Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Feather Boa; Nokia Geopolitical Chaos; video phone

Henri Toulouse Lautrec, 'Woman with a black feather boa'

Hello Gentle Reader, 

Easy with the typing today, our heads are pounding here in HK…

Regs and I painted the town red the other night, finding and dancing up a storm in all the best, and the sleaziest too (although that is a separate category, for us at least), nightclubs in Central and in Wan Chai, here in Hong Kong. 

Oh, and goodness gracious me, we found the greatest bar ever.  It's called the Feather Boa. 

They have gold lamé sheeting on the ceiling, densely packed reproductions of old masters, usually with female themes, and great drinks.  

There is no name on the outside of the building and no number either.  

This is a locals only place.  

If you don't know where it is, too bad.  You have to be hip to enter. 

But, let me get back to the drinks.  These were the greatest drinks ever concocted.

The Gun Lake Mojito is a fine, fine drink, but the Feather Boa (the name for the unnamed club) serves drinks in which the martini glasses are entirely coated, on the outside, with chocolate powder.

I was in heaven.

Strangely, nobody else was licking the outsides of their glasses, but these were truly fantastic drinks.  

The contents of the glasses were pretty good too.  Mango Margarita with chocolate frosting... I mean how more right can you get in this world?

These, my friends, are very fine drinks.

If you visit, and are hip enough, I just might take you out on the town... Andrew and Jennifer in Vancouver, I thought that you guys had to come visit just because of the fantastic door handles and modern Gothic decor in the lobby of our apartment, but Andrew, you need to try these drinks. 

Oh, and Cirque du Soleil's new show over in Macau costs about 20% of the price of our tickets in Las Vegas.

Two weekends ago we headed off to that iniquitous gambling den, Macau, to have Macau egg tarts and explore the city with two new friends, Astrid and Fabio, that we met last week.  

Astrid introduced us to the Feather Boa which I discussed in the previous paragraph, so you know that these are fine and upstanding people.

As per the gambling, well, the last time that I took Regina gambling I discovered her interesting plan for making wads of cash. 

You know how when you enter a casino you are supposed to decide how much money you are willing to lose in one pocket, and then put your winnings in another pocket, never to be touched until the end of evening?  

Well, that is the rational approach to doing things.   Therefore, it is also obviously not what my wife does.  

Regina likes to "reinvest" the other pocket.... enough said.  

Suffice to say the Sugar Daddy Chris had to cut somebody off... somebody who wanted more money to "invest".  

Remembering that Regina used to be a banker, I understand the whole subprime debacle, and how we entered it, so much better...

Hmmm, we are keenly exploring the Dim Sum of Hong Kong.  I picked up a book of Dim Sum recipes that I dearly want to try out.  

Will someone please explain to Regina that pork is actually a vegetable? 

Oh, and for those who are asking, I am shedding the international man of leisure persona.  I have already had my first interview.

So things are moving and grooving in Hong Kong.

Oh, and speaking of grooving, or at least groovy, I have a cell phone.  A NEW cell phone, not a hand-me-down from friends exasperated with my inability or unwillingness (definitely unwillingness) to accommodate technology into my life.  So I have a phone. 

I have a Nokia phone, to be precise, which I bought because I am pretty sure that I promised Tero (from Nokia aka Finland SA) that I would buy Nokia when I finally succumbed and bought a new phone.  

But, Tero, you need to come here to show me how to use the darn thing--especially the GPS functions.  

Also, I believe that I may have launched those missiles in Iran last month.  

Sorry everyone, but lets blame Nokia for really crap user manuals combined with super powerful phones.  

I was thinking of calculating how many more times powerful my Nokia handset is compared to, say ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator), allegedly the first electronic computer built, specifically by Presper Eckhert and John Maunchley of the University of Pennsylvania.  

For historical accuracy I note that the "allegedly" caveat is there for the sake of the less well known Colossus machine designed by Max Newman and built by Tommy Flowers in December 1943 for Bletchley Park, the hub of British and Commonwealth cryptography and cipher-breaking, because it was kept secret as it was breaking the Enigma code.  

But then I thought that no one really likes my digressions, and this post is getting a bit long...

On Aug 11 we were to get our land line, for the third time.  

That has been postponed until today, the 13th.  

Maybe Switzerland DID deserve its rating at the most competitive country in the world a year or two ago...  

But, when we do get our phone we will have a video phone!  I think that for once in the last 10 years, besides my jeans, I am ahead of the curve.  Video phone lines babies, we are living life large here in HK.  

Eat your hearts out, Jetsons.

Family tableaux of the Jetsons, a futuristic American cartoon family firmly rooted in the fifties mores of 'Leave It To Beaver'
(Non-Americans and Non-Canadians do not seem to know of the Jetsons.) 

Of course, nobody else that I know has a video phone, but in the world of bettering the neighbours, well, I think I will have finally won.

And with that, Chris, Regs, and the ever more corpulent and unusually somnambulent Pommes bid you a fond farewell, until the next time that electronic stylus takes to electronic paper.

Cheers, adieu, zaijian, und Tschuess
Chris, Regs, and Pommes

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fine Plan / Fire Plan; too much stuff

night time skyline of Victoria Harbour, HK,

DISCLAIMER:  Sigh, another post. Put down the phone and devote your full attention, or store to savour later. There is a slightly egocentric side to this post, in that the writer assumes that anybody cares in the slightest what is up with Regina and Chris. (The writer knows that everyone is clamouring to know more of the exploits of Pommes der Wunderkatzchen, sorry none in this post.)  DISCLAIMER END

Dear Gentle Reader,

Hello from the The Pinnacle where we are overlooking green park space (Signal Hill Park), blue water, and the ever idyllic Hong Kong Victoria Harbour (see above at night) awash with gently bobbing watercraft of all shapes and sizes (I should be a copy editor for Hong Kong Tourism).

We are now fully moved into our new apartment in Hong Kong; we have internet access via our non-firewalled neighbours...

So, I was gmail chatting with a friend the other day and idly commented on the sheer volume of stuff that Regina makes me haul around from country to country. 

There was an intake of breath that I sensed across the internet.  Obviously there were to follow words of condolence and empathy because I, of course, am known as an inveterate Zen minimalist.  Especially in the household "things" department.

Suddenly, to my infinite amazement, said friend (the invidious Steven L.) seemed to imply, actually, he flat out stated, that I am a pack rat.

Pack rat?  Pachyderm if anything, with my prodigious memory and smooth, unwrinkled skin... 

(Aside: Yes Regina, I have found the facial cream and will start using it.  

And when exactly did male wrinkles stop being cool, anyways?  

I desperately wanted to look like Robert Redford as a young man.  

I would stand in the frigid Albertan and Saskatchewan winters making absurd faces with exaggerated wrinkles, licking my cheeks to chap them, hoping the cold and dry would help my skin "set" to stay like that, just like parents around the world warn their kids about.  

And now my wife henpecks me to put skin cream moisturizer on.  Go figure. 

Aside Over.)

Anyway, back to my point about the mess in the house. 

I hold that I can blame Regina for making me carry all the stuff, like skin cream junk that clutters up our house, around from country to country and from house to house.  

Therefore, by extension, Regina is unequivocally responsible for the accumulation of unnecessary stuff cluttering up our house.  

Except of course for the wickedly cool stuff that I collect.  If you are appreciating it when you enter the house, that's my stuff.

But what a lot of stuff there is, no matter whom is responsible for it.  

I knew there was trouble when the movers came into the house, looked at each other, looked at me, and then laughed.  

I especially knew I was in trouble when the rooms were full of boxes (by full, I mean that there were no interstitial spaces to squeeze more boxes or bodies or Minotaurs into) and the moving guys said that they wanted to take a lunch break...  

And then they said, and this is where I became a bit nervous, "and we'll unload the second truck... the other half of your shipment... after lunch"...

I am sure my neighbours loved threading and wriggling their corpulent bodies through the tiny gaps in the hallways to get to what they considered their rooms.  

The good gentlemen from the concierge desks downstairs (yes, that was meant to be in the plural) came up to have a chat with me about the situation and how I intended to deal with it.  

I explained, repeatedly, that things would take a bit of time, but that I had a plan.  

They kept saying "Fine Plan, fine plan" back to me, in a curiously concerned fashion, and I would reply,"Yes, fine plan, its a fine plan" back to placate and mollify them.  

Only it didn't seem to work; the concierges never seemed to be mollified by my repetition of "fine plan" back to them.

It took me a day or three to realize that the concierge SWAT team were saying either "Fire Plan" or "Fire Man" and they considered the cardboard obelisk garden which I had created in the common space hallway to be some type of impediment to people, or even a fire risk.  

Sheesh, nobody appreciates impermanent art anymore.  

If only I had had some formaldehyde and a shark.

Anyway, things are looking up.  

I have been ruthlessly culling things.  

I even evacuated the Swiss Dust Bunny collection that I had imported here at great personal cost and in flagrant violation of the CITES convention (Convention on the International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna).  

(They appear to be multiplying in the streets; I am of course implicitly referring to the Swiss Dust Bunnies.  The only places where international conventions multiply in the streets are in Geneva or in New York.) 

We purchased two more armoires, and are getting some shelf-holder-upper-metal-tabbie-thingamiggers (see, my German is improving) sent to us by the ineffably wonderful Fabilicious to put more shelves and hence more things into one of the older armoires.  

This place will be almost as shipshape as a yacht when we are finished.  So, guests, come on over to check it all out.

My Dad is supposedly coming over soon, as is Fab, but others are strangely silent.  It's really nice here.  

I found the going away picture book that Nicole, Arne, und Julia made for us and there is a section in it for pictures of Genevusians (the technical way of describing people who live in Geneva as opposed to those who have been born and raised in it) who visit HK.  

These pages won't fill themselves, kiddos.  Get busy, visit, and pose for photos.  And Inga, don't think that a broken arm is going to get you off of your impending visit here with your Mom.

Lets call that a day, Gentle Reader, and we will see what comes next week.


Chris, Regina, and Pommes