Ciao drew me in like Alice chasing a wild rabbit- before long, I felt like I had entered a different world.... where people decide on what experiences and products to go to/purchase by the quality of review they can expect to derive from it. Well, I sure hope that’s not just me!! In any case, that’s not really the point. The point is, it’s my 50th review, and legend has it, that it is customary to write a special ciao cafe review. As I feel like I have (semi) established myself within the community, I would like to share a bit more about myself, as I don’t want to be seen as the moustached Chinese girl that despises sausages with low meat content.
As I feel that some of the “about me” surveys are a tad long winded, and all attempts at being witty to the basic questions have been attempted (Sex: yes please), I have cherry picked a few questions from different surveys. As well as that, I have asked some esteemed Ciao members to ask me questions. So here goes....
What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
Well, I worked as a table for a while. Well, I was a waitress at an events company, which basically involved standing there with lots of champagne... not pouring, just standing there. So yeah, they didn’t want to fork out to hire a couple of tables, and decided to hire some students for minimum wage. I had never felt there was a class divide until working there...
Oh, but... actually. A weirder job I had... I mean, genuinely weird.... was working for a start up company. I genuinely hope none of you use it. It’s a “flirting website”, and I was told I would be helping them set it up. I basically had to create lots of profiles on the website of “realistic” looking people, i.e. not stock model photos, but from random internet shots! It was strange. I quit after 2 hours... once I was told I had to talk to other genuine users. And my, they weren’t flirting. It was just a down and dirty website. Gross! Oh, and just to put you guys off a little bit more. The other person hired to talk to these odd “flirt maniacs” was a wiry spotty ginger tween guy, pretending to be girls. Nice!!
What was your dream growing up?If I bought you a drink what would it be?
I wanted to be a maths teacher and/or Carol Vorderman’s apprentice. Upon starting high school, I wanted to be in the Monetary Policy Committee (eventually becoming the Treasurer of course). At least no-one would be mocking the colour of my eyebrows. For now, I’ll settle with working in a finance department :)
Coca-cola. There’s no question in my mind that it is *the* most satisfying drink to consume when thirsty or your spirits are low. I’m the kind of person that will ask for lemonade if they ask whether Pepsi is alright. No, it really isn’t. I also always ask for a straw when ordering a coca-cola at restaurants, and ask for it to not be poured. It’s always a bit of a downer when it comes from the soda machine, or from a large bottle. IT KILLS THE FIZZ!! ARGHHHH!!!
What is your favourite vegetable?Tell me something weird about yourself:
Morning glory. No, really. It’s not just to make you giggle. In Chinese, it’s known as “tung choi” as it has a hollow stem. This, cooked in fish sauce or preserved beancurd and a tad of garlic is delicious. And high in iron too. Double whammy!
Most of my boyfriends/men I dated were off the internet. Apart from 2 boys I held hands with in my early teens, the guys had all been off the internet until I was 19 and went to university. I always wondered how people could meet someone they don’t know, in real life, and start dating. To be fair, it didn’t take me long to get the hang of it and I was dating a guy from uni by the end of Freshers Fortnight.
I still stick by my penchance for internet dating though. The internet contains oh so many people that are lonely and/or don’t have time to go out to meet that special someone. Online, you can talk to hundreds of people, filtering them out as time goes by. Sometimes, you know within minutes you won’t get along. At least when you first meet, you know that you have things in common. When you meet in a bar, the most you can do normally is shout into each other’s ears and ask them what their name is and, maybe, even their number.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’m not a romantic. I’m just a practical romantic...
So now, onwards. Some kind and highly esteemed Ciao members replied to my plea for help in writing this review, by coming up with some questions... Here goes...
pgn0What really annoys the hell out of you, drives you up the wall, gets on your wick?
When someone asks where I’m from, and when I answer “England” or “Buckinghamshire”, they ask “but where are you really from?”
. My ethnicity is Chinese, but I’m British.... English. England is my home, and just because my skin isn’t white, shouldn’t mean I can’t belong. The people that ask tend to be good natured, I just wish they can see it from my point of view. I had a hard time accepting who I was when I was young, being the only Asian family in the village, so I guess I can be a bit touchy about it..
D_i_a_n_eI read about your coconut water experience, what other experiments did you do on yourself?
In the interests of social cohesion, and just... curiosity, I decided to conduct an experiment on whether one can look like a lesbian, and also how strong the lesbians’ gaydar were. This experiment was concocted over a couple of bottles of *cough* lambrini *cough*, I mean, wine, so I wouldn’t say it’s particularly stringent. The plan was for my friend (a fully fledged lesbian) to swap clothes we had on in preparation for our night out. This led to one of the first complications, namely that I quite like wearing fitted clothing, but she’s 2 sizes bigger than me. I ended up going clubbing in loose baggy jeans and a strappy top, whilst she squeezed herself into my (high elastane) dress. It was quite a sight, as you could clearly see the outline of her boxers underneath the dress, but never mind.
We went to the gay club (Ghetto, but it’s been knocked down now), and were competing to see who would get hit on the most. Sadly, neither of us were hit on by the lesbinems, so no *experimentation* of that sort going on there :P One can only conclude that... well, neither of us were particularly attractive to lesbians in ill fitting clothing.
derek-j-aHow do you find products to write about for Ciao? Would you say it is easier for a woman to write on Ciao than a man? Do you have any tips on how to compile your review or do you just write spontaneously?
When I first started Ciao, I literally looked around the room and picked up an object. I went through why I bought it, from where, how much, and it’s durability. These types of reviews really aren’t my forte though, and I’ve discovered that I far prefer to write about experiences. Perhaps because it’s more multi faceted, and I am also able to fit in plenty of my own opinion, whilst still making a detailed analysis of the review. So nope, I guess my reviews aren’t spontaneous (*shocker! Did anyone see my brain fart when I wrote simultaneous?)*.
My tip to newbies would be to read other’s reviews. Length isn’t *everything*, but at the same time, if someone writes a lot in a review (provided there isn’t any/too much fluff), then there’s a higher probability that there’ll be more information contained within the review. Non?
I normally have the titles for the review before I start writing. My mind frame for most things in life is that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Always have the consumer in mind, write things they may find useful... and that’s about it really. Spell check, write things up on a word processor and away you go :)
Oh, and the man/woman thing... hmm. I don’t think gender really plays a role. Then again, it’s probably far easier for a guy to write something of an explicit nature. i.e. my plipplop’s fleshlight review. Although thehonesttruth has also written one about her toy, so...
RICHADAWhat’s with the facial hair?
Short and sweet question. It was a profile picture (one of hundreds) on facebook, so it was easy for me to nab the URL. I kind of wanted to show I was a female, but wanted to cover my face a bit. You know, for privacy’s sake. It seemed a good idea at the time to continue taking pictures of me in the same pose... I’m not entirely sure why. Oh, and it’s a set of hair extensions. Yeah, real hair ones. With clippety bits. They’re a bit mangled now, but never mind.OR
Do I have a real moustache underneath my fake moustache? *strokes beard in ponderment*
donf18If you could be any female in history who would you be and why?
I would like to be Margaret Thatcher. I think her work ethic was incredible, and admire the way she was able to rise to the top and become the first female Prime Minister in the UK. I would also act differently on a number of issues. Whilst I am not a Thatcher hater, I see that she brought a fair amount of suffering to concentrated areas of GB. Hindsight is a great thing though, so I probably wouldn’t have relished being in her position back in the days.
tallulahbangHow do you start planes? Do you have to put a key in the ignition like with a car? If not, what stops disgruntled/alcoholic/stupid employees from stealing them for a joyride?
Well, seeing as I’m the fountain of all knowledge (and a dab hand at googling things), I have found that there is indeed an ignition key. There are, however, a series of knobs that need to be pulled and twisted before one can insert the ignition key. One can only assume that disgruntled/alcoholic/stupid employees do not have the patience or the know-how for all this knob twisting.
why don't wasps sting each other?
The *obvious* reason for this is that they love each other in waspy land, and would never dream of harming one another :)
torrIs there any other question that you would have liked to be asked but which no one has asked you, and, if so, what would the answer be?
Ahh Duncan, what a lovely question :D Let’s see...
“Why "shoppingpenguin"... as a username?”
“Well, Diana... I mean, Duncan, I’m glad you asked. My username for some other sites is sunburntpenguin (a witty name we came up for our football team in high school days), but I decided to go for a more consumer led approach on ciao... just in case people didn’t realise: “hey, this girl likes to shop”, I chucked “shopping” in for good measure. In hindsight, it’s a pretty stupid username. However, I do have a love for penguins. And pandas. There’s something about these black and white animal that makes me want to curl into a ball and cuddle them til their eyes pop out. Even though they are probably really smelly and not as cute as they may seem. My boyfriend has picked up on the fact that I like pandas and penguins, and have purchased me numerous cuddly toys... which all live on my bed, which makes him look kind of peadophilic.
bryspyIf you were starving, would you eat a penguin?
If it was an Emperor Penguin, that'd be a huge emphatic no. They have such hard lives, and they're so beautiful. I cry every time I watch March of the Penguins and the eggs freeze :( If, however, they're the scrawny S.American penguins (that I'm always tempted to kidnap from ZSL), then I may well be persuaded. If someone would catch it and skin it. I can cook and wash up the dishes afterwards...
NovabugWho are your top favourite 10 writers on Ciao?
Ooh, what a delicate question. But one person does pop up immediately, so he's my numero uno. Duncan a.k.a torr
. His writing style is fantastic, readable and I always learn something from them. I also remember him being really friendly when I first started, giving me advice and just generally being a tip top guy. Jolly ho.The following nine... aren't ranked. They're probably affected more by my interaction with them (ooh, guestbooking) and/or I just really like their reviews.
2) Richada. I thought that was his name for a while, but he's amalgamated his name with his wife's which is one of the most adorable things I've seen on ciao :)
3) pgn0. He uses long words. I'm pretty sure he doesn't just google it, and it's great to learn new words all the time :)
4) tallulahbang. She's just amazingly funny, and her accompanying pictures always make me laugh :)
5) fizzytom. I don't know how she does it, but all her travel reviews are amazing :)
6) Bollinger28. Queen of restaurant reviews, and also remover of stupid copy-cat/illiterate reviewers.
6.5) Plod591. As he is a gentleman, he always rates back and he's from "God's own county". He also introduced me to yummy steak :D
7) JOE.B He has a really great way of writing and making things interesting. I'm really surprised he doesn't get more reads than he gets, as he certainly deserves them...!
8) Hishyeness. I just think his Armenian reviews were an absolute joy to read, and his other ones are not too shabby either :P
9) Andyoz. He writes a mean travel review, and looks dashing in an anorak
10) MizzMolko. Her reviews are fluid, and you can tell with all the E reviews that she gets.
If I've missed you out on this... then you were certainly my 11th choice ;)
fizzytomWhich place in the world that you haven't yet been to would you most like to visit?
I have a humongous list of places I need to go: South America/Galapagos Islands (if I can do it in a sustainable manner); Australia/NZ; Russia & Kazakhstan; Vietnam/Korea/Japan; Antartica; Caribbean islands. I guess these are the main ones I would love to go to, and I'm sure I will get the chance in the forthcoming years. I've been holidaying in Europe mainly for the last few years, with only an odd trip to Hong Kong and New York. But I guess, to answer the question, I would love to go to Antartica (via S.Africa) on a cruise ship. I do love Emperor penguins, and it'd be amazing to go to one of the last wildernesses on Earth.
Bollinger28If your life was a book, what would be the title and how would your story end?
If my life was a book, I'd like it to be one of those books where you can choose the different paths, directing people to go to different chapters depending on what decisions you choose. Whatever path I take, I hope it ends in me being a loving mother to (two?) healthy children. What would the title be? For lack of a better title, it'll have to be "Poo Bum Willy Face". Which consequently is my facebook id...
ShroudWhen did you first discover manga, and what is your favorite series?
I guess I always knew of manga (well, ok... anime), being an Asian kid and all. I watched Dragonball Z and other Japanese cartoons (something soccer, IQ something, doraemon....) but they were all in Chinese. I then went to uni, and made an active decision to become "more Asian" (I considered myself to be too British), so decided to watch Naruto. This also coincided with breaking up with my first serious boyfriend (right at the beginning of Fresher's week.... so yes, I rebounded and found another guy within a fortnight, if you're still following the thread from above) so I managed to watch 200 odd episodes of Naruto in 4 weeks or so (but most intensively during first 10 days). I then read all the manga after the cartoon, so yes... I am a Narutard
In terms of favourite manga... it would probably have to be Fairy Tail, which is quite a typical storyline. Wizard guild, with a strong headed male character supported by group of friends blah blah blah, but without the fillers that the larger manga strips always fit in...
As a Ciao exclusive, here’s a peek into my room, which is where all the magic happens. The review writing, sleep depriving, and sometimes even dinner munching. Deary me. So yes, I love penguins.
So this draws to a close. I may update this if more questions trickle in. If there are any burning questions, please fling them my way. Writing this was more fun than writing my normal review, and has deprived me of my reading time (currently reading The Wilding by Maria McCann, fab book). Thanks for taking the time to read this. For the more observant amongst you, you may find that this is allegedly my 49th review, and not in fact my 50th. The truth is, that I wrote a very personal ciao cafe review and asked for ciao to delete it (which they kindly did, in a prompt fashion). That review was quite dear to me, as I had never written down the thoughts in my mind. I’m sorry to the 22 members that read it, as it wasn’t the most pleasant of topics. It did, however, help me as it’s not nice to keep things bottled up inside (or so I’m told). As such, I have decided to keep that as part of my review count, so this is my 50th.
In any case, I hope this has been a not-too-boring read, and you now feel you know a little bit more about yours truly. I really do enjoy talking to you all, so always pop by to my little guestbook for a natter.
Which leads me to the next thing. When is the next ciao meeting?
I would be more than happy to organise an event (I looove organising get togethers), but feel perhaps someone more senior (in terms of time on ciao) should do it as they’re more established and will be able to draw in more ciaosters :)