Sunday, January 30, 2011

High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes

Toronto did a great job in traffic enforcement. I remembered that we were at a traffic light junction, and heard ambulance sirens at a distance. At that point every single car self-immobilized itself, even at a green traffic light, to give way to the ambulance. After the ambulance drove away a certain distance, the cars started to roll.

The HOV lane (high occupancy vehicle lane), also called carpooling lane or express lane, is also interesting. This lane is reserved for car of 2 people or more, including driver. During rush hour, the lane can still move at a good speed, as compared to the parallel lanes. There was a car in front of us with only 1 driver, using the HOV lane. Soon after, he was stopped by the traffic police.

Tipping Etiquette

In certain parts of the world, tipping is not expected. If you leave tip at a restaurant in Japan for example, you'll find the waiter running after you, thinking you've forgot your change on the table. In other countries, the tip percentage is automatically added to the bill. Although some may argue that service won't be as good if the tip is automatically added, nonetheless the government will have its fair share from the waiters and the customers won't have to crack their heads calculating the tip amount. Wish this can be the case over here.

The general tip is about 15% on the total before tax, or $1.50 for every $10. Note that the portable cash register being used by waiters can automatically calculate the 15% tip for you... but beware that the machine calculates the percentage on the total after tax, and not before tax.

IMHO, Toronto is a great place to eat out (as compared to Mtl), in terms of great friendly service, greater food variety, and English menu for tourists. Also, I was told by locals that waiters in Asian restaurants in Toronto are happy with your 10% tip, if you chose to (you can correct me if I am wrong).

Some pictures of the Asian food we tried. All the food was great, but the portions are large.

Phoenix Restaurant - their best seller is the Hainan chicken. The portion of the noodle soup is huge, and we couldn't finish what we ordered. The waitress asked if we weren't satisfied with the food, so we honestly told here that the food was good, and that we were not used to the big portions.






At this other restaurant, they served delicious Malaysian curry dishes, we asked for a doggy bag. The owner said that their best seller is the Roti with curry. While having our meal, there were many customers who came to order takeout.



Hot pot is great for winter.






Guu is a Japanese tapas restaurant. Upon entering the restaurant, you are greeted by a cheerful and energetic welcome by the staffers. They shout greetings and orders concertedly in Japanese language.






Saturday, January 29, 2011

How to upload multiple photos to Picassa Web Albums

Update (Feb.2011): Yay! The new improved Picassa Web Album now allows multiple uploads ^_^

When you have over 10 pictures to upload, it's tedious to do it on Picassa Web Albums, as it doesn't allow more than 5 photos at one time, and each one has to be selected manually. Boring isn't it?

There's always a way out. Here's how you can upload as many pictures as you want in a flash (credit to: googlesystem.blogspot.com):
  • Open Gmail, and click on "Buzz" on the left side pane
  • Select on the white message box, as if you want to post, then click on "Photo" (but don't post!!!)
  • Upload as many photos as you want with a click of a button
  • Go to your Picassa Web Albums. You'll see a new album that has been automatically created, called "Photos from posts". Click on that album, and select all your photos.
  • Under Edit, select "Organize and Reorder". Move your photos to your preferred album.
Give it a try!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Plaza Shower Lounge at HKIA

Long haul flight is very tiring, and it doesn't get any better with long transit at the airport. Somehow, transiting at the HKIA was a good experience, mainly because it has so many duty free shops that make you itchy. Can you believe that they even have a Zara store inside the airport hall? The food court is also big, and it's expanding.

We figured that an airport this big should also have a shower lounge. Lo and behold, they have about 4 of them all opened 24 hours, called Traveler's Lounge and Plaza Premium Lounge, located at Terminal 1 before Gate 1, after Gate 35, after Gate 60, and connecting Terminal 1 and 2. Other than shower, they offered a private resting area, a business center, massage, and even hairstyling.

The shower costs HK$150 per person, which is about $20. Here's a peak of the individual shower room.






Towel and shower cap are provided. There's a shampoo and shower gel dispenser, and of course a hair dryer room for males and females, but remember to bring your own hair brush.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Batu Cave

Some shots of Batu Cave, one of the most popular Hindu shrine outside India.

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This is my favorite shot of the Cynomolgus monkey, or Crab-eating Macaque.

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Nice pose

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At the top, there's a shrine inside the cave:

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Can you spot the pigeon?

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Walking back down, the steps are narrow. I added a favorite quote: "When you let go of things that weigh you down, the mind soars." I call it the art of letting go, my interpretation of the quote is not to take things too personally, especially of what people say and think about you. Most likely they are more worried about what you think of them. Am I confusing?

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Empro Black Diamond Liner

I never thought I'd get a new liquid eyeliner, mainly because I always made a mess on my eyelids with them. But it so happened that I was touring around with my cousin, and there was a one day special at Sasa, for Empro Black Diamond Liner. Ooooo, we couldn't resist. But I paused for a while and thought about the previous brands I've used, e.g. Stila and Dior, which were not to my liking because the lines smudged immediately after I drew them :(.


The staff then mentioned to us that this Empro liquid liner is smudge-proof, water proof, 48 hours long lasting, and extra black. Then I thought again... Hmmm, I really like their retractable eyebrow pencil, so why not give this a try. We each ended up with our Empro Black Diamond Liner, which is made in Japan.


Verdict: I LOVE IT! The lines don't look messy because they dry up almost instantly, and because the color is extra black. It creates a nice Va Va Voom effect for the eyes (like Taylor Swift's eye makeup), even without mascara and fake eyelashes. So far, I used it in combination with pencil eyeliners (Personnelle and Annabelle pencil eyeliners)... it's my preference. Removing the lines is easy too. I'm currently using the Nivea eye make-up remover.


Talking about Empro brand, here's a look at their newly designed triangular Empro eyebrow pencil. It looks more fancy with the flower design, and steel section for the brush.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Face Cell Roller

I was surprised when DB recommended us this face cell roller. It's a face massage tool that claims to help reduce double chin, dark circles, and eye puffiness.





10 minutes a day is all you need. Hmmm... I was a bit skeptical, but since we were on a trip, and it was on special at Sasa, we each bought one. My cousin thought it would make a nice gift for her mom :).


Monday, January 17, 2011

How to post Mixpod on Wordpress

I was disappointed when MixPod didn't work on Wordpress. Luckily, there's a solution to this (source: wpbtips.wordpress.com):

1. Copy and paste the below code in html:

[gigya src="PLAYER PLAYLIST CODE HERE" quality="high" flashvars="VARIABLES CODE HERE" salign="TL" wmode="transparent" ]

2. Get the embed code from your MixPod playlist. It will look like this. The highlighted pink that looks like this http://assets.myflashfetish.com/swf/mp3/mff-mixtape.swf?myid=38166085&path=2009/12/14 is the player play list code, and the highlighted purple that looks like this mycolor=421D29&mycolor2=61112B&mycolor3=421D29&autoplay=false&rand=0&f=4&vol=100&pat=0&grad=false is the variables code.


source: wpbtips.wordpress.com

3. Cut and paste the highlighted portions into the relevant space in #1.


Fortunately, the auto-post works for Blogger. Some of my favorite songs:


MusicPlaylistView Profile
Create a playlist at MixPod.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Despicable Me

I've been wanting to watch this animated movie for so long. If you haven't watched it yet, wait no longer. Despicable Me is so funny, and all the characters are truly lovable. Am I crazy? I've replayed this clip a couple of times.





Agnes has made viewers laughed unexpectedly with her "It's so FLUFFY!!!".



Agnes: "Does this count as annoying?"



The Minions are really adorable creatures.



More cute images:





The girls dyed the dog pink. Awwwww.