darthfar: (Default)
BEIJING-SUZHOU-HANGZHOU-XITANG-SHANGHAI TRIP 2011

PART 2: SUZHOU (7 - 8 SEPT)

Suzhou Day 1

A horde of zombies shuffled mindlessly out of the hotel in the wee hours of the morning. It was us. We'd all been driven out of our warm, comfortable beds at five minutes to five by the Morning Call (and some  had even gotten up at half past four so that they wouldn't have to fight for bathroom time)  so that we could be on the coach at half past five to catch the eight o'clock flight to Shanghai. Mercifully, the hotel kitchen staff had agreed to rise early to pack breakfast for us (buns, jam, cherry tomatoes, boiled eggs, sausages and milk) because the food we were served on board China Eastern would've appealed only to a masochist on a diet.


This wins Farsky Fusspot's Award for Worst Food Ever Served on an Airplane: Congee, seaweed, and a bun that tasted like compressed layers of old, mildewed cardboard, stuffed with mystery meat.

Read more... )

Next: Hangzhou.

Previously: Beijing.
darthfar: (Default)
So I got back from China on Monday morning, slept for six hours straight, spent another day recuperating - and now that my 900+ photos are sorted out, and selected pictures have been cropped and resized, it's time for sharing!
(Epic picspam follows. Open at your own risk).

Read more... )

Up next: Suzhou-Hangzhou.
darthfar: (Default)
Well, I'm back from vacation... and it's only taken me all of four days to get around to updating. *facepalm*

Things acquired

Books

- Galactic North (Alastair Reynolds)
- Revelation Space (Alastair Reynolds)
- Redemption Ark (Alastair Reynolds)
- Absolution Gap (Alastair Reynolds)
[Are you seeing a pattern here? I haven't fallen this hard for an author's books since I found Asimov at age 14. -Okay, so Arthur Clarke came really close-. It's just that case of finding an author whom you're so comfortable with that you'll readily buy *any* book they come out with. And really, I'm a big sucker for old fashioned space opera, with a generous side of technology. Side note: The bookstore I went to had EVERY book Reynolds ever published, and I can't tell you just how tempting it was to buy the whole lot all at once.]

- Lost & Found (Shaun Tan): I loved ST's graphic novel, The Arrival (which is one of the genre's most beautiful books ever published), and I love his art style; this is an opportunity to see how the man works with colours for a change.

- Hellblazer: Original Sins: Seriously? Getting started on the Hellblazer series is a bad, bad, bad idea because it just about runs forever. But I'm a big fan of the fellow from his appearances in the Tim Hunter comics (and that's the original blond, womanising bloke from Liverpool, thank you very much. Not Keanu Reeves), so it sort of makes sense to transition from BoM/NoM/AoM to Hellblazer. I think.

- The First Three Minutes (Steven Weinberg): There's just no escaping Weinberg, and Sean Carroll's From Here to Eternity (which I read on vacation. Yes, my idea of a vacation is reading physics books, apparently) was just the umpteenth reminder how I should track down his book on the early universe, once and for all.

- The Eerie Silence: Searching for Ourselves in the Universe (Paul Davies): Just because I hero-worship Stephen Hawking, it doesn't mean I necessarily frown upon making contact with aliens either, haha. The book synopsis alone makes me think of Sagan's work, and his theories on what form extraterrestrial life would take... and that invocation of the memory of Sagan alone is about enough to sell me a book.

- Post Captain (Patrick O'Brien): I would have gotten HMS Surprise as well, but would you believe it... the bookstore had EVERY book in the Aubrey-Maturin series BUT HMS Surprise. *facepalm*

Electronics & Misc

- GARMIN nuvi 2465 GPS navigator: Because I couldn't find my way around the block on my own if I tried. KIDDING. ... Okay, not really. My mother's constant worry is that someday I'll miss a turn and  find myself on the other end of the country. At least now if I do, I can blame it on a little GPS device for getting me lost.

- The Sims 3 Late Night: Okay, so I caved in. I have every expansion set that ever came out for TS1 and TS2, and it looks like the same is going to be true of TS3; compulsion keeps me collecting, even if the sensible voice in my head screams, "NO, not again!" Considering that the last ten games I've played consisted of a player character brutally maiming and killing other characters (or, in the case of Amnesia, the other way around), LN is a nice change of pace, *and* I get new Build/Buy stuff for my architecture/interior design obsession. Oh wait, I kill Sims too. Never mind.

- The Complete National Geographic: Every issue from 1888 to 2009, on six DVDs. I have no idea how long it'll take me to put even a dent in the 8,000+ articles in the collection, but I figure it's always good to have the whole set at your fingertips, right? Not to mention... 200,000 photos' worth of pic reference. I'm such a magpie.

- Pandemonium Tour CD+DVD (Pet Shop Boys): Home for four days, and I'm already burning a hole in this. ;) [But seriously, Neil Tennant, what the hell's with the dancing Christmas trees? ROFL]
darthfar: (Default)
So I'm back from vacation. And, being the veritable garden of infection that I was, I have also probably managed to spread whatever it was that my respiratory tract was harbouring to... oh, between a few tens to a few hundred people. [chuckle]

Snippety snip  )

The lion dance performance. Pretty nifty, for anyone who's never seen it before. Unfortunately, I filmed this on the 1st floor walkway, so the drumming is muted; it was either that, or film it on the ground floor for better audio... and capture only the tops of people's heads. ;)



More on acquisitions )

[NOTE: I've just discovered, thanks to Wikipedia, that Dick Winters passed away on the 2nd of January this year. :-(( There'll be a tribute painting at some point, if I can fit it in my schedule.]
darthfar: (Default)
I'm leaving on vacation tomorrow. So how do I prepare for the trip? By mysteriously acquiring a cough and a sore throat, and effectively losing my voice. I guess I'll have some extra buddies to bring with me after all, aheheh.

Also: What do you do when your lungs are rattling, your throat feels like it's gone ten rounds with a cheese grater, and you want to paint something but you know you haven't the time to embark on any big projects? Why, by starting *two* ridiculous projects, which thereby guarantees you'll be able to finish neither before you leave:



What started out as an exercise in low camera angles wound up becoming... this. WTF Propaganda poster? It certainly seems to be leaning in that direction.

[Oh, and that musket's actually based on Montgomery, just with a longer barrel; I haven't an actual musket to model for me. >.<]



I don't know what possessed me to even *think* of doing this. Yes, I'm quite mad, thank you. Or at least I shall be once I start painting the goddamn metals!
darthfar: (Default)
I had a blast at Singapore's Universal Studios theme park last Thursday - even more so, since we very nearly didn't get in. Seriously. Apparently, the park had limited tickets for each day (to keep the place from overflowing at the brim), so when we got there at lunchtime, we were greeted by the incredibly exciting marquees, "TICKETS SOLD OUT FOR TODAY." I could've unleashed a flight of dragons upon the place. Fortunately, my Singaporean aunt, being a casino gold card holder, managed to get her casino contact to arrange for us to get two tickets into Universal Studios.




Massive picspam follows. Proceed at your own risk.

I'm serious )
darthfar: (Default)
Just a short note to say that I'll be in Sangeypore until Saturday the 26th. See you when I get back.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HERE I COME.

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