Category Archives: meme

The Big 5 -Uh Oh!

Judging from the noticeable lack of comments on my previous post and the content of the few comments that were there, the political situation in the USA remains tense and is a topic that is either offensive or uncomfortable with readers.  So I decided that for this post, I should stick with a topic that should be offensive to no one but myself …….. i.e. my recent 50th birthday.

It was actually in September but that was right in the middle of my big house-moving exercise and blog break, so I did not post on it earlier.  Of course, I got my expected portion of “50 year old” gag birthday greetings like “You are now officially an Oldie” or “Don’t worry – once you are over the hill, you pick up speed”.   Sadly, that was about all I got.  Not a single present. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

My wife was trying to plan a surprise party for me with some friends but with all the packing and the rush of moving house, it did not materialize.  I don’t usually celebrate my own birthdays so it was not really missed.  Some say that turning the BIG 50 is an important milestone that should be celebrated but I think they are just hoping for a party and some cake.  Besides, I don’t think of myself as 50 but as 18 with 32 years of experience!



Anyway, to celebrate the additional 32 years of being 18, I tried to trace how my tastes and directions have changed during that time.  As you see, I am still a work in progress and still changing……..



Music: Anne Murray , Clannad , Sinead O’Connor , Billy Joel, Sarah MacLachlan , Shania Twain , Adele , The Black Eyed Peas

Reading:  James Herriot , Ray Bradbury , Douglas Adams , Richard Adams , Sue Townsend , Stephen R. Donaldson , Arthur C. Clarke , Neil Gaiman

Art: Monet , J.M.W. Turner , Klimt , Andrew Wyeth



Final Post From Borneo?

Last year I posted about my visit to the Borneo Rainforest Lodge in the Danum Valley Conservation Forest in Sabah which is in North Borneo (Pygmies of Darkest Borneo and Nocturnal Perambulations in Borneo).  Well, last week I had the good fortune to be  there again on work assignment but as the project is coming to an end, this may possibly be my last visit.

As before, there was lots to see.  On the night walk and night drive, we saw the rare and enchanting Western Tarsier again.  This creature can look very cute and yet at other times with its large eyes can look quite evil.  Some remark that it may have been the inspiration for Gollum from The Lord of the Rings movie.

Also seen on the night drive were a few Sambar deer, Angle-headed Lizard (Gonocephalus borneensis), a Tarantula spider and the Thomas’s Flying Squirrel.  The latter was a highlight for me as I had never seen one before.

One morning, I went for a walk and fighting my fear of heights, went onto a canopy walkway  with suspension bridges and platforms which are about 30 m off the forest floor.  While I was struggling across one of the bridges, suddenly a small flock of Scarlet Minivets flew in and started dancing in the tree foliage around me.  Temporarily forgetting my fears, I struggled to take pictures of the birds while trying to remain steady on the swaying bridge.

During the walk there, there was another surprise.  A colugo came flying out of the forest with its skin stretched out between its limbs, very much looking like Batman with his cape and landed on a tall tree next to the trail.  I have seen colugos before and have indeed posted on them (We Are Family) but this sighting was special.  The colugo was flying almost directly at us and from that vantage point, we could see his “flying skin” perfectly.

It takes me 2 seconds to register the sight of the colugo, one more second for my brain to decide that I should try to take a photograph, 3 seconds to switch on my camera, another 3 seconds to aim the camera and focus and one second to press the shutter.  That makes a total of 10 seconds.  Unfortunately, the colugo’s flight lasted just 5 minutes which explains why I have no photo of it.  Ah, well.  You’ll just have to believe me.

In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy these photos.

Rough Ride into the Forest
Western Tarsier or evil Gollum: "Precious....."
Anglehead Lizard
Thomas's Flying Squirrel (a distant cousin)
Scarlet Minivet in the Tree Canopy
Beautiful Hoya Flowers

Making History and the Stylish Blogger

Well, all of us have witnessed a pivotal moment in history this week with the popular overthrow of President Mubarak by the people of Egypt.  This is mind-boggling BIG!  It is world changing.  I celebrate with the Egyptian people the peaceful end of the protests and am relieved that all parties did not resort to more violence.  Even Mr. Mubarak should be commended for finally giving way to the will of the people and not escalating the violence any further.  But for now, it is the Egyptian people who are to be feted as heroes; remembering too those who gave their lives to the cause of freedom.

Of equal historical significance in the small and sad little world of the Lone Grey Squirrel is that I got an award. Moi.  (Squirrel does acrobatic backflips – not a pretty sight).

Pauline, my Canadian animal loving blogger friend was kind enough to bestow the Stylish Blogger Award to this mangy squirrel.  Being a Canadian already makes her an animal lover so she is doubly a defender of animals.  And so she gave me this award.  Did I tell you that she had a soft spot for cute, defenceless animals?  Thank you, Pauline.

According to the rules: “By accepting this award I’m to tell five of my favourite things and then pick five people to pass the award on to.” Here goes:

1. Spending time with my wife. The last time I filled a similar meme about favorite things, I made the mistake of putting this at number 3.  I still remember the pain I felt when my wife found out.  She apparently did not appreciate my explanation that the list was written in “no particular order”. So honey, hi! You’re number one, of course.
2. Walking in the rain. A habit I picked up during my dark angst ridden teenage years when I enjoyed a good funk while going for a long walk in the rain.  I love the smell and sound of the rain and I feel hidden, cocooned, shrouded and safe when in the rain.  It is also a great time for solitude and meditation as you seldom meet another weirdo mad enough to walk in the rain.
3.  Swimming in a jungle stream. I have had the opportunity to swim in a few streams in the equatorial jungle and I love it; especially if the stream is remote and far from human settlements.  As I soak in the stream, I like to imagine myself to be Tarzan surveying my realm or an explorer discovering some new wonderful, serene place in the jungle.
4. Dinner with friends. I like to eat.  I occasionally enjoy the challenge of trying to cook something new.  Finally nothing better than laughter and deep conversations with friends.  So dinner with friends fits the bill in so many ways.
5. Laughter of Children. I have no kids of my own but I get on well with children.  So I  tend to borrow them from friends, have fun and then return them before any serious parenting is needed (like changing diapers).  I enjoy hearing their laughter when we really connect.  When my god-daughter was just two, I invented a game where I would put a small plastic pail over the head of a Winnie the Pooh so that Winnie’s eyes were just visible.  It somehow amused her and she would laugh and chuckle.  It became our personal insider  joke.  Later she would always laugh when I did this but she wouldn’t respond if someone else did it.  Ah, very satisfying.

Finally, it is my responsibility to pass the award to 5 others.  Of course, I enjoy reading all the blogs on my blog roll and a few others that I have been a bit negligent in adding to the blog roll.  They each have their own quirks and strengths.  But for the Stylish Blogger Award,  I will nominate;

1.  Owen of the Magic Lantern Show is a great photographer and classy dude from the city of fashion and style, Paris.

2. Sweet Cheeks of Sweet Cheeks has an idea and what great and funny ideas they are.

3.Graham of OneStonedCrow is a great spokesperson for his beloved Namibia.  He’s incommunicado in the northern part for at least another two weeks but I hope he will post on this after his return.

4. Carol from Ahhh….The Cottage Life! makes me wish for the cottage life in rural Ontario.

5. Susan of Guilty With An Explanation is one classy lady in this squirrel’s humble opinion.  This San Francisco gal handles life with style.

Kurious Kat

My friend Kat has tagged me to do this meme. She was supposed to tag 8 others to do it but she only tagged me. So, I think it is reasonable that I tag no one but feel free to do it is you want and let me know if you chose to do so.

And now Kat, because you wanted to know………

What is your current obsession?
Having used Window based computer systems all my life, I am considering getting my first Apple computer for my photos and video work. It’s turning out to be a huge life changing decision for me as an Apple costs almost double the price here. I am currently obsessively reading up on Apple and talking to anyone who has used one.

What are you wearing today?
An old but comfortable T-shirt commemorating the 2nd Annual Taste of Banff Festival, Lake Louise in 1994 and brown shorts and brown moccasins. I remember trying bison at the Festival.

What’s for dinner?
Dim Sum! I know this is usually eaten for breakfast or lunch but this particular restaurant has a 30-45 minute waiting time during the day so my wife and I always go at dinner time when there is no queue. We do this about twice a month.

What’s the last thing you bought?
Apart from groceries, I recently bought a book about Malaysian Highland Orchids for a friend.

What are you listening to right now?
I recently came across someone who Ecuador who plays Native American music in Malaysia. I am listening to his CD.

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
There is a tranquil pool fed by a river stream in the middle of the rainforest in Endau Rompin National Park (Johor), Malaysia. Crystal clear waters and surrounded by the jungle…….peace.

Which language do you want to learn?
Spanish. I just like the sound of it. I’m a big fan of Spanish music but it would be good to understand the lyrics. Otherwise, I’ve also admired Gaelic.

What do you love most about where you currently live?
The fact that you can get Malay, Chinese, Indian and other ethnic foods almost anytime of the day. In fact, I love this a bit too much.

What is your favorite colour?
Aquamarine or any blue-green combination.

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?
Similar to Cindy, any T-shirt which commemorates a place that I have been to.

Describe your personal style?
Casual and sloppy.

Name a famous person you share a birthday with.
Apparently, I share a birthday with the British author, Roald Dahl (1916 – 1990).

What are you going to do after this?
Watch some TV and then sleep.

Your favorite smell?
Smell of bacon in the morning………yummy. But okay, favorite smell would also be the smell of rain. That is so refreshing.

Do you collect anything?
Selected comic books like Bone and Groo. Used to collect commemorative tea-towels to remember places I visit. Now it is T-shirts and photos.

What makes you follow a blog?
Interesting and honest people with interesting and honest things to say. People I can learn things from.

Do you like to comment on blogs or just lurk?
I lurk ever so briefly but then I like to leave comments cause I like the interaction.

What’s one thing you dream of doing?
Whitewater rafting down the Colorado or the Amazon.

What is your biggest regret?
Not helping a friend when I had the opportunity.

What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
Curl up with a book and doze off.

Do you have a tattoo?
Nope! Absolutely not my thing.

Do you play an instrument?
Up to 6 chords on the guitar but little else.

Who was your hero (or “shero”) when you were a child?
David Livingstone.

If you find a spider in your house, would you: a) kill it, b) leave it alone, C) capture it and release it outside? (This is my added question)
Leave it alone.

Five by Five

Five by Five is the phrase that Faith (the rival slayer from the series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) uses to indicate that everything is okay. I thought it would make a good title for this meme from Jelica and Ruslan over at Budapest Bits, my new friends and favorite blog from the Balkans and Central Europe. This is because the meme requires 5 answers under 5 topics.

It has been awhile since I did a meme. For some of the older readers, some of my answers will already be familiar but I hope this will be of interest to some of my new friends here. It also falls on me to prod 5 others to take up this meme. Please don’t feel obliged or pressured but it would be nice to know a bit more about you. I dub the famous Five to be;
1. Lorac at Ahhh…the Cottage Life.
2. thisrainykitten at my blog.
3. Sally at Sally’s World.
4. eastcoastdweller at In Search of Isis.
5. Cabcree at Cabcree.

1. I Can’t Make You Love Me (Bonnie Raitt, 1991)

Just think this is a great song. Soul wrenching music and lyrics.

2. And So It Goes (Billy Joel, 1989)

I proposed to my wife by singing this song, so it is very precious.

3. Alone Again Naturally (Gilbert O’Sullivan, 1972)

An early melancholic favorite.

4. Anything But Ordinary (Avril Lavigne, 2002)

My current theme song. Great lyrics and outlook to life.

5. Scarborough Fair/Canticle (Traditional Arr.; Simon and Garfunkel, 1966)

Great traditional song and wonderful anti-war anthem.


1. Running on Empty (1988)

This movie is about family, love and sacrifice. Always makes me cry.

2. Blade Runner (1982)

Probably the best Science fiction movie ever. Shows a dark side to the progress of


3. Before Sunrise (1995)

A simple story of a chance encounter on a train but I think one of the most

romantic stories ever.

4. Thunderheart (1992)

A spiritual journey and a story of injustice against native peoples.

5. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Another movie that makes me cry. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks make a great

romantic comedy combination.


1. Ring of Bright Water (Gavin Maxwell, 1960)
This book taught me to love animals
2. Watership Down ( Richard Adams ,1972)
This book also taught me love animals but also to question human systems of governance and beliefs.
3. All Creatures Great and Small (James Herriot, 1972)
This book also taught me to love animals and gave me a better sense of life’s hopes, dreams, ups and downs.
4. Rendezvous with Rama (Arthur C. Clarke, 1972)

I love the premise of this story. Very humbling.
5. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever ( Stephen R. Donaldson,
A great fantasy story played out against the lack of faith of the hero.


1. Susan Hampshire
(British actress with large cleavage – what do you expect, this was my adolescence crush.)
2. Sophia Loren
(Italian Screen Sex Goddess – a bit older now but still controlled by raging hormones. I
my women meaty and curvy)
3. Natalie Wood
(American Actress – beginning to see women as people. Natalie remains one of my
She is strong, yet vulnerable. And is she ever so pretty).
4. Gong Li
(Chinese Actress – Even stronger, yet vulnerable. The Asian version of Natalie Wood).
5. Isabella Rossellini
(Italian Actress, daughter of Ingrid Bergman who almost made this list too. What can I say. She’s stunning at 55 years old. Graceful beauty and aging well).

Walking in the rain.
2. Swimming in a jungle stream.

Spending time with my wife.
4. Dinner with friends.

5. Laughter of Children.

A Lifetime in Six Words

Open Grove Claudia likes to drag me out on a limb (which seems to be one of her favorite places) and leave me dangling, exposed for the blogging community to see. This time she has tagged me to do a six word memoir. After spending three sleepless nights thinking about this, I finally came out with Not Capable of Writing Short Sentences”. As you can see Houston (and Denver), we have a problem.

Nevertheless, in the spirit of things, I deprived myself of sleep for yet another night to come up with the following six word gems. I decided to address separately, my three aspects of being which is the body, spirit and soul. (Alert readers will probably realise already that this means I get to use 18 words). Oooookay, here goes.

Body: – This one is easy. Easy but kind of sad.
“Photos prove I was skinny once.”

Soul:- I understand this to mean my eternal, indestructible soul.
“Undeserving Sinner Saved by God’s Grace.”

Spirit:- I take this to mean my being, character and unique personality.
“Trying to live life beyond ordinary.”

I almost forgot my alter ego;
“Shy Squirrel finds voice in blogosphere.”

Thanks for reading (readers who are still awake would have realised that I sneaked in another 6 words). Now it is time to tag six others.

Dave (Bang on My Drum), Dr. John (Dr. John’s Fortress), Gina (I, G-Clair), Claire (Notes from a Wildcats Fan), Proxima (The Echo Tree) and the thinker (Theory of Thought) should you choose to accept this mission, please link back to this post and also let me know that you have done the dastardly deed. Thanking you in advance.

I Wish For Two Wishes

Claudia tagged me to do this Make a wish meme.

I find myself to be very often to be a mass of contradictions pretending to be one person. That being the case, please excuse me as I cheat and make two wishes. This first one comes from my emotional and spiritual side.

This second wish comes from my thinking and cynical side.

1. Think about what it is that you want more than anything, what your heart’s desire and fondest wish is, and what it is that you would wish for if you were to see the above wishing star flame across the night sky.
2. Right click and SAVE the blank graphic below.
3. Use a graphics program of your choice and place your wish on this picture:

4. Post the Make A Wish Meme and your wishing star on your blog along with these rules.
5. Tag as many people as you like so that there can be wishing stars all across the Blogosphere and ask them to please link back to Linda at Are We There Yet? so that she can see what wishes others have made and share those wishes with others.

If you don’t currently have a graphics program and aren’t sure how to put your message on the picture you can either download one for free (Linda used IrfanView which is an image viewer but also allows you to customize and optimize your pictures) or email Linda at, tell her what you’re wishing for, and she’ll customize the picture for you and email it back to you so that you can then post it.

Claudia tagged the following: FuriousBall, Los Angelista, She became a butterfly, No Nonsense Girl, Mr. Fabulous, Miss Britt, Jameil, Heart in SF, Kevin Charnas, Squirrelly, Michelle at Lede me on and Michael C.

I tag the following: Citizen of the world, Happy Downtowner , Daysgoby, Claire and Medstudentwife .