Mousey’s memory is…….

Illuminate me please….

Where have all my inspirations gone? Almost every night I compose such great entries in my head before I sleep and then when I wake up…it is all GONE! Poof!! I remember almost next to nothing. So, it is not entirely gone. Just next to nothing. Make sense?

I work better at night. Something I have known since childhood. All my studying, or pretend studying was done at night. All my papers are written at night. Especially in the deep depths on the night. Since I have been going to bed early (gasp! I know, right? me, going to be early), I haven’t been able to fit in my creative writings in. I also used to do my crochet at night in front of the TV. Even that has taken a back seat. Either I have so much more going on in the day, that I tire out by the time evening rolls by or…I am just getting older and I hate to admit it.

By the way, aren’t the candles lovely? I bought 6 and lugged them all the way back as hand carry. I love the details on them. The candles are all handmade in that shop!

Now, I will just have to pray that the candles that I bought in California last year will illuminate my mind and bring forth all the inspirations that I know are resting deep in me!

Maybe I just need gingko biloba…what do you think?


Learning about techie stuff…

fluffy clouds

I am suddenly soooooooooo sleepy, I can’t keep my eyes open. I blame it on the pasta I had about 30 mins ago. I was just browsing the computer to get myself acquainted with “cloud” technology. If there is such a thing. Trying to keep myself abreast with the changes in the tech world. I have been a Mac user for quite a while now and I am an all round Apple user except for the Iphone or the Ipad. I can’t bring myself to use them. I had an Iphone for a while though not because I wanted one but because M was so taken in by it that he got one as a spare phone with only internet enabled  sim on it. In the end, I carried it around and used it to go on the net whenever we needed to. Other than that, it stayed in my bag. I even forget to charge it all the time. 😛 When I got the HTC, everything changed. I signed up for twitter, check my Facebook, use the GPS satellite… things I never did with the Iphone. I was adverse it. I refuse to use it for anything if I could help it. M got an Ipad too which now he uses at home to surf the net and not hogging my laptop anymore! But I don’t use his iPad at all. Though I have to teach him how to use it sometimes. Managed to convert him to using Mac too! He has a MacBook Air! *proud*

Just to show you how much of an Apple fan I am besides the tow items mentioned above, I have a iMac in the office, MacBook Pro at home and iPod Touch. I used to own a clam shell mac, the colourful desktop Mac, the swivelling screen Mac, iBook and MacBook. Only time I didn’t use a Mac was when I first came to Italy and the office server at that time didn’t support Macs. I was crushed! Got myself a Sony, in fact, I went through 2 Sonys and the last one was an Acer. My first Sony got the blue screen of death and I sold my other Sony to get my Macbook! The Acer remains in the office and is now passed on to another colleague. 🙂 I just traded in my old MacBook Pro and got the latest one last month! Happy! Happy! I want to get the MacBook Air but since I use My MacBook to edit photos and store all my music, I can’t get the Air. 😦

Anyway, I was trawling the net for more info on how to sync all of them. I know of iCloud but have read its not so stellar performance reviews on the net. Then I got directed to DropBox and Ubuntu One. Then there is also Google Cloud. All I want is to be able to access my photos on all my devices. Well, I actually want to know how to link my desktop to my MacBook Pro. Everything I have read so far is really disappointing. For someone who is so technically challenged like myself it is even more disheartening. 😦 I now use an external harddisk where I store my photos and bring it with me everywhere. I also back up this external hard disk with another which I keep at home. Paranoid that way…lost all my data once in another external hard disk that just decided to die on me suddenly. I find this a lot of work. And I am forever in fear that before I could back up my stuff, this one dies on me first! @_@

DropBox has 2GB free and Ubuntu One gives 5GB free. Has anyone ever used them? My brother uses both and he finds them ok. He says he has not fully tested out their full potential, so he can’t really comment on it.

Among all the clouds (hence the cloud photo which I took in Elba) out there, is there one that suits my needs? Any tips and suggestions? Anyone?

Not wanting to fork out a fortune for Aperture yet, is there any other programmes out there which I can use to put watermarks on my photos? I downloaded iWatermark but I find that I absolutely hate the quality of the processed photo. Destroys all my photos and leaves them grainy. Back on the prowl for another before I succumb to Aperture. I have been looking at Aperture for a reeeeeaaaallllllllllyyyyyyyy long time.

I have never really gotten a reply on any of my questions before..I guess I am on my own. 😦 T_T

wokay! Back to trawling the net and hopefully not get distracted along the way.


Mousey is a mozzie!

Mozzie is a slang for mosquitoes. In Malaysia we call the motorcyclists mosquitoes, because they weave in and out of traffic at will. Since I am a motorcyclist therefore I am a mozzie!! Hehehehe!!!

This thought just popped into my head the other day. Connecting all the dots while on my vespa weaving through traffic to the city centre. How ironic. 🙂 I was thinking of the difference between riding in Asia (wherever I have a license to ride) and riding here in Europe, especially in Italy. Italy is a motorcycle or rather a scooter country. Of course there are accidents here as there in any other part of the world but the people here are more considerate of motorcyclists on the road.  Heck, they are even aware and tolerant of cyclists on the road. No one actually honks, ok..not never but they seldom do, at a cyclist sharing their lane. They slow down and when they can, the overtake them and pretty much leave them be. Though I salute these cyclist here. With all the mountainous roads everywhere, they really DO love cycling. I don’t know how they do it. 😛

Mine is on the left. On an airstrip in Calabria

Why is that so? I have come to the conclusion that because at any one time in their lives here in Italy, they would have either rode a scooter or motorcycle or was a pillion rider. So they are aware of them when on the road. Also, if they have never been on one, they grew up around one. Whereas, this is totally the opposite in Malaysia or Singapore. A huge percentage of them will have never been on a motorcycle or scooter of any kind in their lives and may never get on one, ever! There is also a very small number of motorcyclist on the road as compared to Italy.

At Sila, in Calabria

If you grew up here or are motorcyclist here, there are some unwritten rules that you learn along the way. I never knew of them till I came here. My most vivid reminder was once when I was stuck in traffic on the outskirts of Paris, motorcyclists honked at me and asked me to “move in!” complete with hand gestures and all. That was when I realised, I was the ONLY ONE out of line. Everyone else, dutifully left the centre divider line clear for the motorcyclist who could weave their way out of major traffic. Everyone moved closer to their sides respectively. I then realised, this happens in Italy too and in Greece and in the UK and so forth.

On a vespa rally in Elba

Also, they are very helpful should you fall or slip. The road to my home is winding and when it rains it is like a river which makes it really dangerous for me on the vespa (small wheels, which is why I prefer my Enfield sometimes) to navigate the roads. Winding roads with loads of blind spots. Once I slowed down near a blind spot bend and because it was wet,the rain has stopped, my vespa slid right across to the other lane into an oncoming car. He stopped in time and so did the car behind me on my lane and they both came down to help me up. I got back on and off I went after thanking them, of course. I had other encounters but I am not going to go into them. I might scare my mum.

On our road trip from Genova to Sicily with many stops along the way…

I LOVE motorcycles!! I like the panoramic, uninterrupted views, wind in my hair and the ability to park almost anywhere and not get stuck in traffic!! I got my motorcycle license here in Italy about a year before I got my driver’s license. I didn’t need it. I went everywhere in Genova on my scooter. Even in winter. I have actually learnt how to ride the old Honda cup bikes when I was 13. My dad taught me. I just never got a license till I was in Singapore. I find myself defending the mozzies in Malaysia when someone is grumbling about them on the roads. hehehehe! Do you know that they are technically treated like a car? They are supposed to occupy the road like a car and not like how everyone thinks that they should scoot off to the side of the road and let the cars pass? Well, at least in Malaysia and Singapore. In Italy we are told to keep to the right of the lane. Roads are tight here. 😛

I ❤ bikes! It is official, I am a mozzie!

discovering Siderno on the best scooter ever!!

hmm…..I didn’t quite think the photo positions through, did I? Thought of punctuating my post with photos. I am just going to leave it like this. Got to run. Hungry! 😛


Mousey is wondering…

This blog post is about a week in the making. Been a little busy during my days and the evenings I have been rushing through my exercise and dinner and entertaining guests at home with a dinner I am not too proud of. Too last minute for my taste. I had to cook for 5 people, right after coming back from a long day out. I didn’t even have time for anything to thaw out.

Anyway, I was wondering after watching “Non ditelo alla sposa” which translates to “don’t tell the bride” which I think might be the right title in English. All the titles here are in Italian. I either know them or have to do a rough guess what they are actually called. The actual title sometimes gets lost in translation. They sometimes use the original title but sometimes they come up with their own version. 🙂

Ok, I got sidetracked. Back to my wondering. This  BBC UK reality show is about giving couples who are up for it and usually not able to afford a wedding £12,000 and 3 weeks to plan a wedding. The catch was that the groom has to do ALL the planning and the bride just has to show up! Usually they choose controlling and super organised women and very laid back or totally unreliable men. It is a totally hilarious to watch and I have a sneaky feeling that behind the scenes the producers actually help the poor guy through some details. Maybe with some gentle reminders? hehehe!

Decide the theme, the cake, the flowers, decorations, catering, the venue, the licenses needed and etc… all in 3 weeks. The groom even had to choose the wedding gown (the biggest thing for a bride) and the bridesmaids’ dresses all on his own. Some of them get so caught up in everything else and totally forgot the wedding rings! Imagine that! One very creative groom used Haribo gummy rings! The same kind he proposed with. Hilarious but it really summed them up as a couple. Hopefully they got round to getting the real ring after the show. 😛

In one of the episodes, the bride refused to get on the flight for the wedding because the irresponsible groom spent most of the budget on himself and his bestman to have a stag night and the  wedding in Las Vegas leaving not enough in the budget for her family to attend the wedding. It was just enough for her parents and no one else. She didn’t want a wedding with just 4 attendees. Another was afraid of heights and the groom got the bride to skydive to the wedding. Can you imagine the terror she felt? In the end, the weddings all looked lovely! Kudos to the clueless grooms and sometimes just as clueless their bestmens.

I can imagine myself doing this. I have faith in M because he comes up with the most interesting things and he has been planning events for quite some time. He has really good taste and I am quite adventurous myself. Up for almost anything. Only thing is that I would not compromise on not having my family with me. That is a big no, no.

I was wondering if any of YOU would leave ALL the planning of your wedding to your other halfs?

Would you? I would love to hear from you.

Something’s got to give..

Just stealing the title from the movie. But it hold a  whole different meaning here. Tomorrow there will a protest on the streets of Genova by the workers of the giant companies who have since either closed down or laid of thousands of workers. My SIL is one of them. Since the 2008 crisis hit Europe, we have been seeing wave after wave of people being laid off. Suicide rates have gone through the roof, so to speak. There was an average of 2 suicides PER DAY last year and more than 11,000 Italians companies closed their doors last year alone. In the Guardian’s new yesterday they estimated that the unemployment rate in Italy is now at 24% which is really high.

Everyday, there is news of corruption and tax evasion plastered all over our newspapers, TV and radio channels. I do find a lot of it to be really disgusting. I have nothing against businessmen who have worked hard for their money, provided employment for many to enjoy their hard earned money but I have something against politicians who earn €30k a month (what the average person earns in a year!), with full benefits (telephone, car and misc. expenses paid for by the government) and are tax exempted. Also, once their tenure ends, their are entitled their “pensions” for serving the country, for LIFE! Even if you served only for a month in the parliament, you are entitled to that pension too.Some only work in total a month in a year. Now, somebody tell me how to get into politics! Even I want that!! Anybody?? wait…I don’t know anyone. It is a cronies only politics here and I thought we, from “developing” countries had it bad.

Out VAT or IVA in Italy is going up to 23% end of this year. Gas and Utility is up by about 3.5-4.7% each. They have lowered then pensions of the existing pensioners (mind you, not those of the politicians, just the laymen) and our petrol prices hover around €1.80 -€2 per litre. They upped personal taxes and company taxes and they wonder why people don’t want to pay taxes. They brought back home owner’s tax which also, if I am not mistaken also taxes €200 per head per household. I might be wrong on that. As a citizen (not me of course) you pay almost 50% to the government and then you get taxed more on whatever that remains through everything else that you use, consume and breathe in…what remains? No wonder the citizens are taking to the streets! There is even, restaurants who hang on their doors “politicians are not allowed”.

I am sure there are those who really work for the good of the people but they are the minorities. But why should they earn so much and be tax exempted? While they raise taxing for everyone else. Italy has one of the highest tax burdens in the world, ranked about 5th from the world’s top ten but the lowest paycheck in the whole of EU. It is a vicious cycle. We own our own business, so I know it is really hard to maintain the business with so many different taxes you have to pay for the business, for the people you hire and the labour laws actually does not encourage us to hire anyone full time at all. We had employees who stole from us but we could not just kick them out. We still had to “compensate” them €1k for every year they had been with us, and another amount of settlement we agree in front of a judge and pursue the theft as a civil suit after the compensation. I, like any rational person, would think that AFTER you have stolen from the company, you have forfeited your rights to ANY compensation due to you because you have violated the trust between the company and you. Am I not right?

In the end we paid €13k for this person to leave the company and not to pursue anything further from that point on from us. This person worked for us for 7 years, who knows what they have taken from us? We found only because we saw a strange charge on the company credit card statement over the December holidays. This person bought holiday flight tickets for 2 people for the December holidays! So it makes me think that this person could have been taking “holidays” on the company each time they went on leave. What am I to think?? Also, for this to escape our prying eyes, the accountant must have been on it too! Doctored the documents before reaching us. Shit!

Because of that law too, it is so difficult to fire someone after you have hired them because it is a very expensive exercise, in the end, companies don’t hire. Especially full time. Because if we do, it might come back to bite us! So in the end we have endless part time workers and they don’t get any benefits because they are part timers. Because companies are afraid of hiring, most Italian companies remain small and uncompetitive in the market place. Also, I was complaining all the time about their opening hours, especially when they are closed for lunch when that is the BEST time to open. Lunch times are like 3 hours. Who eats lunch for 3 hours? Most people don’t. So, after eating what do they do? wander around and maybe shop! I found out that it is not because they DON’T  want to open but they have to abide by state AND national labour laws that allow them to open for a certain amount of hours only AND  at certain pre-determined times. A license that you have to apply and pay for AND differs from region to region. How about that! I am sure you didn’t know about that before!

My rantings will be endless. I don’t want to sound bitter and angry. I am actually writing this to say that I might just join my SIL on the streets tomorrow and fully support the white widow, (as they are known, the wives of the men who died at work but recently pinned to wives of men, business owners and workers alike, who killed themselves because the crisis has taken a toll on them) on Friday on the streets of Bologna ending at the tax office where the husband of the organiser set himself on fire last month.

I wasn’t there in my country to support Bersih (in another post) but I can support something here for the people of Italy and my Italian family.

Mousey is missing Milo…

My darling Milo

It is Mayday today and I am home alone and relishing every moment of it. M is in Torino (Turin) on a off road circuit testing out his other off road vespa which he is planning to use for the Africa Race next year. So I am being the couch potato with my laptop on my lap (hahahahaa…where else do laptops go? they are called LAPtops….) and the TV, channel surfing from time to time. A few channels are showing different episodes of Cesar Millan, the programme I absolutely LOVE! To get pointers on my dealings with Milo and of the adorable dogs that he handles.

Today, one of the programmes had 2 Frenchies. I was eager to see what their problem was and to just watch them. They were SO CUTE!!! Made me miss my darling Milo. The owner, a Hollywood actor, director and writer has 2 adorable Frenchies who to him he couldn’t control. They took him for walks instead of he taking them for walks. They lunged at anything that passed them and bolt right out the door when there is anyone at the door. The comment he made that made me laugh out loud was that one of his dogs had the really sad doeful eyes that always makes him feel guilty whereas the other one has the corner eyeball look all the time as if asking him “what do you want” almost smirking. Describing Milo exactly! He does the doeful eye when he is wondering where we are going and when we are leaving without him. He has the corner eyeball look when I try to get photos of him or when he is sulking and having his back to me. 😀

Milo now lives with my in-laws. M and I make the excuse of us being horrible owners and wanting to live our couple life free of dog duty which is partly true but mostly we want to leave my in-laws, especially my MIL with company. Our constant travelling is very disruptive to the routine of Milo. He has a routine already well established with my in-laws. So, we feel that it is better to leave him with my in-laws since whenever we are in town, we are over there at least 3 times a week. Another reason, is that my in-laws are older and they can’t hear the doorbell and there has been people preying on the fact that there are old people only at home, the have tried to steal stuff. Stray cats wander in and steal food. With Milo, all the unwanted guests are kept at bay and whenever there is someone at the door, he alerts my in-laws.

My FIL has a cute routine with Milo. Every morning when he has his biscuits and coffee, Milo is perched on the chair, which they allow him to be on, my FIL feeds him the other half of the coffee dunked biscuits. Next, my MIL will be doing her morning chats with Milo while he remains perched on the chair listening to her conversation. They are too cute to watch!!! 🙂 🙂

Though Milo stays with them, he is still my darling! Know how they say that dogs recognise only 1 owner? This is true. He respects and is close to the whole family but he recognises me as his owner. When I walk into the room, no one else matters. Such a boost for my ego! LOL!!! I did train him well! Cesar says you have to show that you are the pack leader and I am. He begs, paws and jump on the others but not me. Not the behaviour I encourage so he doesn’t do it to me. He never begs me for food at the table because I NEVER acknowledge his begging and when I stand up he backs off away from the table regardless of who he is begging from. But I am always admonished by my in-laws for being too harsh on Milo. I am NOT!! I just believe that dogs should not be allowed to disturb anyone at the dinner table and not be fed any of our food which is too salty or too many spices, not good for any dogs’ digestive tract. What’s more, Milo has an allergy.

But we trained him well. He is a damn good traveller. He has been to so many places and absolutely loves being on a bike with wind in his face. His disgestive tract activities leaves much to be desired and his snoring…goodness me! keeps everyone awake if you  are in the same room. But he is an absolute joy with his comical antics and his ability to just settle in anywhere!

I got to go soon. Going for a run and right after that, going to have dinner at my in-laws and see Milo!!!

Leaving you with a curious Milo…. 🙂

Milo in Patti Marina, Sicily