There are no direct flights from Brisbane to Sapporo. We would’ve had to transfer somewhere (Tokyo/Osaka or somewhere else in Asia), and, from what I remember, that usually involved an overnight wait, so I made the executive decision to stop in Tokyo for a couple of nights before heading north to Hokkaido.
It is finally cold here. In the last few days, the temperature has dropped, the chill has set in, and it is finally cold.
It’s the sort of cold that makes me shiver and makes my teeth chatter. It’s the sort of cold that makes my fingers freeze as I type, and makes me contemplate searching for my gloves (but I probably won’t). It’s the sort of cold that gives me hope that maybe – just maybe – we will have a “proper” winter this year.
It is gloriously cold.
I am absolutely loving this cold weather we’re having right now. It’s pretty much right in the middle of winter, so it’s perfect. I was really getting worried that we wouldn’t get a proper winter at all this year, but – ta da! – here it is.
To clarify, “cold” here is about 4-6 degrees Celsius overnight. (I’m not too sure what the daytime maximum has been because I actually don’t check the weather reports much, and I’m inside all day, anyway.) This morning was perfect: beautiful blue sky streaked with wispy clouds, no/minimal wind, and the air fogging up in front of me with every breath… If I could’ve taken the morning off work just to sit in the sunshine and read a book, or just do some cloud-gazing while sipping a cup of coffee, I think that would’ve been a morning well-spent.
But I had an important delivery to make.
Yesterday, two colleagues of mine were just having a bit of playful banter (nothing unusual). I happened to be in the vicinity, so was brought into it, and got asked to bring in food for one of them, “for tomorrow”, which was today. This went back and forth for a bit, then evolved into bringing cake in, and we were all deflecting the responsibility, and the result was inconclusive (two of us had finished for the day and were on our way out).
On my way home, I thought about it some more, Googled some recipes, and found a simple one for sticky date pudding. I’d settled on sticky date pudding for two reasons: (1) I knew I had plenty of dates at home, and (2) GI said she’d never had sticky date pudding before.
Once I was at home, I was actually a bit ambivalent about the whole thing. It was already a bit late by the time I finished dinner… I needed to sleep earlier… No one was really expecting me to act on this request for cake… But I thought about it some more and, in the time it took to clean up the kitchen a bit while watching MasterChef, I’d made up my mind: this pud was getting baked tonight!
I might post the recipe, but this is not about the recipe or the baking process. There are two things I want to remember from this:
One: As Marco Pierre White (who’s been a guest mentor on MasterChef this week) says: “A good cook cooks for others”. I think the cooking experience is more enjoyable and more purposeful when cooking for a particular friend or family member. Whether the end product turns out better…? Well, I suppose it’s been proven true time and again.
Two: This is something I learnt from a friend (I credit it to her, anyway), and was probably the main reason why I decided to just go ahead and make this impromptu cake. I think that it’s kind of somewhere between that mantra of “being as nice as you can, to as many people as you can, in as many ways as you can” and the one about living with no regrets. Basically, I asked myself if I would regret attempting to make this cake more than I would regret missing this opportunity to do something nice for someone who’s been absolutely delightful to work with. (Side note: there’s no real special occasion for this, hence “impromptu cake”.)
Well, the answer was obvious and, despite getting to bed later than I should have, and having a bit of a restless night’s sleep (my subconscious always worries a lot about whether people will like my creations; also, it was a tad chilly last night), I do not regret my decision in the least. Not because she said it was delicious or because another colleague said it’s probably the best cake I’ve ever brought in to work – well, ok, partly for those reasons… but mostly because of how almost-childishly-happy she was when she discovered that I’d actually gone ahead and made the sticky date pudding just for her.
It was quite warm on the week-end. Not uncomfortably so (not really anyway) but quite warm. Monday was ok, but then yesterday it suddenly got really cold. I think it was the first time this year that I actually thought “yes, winter is coming!”
I’m sure that I’ve mentioned in previous posts that winter is, in fact, my most favourite season of the year. Well, winter and autumn. Suffer through a Brisbane summer and you’ll understand why. Anyway, that’s why this change in weather has me quite excited. While other people are complaining about how cold it is, I’m just embracing it. It’s positively invigorating (although I will concede that it is anything but invigorating when you’ve just woken up and there’s no sunlight but you have to get up and go to work).
We did have a bit of a cold snap a week or two ago, but then it suddenly got warm again, so it was kind of a false alarm. It didn’t last very long either, and you could kind of tell that it was just a bit of a tease.
On to other matters, I also started watching Game of Thrones on the week-end. Yes, trust me to take three days to post about something that happened on the week-end. (I still haven’t gotten around to posting about “Wicked”, which I saw a month ago…) And, yes, by “started watching” I do mean season 1, episode 1.
A lot of people I know watch GOT, so I suppose it was kind of peer pressure, but I like to think that it wasn’t really peer pressure because I resisted for so long, and it was really my own choosing to watch it in the end (mostly). I generally don’t buy into hype, and prefer to wait for it to die down a bit before checking out a new book/movie/tv show/whatever. (It’s possibly why I haven’t seen a movie in the cinemas for over a year. Well, that and the fact that cinemas are expensive, and I’m usually too busy with work and other things anyway.)
So, with some new episodes of GOT released last week (or accidentally leaked, as I was informed), a colleague at work talked me into finally starting on GOT. I watched three episodes total and, actually, I think it was alright. A lot of people have told me previously that it’s just a whole lot of sex and violence, so I was kind of prepared for that. And I’ve been told that there are a lot of characters and different stories and people dying just as you’re starting to like them… But, apart from not being able to remember all of the characters’ names, I’m finding it not that hard to follow.
All in all, I suppose GOT has my tick of approval. But I’m not someone who can just sit in front of a TV or computer for a whole day (and night) and marathon a TV series, so I’m going to wait for the week-end or some other day to continue watching it. Well, that’s if I continue watching it. This won’t be intentional; it just seems like I’m also not very good at committing to watching complete series.
Well, either way, it kind of seems appropriate to start watching it now – what with our winer approaching, and their winter approaching (except that their winters can supposedly last for years – doesn’t that sound magnificent?)
I’m not entirely sure why, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Matchbox Twenty this last week or so. I must have heard one of their songs somewhere and then I subconsciously decided that I only want to listen to their music. I haven’t even played any solo Rob Thomas songs…
Well, I went to search for their MVs on YouTube, and ended up watching some acoustic performances too. I tend to like original versions better than remixes and covers and whatnot, but there’s just something about acoustic performances/versions of songs that just really work for me.
This is kind of off-topic, but whenever I think of acoustic songs, I always think of Big Bang’s “Haru haru” (Korean song). I do like the original, but I reckon the acoustic version is actually better.
My most favourite MB20 song has always been “Unwell”. It probably still is, but now that I’ve gone back through a lot of their other songs, “Bright lights”, “3am” and “If you’re gone” are now in hot contention for top spot. I do also like “Mad season” but I haven’t been listening to it as much as the aforementioned songs. On my YouTube expedition through their discography, I also found out that “3am” was actually written by Rob Thomas about his mother and her experience with cancer. Just some random trivia for you…
Also, just randomly, I’m trying out this “schedule post” thing, where you can write a post and then have it automatically published at a later time/date. I still consider myself to be relatively new to WP (mostly because I don’t really explore everything I can do here), so I only happened to read about this feature the other day. This could make my post-per-week thing easier. It also kind of feels like cheating, though…
But I’m justifying it (for this time, at least) by the fact that I’ve already posted twice this week – well, it’ll be last week by the time this is published.
Also, just wanted to note that this last week-end, the first week-end of May, was amazingly cold and beautifully sunny. (See also, tweet from Day 3 of my 100 Happy Days challenge. Speaking of which, I think I’ve done alright so far, but I forgot to tag my Day 3 tweet, and ended up having to re-post it after midnight. Yeah, I was tired and couldn’t figure out if there was an “edit tweet” option, so I made the executive decision to – yeah, I don’t know why I’m describing this here… Maybe this new 140 character limitation has back-logged a crazy jumble of words in my mind, just waiting for an outlet…)
Anyway, I still consider May to be part of Autumn (I only mention that because there are people who would disagree) but I feel like this is a good sign that we’re going to have a fantastic Winter! The main downsides are that it gets dark earlier, and also the air is more dry in addition to being colder. As a result of this, it’s a bit more difficult to see where I’m running (because the park lighting doesn’t always turn on at sunset, or at all) and breathing is not as pleasant… But at least I know I won’t be dripping with sweat after just a few hundred metres…
Well, what a change this has been… Yesterday I was out enjoying the beautiful sunshine and unseasonably warm weather at the Regional Flavours Festival, feeling like it was Spring time already, and today the weather has completely turned around so that it’s back to being freezing cold and wet and bleary.
I’m certainly not complaining, though. It seems to be far too often that there’s miserable weather over the week-end, which only clears up with Monday morning sun. It’s kind of nice to have perfect Sunday weather that only turns sour after the week-end has been thoroughly enjoyed.
However, to be fair, although rainy days can sometimes make me quite restless, I do like to use them as an excuse to stay at home, curled up with a good book.
The book I’m reading now is ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ (Patrick Rothfuss), the sequel to ‘The Name of the Wind’. Actually, I’m kind of reading two books at the same time because ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ is way too big to be taking to and from work every day, so I’ve been reading ‘Great Expectations’ (Charles Dickens) on my commutes and lunch breaks instead.
I have read ‘Great Expectations’ before but it was such a long time ago that I can hardly remember anything about the novel other than the fact that I really, really liked it. And so, I decided it was about time I re-read it.
I think I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I don’t usually read more than one book at a time, but I’ve found that it’s been ok reading these two together. I assume it’s because they are so different that it’s easier for me to switch my mind between the two. I really want to finish reading ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’, though – not only because it’s due back at the library soon, but also because it’s such a good read. Sometimes I find myself marvelling at how much clever detail is in the characters, the places and the story itself.