Twilight at the Tower Bridge

Travels and Tomes: One Expat's Amblings and Ramblings


Tower Bridge, just beyond the Tower of London, as the sun goes down. February 2016 Tower Bridge, just beyond the Tower of London, as the sun goes down. February 2016

About this time last year, Katie and I flew off to London for the weekend to take in some theater, a London Fashion Weekend show, some good food, some history, and a shot of urban living.

Our first night in town, we’d seen the play “The End of Longing” on the West End.  The play was pretty good, the stage sets were remarkable (both for their look and for their “rapid changeability”), and our meeting with Matthew Perry after the show went well– no matter what my daughter might tell you to the contrary.  (Unless Matthew Perry is actually reading this, in which case, let me take a moment to apologize and say that I’ll try to be much cooler if I ever meet you again, please don’t feel the need to take out a restraining order…

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My Country

This weeks topic is about the Malaysian culture. The Malaysian’s cuisine reflects on the multi-ethnic makeup of its population and is defined by its diversity. Many cultures from Malaysia and the surrounding areas have greatly influenced Malaysian cuisine with strong influence from Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese, and the Sumatran cuisine. The one culture that still stand till today is the Sarawak culture. The general term used for any of the indigenous groups that are found in Peninsular Malaysia, they are called ‘Orang Asli’ which literally translates as the ‘original people’.

Since we have such a diverse culture we try to live as one big family by avoiding every kind of argument with each other, but as one diverse culture we get to experience other cultures under one roof. Although Malaysia is culturally diverse, we have three major cultures in west Malaysia and 2 major cultures in east Malaysia. Three major…

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Recycling Fashion

Fast fashion is a growing thorn in my side. As I’ve discussed on here previously, I have absolutely nothing against purchasing brand new clothes, shoes, and accessories if they are going to be worn for a long time. For instance, when I buy a new pair of shoes, I quite literally wear them into the ground until the soles are falling off.

But fast fashion is exactly the opposite – purchased usually as part of a fad and discarded in a land fill even though the garment still has a lot of life left in it.

All of this is to say that this weekend I decided to check out two unique businesses that set out to combat fast fashion – all while giving fashion mavens a chance to get a fix for cheap!

At the time of writing, neither of my orders has shipped, so the true test…

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Seven Strategic Steps HR Can Take to Drive Company Innovation and Profitable Growth!

Victor Assad Strategic Human Resources Consulting

Human Resources can make significant contributions toward improving a company’s innovation, especially with mature or fast-growth post start-up companies. Human Resources can engineer the organization’s talent management and culture so that it is more innovative, while also maintaining the excellence and reliability of its current operations.  They all are needed to drive today’s profitability.

We hear a lot in the innovation press about developing new technology and applying it to current applications and new business models. We also hear about mature firms acquiring new technology firms to drive innovation. These are all solid business strategies, but their failure rate is often above 70%.[i]  The failure rate for start-ups is widely regarded as 90%.

Some of this is inherent in the nature of innovation. It often takes 100 trials of a new technology or product before it is ready for commercialization. That includes a lot of failure and learning…

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Favorite Films of 2016

Seth Birkenmeyer

10. The Lobster

This surreal dystopian drama from Yorgos Lanthimos thrives on its unique concept: single people are arrested and sent to a hotel, where they have 45 days to fall in love, lest they be turned into the animal of their choice and forced to live in the woods. Those that doubt Colin Farrell’s acting ability can look to his lead performance here as proof that he is adept given the right script. The supporting cast, including Rachel Weisz, Lea Seydoux and John C. Reilly, is also brilliant. This is a thoughtful examination of modern ideas on romance and self, equal parts humorous and sorrowful. This film is not for everyone, but those eager to embrace a strange melancholy and an ambiguous ending should check it out.

9. Zootopia

In 2016, Disney put Pixar to shame with a surprisingly poignant and timely story tailor-made for the current political climate.

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NOVA’s “The Origami Revolution” – Watch free online at PBS (until 3/1/2017)

My Folds

Have you seen NOVA’s “The Origami Revolution”?  It is a fascinating episode. Watch it free on PBS online until 3/1/2017:

Enjoy the slow motion, close-up of a ladybug expanding her wings before she takes flight. In another segment, gasp at the fast-speed video of an opening flower which was beautiful.  I could only watch in amazement at how similar this all looked to folding.

“Nature does this all the time,” says Eric Demaine, MIT Professor.

The world of Origami is opening up for me. I could never have imagined the intersection of origami, mathematics, and science.

Oh, I folded a Dollar Origami Dragon Boat today.  It is so simple and child-like compared to the complex mathematical computations and folding being performed by those in the NOVA video.

Dollar Bill Dragon Boat. 2.18.2017. Dollar Bill Dragon Boat. 2.18.2017.

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My Mt. Everest

The Wallflower Wanderer

The tallest, fiercest beast of rock, ice and snow on the planet goes by many names. 

If you’re the average Nepali, you’ve grown up calling it Sagarmāthā, meaning “forehead in the sky.” If you’re a native speaker of the Tibetan languages, it is the “mother of the world” or, Chomolungma. But those of us who have not had the rare pleasure of casting our eyes from a young age upward toward the behemoth, which rises like a ghost from the Mahalangur mountain range — we know it as Mt. Everest.

Mt. Everest-1-2

It’s 5:45am and I’m making my way in darkness toward the nearest main road from my Airbnb in the Lainchaur neighborhood of Kathmandu.

The simple but sturdy four-story concrete home is buried deep in a pocket of squiggling half-paved, half-dirt streets that don’t appear to have names. Many are scarcely wide enough for a single car to pass people on foot.

Even at this early hour, when I reach the big…

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