Monday, November 22, 2004

Longing and sadness, uncertainty and regret.

I am very sorry that I haven't been updating my blog regularly these past few weeks. Truth be told, I was a bit distracted. It's just that something has been preoccupying me all this time and now that it's over I feel a bit depressed. It is really hard to let go when something that has been a very close part of your daily life is finally over. The funny thing is that I would sometimes catch myself thinking about the way it used to be... remembering the good times... reminiscing on the past... the places we went to... the different people we met along the way. *sigh* It's true what they say that you never truly appreciate something until it is already gone.

And with this feeling of longing and sadness also comes uncertainty and regret. Perhaps I should have done things differently? I was so new to all of this that I made a lot of mistakes along the way. Sure it's my first time but is that a good excuse? As the wise will say, it is very easy to make the right decisions in hindsight, but at the time I was overwhelmed with all of the possibilities before me. Well, I suppose it's no use crying over spilled milk as the saying goes. What's done is done and there will be no turning back now. The only solace I have is that our parting of ways has nothing to do with any mistake I may have made on my part. It was inevitable. I have known from the start that it would not last and amidst the carefree and joyous times it was at the back of my thoughts at all times. The time I had been dreading came all too soon. But it was not my decision to make. I had no choice but to let go.

Surely there will be others, I thought. But it probably wouldn't be the same. There's something magical about your first time and you are possessed with a child-like wonder eager to explore the seemingly endless possibilities. But on the other hand, I'm a little bit wiser now and wouldn't make the same mistakes I had the first time. Only time will tell if it's better the second time around. I can't wait for what tomorrow will bring. It will be a whole new adventure!

World of Warcraft will be coming back to my life hopefully tomorrow on the 23rd of November and Jepprox the dwarven hunter will be reborn! Beary my pet bear, Rex my cat... *sob* I've missed you all!!!

And you thought I was talking about what?

World of Warcraft is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) from Blizzard Entertainment.


Friday, November 19, 2004

Seafood anyone?


octopus
Originally uploaded by Jepster.

A friend of mine recently told me (jokingly I suspect) that she was craving for seafood so much that she was almost willing to eat those jellyfishes I featured in a previous post. I don't think I have ever tasted jellyfish before. I do remember that at one time, I ate at a restaurant offering it but I did not taste it. Somehow I had this mental image of eating a tentacle then my tongue would swell to 4 times its size.

A lot of people are surprised when I tell them that I'm not that adventurous when it comes to food. Sure I like to eat a lot of stuff but I'm a bit wary of trying new stuff. The reason why I eat a wide variety of food now is probably I was introduced to a lot of different stuff when I was young. And probably what I like most is seafood. *Yum*

Our hometown is known for fresh seafood and I took advantage of that fact when we went home a few weeks ago (yeah I know I haven't finished telling the whole story yet). I had this list of things to eat when I was there and on top of the list were blanched oysters, grilled stuffed squid cooked just right (it gets tough if overcooked), shellfish, salted and steamed shrimp and of course different types of fish cooked in many different ways. Although I think I overdid the oysters a bit and I was feeling a little queasy for a couple of days but the feeling passed and I went on with my seafood binge. :D

I personally think that being allergic to seafood is a great tragedy and I genuinely feel sorry for those poor individuals afflicted with this... errr... condition (I was just about to say "curse" but that would be just adding insult to injury). Of course there are some people who just refuse to eat seafood. They have no idea what they are missing.

The picture above was taken in a Chinese restaurant using my mobile phone. How did it taste? It was fine. I don't think I ate the baby octopus though, too exotic for me.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Road Trip! Leg 1: a boat ride with noisy kids from hell


In Cat Carrier
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
The first part of the trip went on smoothly. I took a half day leave so that we could leave earlier. The starting port is just a few minutes away from the office but our travel agent booked us an earlier trip for the first boat ride so that we would not be in a hurry to catch the next ferry. We left after lunch and arrived at the port 10 minutes later.

After processing all the required formalities, (we needed a permit from the coastguard, a quarantine document for Brat where he was classified as a "Breeder Cat" -- haha yeah right...), we placed stickers on our clothes that identified us as part of a tour group then proceeded to board the ferry. We were one of the earlier cars to arrive so we were ushered to the back of the vessel to park the car. The cargo hold where the cars are parked is located at the lower portion of the ship with the upper sections for the passengers. There is an airconditioned room filled with seats at the center, more seats on the open air decks and an observation deck at the very top. We took Brat's cat carrier with us and settled on a bench inside the airconditioned room. Several TV screens were installed inside the room showing a local action movie. The room was starting to fill up and it was getting warmer by the minute. Probably the airconditioning system couldn't cope with the temperature outside. It was a rather warm day but once the ship got on its way, it was cooler outside with the sea breeze.

We were seated just behind a family with 2 or 3 young children. When they saw Brat inside his cat carrier, they became restless pointing at Brat and gesturing to somebody at the front. They were a bigger family than we initially though and soon a group of rowdy children were screaming and crowding us. Some of them were crawling underneath the seats so that they could get to our row. My brother was busy trying to fend off the frenzied kids (they appear to be in some kind of sugar high) while I was keeping my ears covered with my hands (I was trying to listen to my MP3 player playing an audio book of The DaVinci Code and I couldn't concentrate with all that yelling).

My brother finally got fed up of the little kids trying to poke the cat so he transferred outside. I was starting to get a bit stressed out at this point but fortunately they went away (presumably to wreak havok someplace else) when they realized that there was nothing of interest with a person ignoring them and with both hands covering his ears.

When I was finished listening with the chapter of the book I went outside to where my brother and Brat were enjoying the view and the refreshing salty air.

To be continued in "Leg 2: On a foggy damp night, let the signs lead the way"

Monday, November 08, 2004

Swimming with Jellyfishes


Jellyfish
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
This is my favorite underwater picture. Of course I wasn't exactly underwater when I took it. In fact I was totally dry and trying to keep my digital camera steady against the glass of the aquarium. I couldn't use flash since the light will just scatter in the sediment rich water or else if the camera wasn't touching the aquarium, the flash would have just bounced off the glass. The room was also a bit dark but fortunately the jellyfishes were slow moving enough not to create too much blur in this slow exposure shot. This was also taken from the Berlin zoo.

I couldn't imagine diving into water filled with these jellyfishes though. There's a big chance that I would just freak out. I still remember a skin diving trip where my upper lip was swolen to about 4 times its size because of one of these babies. My diving mask wouldn't seal properly because of the swelling and I was leaking water in my mask. It was not a very pleasant experience. I was just glad nobody volunteered to pee on my upper lip to get the swelling down (absurd as it may sound, it's a well known remedy - although I'd rather have vinegar any day, another effective remedy for stings). In another skin diving trip I had, I remember that I spent most of the time splashing water at jellyfishes so that they would drift someplace else. I guess we were just unlucky that it was that time of the year when they were plentifull.

They are not much of a menace with SCUBA divers but with skin divers you have to be conscious of them since you spend a lot of time in the surface. Or am I the only one paranoid about them? The common ones found in our beaches nearby are the small short tentacled ones that does not really sting in the true sense of the word but rather irritate the skin such that they get very itchy. Scratch the itch and you get swelling.

I am looking forward to our diving/beach outing scheduled sometime next month and hopefully it's not jellyfish season. :/