Sunday, February 13, 2011

兔年运程 (^o^)

Happy (Chinese) New Year. Singapore, Singapore.

When I take a step back and reflect, I marvel at the incredible progress we have made as a civilization. I mean, at what other time in the history could one be so terribly Chinese illiterate and yet be able to steal enough script over the internet to construct this Sino-themed post? Exactly. What an age we live in!

So, in this freshly minted 5,710th year of the lunar calendar, we here at starfish and waffles wish you, the well-traveled internet visitor, a very happy Chinese New Year. May the wisdom of Buddha and the Tao of, well, Tao yin all of your yangs in the weeks and months ahead.

Want a sneak preview of what lies in store for the year ahead? Well, you are in luck, my friend. Read on, for a special starfish and waffles edition of your 2011 Year of the Rabbit Chinese Horoscope, scientifically proven by the Chinese and non-Chinese alike to be the most accurate horoscope under the stars. In fact, we guarantee it!*

For the uninitiated: the Chinese zodiac is represented by 12 animals signs, each of which feature its own unique characteristics and personalities. Operating on a 12-year cycle, 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit. Want to know what sign you are? It's as easy as knowing what year in which you were born. Pretty easy, right?

And now, your future. Try to act surprised when it happens.

1. Rat (鼠)
Born in: 1900, 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
  • Happy New Year, wise rat, oldest sign in the Chinese zodiac.
  • As usual, your cleverness and wisdom will guide you well for all months of the year, but what impresses the stars most is your fine work in training four teenage mutant turtles the ancient martial art of the ninja, deep under the streets of New York. In 2011, when the evil Shredder attacks, your turtle boys will cut him no slack! Good job.
  • Something to be wary of in the New Year: hantavirus.
  • Do: bathe regularly to minimize bubonic plague.
  • Don't: scare the women and children.

2. Ox (牛)
Born in: 1901, 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
  • Poor, poor, ox. Castrated early in the year so you can concentrate solely on pulling a heavy wagon cart of heartless pioneers across the Oregon Trail to settle the American West, you will toil thanklessly over the next six months as you plod your way past such forgettable outposts as Chimney Rock, Nebraska and Laramie, Wyoming.
  • By September, your luck changes 180-degrees somewhere near Soda Springs, Idaho, when all aforementioned bastard pioneers die of dysentry.
  • With your newfound freedom, you head, naturally, to Hollywood where your strikingly high-pitched voice makes you an instant sensation on American Idol. You land a recording contract by Christmas. Redemption!
  • Do: work hard, like you always do.
  • Don't: end up as a part of our chili dog recipe!

3. Tiger (虎)
Born in: 1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
  • Deng Xiaoping once said "to be rich is to be virtuous," and for you, greedy tiger, the Year of the Rabbit rings in like a cash register as you shamelessly sell your soul to pitch sneakers for ASICS, gasoline for Exxon Mobil, and Frosted Flakes for Kellogg's - all before the end of June. Is there anything you won't sell?
  • You do, however, get back a measure of credibility in November thanks to your stunning portrayal of the retarded Tigger in the otherwise regrettable full-feature film, Winnie the Pooh: Intervention. If they gave out an Oscar for Best Retard, you would have won - hands down. Well done!
  • Do: maul Tiger Woods, the slut, for besmirching your name.
  • Don't: lose your stripes.

4. Rabbit (兔)
Born in: 1903, 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
  • Hello Rabbit, it's your year!
  • And my, it promises to be a prolific one. Love springs eternal for the cute and cuddly you, which will pay dividends in the form of three litters of 10-12 baby rabbits each. Up to 8 of them will even survive the obstacles of delicious Maltese stews and Australian vermin hunters to celebrate their first birthday.
  • Do: be careful not to run afoul of any public indecency laws during your many exploits.
  • Don't: be lazy ... that tortoise behind you is gaining ground.

5. Dragon (龙)
Born in: 1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000
  • I'll be honest, I've never quite understood how you, Dragon, could be one of the signs in the Chinese zodiac. You're not a real animal are you? ... unless ... you are! Damn it King James Bible, you've lied to me again!
  • As Dragon, you are almost certainly the coolest Chinese zodiac character, what with your ability to fly around and breathe fire on people/things. Because you are cool, you are also popular and therefore can get whatever you want in the Year of the Rabbit.
  • Now that I think of it, I hate you, Dragon.
  • Just kidding.
  • Do: be cool, and get what you want.
  • Don't: tip your dragonboat in the race this summer.

6. Snake (蛇)
Born in: 1905, 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001
  • Snake, I was going to write that nobody likes you because you all you do is slither around, threatening to bite people with your sharp fangs, but that was before I ate you at a Cantonese barbecue and discovered what a delicacy you were. Delicious!
  • Therefore, the stars say: you will taste like chicken in the Year of the Rabbit.
  • Do: be wary of Indian cobra charmers. There's a good chance they're only using you for your moves.
  • Don't: just give it up. Make those charmers earn it.

7. Horse (马)
Born in: 1906, 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002
  • Horse, you are undeniably smart, funny, good-looking, witty, successful, stylish, nice, happy, amazing, attractive, awesome, awe-inspiring, talented, lucky, and hot. Yes, Manchuria, it's true: the Horse is the Chinese zodiac's most beloved sign.
  • I'm not just saying this because I was born in the Year of the Horse.
  • Do: eat all of your oats. They're high in antioxidants!
  • Don't: slow down at the Kentucky Derby because if you don't show, you could be headed for the glue factory!

8. Goat (羊)
Born in: 1907, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003
  • "Baaaa-aaa!" I called out, down in the direction of the sure-footed mountain goats on the cliffs below. Ironically, I felt sheepish when Myra, my Californian travel buddy, pointed out that goats didn't make that sound.
  • Yes, I admit I had previously written the content in the above point for another post, but I am positively stumped as to what to write for you, Goat. Really, I'm just shocked that you even made it into the Chinese zodiac at all. What was Confucius smoking when he invented this scam, anyway? (Opium, probably, but that's another story). I'm sorry, you should have been a bear, or panda, or possibly an elephant.
  • But, it's not your fault. Goat, you are well-known amongst the heavens to be kind and easy going, and in the Year of the Rabbit, you will have many opportunities to display your generosity.
  • In other words, give me your money.
  • Do: shave. You have terrible facial hair.
  • Don't: travel to Gävle, Sweden, around Christmastime. (Here's why).

9. Monkey (猴)
Born in: 1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004
  • Oh curious Monkey, what mischief will you get into next?
  • In April, you escape from the zoo and sneak into a restaurant, eating a pot of spaghetti. The chef catches you, and makes you wash the dishes. Horror!
  • In May, you get a job as a window washer at an apartment building. While working, you notice that one of the apartments is getting painted, so you break in and give it a jungle motif. The professional painters, however, are not amused. They chase you down a fire escape where you fall and break your leg. Thankfully, the man in the yellow hat comes to the rescue, saving you from being shipped off to the circus.
  • Warning: the man in the yellow hat's yellow hat is not a banana.
  • Do: eat fleas off your monkey friends; it helps strengthen your society.
  • Don't: fling your poo.

10. Rooster (鸡)
Born in: 1909, 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005
  • There are no two ways about it: you are a cock.
  • However, your air of confidence, along with your athletic prowess, will serve you well in the ring this year, where you go undefeated and become undisputed cockfighting champion of the world!
  • Do: sleep in, so you don't wake everybody in town with your incessant crowing at dawn.
  • Don't: trust Colonel Sanders.

11. Dog (狗)
Born in: 1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006
  • Woof, woof! Mmmmm?
  • What's that? What's that? What is that? Good boy!
  • Under the stars of the Chinese zodiac, the Dog is assuredly everybody's best friend. And for you, Dog, the Year of the Rabbit will be filled with long walks, fire hydrants to pee on, endless games of frisbee, and sniffing other dogs at the dog park. Yay!
  • Do: make fun of that poodle. They're barely dogs, anyway.
  • Don't: lick yourself.

12. Pig (猪)
Born in: 1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007
  • Ham. Bacon. Pork chops. They all come from you. Wow, you must be some kind of magical animal!
  • You heard it here first: in the Year of the Rabbit, you will fly, Pig! Adventure and travel is in the stars, and you will go on many trips this year. Make sure to send me a postcard.
  • Do: enroll to get frequent flyer points.
  • Don't: get worms.

* NOTE: Guarantee not guaranteed.

Hopping in to the (Chinese) New Year. Edmonton, Canada.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

in the eye of the storm

Blue skies, calm surf. South Mission Beach, Australia. (2010).

Blue skies, calm surf. When we visited last July, weather conditions in North Queensland were certainly a bit more pleasant than in the last 24 hours or so.

To our friends in the area who just bore the brunt of Cyclone Yasi's Category 5 fury: way to hang in there. Our thoughts are with you as you begin the daunting task of cleaning up.

Breezy coconut palms on South Mission Beach, Australia. (2010). A serene scene to be sure, but things were anything but in the last 24 hours or so as the eye of monstrous Cyclone Yasi passed over this very area.

Surf and rescue. South Mission Beach, Australia. (2010).

Closing up shop at the Tin Fork in South Johnstone, Australia. (2010). No one does ooray better than the Tin Fork!

Parasol girls. Etty Bay, Australia. (2010).