Melbourne: The road to residency II, chicken tempura nuggets and errr LinkedIn.

So.

Back for the blog again with a couple of weeks’ absence and I realised that some spammers are getting through with fake admiring comments, but I hit the Spam button soon as I saw the quirky backlinks. Nice try fellows, close but no cigar. Not really black SEO, this kind of backlinking is still a trifle annoying.

And here goes some random updates on life at yours truly. For starters, I finally put all the paperwork together and submitted my application for residency! Forms, testimonials, photographs, bills and whatnot, it’s been a drag. The partner visa may not be as tough as an GSM (General Skilled Migrant) independent visa in terms of prepping paperwork but it’s still pretty tedious.

Sharing some tidbits for other aspiring applicants here:

  • Organise the forms, double-check make sure everything is signed and everything on the checklist has been included. This includes the passport photographs of both parties, don’t leave that out. And make sure the document copies are certified correctly, the police station would be a good option.
  • Writing down all the places you have been to and have resided in the past 10 years, not that hard. Writing down all the time periods from checking passport stamps, now that’s a nightmare. For someone who has not been travelling all that much it already is a major hassle. I shudder at the thought of those people who flit about the globe incessantly.
  • I would suggest that you organise some of the evidence of relationship by year, which is something V thought up. For example place all the 2009 evidence together, which could be copies of certified utility bills, credit card bills or bank statements from both parties.
  • On writing about our relationship, I basically did a page and three quarters on how we entered into a relationship, the years in Melbourne and how we manage our daily routine (finances, chores) as well as our hopes for the future.
  • The photographs can be lumped into a single folder or plastic sleeve, with the event and date written on the back. Or you could stick ’em all onto A4 papers and caption them, that would work too.
  • Deliver the application down by hand to the DIAC office in the city, gives you peace of mind that the application is at least received and acknowledged instead of getting lost somewhere in the mail system – and where would you be at that point? Get there early before 0900hrs, take a number, sit down make payment and you should get everything done before 1000hrs.
  • You can apply for Medicare right after receiving the acknowledgement letter; head over to a Medicare branch, fill up the form and wait for the card to arrive in the mail.
  • Called to immigration and verified these bits:
    • For people who are on a subclass 457 working visa at the time of application, you will enter into a bridging visa A at the time of your 457 visa expiry. This bridging visa inherits all conditions of your subclass 457, so it functions exactly like a time extension on your work visa until a decision is reached on your residency application.
    • Should you happen to be unemployed for any reason while holding a subclass 457 or a bridging visa A, you will have 28 days to look for a new employer or have to head down to DIAC to get a bridging visa E, which allows you to remain in Australia but not to work or travel out of Australia.
    • Summary: bridging visa extends working life but doesn’t allow you much headway if you get shafted at work. Have patience, pray hard for residency to be granted and all will be good.

Also, in the name of random tasty fun – chicken nugget taste test! Stan and I have been going on a rampage almost every night munching away on various brands of chicken nuggets, and our current ranking is as follow (best to worst):

  • Ingham Tempura Breast Nuggets – indisputably the best! Does not taste like strips of chicken lumped together, very juicy and tender.
  • Coles Chicken Breast Nuggets – cheap and a good runner-up.
  • Aldi Farmwood Nuggets – nothing much to say, similar to Coles but just a tad off.
  • Steggles Tempura Chicken Nuggets – same price as Ingham but does not taste as good.

I saw excellent reviews on the Aldi tempura chicken nuggets on a Whirlpool thread, but was unable to find them instore which is a real pity. More brands to join the ladder as we progress.


I have been revamping my LinkedIn profile the past couple of days for no reason other than to paint an accurate and honest picture of myself. I am trying to depict what I think, what I do at work, where my professional ethics lie and what I perceive my strengths to be, which is admittedly not too easy.

I have to say though, after the major profile overhaul I feel less certain about where my longterm career interests lie. I’m definitely not looking for an operational role that requires 24/7 standby duties, a temp or part-time job would be awesome. Not really sure continuing in network allows for non-ops unless I’m working in presales or provisioning capacities. It would be fun to work in a job that allows statistical analysis or better – writing documentation, compiling information and organising it for easy future access in times of need. What kind of job would that be? One that makes the lives of others easier!

It’s best to keep an open mind and see what fate drops into my lap I guess. The main thing is to achieve satisfaction and learn new things on a job. And of course, get sufficient remuneration for the work.

More to come as the days go by!

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Birthdays: keinday 2008

(Exactly two months after the day, I’m finally writing this post heh heh.)

It was a pretty normal day actually, ‘cept for the fact that I had two birthday cakes.

One at the office:

Yum, tiramisu from Breadtop. And that’s the colleagues. Thanks to Davina, Bill, Keith & Benny for the cake and birthday card!

One at home:

The assortment of food that everyone (excluding yours truly) prepared:

List of dishes:

  • baked potatoes by Honda
  • stir-fried veggies by LS
  • oven baked chicken wings by V
  • steamed egg by Nick
  • stir-fried luncheon meat with bean sprouts by LS/ZM
  • IKEA meatballs by LS/ZM

Related post: ZM’s Melbourne Trip Day 3 – 14th July 2008

Amazing spread of food, really. Especially when you took into account the fact that we had only seven people at the dinner table.

Thanks to ZM, Honda, Nick, LS, May and V for the dinner!


Video taken by Nick, quality is crap because I compressed it into MP4 (original AVI was approx 250MB = fail).

Incase you haven’t been looking at the updates on my Twitter, you can actually see bigger versions of the pictures by clicking on them.

So.. CLICK!

Long list of thanks to the other great people for their birthday wishes, hopefully I haven’t missed anyone out this year.

Facebook:

  • LH
  • Adri
  • Jack
  • Vi
  • Adele
  • Wee Keong
  • Andrew (HOTL)
  • Sylvester
  • Swee Huat
  • Liwen
  • Isabel

MSN:

  • Zhongyang
  • Fabian
  • Meixian
  • Qingwen
  • Shijie
  • Nanzhen
  • Meishan
  • Estee

Lunch treat:

  • Wai Kheong

SMS:

  • Lawrence
  • Peiru
  • Stan
  • Clyde

Presents:


  • Present from V this year – a Tiffany 1837â„¢ ring from V. Thanks babe.
  • ZM: the Songbo compilation CD, as well as the Jay Chou Niu Zai Hen Mang figurine
  • May: the stuffed triceratops toy (picked by LS)
  • Nick: the 8″ digital photo frame

Cookie: mama no more

V took Cookie to the vet last Thurday for her desex operation, and brought the pup home with stitches down her belly, and so very quiet. (The anaesthesia hadn’t worn off yet at that time.)


She had to wear this protector around her head to stop her licking/biting the stitches. Methink the vet went too far in his choice of protector size; she couldn’t even eat properly with that fcuking lampshade around her head. I ended up feeding her by hand, and the stitches were due to be removed in 10 days. Ten. bloody. days.

Well, that was last week.


She seems to be in good spirits today.


Peering at the camera.

Well, she’s always very obedient when food is near.


I decided to try my hand at homecooked steak (actually scotch fillet), and this was it. Well one of *it* anyway, I couldn’t be bothered to take pictures of all three.


A close-up.

I had three slices in all, and they tasted good enough. Rubbed ’em down with olive oil and cooked them on the pan. Added a bit of salt and pepper, a dash of lemon and cheese (just for fun). Good stuff, will try again next time round.

Photography – Melbourne: St Kilda

Half of Sunday was spent at St Kilda, together with V’s sister and Honda.


Enroute, via tram 16.


The brilliant afternoon sun, an idyllic day.


Waiting for the food at Topolinos: salt and pepper shakers for entertainment.


Dinner at Topolinos, course #1: seafood basket, absolutely delicious. We had a pizza that was half sweet chili chicken and half marinara as well, but those pictures turned out to be pretty crap.


The setting sun shadowing the trees.


This was more of an experimental shot; a boat and its berth.


This was about as close to a sunset as I could get. It was unfortunately cloudy yesterday, so.


Probably one of the better pictures I took yesterday; V and her sister silhouetted against the sunset.


The end.

DRW-SIN-MEL: A week of sunning, eating, shopping and sweating

Here’s a brief recap of my past week.

After screwing my flight up the previous day, I finally managed to make it onboard the plane in one piece. Needless to say, transit flights are a torture. It’s worse when you consider the fact that it was a day flight. Day flight = tough to sleep = sucks.


Here’s the fly that I unwittingly blew into accidentally fell into my breakfast tea. Apparently the fly did not find my tea particularly enjoyable, since it decided that drowning was greatly preferable to drinking it all up.


This was a particularly interesting sight on the plane: clouds and their shadows on the continent. I thought the darker areas were lakes at first, until it occurred to me that having that many lakes did not seem logical at all.


This picture was the snap of the day: the horizon above the cloud layer. Pretty isn’t it?


This was a half-hearted effort at tweaking the contrast, which made the picture look particularly artificial, hmm.


First glimpse of Darwin: pretty place, and probably not very densely populated.


Transit lounge, and my gone-in-60-seconds CCLM (chicken, cheese, lettuce and mayo) sandwich. Hunger is always the best sauce.

-~-

*Insert suntanning/swimming sessions. Ahhh..*


The niece, who has already learnt to walk. Time flies.

-~-


Dinner at Handlebar (over at Lock Road, Alexandria area): general consensus was that the food’s overpriced for the quantity. The portions do seem to have shrunk somewhat since my last visit.

-~-


Beef noodles at Purvis Street with YT and LH; quite tasty but I should get a bigger helping next time round.


Brightly painted houses opposite Bugis Junction: very very nice.


A whole bunch of people exercising over at OUB UOB Plaza atrium; must be some fitness initiative.


Miscellaneous sights nearby.


Splendid night view from Waraku Central.

-~-


Subway time at Tampines.


BSCI revision with War Machine (from the Iron Man series) in tow; you get this when buying the Iron Man popcorn combo from Golden Village cinemas.


A hand in perspective.


Swensens at Changi Airport T2: entree portions for the price of full portions. My comment on their feedback card:

“Portions were microscopic.”


Which was why we had supper at Bedok 85 after that.

-~-


Yoshinoya’s beef bowl: yum.

-~-






Mayday’s latest concert!

-~-



In-flight food; yet another $6 sandwich on the way home.

Thanks to all the friends who’ve met up, and mucho thanks to those people who send me off at the airport all the time; you guys are great!

Friends over in Melbourne: July edition (or better known as NZ and MS’s trip here) #2 – Phillip Island

[untitled] – V’s Flickr, 12 Jul ’07.

Finally cleared enough shit off the daily tasks to write this entry up. Oh well, I hope I do finish this entry and post it up on the same day ;p Work’s been pretty crap lately, what with two jobs and the work visa issue.

What visa issue? To summarise things:
– I’m still on a student visa right now, and it’s expiring on the 31st. Hmm shit, I need to apply for the tourist visa.
– I don’t qualify for Australian PR due to various reasons.
– I’m waiting for my employer to sponsor me for a work visa.

Well, we’ll see how things go for now. Every day brings changes, truly.

-~-


Breakfast on this day was at The Quarter, over at Degraves Street as well. HOTS (Hot Off The Skillet) style yet again, smaller portion but tastier IMO.

And of course, this trip’s itinerary was exactly the same as the previous trip with SJ jie and her mum. Kangaroo farm, koala reserve, penguins thereafter. Insert long sleepy bus journeys in between.


NZ with the neoprint kangaroo pose.


This was me on the previous trip heh heh. Looks familiar?


Ice cream on a cold day is goot.


Different perspectives; taking and being taken.


A pregnant koala actually came down from the tree this time, so we could pose for a close up photograph. Under the eye of the watchful keeper of course. Note how the koala turned away when I was supposed to snap one with her -_-


Dinner of fish and chips over at Phillip Island.

No photos of penguins this time round, because MS and I got caught by one of the keepers. No flash, long exposure photography also against the rules heh. Oh well.

Friends over in Melbourne: July edition (or better known as NZ and MS’s trip here) #1

[On our way home] – V’s Flickr, 11 Jul ’07.

(Well, this is seriously a super backdated post but anyway.) NZ and MS came over to Melbourne for a holiday in July, and I was seriously more than happy to have friends over visiting. Well, it’s not everyday that I get to see people from back home, and certainly not everyday that friends of ten years (or more) stop by to celebrate your birthday together. I was, and still am thankful.

They touched down in the early morning, so I met them just in time for breakfast. As NZ put it, he wanted something “hot, right off the skillet!” so we headed off to Cafe Andiamo at Degraves Street. I’d never been there before, but my building manager seems to like the place alot so I reckoned it couldn’t be that bad.



Breakfasty pics 😀 Fooooodddd! It was expensive of course, as all food in Melbourne generally tends to be but the portion was seriously a hearty helping. For once in my life I bloody couldn’t finish my breakfast, unbelieveable.


The tired tourists.

The rest of the day was spent walking around the Southbank area, which included Crown Casino as well heh heh, time to gamble. NZ has amazing luck with jackpot, he certainly wins more than I do. And we caught Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that day (review summary: not too bad, not fantastic either), amazing none of them fell asleep because I dozed off, and I had more sleep than they did on their flight here.

Before the movie, MS shopped for stuff over at The Perfect Potion in Melbourne Central; it’s a shop for aromatherapy stuff if you’re into that kinda thing.


Hungry birds fighting for bread.


And dinner that day was my trademark (?) curry chicken. Well, I suppose it wasn’t too bad since they didn’t complain ;p

That more or less summed up our day; I was walking them to and back the city all day long heh heh, they must’ve been tired. Chinatown, RMIT Swanston, Crown Casino, Melbourne Central, my apartment, their hotel, blah blah. I know I was tired ;p