Posted by: coolerbecky | April 30, 2011

Lacy Dreams

I’ll admit that ever since Project Runway went to air, I’ve started to pay a little more attention to fashion. This isn’t to say that I love fashion – far from it. I simply have a little more appreciation for the designs that go into the clothes I wear.  One of my favourite contestants on Project Runway is the world’s campiest designer, Austin Scarlett.

I love Austin.  He’s gayer than a basketful of kittens over a rainbow.  Even his name is absolutely fabulous. Every time Austin graces the screen, his hair is immaculate and his makeup even more so.

His designs are great too.  There’s something about the frilly froufrouness of his dresses that makes the little girl inside me squeal with joy1.  Unfortunately, Austin never did make it to the finals of the series, the judges having tired of his design aesthetic in the episode just preceding the selection of the top three finalists.

I recently discovered that since the show, Austin designed some wedding gowns for Kenneth Pool’s 2007 collection – Kenneth Pool being one of those highly expensive haute coutoure dress companies of the same ilk as Vera Wang and Vivienne Westwood.  So, crazed fan of the show that I am, I decided to check them out.

After looking at gown after gown in the Kenneth Pool collection, I started to think about the kind of wedding dress I’d be wearing at my own wedding.

Will I even have a wedding?  How on earth would the logistics for such a wedding work?  Would I have it in Singapore or Australia?  What if my husband-to-be were from the USA?  That would increase the number of possible wedding venues by a factor of 1.5!  Would my friends fly over to Singapore for a wedding?  Would my family fly to Australia for a wedding?

By the time I started thinking about bridesmaids, I realised that my wedding will still be a long way off.  I suppose all girls dream of walking down the aisle. Pursuing a career is all well and good, but there will always be that unspoken pressure on girls to get married someday. Even I want to marry someone I love someday, raise a family and settle down. It’s nice to dream.

Incidentally, the wedding dress trend of tight fishtail butt bodices that explode into a pile of lace and feathers needs to stop.  It does the model no favours and it won’t do any favours for a normally proportioned woman either2.

1Though I have to admit that I was not in love with that bizzare wedding gown that he designed in Episode 5.  What on Earth was he smoking when he made that?
2Seriously, it looks like as if someone took some cords and tied her knees and thighs together, then stuck her in some white sacking.

Posted by: coolerbecky | September 13, 2010

Just like Mama Used to Make

One of the great things about having a Flying, Cooking and Gardening Mama in your house is that you don’t really have to cook when she’s visiting and you’ll still be able to enjoy every meal. This is especially true for my mother, who is an excellent cook. She could probably turn out a three-course meal from a handful of gravel under a rock.

This is not to say that I am a bad cook. It’s just that I happen to specialise in desserts. Ask me to bake a cake, make a pie or whip up an ice cream, and I will gladly oblige. Ask me to cook anything more complicated than the most basic of stews and I will have to respectfully decline on the basis that I lack the skills1. Anyway, my oddly clumsy cooking style has led my mother to request that I indulge in kitchen activities only when she is not present so that she need not constantly fear for my life/fingers every time I start cooking.

Who am I to argue with logic like that?

The absolute best thing about this whole situation is that Mum has fully stocked my fridge with her brand of home cooked meals so that I won’t starve while she’s away visiting the Floriade2 in Canberra3 with my Aunt and Uncle. It’s really nice to know that she cares for me so much that she’d do something like that.

It’s really quiet in the house while she’s gone, but I can still feel her presence through her tasty food.

1Besides, I don’t really like the way oil sputters in a pan as if it were plotting to spray all over you and cover you with burns. It’s up to something, I’m sure of it.
2Gardening Mama was pretty angry that I killed all her plants, so she’s going to stock up on more plants for me to kill.
3People used to say that Canberra was the most boring state in Australia. I didn’t believe them. Until I actually went to Canberra.

Posted by: coolerbecky | September 12, 2010

Sweet Sunday: Sentimental Generation

Today’s Sweet Sunday is inspired by Gaijin Chronicles, a blog about the trials and tribulations of Azrael, an African-Californian in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme.

Even though the song is annoyingly repetitive and comes from a fairly mediocre anime, I love this video. To me, it’s a work of art.

The main reason why I like this video so much is because (like any good music video should1) it tells a great story. There’s just something about the idea that tough, yakuza-like highschool boys would duke it out over a piece of yakisoba bread that keeps me amused. The singer, Tokito Ami, isn’t exactly one of Japan’s A-list celebrities, she’s really only made five singles, most of which were for anime, but she really shines in this video. There’s just something about the innocent way she manages to bounce down those hallways behind the psychotic boy who’s busy beating up the entire student body that makes me keep watching this video over and over again.

The fake kung-fu choreography is great too! Even their expressions are hilarious. Check the freeze frame that they have at 1:18 to 1:25. If you look closely, you’ll notice that those guys aren’t actually paused – they’re literally standing in a hallway, holding as still as they can while the camera pans around them twice and keeping the dumbest expressions on their faces for the entire time.

I hate to admit it, but Tokito Ami’s pre-packaged cuteness is probably also a deciding factor. I’m intensely jealous of the woman. I wish I was capable of pulling off that sweet and cheerful meganekko look.

Then again, maybe I don’t. I kinda like me the way I am.

1…but don’t for some reason. Hip-hoppers and R&B singers, I’m glaring at you in particular. You’ve ruined the music video scene with your annoying gyrating women and lack of storyline.

Posted by: coolerbecky | September 11, 2010

Keepers of the Keys

Etiquette Hell recently made a post about salesmen trying to get past secretaries by grandstanding and lying.

Reading the comments on that post reminded me of a conversation I had over the telephone during the speaker invitation stage of my last conference.

Me: Hi Secretary, it’s Cooler Becky. Is Mr Bossman available at the moment? I’m just following up on a previous call I made regarding the conference and he mentioned that he was keen to be a speaker for it.
Secretary: No, he’s actually in a meeting right now.
Me: Could I just leave a message with then?
Secretary: No, you can’t. Can you call back tomorrow instead?
Me: *Taken aback* I… can’t?
Secretary: No. Can you call back tomorrow?
Me: Okay! I can do that! Can I just grab an E-mail address for him so that he knows what I’m looking to discuss tomorrow?
Secretary: *Wailing* You don’t understand! My water just broke! I really have to go! *Click*

Funny stories aside, rudeness to a secretary, receptionist or personal assistant is a really big telephone no-no. Where I work, we’re always reminded that such people act as gatekeepers for their bosses and it’s ultimately their decision whether you get to speak to the executive or not.

The way people act towards others who are perceived as “lower” in the business food chain is a really telling sign of their attitude towards others in general. In fact, many businesses even give weight to their receptionist’s impressions of prospective employee prior to hiring said employee.

Long story short, it never pays to be rude to a secretary. Burning bridges with gatekeepers not only reflects badly on you, but reflects badly on the company that you’re representing and ruins your chances with the executive or company that you’re trying to build a business relationship with.

Some smaller offices even employ family members to mind the front desk or telephones, so be very careful – the person whom you insult today might just be running the business tomorrow.

Posted by: coolerbecky | September 6, 2010

Flying Mama

There’s Cooking Mama and there’s Gardening Mama. Cooler Becky’s Mama is Flying Mama.

Flying Mama has just landed in Cooler Becky’s house. She seems to be satisfied with her surroundings, which means that Cooler Becky can breathe a sigh of relief.

Flying Mama will be staying in Cooler Becky’s house for 3 weeks. She will be doing some cooking1 and gardening. The latter mostly because Cooler Becky has, once again, destroyed her garden through complete and utter neglect2.

1Mmmn… delicious home cooked food. How I missed thee.
2Cooler Becky is of the strong belief that plants should be grown to eat. If they aren’t edible, then they’re not really worth growing.

Posted by: coolerbecky | September 5, 2010

Sweet Sunday – Double Rainbow

WARNING: Today’s Sweet Sunday may not necessarily be child-friendly due to general weirdness.

The Gregory Brothers are a little family music outfit who enjoy turning normal youtube videos or bits of the news – all sorts of things, really, into music videos with the help of auto-tune.

Not all of their work is particularly good. Some of them are pretty embarrassing to watch like the Daddy and Mommy song (definitely not safe for work), but some of them are kind of silly, like the Backing Up song, which is kind of weird.

That being said, the double rainbow song is based on this video posted by Yosemite Bear, a rather strange gentleman who subscribes to the whole native Indian lifestyle and is “living off the land” in an area that’s somewhere close to Yosemite National Park.

Since Yosemite Bear’s double rainbow video has made him somewhat internet famous, he has since been hired by Microsoft to do an advertisement based on it, which I thought was a rather successful application.

Well, I suppose this teaches us all to enjoy the little things in life. Like double rainbows full on across the sky.


Posted by: coolerbecky | September 3, 2010

New Directions

Obvious gLee references aside, Cooler Becky has just been offered a really great new job as a conference producer1 at a wonderful place called Terrapinn, after a series of interviews which required her to make a mock conference called “Private Equity World Australia 2010” 2. Apparently, my work was impressive enough for them to hire me, despite the fact that the last person who employed me gave me one of the worst possible references ever. It’s good to get a second chance.

Terrapinn’s mission statement is “use your brain” and it’s about as zen a workplace as you can get. Apparently, the guy who founded it is a strong believer in Buddhism, so the office is all Feng-Shuied up. While I don’t personally believe in the whole luck balancing nonsense that goes right through the heart of Feng Shui, I do recognise that the concept does bring some aesthetic value to interior design and it’s quite commonsensical.

I’m totally excited about working for Terrapinn. The company has an excellent training and mentorship program and is also has a very strong commitment to corporate social responsibility, which I find very attractive in a workplace. The fact that it’s not a cubicle farm is an even bigger plus. I kinda like the open office plan.

I guess in the end, getting dropped from my previous job was a blessing in disguise. It’s put me in the right frame of mind to fully appreciate this new company that I’m working for and I’m definitely going to give them my best.

1Conferences don’t produce themselves, you know. They really need some producing.
2Turns out they liked my work so much that they ended up putting me in charge of the Private Equity World Australia 2011. Seriously, check it out at

Posted by: coolerbecky | September 1, 2010

Things to do on a Wednesday night: Halo Launch

If you’ve got nothing better to do this evening, why not head down to UTS tonight and take part in the launch of a new video game?

The Halo series is fairly famous for its massive product launches. Halo 3, for example, was preceeded by I Love Bees, one of the world’s most massive Alternate Reality Games. The latest installment of the series, Halo Reach, is going to be launched at UTS tonight at 7pm. This new first person shooter is set sometime after the events of some other game called Halo: Combat Evolved.

Despite all this fanfare, rumour has it that UTS is practically giving away the tickets, which isn’t surprising since the Halo series has become a little tired over the years. Much as I love Master Chief in all his SPARTAN glory, I get the sinking feeling that Halo Reach is going to be yet another game in the series that brings nothing new to the table and adds little to the current in-game storyline.

What I’m REALLY excited about is meeting Buzz Aldrin, who for some inexplicable reason, is going to be at the launch1! For those of you who are ignorant of astronautical2 history, Mr Aldrin is the second man to step on the moon. He was busy piloting the Apollo lander when Neil Armstrong got out and bounced around.

In any case, even if Halo Reach does turn out to be a massive disappointment, meeting Mr Aldrin will more than make up for any boredom I might suffer from a lackluster release of yet another cash-cow FPS.

See you at the launch!

The Halo Reach Launch
When: Wed 1 September, 2010, 7:00PM – 8:30PM.
Where: The Great Hall, UTS Sydney

2This is totally a word. For serious.

Posted by: coolerbecky | August 31, 2010

The Long Walk

I think every young person new to a job has this nightmare.

“I need to see you in my office.” He said to me.

From the way he said it, I knew it would not be good. I stood up and walked to his office. The road there was endlessly long. I dragged my feet. The door closed behind me with a click. I sat down. I looked at him. She was there too.

“Your performance has improved.” he said, “But not enough. We’ll have to let you go. Please clean out your desk.”

I knew it. I nodded. They looked at me.

“It’s the times.” she said. Sympathetic. Trying to make me feel better.

“If you have any questions…”

My face was hot. I shook my head. Smiled.

“No, it’s okay.” Lying through my teeth, “I already have something else lined up. I’ll be fine.”

And then… there was nothing. What could I have done better?

Many things.

But for now, all I can do is clean up and go home.

This post was written well in advance, but posted recently because the blog wasn’t updating properly. It took me that long to come to terms with my unemployment. Cooler Becky is currently employed somewhere else and an announcement post for that will be going up soon.

Posted by: coolerbecky | August 30, 2010

Under the Sea

It seemed like a pretty day to go out, so I packed some box lunches and headed for the harbour with the intention of introducing Ablogqwer to the various animals that could kill him during his stay1. Tickets to the attraction were a little bit pricey, but were somewhat worth it.

Lured by the prospects of looking at KILLER SHARKS, which feature prominently in a lot of Sydney Aquarium’s advertsing, Ablogqwer and I made our way to picturesque Darling Harbour. Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife World are located at scenic Darling Harbour. Together, they showcase a lot of Australian flora and fauna. The Aquarium and Mini-Zoo do a fairly convenient double-attraction deal, so it was on the top of my list of things to do.

Let me state for the record that the KILLER SHARKS exhibit at the aquarium is both tiny and uneventful. If Sydney Aquarium were really serious about their advertising to foreigners, they should really get into advertising things like KILLER BEAVER DUCKS or perhaps MINI-OCTOPUS OF DEATH. The platypus exhibit at the aquarium is always really fun to watch. I could stare at those adorable beaver ducks all day if Ablogqwer hadn’t dragged me off to look at other things like cute baby crocodiles or pretty corals.

The passageway to the dugong exhibit warrants an extra mention for its highly disturbing mural. Whoever painted it had some sort of sick sense of humour. Unfortunately, I was unable to take a picture of the mural since there was no space in the passage to do so, so you’ll have to rely on your imagination and my skills of description to get a picture of it.

The mural starts at the top with a large sailing ship and several mermaids waving at some (noticeably) randy sailors. As you walk down the passage, you are treated to the view from below the waves. Some of the sailors have jumped into the sea to swim with the attractive mermaids. They’re holding hands in and smiling sweetly at each other. Then, further on, the sailor realises that the mermaid he’s holding is actually a dugong. By this point, it’s too late and you see the eventual fate of the sailor. He drowns and there’s nothing left but a skeleton. At the very bottom corner of this mural, a dugong and a mermaid are pointing at this unfortunate young man and LAUGHING.



That being said, the dugong exhibit is really worth looking at. Not only do they have the dugongs in a huge tank, which you can view from above or below, but the dugongs also spend the whole day eating, which means you’ll often be able to watch the dugongs getting fed vegetables. They consume a ton of cabbage every day or something to that effect – there were several stacks of cabbage-filled crates just outside the proper storage area for such things.

Sadly, the dugongs seem to have taken the place of the seal and sealion exhibit, which means that I no longer get to see seals playing in the water, a sight which I enjoyed immensely. Don’t get me wrong, dugongs are interesting creatures, but they do not frolic as seals do. I mean, they’re nicknamed sea cows for a reason – they don’t do much more than cows do either.

My only beef with the aquarium is its ambient darkness. Most aquariums have pretty dark interiors, which when combined with the constant soundtrack of rushing waves and that enya hippy spa music that they always play, make for a very sleepy environment. I often feel like I could fall asleep in them.

All in all, however, the Sydney Aquarium is worth visiting at least once, but I wouldn’t say it’s value for money. Ticket prices are very steep for adults and the exhibits, while well kept are not really all that great to look at. A lot of the more exotic animals are adept at hiding, which means that most of the exhibits leave you feeling as if you’ve been staring at empty tanks. A lot of the tanks were actually empty as well, which made me pretty disappointed, since I had to pay full price to look at closed down exhibits.

Incidentally, on our way out, Ablogqwer and I spotted this lovely puppet of a rare Australian marsupial shark2 in the gift shop. We were sorely disappointed to find that this creature was never featured in any advertising or in any exhibits.

1Come to Australia – you might accidentally get killed.
2If you were wondering, there is no such thing as a rare Australian marsupial shark.

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