Sunday, November 26, 2006
We took the day off to do our Christmas shopping. Since Julien, Anna and the kids are over for Christmas, I bought Jacques some nice winter clothes, a jacket, corduroy trousers, and a jumper from Gap Kids, all in dark blue-grey shade. I bought some coocooning items for the house, and a gorgeous long black gala dinner dress from Monsoon for the office Christmas party and the kick-off meeting Gala dinner in Vienna next year; I was hesitating because of the price, but I will have many opportunities to wear it and Alex did think I looked gorgeous in it. I got a choker matching. I also bought Anna's present, and Uncle's.
On Saturday the shopping spree continued with toys for the nephews, it was difficult not to buy everything up on the shelves. I think it's because I'd like to play with all these toys. But I was very good and stuck to my budget. I also found the perfect persent for mom and dad. I am still missing the special birthday present for Caroline and a little something for Cheryl. I already had Alex' present, I was looking for a second one, but did not find it. After the shopping, Alex and I met in a cafe, and he had three presents for me!!! I'm spoilled.
Muse is playing in Wembley, and I love them so much and they put up such a great show at the Reading festival this summer that we had to go watch them again. Wembley is a very nice stadium. (I will put up the pictures of the arch later, they're in Alex phone.), and the crowd was very well managed. On the other hand, Alex noticed that it was an older crowd (e.g. our age) instead of a often-rude younger crowd, so we really enjoyed the 2 hour show to the fullest. Muse were brilliant as ever, they had their space theme, which dominated their last two albums and all their music videos. It was an excellent show, just as good as Radiohead.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Tuesday night, when I landed I bid Nick goodbye at the airport and made my way to London, since Barclays layers were invited with their spouse at a private exhibition of modern art.
This included a fun exhibition from Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss of modern paintings depicting objects in equilibrum on top of one another, and clay models with funny description, one I remember was "Dr Spot staring at his planet Vulcan with great sadness that he could not have any feelings."
There were also some great tubes, called the The Unilever Series created by Carsten Höller where people can slide down, they're beautiful structures and it was very thrilling, I went down the medium one and got really frightened, it was a lot faster than I had expected, I tensed so much that I gave myself a back ache for the next three days. Alex was a lot more brave and went down two of the larger slides.
It was nice meeting Alex colleagues as well, I met his boss and fiance Nikki, a lovely girl, I liked her, she could really appreciate these beautiful places of London as much as I did, we spoke about the cathedral of St Paul for fifteen minutes. I also met Sophie the New-Zealand colleague who is one overly excited person, but much fun, she bombarded me with techy questions about our products and internet security.
The next day when I went to the office, my young colleague Hannah said she heard about that exhibition at Tate Modern and just knew I was going to go. It pleases me that she associates me with everything that is cultural.
On Monday and Tuesday I was off to Germany to attend a training on the systems setup by the German sales office. These were very good systems although most of them would need to be customized before being implemented in the UK region. It was interesting nonetheless. Over dinner, my colleagues who are all more senior than I in the company were reminiscing about how great the past Kick-Off meetings had been. In the past four years they have been to Berlin, Lisbon, Athens, Nice and Johannesburg. I can't believe I have missed all these great places... Kick Off meeting 2007 is Vienna, although it is another amazing place and that I have very fond memories of Vienna, I've been there many times and could probably volunteer as the tour guide. Oh well, I will have to wait for 2008 to discover a new amazing place.
It was a very good meeting, and I was glad I had long chats with Nick, because we never chatted much about anything else but work, while here I told him about all the places I've lived and he told me about his family and background. It was also nice seeing Fabrizio and Luis again and meeting more colleagues from the other offices.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
I have just updated my last blog entry with my top 10 favorite albums ever. As I did my list with Alex, I asked him to do one, he was a lot less indecisive than I was and ... I've lost his list, so I'll update this later. But his number 1 and even I would have guessed it is Radiohead Ok Computer. A brilliantly morbid album.
Friday, November 10, 2006
A couple of weeks ago, Channel 4 presented the top 100 best music album ever. Alex and I both did our top 10 favorite albums separatly, it was personal we were not trying to guess what the program's top 10 was. Incidentally Alex top 10 had 5 albums in common with their top 10, including the No.1 ever favorite Radiohead OK Computer, and all his 10 albums were in the list. Alex never ceased to amaze me with my taste and knowledge in music.
In my case only 3 of my favorite albums featured in the list, I never thought I had indie taste, but I do love the road less travelled. I struggled putting together a list of 10 favorite albums, there are albums that I loved and listened to over and over again.
At number 10, there is a whole list of album pushing to make the list including Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Fever to Tell), Mew (Frengers), Beastie Boys (Licensed to Ill), Primal Scream (Screamadelica), and more albums by the same artists in the top 9, and after careful consideration (eenie, meenie, minie, mo)...
10. Divine Comedy - Casanova
9. Coldplay - Parachutes
8. Depeche Mode - Songs of faith and Devotion (the first concert I went to)
7. Siouxsie and The Banshees - Peep Show
6. The Cure - Starring at the Sea
5. Gene - Drawn to the Deep End
4. David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust
3. Muse - Absolution
2. The Strokes - Rooms on Fire
And my favorite of the moment
1. Interpol - Antics
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
On Saturday evening, Alex and I went up to London and met up Dan and Julie at their home before making our way to Battersea Park to enjoy the fireworks.
It was very nice, they had a space theme, and had the lights just like in Close Encounters and the music too, and I kind of expected a space ship to land any minute but it did not happen, instead the fireworks started and it was alright, I've seen better fireworks but the music was cool, lots of my favourite songs: Muse Supermassive black hole and Starlight and David Bowie Starman and even Babylon Zoo Spaceman.
I could go on explaining why there were fireworks in the middle of Autumn, but this wikipedia story will do the job just fine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes
Monday, November 06, 2006
On Friday night i drove to St Albans after work, I expected bad traffic but by 6 O'clock i was parking up their house, so i played with little Jaya. She's such a lovely child and eats very well. For her dinner she had pasta, french beans and tofu and ate it all. The weather was very cold so when Alex arrived at the station, Jamie and I picked him up and later, when Julie, Natasha and Ian arrived at the station I drove out to pick them up, Dan drove himself and arrived later. Seema had prepared a Spanish dinner which was lovely and after dinner we had another round of Cranium. This game is just so much fun, this time, we played girls against boys, the boys won but not by much and in our defence Julie was not well so she did not play, I surprised myself to be fairly good at humming since the girls guessed the songs and at play-dough since Seema recognised the Wembley stadium. The evening finished late and I drove the 55 miles back home, with a small detour to Wimbledon to drop off Ian and Natasha. It was very much fun and I will have to organise a dinner party to return the invite, I might have to invest in Cranium since it is the fun highlight of dinner parties.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
After work, I stocked up on chocolate bars in case my little South African neighbours came by 'trick or treat'ing. And that was a clever move because just a few minutes after I came home, I had seven little devils knocking at my door, a few three-apples tall witches and Flash Gordon, and a few more wizzards, I distributed my chocolate and said goodbye to the moms also dressed up as witches. I closed the door and walked to the kitchen, when I heard another knock, so I opened the door again, and it was a mom asking if I had seen her son, so I walked into the living room and there was little Flash Gordon cosily seating on the sofa eating his sweeties. That made me laugh so much, I can't imagine how surprised I'd have been if I had walked back into the living room not expecting anyone there. The mom was obviously very relieved and thankful... it still makes me laugh.
Ramadan has ended and Natasha and Grant invited us over for dinner to celebrate Hari Raya with her friends Sharifa and Kenneth. Natasha cooked Nasi Lemak (it's literally 'fat rice' and consists of rice cooked in fat, served with hard boiled eggs, a spicy sauce, fried chicken, beef rendang and ikan bilis 'salted dried fish') it was very authentic and lovely. It was great company too, Natasha and Alex are both lawyers, that's how they met, Grant is in IT like me, Sharifah works for a statistics agency and Kenneth is a doctor aspiring to be a plastic surgeon. And besides Alex, Kenneth, Natasha and Sharifah all being from KL, all of us are mixed couples which give us something else in common.
After dinner we played Cranium, it was a very fun way to spend the evening doing charades, acting, humming, drawing with our eyes closed and spelling weird words backwards among other silly activities. The three-hour long game took us to the late hours of the night, after which the boys watched football highlights and us girls watched the movie Closer (wihtout the volume, but we don't volume to watch Natalie Portman doing her strip tease for Clive Owen), and went on to an hypothetical conversation about whether we'd rather spend the rest of our lives with a poet who makes our heart race or a doctor who leaves us stoic but is rich and can provide a comfortable life... Natasha went for the doctor, I went for the poet and Sharifah could not decide. lol. Mind you if the doctor is Clive Owen and the poet Jude Law, like in the movie, I'd run away with the doctor anytime!
It was a great evening and I look forward to seeing them again, we don't have a dining area, but our living room is big and cosy, so I might invite them next, I'd cook them Curry Mee.