Friday, December 30, 2005

Tired

I wanna post something but i don't have the energy to write right now. And i can't even do a lazy post with lotsa pics coz i don't have my camera atm.

Happy New Year everyone.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

That time of year again

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I can't believe the end of another year is drawing close again.. I don't think i've even really let go of 2004 yet. It feels like i've blinked and 2005 is about to go by as well. It's sort of scary how each year seems to go by quicker than the last.

I was feeling quite nostalgic tonite so i've spent the last hour or so re-reading my posts from this time last year. Reading my own blog always brings a smile to my face (on the inside) - because it brings back so many happy memories. And also i guess because when i wrote a lot of those posts i remember wondering what i'd think when i re-read them a week, or a month, or a year later; and now i know.

Anyway that's all from me for now. I'll save my normal 'what have i been up to' update for next post. Take care everybody.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A New Melbourne for 4 Days

Yuki came to visit on Thursday so i've spent the last couple of days being tour guide and seeing the sights around my home town. It's actually really fun taking a second look at the things you see almost every day with someone who's there for the first time.

It's so easy to forget Melbourne is actually a very scenic little city when you're living here... Anyway i don't feel like writing much right now so i'll just let the pictures do the talking.

Melbourne Uni Archways


Yuki and her camera in Crown's Atrium


Crown from the Rialto


Our favourite mud-beach in Phillip Island... (inside joke, don't worry)


A beach with some sand ... pity it was so overcast tho


I found this quite funny


Okay, okay, a little bit of writing for all you ppl who like to read stuff...

The Penguin Parade (as it is called) was amazing. Definitely recommended to anyone wanting a bit of time out of Melbourne. The drive down is quite pleasant and not too far really. But the penguins themselves (now apparently called 'little' penguins rather than fairy penguins) are sooo damn cute. We weren't allowed to take any photos at the actual parade, though there was quite a selection of professional shots you could buy in the gift shop.

As a result, this is all i have to show from what was probably the most fun thing in the last 4 days: Penguin photos and a map of Phillip Island on a brown paper bag


It's been a long time since i've had that much fun.

Another thing without photographic evidence was our attempt at rowing the next day. After spending altogether too long on our BBQ (looking back, leaving B and Yuki to cook sausages might not have been the best time-saving idea haha), we got to the place with only half an hour to spend on the water.

5 of us in one row boat = 2 trying to row + 3 of us laughing. Not surprisingly i don't think we went more than about 50 metres by the time it was time to turn back. It was lots of fun nonetheless.

Garry Bernard and Yuki squished in the backseat on the way ahha


We did go for a short walk after which was more than pleasant (which doubled as giving Garry some time to dry off after his rowing efforts) and gave me a chance to take some photos.

Kanes Bridge at Yarra Bend Park


Us on the bridge


The Yarra


Went clubbing that night. That sort of killed the next morning, but we managed to have a bit of a wander around the city in the afternoon. Dinner was at home before we headed out to see the Christmas lights in Ivanhoe. On the way we randomly ended up watching a fireworks display right next to my house which Yuki took some beautiful photos of... Mine didn't come out so well. Anyway, that's about the extent of my writing energy so on to the pics:

Christmas lights near my house


Christmas lights at the Boulevard, Ivanhoe


More christmas lights at the Boulevard


Robot Bar


The Royal Exhibition Building is really beautiful when it's not exam time...


Yuki and I outside the Melbourne Museum/Imax


Time goes all too quickly when you're having fun.

由紀、メルボルンで楽しんでもらえただろうか。シドニーじゃなくてこっちのほうに留学すればよかったのに(笑)。この四日間一緒に楽しく過ごせて、言葉にならないけど、周りの目の覚めるような美しさがただ今気づいたって感じ。俺もすごく楽しんでありがとう。とりあえず、日本に帰らないうちにシドニーたくさん楽しんでね。Miss you already.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Twenty One... Twice

Went to two twenty-first birthdays last nite. First was Terence's. Not quite his actual day yet, but i guess i should use the opportunity to wish him a big Happy Birthday! anyway.

Tez treated us all to a yummy buffet at the Hyatt. We ate lots. Not much more to say than that. Oh wait, I beat Morissa in a prawn peeling race.

The Guys


Tez n Graceeee (after completing their prawn peeling race)


Tez and his cake (thinking about how best to eat it)


Nhan n Lisa


The Westies (Chris, Donny, Eddie)


Soh and I


Tez and Soz


After fitting about as much food as you could cram into a medium sized backpack, Sam and I decided it was about time to head off to Lavish for Kelly's 21st. VIP entry meant no waiting to get in. And you get to feel important too.

Thanks for letting me crash your party Kelly (although you probably won't remember anyway). Happy Birthday to you as well ~

Starting to like going to Lavish a bit too much i think... but check out the view from upstairs:


The alcohol ($160 a bottle... not quite sure if that was worth it)




but check out the view after the alcohol ...

..


No comments needed there.


Tommy (looking a bit red) and me (is that like a quadruple chin??)


Kelly and Mr. Hwang


Tommy Me and Kelly


Group shot ... (yep the alcohol finally kicked in)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Over-sleeping and some time to think at last

Since I have a couple of days off work, I've been sleeping way too much lately. The day seems really short when you get up at lunch time... Even tho i stay up till like 3 or 4am it doesn't really feel like i've been awake for very long. The trouble is that i can't make myself go to bed before i'm dead-tired, so i always manage to find things to do until early morning unless i really have to get up early... I have had some time to sit around and just read and think though which has been nice. Anyway, more on that a bit later.

On Monday, I finally had a proper hit of badminton wif Lung... for the first time in quite a few months. It really showed up my lack of match practice and fitness. I can hardly last thru half a drill.. sorry Lung haha. Still dunno if i have enough motivation to do some real training tho.

Last nite i went out with my cousins to Robot Bar (off Flinders Lane). Nice little place. The website claims 'Robot is a slice of Neo-Tokyo set in Melbourne's alley culture' - and i couldn't really agree more. It's got the cozy atmosphere of a small Tokyo bar, a nice selection of standard drinks and cocktails, and of course is Japanese run and owned. The only thing a bit weird was the number of random anime-loving people who all drifted in at about 9pm to watch the weekly screening of some anime series that's shown there. I think we musta been taking up their favourite spot because a few of them came upstairs only to find us in the corner, and then sorta stood there awkwardly for a bit before going back downstairs haha. (We could see them watching intently down there afterwards)...

With my spare time i've actually been reading some of the books i got while i was over in Japan - one novel/short-story and one on Japanese onomatopoeia (sound words). Hopefully i'll finish both before the end of the holidays.

Been reading more stuff on the Intelligent Design (I.D) debate lately too. But i'm still not very convinced by any of the arguments supporting it. The one that makes the most sense to me is the watch example: if you were to find a pocket watch lying in the grass one day, you wouldn't assume that it was created by some fluke of 'nature' - rather you would infer that it was the result of 'intelligent design'. Proponents of I.D theory argue that by analogy, many of the complexities of cell design are more likely to be the result of intelligent design than random chance. Stuff like irreducible complexity (ie things that only work together as a system, and not individually) cannot be explained by evolution theory (ie small, sequential modification to the existing) are the basis of this argument.

The problem with that is there seems to be strong evidence that evolution theory does have a more than plausible explanation for all of the examples cited by I.D proponents as exhibiting irreducible complexity/specified complexity etc. Parts of such 'irreducibly' complex systems in fact have uses individually - albeit uses different from that of the system as a whole.

The second place where the argument breaks down is that the analogy of finding a watch is quite different (i think) to understanding cell design. We can observe and have evidence of how a watch is created. We can watch the watch maker tightening the screws, attaching the wrist band and putting in a battery... So i think that is why when we see a watch lying on the ground we say "well, someone must have dropped it" rather than "it was created by random chance when the rock hit the pebble and a mini-big bang happened". But when we begin to talk about fields where all we have are really hypotheses - for example, cell design - we do not have evidence of the cell creation process to rely on. We can't say we observe 'the designer' putting proteins together to form a bacterial flagellum.. and thus when we find a new slightly different biochemical machine i don't think we have basis to infer that it was intelligently designed.

And there is still the problem that I.D theorists seem to basically jump from the proposition that 'A is so complex it is difficult to conceive that it was random' to 'therefore A must be the result of intelligent design.' Not a terribly good example of logical reasoning in my books. The most obvious problem with the argument is the possibility that we just haven't yet found the explanation for such complexities - not that we cannot find the answer.

The other problem i guess i have with it is that the strongest supporters of I.D appear to have a hidden agenda. Many such supporters have openly admitted that they believe the current school of scientific thinking is the reason for religion losing its centrality in modern Western society. The natural sciences operate on the secular assumption of natural caustaion - rather than the existence of some higher form of existence. Thus modern day education prejudices people against belief in religion which implicitly assumes the existence of a greater being. It seems to me, that people are almost trying to use I.D theory to provide 'scientific basis' for belief in the religious supernatural. There is nothing wrong with believing. But when it looks like the real agenda of many I.D theorists is to try to re-introduce religious teaching into mainstream school education, i'm even more skeptical of their claims that (currently) lack much evidentiary support.

Incidentally, what annoys me more is that many people refer to 'intelligent design' as the neutral possibility of an external intelligence, when in fact many such people are almost invariably referring to the Christian notion of God. I mean, if you want to believe in I.D theory, fine, but isn't it equally plausible then that we were all made by the little green men? ... but that's a rant for another day.

Anyway this post is getting waay too long. I'll leave it there.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Holiday update

Sorry for being so lazy with updates lately. Just haven't felt like writing anything for some reason. Can't really remember exactly what i've been doing since my last proper post anymore either haha.

Went out last nite for dinner and originally intended after to go to some lounge thing for Mel's birthday, but ended up going karaoke wif some other ppls instead.

I never really used to like karaoke, but i guess it's something to do for fun every once in a while. And last nite was the first time i've ever been to karaoke in Melb (that i can remember)! tho i think karaoke is kind of the same everywhere...

Tommy, Kelly, Chris


My rather poor attempt at singing was, as always, rather fun (for me at least) - i apologise to everyone there who had to put up with me. The place wasn't too bad either - except for the spew all over the floor in the toilet (u really had to see it to believe how badly someone can miss the bowl...). But there was plenty on the tab for food and drinks so we all had a good time (see pic below. On second thoughts maybe those two were onto something else entirely...):

Sam (actually smiling!) and Michelle (looking entirely too happy hah)


Kelly Grace and Me


But the nite's highlight would have to have been hearing Alex sing. He was unexpectedly very much into it (i think he held the fort together until alcohol started helping out wif the rest of the crew). And he doesn't sound like himself at alllllll when he gets the mike hehehe. So here's a little tribute to my closet-karaoke-loving-friend:

Alex when i got there (approx 9.30)


Alex half way thru the nite (12ish?)


Alex at the end of the nite (about 3am... maybe a bit more caffeine woulda helped ehhe)

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Need to blog

... but really CBF right now. Been doing lots lately i guess. No energy to really write about it tho.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Fun on the Yarra

The combined efforts of the Melbourne Uni French Club and the Monash French Club finally came to fruition last nite with the first (annual?) French Yarra Cruise... Congrats Mel + Monash equivalent for a great night well organised.

And what was i doing at a French club cruise? Well, being the first time hosting an event like this, both clubs were a bit worried about not having enough people to break even for the night... so it was a pretty open party with all sorts of friends and friends of friends welcome to make up numbers. I must say (somewhat consequently) i don't think i heard any French the entire night haha.

The plan for the nite was actually to eat a quick dinner beforehand - even tho there were 'light' snacks provided on the boat. But we ran outta time to eat and unfortunately found out that the 'light' snacks were even lighter than we thought. So it was 4 hours on the Yarra with alcohol and an empty stomach. Which is almost invariably a perfect recipe for lotsa fun haha.

Takako, Young, Yasuko and Me


Lee and Joel


Me Annie n Isabelle


Mel n Yasuko


A bit later: Takako, Yasuko + Me


A bit later part two: Isabelle n Annie swinging


I think everyone had a pretty good time - despite the 'cruise' really being about 4 laps of the same little stretch of the Yarra river. Speaking of which, about halfway thru the nite we were doing circles in front of the tennis centre for about half an hour haha. (maybe the captain just wanted to see if everyone was drunk enough not to notice).

On Tuesday, it was my mum's birthday. We had a delicious seafood dinner prepared by Dad. I should really learn to cook..

Lobster (and other seafood) noodles.. yum


Afterwards, since Steph and Riyo both finished their exams, i went to Crown with them. It was all a very spur of the moment nite: the extent of our planning was 'lets have supper'.

Ended up popping into King Pin for some bowling. Only had to pay like $9 for two games coz it was tight-ass tuesday or something too~. The conclusion: the three of us discovered we all really suck at bowling. There were still a couple of flukes during the night tho..

Steph striking


Riyo (almost) striking


We all sort of felt like having a hot drink after that and set out along southbank looking for a cafe. Alas at 1am in the morning on a Wednesday we couldn't find anywhere to go. We did find this tho:

The Crown water feature by night


And of course, having nothing better to do decided it might be fun to take a run thru it...

The aftermath: Riyo and Steph


This photo really doesn't show how wet we all were ... We took about an hour and a half to dry ahah.


Supper ended up being at KFC (since it was one of the only places still open), which isn't normally the greatest place to hang out. But that late at nite, it was nice n quiet and we had a good long chat there.

This morning Riyo left for home. I don't know how (after last nite's cruise), but i managed to wake up (by myself with no alarm) in time to get to IH to say bye one last time. Riyo was actually the first of the Japanese exchangees @ Melbourne i met this year. But i somehow only got to know her properly much later. It still really marks how fast time has flown this year - i can still remember meeting at that first exchange student event of the year wa-ay back in first sem; and as i write this Riyo is on the plane heading home.

I'm starting not to like these yellow cars... They remind me too much of having to say goodbye.


Another farewell


All the best with your studies Riyo - hopefully you don't forget everything you learnt about English linguistics once you go back to studying commerce hehehe. Even tho the dream world of your exchange-life is ending, i'm sure your memories of Melbourne are ones you can treasure, always. Keep in touch!

PS say hi to Jerry for me (^_^)/