Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A day of two emotions

Upon knowing that the British hosts of Top Gear (minus cute little Hammond) were roaring into Brisbane and Melbourne and hosting a live show, we got our tickets early and planned our day as it got nearer. Jeremy Clarkson and James May, here I cometh.

Firstly, I set a personal record by waking up early for breakfast... on a weekend! But shortly after, I was horrified when I switched on the telly and saw what was happening to Japan for the first time. It played on my mind for the whole day, although I did pray and ask for His comfort to be with His people. Sigh.

I was still half asleep whilst driving to Eltham Train Station, to be honest. It was a 25 min drive, and I did jolt awake since I was approaching the tricky consecutive roundabouts, but with the help of Homer Simpson's voice on my trusty GPS and the lack of traffic in the morning, I managed to make my way there without getting majorly lost or getting into close shaves.

Secondly, we left our cars behind and took the train to the Melbourne Showgrounds. It was the first time for me taking the Hurstbridge Line, so that was like a mini sightseeing tour. The northern suburbs were completely different to the eastern ones, which I am residing in. That was pretty interesting since they weren't far away from each other at all.

Thirdly, we got into a tiny pinch when we arrived to transfer trains at Flinders Train Station. We had never taken the train directly to the Showgrounds, as I'd always driven to the venue for the annual Manifest Convention. We looked at the train schedules, but they were all running to the Flemington Racecourse as their final station destinations. So, out came our iPhones as we frantically punched in directions for maps and public transport guides, whilst sitting in the train. There was a racing carnival on the same day, so we were seated with well-suited men (oooh!) and beautifully dressed ladies with fascinators and big hats. It felt very wrong. Thankfully, we spied more passengers coming in, dressed like they were going for a car show, lol. We then realised that the trains would travel to the Showgrounds' dedicated station when an event was running. They were nice enough to appoint people with placecards, standing on the platforms of Flemington Racecourse, with big words informing attendees of the Top Gear show not to alight there. We were on track, it was full locomotive steam ahead.

Fourthly, there were tons of people at the Live Show. Unbelievable. Just hoardes of people, and in all packages too. I half-expected men, men and more men. Maybe burly bikie men, geeky scrawny boys, family men and their sons. Well, y'know. But I was pleasantly surprised by families in full force, i.e. Dad, Mom, Son and Daughter, young couples, old couples, males and females in all ages and sizes. How remarkable! I guess it wasn't really entirely about the cars for some people. It must be the star factor that also pulled some of the demographics in, i.e. us included.

Anyway, it was a supremely hot day - 29°C to be precise. It was nothing short of disgusting, of course. Yucky hot, murky but thankfully not too humid. I did slap on UV30++ moisturiser on my face, but conveniently forgetting my arms. I did pack in a tumbler of water, and I finished it in no time at all. Had to grab a bottle from the stalls, which cost me a limb. Of course.

The Live Show was pretty funny. Jeremy Clarkson and James May sounded exactly the same as I remembered ... I know, that's mightily obvious but it's exciting all the same. We got fire, space ship cars, sexy woman dancing, young bikie guy taking on a mover, sleek cars being introduced by the hosts (and being vocally abused by them as well) and the famous car football too. The Stig made his appearance, so that was nice. I didn't have much complaints, but I felt the show was far too short!

You can watch other videos posted by people with hot shot equipment, lol. I took a lot more videos than photographs during the show.

After the show ended, we walked around to the showrooms where they had these beautiful vintage / modern cars lined up for oglers to drool over. The worst thing you can do, I believe, is to dangle a ravishingly fat carrot before a hungry donkey and leave it juuust beyond its reach. Yeah, I felt that showroom was designed to make lots of car enthusiasts suffer sleepless nights. Left high and mightily dry. I guess under the circumstances, I should be thankful that I don't really know a good car when I see one. I mean, I heart a Jaguar, I look twice at a Lamborghini, and I loved all the cars there since they looked so gooood. But well, I wasn't too fussed about it, and began to think of where I should have our lunch, lol.

I really, really don't mind having one of these in my garage. I'll be keeping a lookout for it if I do watch Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift again, someday. Yep, it made its appearance there, and it was up for private sale.

Fifthly, I saw a scene which was rare on all accounts. There was a queue for the men's bathroom. I know the ladies' queue was longer, but hey, there was A Queue for the guys. Yes, how uncommon was that? Well, only at an auto show, it would seem.

We decided to head out towards the city centre to feed our stomachs. Abandoning the train this time, we took the tram and found ourselves in the dreaded time period of 3pm. Most eateries would be closed from 3-5pm. We did manage to find our usual Japanese restaurant open (thankfully), and we rested our sore feet and eyes with lovely Japanese food (which then reminded me of the ongoing disaster and I was itching to get the news feed on my iPhone).

Avocado Calpis - absolutely beautiful on a hot day.

My bento lunch. That 'potato cheese thingy' on the top right-hand corner was just amazing.

We went back to Eltham via the train again, and it was wonderfully pleasant. No jostling, no crowds. The Hurstbridge Line was completely different to the jam-packed Glen Waverley, Belgrave and Lilydale Lines. The suburbs it serviced were more rural, greener and quieter. It makes me sian just to think how crowded mine will be, because I'll be living in Glen Waverley. My only consolation is that it is the last station, so I'll get to have a seat some time during my journey.

Anyway, I was very happy to be invited to Chrissy's new place, as I hadn't seen it yet!! That was absolutely exciting - her own little abode and no more renting. She did a fine job with the furnishing and decorations, and I digged the space. It was fantastic just for herself. I reckoned it was cosy but not too small. Just nice. Her mother was such a pleasant lady too, and so easy to get along with. We had our attention on the telly initially because we really wanted to know what was going on in Japan. I stayed till 10 and decided I should go. Felt bad intruding for so long, y'know, lol.

It was one of those days when I was very contented, and yet, very perplexed by the events happening around me. My heart really went out to the Japanese people. I called up my Mom to ask about the well-being of my cousin and he was fine since he was in Tokyo. I reflected quite a bit that night, praying and asking. It just didn't seem fair, somehow. I recalled the prophecy that Aunty Anne made, with regards to a tsunami someday. I didn't quite believe it when she said it then, but now, I'm not so sure, and I still pray that the prophecy will never, ever happen.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Apple Hath Descended

After waiting impatiently since August 2010, my reaction was pretty lukewarm when the Three representative called me up to tell me that the courier company had left a pickup notice for my parcel at the nearest Post Office. Still, there was no masking of my gratitude to this particular rep who kept to her promises and followed up on my case.

This was partly why I was left waiting for so long. People just dealt with my requests by 'putting in a request with their managers for ordering a new iPhone 4'. Then, it was always followed by 'a waiting time of 4 weeks'. After 5 weeks or more, I would call in and the whole cycle repeated so viciously that I wanted to seriously strangle them. August suddenly became October, and December became February next year. It was a pretty good date when the iPhone was finally in my hand, being 1st of March. Hmmm. No, not going to buy Toto, lol.

Why did I stick relentlessly to waiting, instead of cancelling the entire contract and going with another provider? Well, because of this mess-up, the telco 'kindly' waived the monthly $10 handset cost for the length of my 48 month contract (I'm already 6 months into the contract, and they had to keep waiving my monthly bills). I'll only be paying the basic cost of my usage every month. Yes, this means my iPhone is technically free of charge, and hence, I shamelessly hung on.

Time to bust out the cases! I bought the left one ages ago. It has a slot in the front for cards etc. The blue leather case was a birthday gift from Anne. If you peer closely, you'll see a very cute robin embossed on it. Birdie!

My customised iPhone skin created using Gelaskins, along with an accompanying wallpaper. As you can see, other customisations took me till 2am in the morning. Phew.

Although I was very tempted to choose a design including 2 hawt bishonens, I decided to go with a safer theme.
Here's Chiaki and Nodame, from Nodame Cantabile, chillaxing in a café in Paris.

In one night, I had pumped the iPod with vids and songs. Majority K-pop. Yeeeah.

Onew ♥ My photo gallery is filled with pictures of him only. For now.

My current ringtone is one of SHINee's songs. All's right with the world. Current count: 8 apps and 2 games. I had to create a Japanese iTunes account, and I find it weird that apps are limited to countries. Now downloading Taiko Drums, woo hoo.