Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ozone Bar - World's Highest Bar

As I sat down and prepared to write something about the Ozone Bar I noticed that Joyce had just blogged about it.  Bad.  Why should I choose a topic that a NYT writer had just written about?

Me and the other three gang of four went to the newly-opened Ozone Bar yesterday.  A fellow member of the gang managed to reserve a table in a quiet corner.  (The place did not take reservations and I had no idea how he managed to reserve a table. Didn't ask.)  As I was  early I ordered a drink and went to the open-air deck.  Before I reached the deck a waiter came to me and very politely asked for my credit card. Fine. Not an unreasonable practice given that people were moving around.  When I was admiring the view from 480m above ground, the English gentleman to my right turned to me and identified himself as Keith McGregor, the author of An Eye on Hong Kong.  He pulled out a MacBook Pro and showed me his work, which only got me to WOW, AH, OMG.  One of the photos of which he was most proud was the one that he took less than two years ago from where we were.  It was a stitched panorama of 28 photos of the Victoria Harbour that he took with a Nikon D3x from the top of ICC, which was then still under construction.  "I just sold it to Mr.X [it sounded like someone I should know but, sorry, I did not register the name] for US$X". Shame that the Hong Kong Tourist Board did not buy it", he said.  And he added, "It's not ordinary Photoshop stuff.  The software cost me an arm and a leg and I spent many nights on it."  We then chatted about photography, cameras, travelling, wine and old Hong Kong (he lived in Hong Kong for some years before the handover).  Half an hour later my friends arrived and I returned to our table.  A lovely little chat with an interesting man.

What about the Ozone?  Service is good and the atmosphere is excellent.  Food is so-so but the drink list is impressive.  Not cheap but not as pricy as one may think.  My only complaint is the elevator connecting the hotel lobby on 103/F and 118/F, where the bar is.  It is tiny by any standard.  And its high ceiling only serves to make it look more creepy.  I can imagine that people with claustrophobia will refuse to walk into that elevator.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Lady Blunt" Sold for US$15,894,000

A new record is set.

After a brief reunion with the Messiah at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, the "Lady Blunt", a Stradivari violin that is named after Lady Anne Blunt, one of its previous owners, grand-daughter of English's poet Byron, is sold in an online auction for US$15,894,000, over four times the previous record set for a Stradivari violin.

Lord Menuhin plays the ‘Lady Blunt’ from Tarisio on Vimeo.

What strikes me most is not the price (everybody watching the auction is expecting a new record), but the fact that the new record is set not by Sotheby's, Christie's, Bonhams or Bromptons, but in an online auction.  Well done Tarisio.

The rising online auction house is named after Luigi Tarisio, the "Violin Hunter" as he is called, who lived the most extraordinary life.  There is an interesting book about him: The Violin Hunter: The Life Story of Luigi Tarisio by William Silverman, which, with many facts about the mysterious man though, reads like an adventure story.  If you like violins and stories, you won't, I guarantee, put it down after reading the first few pages.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

(Bad) Telephone Manner

I must admit I have the worst of all bad telephone manners - I don't answer calls.

Ever since the first day I got a mobile day I have permanently left my phone on vibration mode.  Don't know why but I absolutely hate my phone making a sound.  The result - I always miss calls, a lot of calls.

As one of my self-imposed, crazy, nonsensical, Monkish and annoying to everyone but myself rules that I adhere to religiously, I don't answer calls when I'm having a conservation, in a restaurant (any restaurants, be it McDonald's or one in the Michelin),  or traveling in a bus, MTR, ferry or whatever means of public transport.  Incoming calls are intrusive.  I hate being intruded and avoid intruding into people's life.  The Blackberry/Android/I-Phone have come to my rescue.  I can sms/whatsApp first to confirm it is OK to call.  And I can tell people they should sms/WhatsApp/email me instead of calling me.  Love it.  Great.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Parenthood is tragic

A friend of mine, a very tough and strong looking man, is sending his little girl to boarding school.  He sent an email to a close cycle of friends this morning telling us how he bawled my eyes out last night just thinking this will be the last week he will be driving his girl to school.  Must be due to something in the air - it triggered a wave of replies and almost drove some moms and dads into tears.  This little note from a mom struck a chord: 
Parenthood is tragic - in no other relationship would anyone work so hard to push the ones that he or she loves so much to go so far away ... and we're so unprepared when we succeed ... 
 How true it is.  Parenthood is tragic.

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