Watermelons

 

Centuries ago, in ancient China, there was an emperor who had a young male lover.  This was forbidden and he was very discreet about it.  The empress was a bitter woman and while she loved the throne, she hated the emperor.  She was also very suspicious of him and wanted the be the only person to rule the empire. But the emperor always stayed one step ahead of her.

The emperor’s male lover was a young man whose innocent beauty and demure presence captured the emperor’s heart.  The emperor’s favorite game was to chase the young man around the bedroom and slap his bubble butt.  Sometimes he would catch the young man, trap him in his powerful legs and gently slap his butt while the young man laughed uncontrollably.

One night, the empress got even more suspicious when he saw the emperor’s eye wandering during a royal dinner.  She followed his eyes and saw the young man.  He was even more beautiful than her.  She glared at the young man and her evil mind started to work.

The next day, the empress consulted an evil sorcerer. The sorcerer feared the empress’s cruelty and did not want to disappoint her.  He took a magic potion to peer into the emperor’s mind to find out more about the young man.  After a few days, he told the empress of his plans.  The queen listened and gave her approval.  It would be a very devious plot.

The next day, the emperor looked all over the palace for his young lover.  As he went from room to room, he suddenly encountered the empress.

“Did you lose something?”  sneered the empress.

The emperor ignored her and kept on walking.

“I’ve turned your lover into a watermelon.  You should hurry down to the market before someone else takes it home and eat him.”

The emperor turned pale and ran to the market.  The market goers were shocked to see the emperor there by himself and everyone stood back.  The emperor saw the many stalls selling watermelons.   He went from stall to stall, looking at each, trying to find a clue, if there was one.  His hands rested on a watermelon and he started to caress it.  He moved to another one and then another one.  Each reminded him of his lover’s bottom.  Then he started to gently slap one and then the next one.  The sound of the watermelon being slapped reminded him of his sweet, young lover.

A stall owner finally mustered up the courage to ask “Your highness, may I ask why you are tapping the watermelons?”

The emperor looked up  and said “I’m trying to find my sweet one.”  And then he took one of the watermelons home.  Each day, the emperor returned, tapped the watermelons and took one home.  Eventually the villagers started to emulate him in the belief that they too would find a sweet watermelon.

– – – – – – –

So boys and girls, that’s how this all started.  Remember this next time you’re at the market and tapping a watermelon.

 

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A Pristine Home

I saw some pictures of a relative’s home and it looks incredible.  It’s sparkling clean and part of the reason is she’s getting ready to sell it.  I’m told with 3 kids they still keep everything neat and tidy.  It looks so pristine and could probably be on the cover of some home decor magazine.

Which brings me to my condo which is ahem… the opposite.  It’s not a slum but I won’t exactly call it guest ready.  If you want to stress me out, just tell me you’re in the neighbourhood and would love to drop in.  The other day I had a video call.  I cleaned up up my place the night before so it won’t look too bad.  I even checked to see what my laptop’s camera could see.  Whew…. close call.

I think if I won the lottery, I would buy a second home.  One for the sloppy me and one when I need to entertain.  I think I need counseling.  Or a maid.

Lunch with another ex Xangan

I had lunch with Gary and his friend Will when they were visiting Toronto this past week.  Gary used to blog on Xanga (CurryPuffy).  I don’t remember exactly when I subscribed to him on Xanga – likely late 2000s.  His blogs were usually a lot of travel and food posts.  He would usually start each paragraph with a small Snoopy GIF.   I always had the impression he was a classy, soft spoken kinda guy.  He was always helpful and polite when I emailed him looking for travel tips.

We met at the lobby of the hotel where he was staying.  He still looks the same as his Xanga profile pic from years ago.  We walked to a nearby restaurant.  I usually worry about what to talk about or if I talk too much or too little.  Chatting with both of them was easy even if I did blabber on a bit too much.  We chatted about the people we knew on Xanga, where they visited, who picks the places to eat (for this trip – Will picked the restaurants), what’s going on in our lives and traveling in general.  Both of them were very easy to talk to. It’s interesting when you “know” someone but haven’t met them in person.  After lunch we walked back to their hotel and got some pics of each other.  I hope to see them again.  Both Gary and Will are really nice gentlemen.

 

Here’s what I ate.

The lunch was pretty good.  The restaurant (Luma) was offering a fixed priced lunch menu as part of Summerlicious.

Strawberry feta salad (romaine, toasted almonds and champagne vinaigrette)IMG_5861

Peameal Bacon BLT (vine-ripened tomatoes, basil aïoli, arugula, kettle chips).  The bacon was nice and I was so stuffed I couldn’t finish all the chips.

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Coconut cream + pineapple tart – this was very nice.  IMG_5864

 

Packing Heavy

The moments before I leave on any trip is always a bit stressful for me.  I don’t know how to pack light.  When I traveled on business, I always made sure I had an extra shirt, socks, tie, tshirt and underwear just in case.  Maybe the years of working in IT always made me plan for the worse.  I even carried a small clothes steamer to get the wrinkles out of my suit(s).

For this upcoming trip, I’ve got some warm clothes even though I’m going to Asia because the AC in the hotel rooms can be pretty cold.  It’ll also be cold when I return.  I packed enough for about 5 to 6 days without doing laundry.  I’ll see if I can slim this down a bit more.  I don’t remember how I managed to fit everything into a backpack before.  As long as I have the mandatory things like my meds, eye glass, money, phone, passport, tickets, basic toiletries – I should be fine.  I can always buy clothes if I forget something.

I guess I don’t need to pack my rice cooker.

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p.s. I have never tried updating using the WordPress app on my phone.  I’m going to try doing it when I travel.

Boys Will Be Boys

J’s nephews from out of town were visiting this week and I got a chance to play with them.  Most of the time, they are engrossed on games on their phones.  But J got them some nerf guns and they decided to gang up on me.  I grabbed the smallest kid from behind, pointed his gun at his brothers while using him as a shield.  It worked for awhile until he squirmed away while screaming at the top of his lungs.

I found out that it was easy to just pull those “bullets” which they said was cheating.  I also hid them only to be labeled a “stealer”.  I invented time outs (“you can’t call time outs!). J declared a safe zone in the dining room and kitchen which is where I hid.  I stole their guns when they weren’t looking.  They retaliated by pulling the sleeves of my polo shirt until it drooped down to my forearms.

When the play shifted to J’s bedroom, I grabbed a sock from the laundry hamper and shoved it on one of their nose.  The stinky socks ruse didn’t work for long.  The smallest one kept trying to kick me in the nuts while another one kept slapping my butt.  I found out that they hesitated to shoot me if I wore my glasses.  They asked me several times to take it off because they didn’t want to damage my glasses.  I kept them on.  Eventually I started to play mind games with them by trying to get them to turn on each other. I pretended that one of them was my partner while he would would deny it.  I stood beside him in fake solidarity while he insisted to his brothers that he wasn’t my partner.  I told them that I gave the “traitor” some money and now he is on my side.

Alas, it was soon dinner time.  The guns were put away and replaced with chopsticks and rice bowls.  They are good kids who say please and thank you all the time.  They don’t seem to have a problem sharing with each other too which was nice to see.  But next time they visit, I’m getting the biggest nerf gun I can find.

Fast Cars…

I attended a free day at Toronto’s Honda Indy last Friday.  It’s an Indy Car race on a temporary street circuit.  I’ve never attended this race before and Friday was a practice session.  I think they started doing the free day a few years ago to rebuild the fan base after a few years of decline.  The downtown location is convenient for the fans, racers and sponsors.  All the restaurants, bars and nightlife are very close by.

One of the best spots to watch the race is at the corner of Lakeshore Blvd and Ontario Drive, just on the western edge of Ontario Place.   It’s the famous turn 3 where cars have to slow down after long straightaway in order to make a hard right turn.   The practice sessions for the various races were well underway by the time I made my way down to the stand at turn 3.

1.  Stadium Super Trucks – their course included several ramps and it was amazing watching them jump.

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2.  Cooper Tires USF2000 – this is a training ground series of races  for young drivers.  The cars are all powered by Mazda engines.  I think the car #92 (at the top) is driven by Cameron Das and the #9 car (on the bottom) is driven by Victor Franzoni.  I didn’t expect to see anyone overtake under braking during the practice session but #9 managed to do this.

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3.1   Verizon Indy Car Series  driver:  Scott Dixon IMG_2741

3.2   Takuma Sato entering into turn 3.

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3.3  Driver: Canada’s James HincliffeIMG_2886

4.  Indy Lights presented by Cooper TiresDriver: Dean Stoneman

love the front tire locking up under hard braking…

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There were a couple more practice sessions after this but I was getting tired from sitting in the sun for a few hours.  But I love the roar of the engines and even the smell of the exhaust.  I didn’t buy the paddock pass for $40.  I’m still a little gun shy about spending money.  But it looks interesting from what I could see.   I hope to be back next year.