carolers who come a knocking in our subdivision. They are not exactly fetching to look at but they’re dreadfully out of tune. Also, do they not know of what theysing? Young people going door to door singing for alms is most anti-social. The lyric wallows in religious mythology, materialistic insanity, animal cruelty and celebration of feudal lords. If anyone ever gave me a partridge in a pear tree, I would be livid. Can I trade in my partridge for a Radio Shack gift card? Don’t think so. Being fully landscaped, I wouldn’t know where to locate the pear tree. It would be severely impractical . That is only day one. If you add all of the chattel, you have 23 birds, 17 women and 23 musicians. How is that for a lyric that is speciesist, misogynistic and consumerist? Give me a warm fireplace, a fat book and tea.

But. To R and M, I love my tea presents.

Bali Phrases

19 12 2006

Greetings and civilities

  • Good morning – Selamat Pagi
  • Good afternoon – Selamat Siang.
  • Good evening – Selamat Sore.
  • Good night – Selamat Malam.
  • Goodbye – Selamat Tinggal.
  • How are you? – Apa Kabar?
  • I am fine – Kabar Baik.
  • What is your name? – Siapa nama anda?
  • My name is… – Nama saya…
  • Nice to meet you – Senang berkenalan dengan anda.
  • See you later – Sampai jumpa lagi.
  • Goodbye (said to people leaving) – Selamat jalan.
  • Goodbye (said to people staying) – Selamat tinggal.
  • I do not understand – Saya tidak mengerti.
  • I do not speak Indonesian – Saya tidak mengerti bahasa.


  • Yes – Ya / Tentu.
  • O.K. – Beres.
  • No / not – Tidak / bukan.
  • Thank you – Terima kasih.
  • You’re welcome – Kembali.
  • Please – Tolong / Silakan.
  • Please help me – Tolonglah saya.
  • Excuse me – Permisi.
  • Sorry – Ma’af.
  • What time is it? – Jam berapa?
  • This – Ini.
  • That – Itu.
  • Dari mana? – Where have you just come from?
  • Tuan asal dari mana? – What country are you from?.
  • Mau ke mana? – Where are you going?
  • Be careful / attention – Hati Hati


  • Only looking – Lihat saja.
  • I want to buy this – Saya mau beli.
  • How much? – Berapa?
  • How much is it? – Berapa Harganya? (MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL)
  • Expensive – Mahal.
  • It’s too expensive – Harganya terlalu mahal. (SECOND MOST IMPORTANT)
  • Can you make it cheaper? – Boleh kurang harganya?
  • What is your fixed price? – Harga pas berapa?
  • Will you please leave me alone? – Sudikah anda membiarkan saya sendiri?


  • I want the menu please – Saya mau daftar makanan minta.
  • Tuan mau minum apa? – What would you like to drink?
  • I would like to drink water / beer – Mau minum air / bir.
  • Drinking water – Air minum.
  • (Hot) Tea / coffee – Teh (panas) / kopi.
  • Without sugar / milk – Tanpa gula / susu.
  • With a little sugar / milk – Sedikit gula / susu.
  • Tuan mau makan apa? – What would you like to eat?
  • I would like to eat (spicy) chicken fried rice / spring rolls – Mau makan (pedas) nasi goreng ayam / lumpia.
  • I would like to eat banana pancakes please – Mau makan kue dadar minta.
  • How do you say it in English? – Apa bahasa Inggrisnya (pointing to strange item on menu)?
  • I want the bill (check), thank you – Saya mau rekening, terima kasih.
  • The bill (check) please – Tolong bonnya.


  • Simple accommodations in Bali are advertised as losmen, penginapan and wisma.
  • Accommodations advertised as resorts and hotels are typically very similar to what would be expected in western countries.
  • The best hotel – Hotel paling baik.
  • The cheapest hotel – Hotel paling murah.
  • Mid-priced – Tidak mahal, tidak murah.
  • Clean – Bersih.
  • Are there rooms available? – Ada Kamar?
  • Do you have a room? – Masih ada kamar kosong disini?
  • Do you have any air-conditioned rooms? – Ada kamar dengan AC?
  • A.C. – Air-conditioned
  • Do you have fan-cooled rooms? – Ada kamar dengan kipas?
  • Kipas – fan.
  • What is the cost of the room? – Berapa ongkos kamar?
  • What is the cost of this room? – Berapa harga untuk kamar ini?
  • Two people – Dua orang.
  • Including meals? – Termasuk makanan?
  • Is there a toilet, bathroom? – Ada WC, tempat mandi?
  • Bedsheet – Sprei
  • Blanket – Selimut
  • Towel – Handuk
  • Soap – Sabun
  • Can you wash clothes? – Bisa cuci pakaian?


  • Where is the bus station? – Stasiun bis dimana?
  • When is there a bus to…? – Kapan ada bis ke…?
  • What time does it leave? – Berangkat jam berapa?
  • How many hours to…? – Beraoa jam sampai…?
  • Where is the airport? – Bandara dimana?
  • What is the cost of a ticket to…? – Karcis ke…berapa?
  • Can I have two tickets? – Saya minta dua karcis?


  • Where is the toilet? – Dimana kamar kecil?
  • Where is the beach? – Dimana pantai?
  • Where is there a hotel? – Mana ada hotel?
  • Where is there a restaurant? – Mana ada rumah makan?
  • Where is the path to the waterfall? – Dimana jalan ke air terjun?
  • Where is…? – Dimana…?
  • How far is it? – Berapa jauh dari sini?
  • Dekat – Near
  • Jauh – Far
  • What is the name of this street? – Apa nama jalan ini?
  • Utara – North
  • Selatan – South
  • Timur – East
  • Barat – West
  • Kanan – Right
  • Kiri – Left

Days of the week

  • Sunday – Minggu
  • Monday – Senin
  • Tuesday – Selasa
  • Wednesday – Rabu
  • Thursday – Kamis
  • Friday – Jum’at
  • Saturday – Sabtu

Time of day

  • Morning – Pagi
  • Noon – Siang
  • Evening / Night – Malam
  • Yesterday – Kemarin
  • Today – Hari ini
  • Tomorrow – Besok
  • Day after tomorrow – Lusa


  • Day – Hari
  • Week – Minggu
  • Month – Bulan
  • Year – Tahun