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Mikimoto was here.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

And the Aussies are

The World Champions. 3 times in a row. Yay Australila. Bugger I didn't get to watch the match. Maybe it's time for me to get that Sky Sport package?

Friday, April 27, 2007

GI

I felt really sick last night... Couple of hours after I went to bed, I woke up with nausea. Shite, I thought... Then basically torrents of fluid coming out of me from both ends. I was shivering hours afterwards and couldn't sleep much at all. Even then I had to come in to work to supervise my techs. I didn't know what it was until I talked to a colleague; it's gastro. I've never had it before, and obviously I didn't realize what it was. Anyway. It was not a very pleasant experience at all. It must have been the salad I ate last night... Damn.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

And Australia is

In the finals of the World Cup. No not this kind or that kind. This one. When they got wiped out at recent Chappell-Hadlee series against Blackcaps I thought they weren't going this far... But they came through. All the best for them in the final against Sri Lanka.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

ANZAC day

ANZAC day is a national holiday in Australia and New Zealand. Supposedly it's a day to commemorate the defeat at Gallipoli in Turkey. Back in WWI British sent Australians and New Zealanders over to storm the beach of Gallipoli. Unfortunately Turkish and Germans were defending the area well, and Aussies and Kiwis had to withdraw in the end. First time I learned of this day, I found it a little strange. Why commemorate the biggest defeat in your national history? Wouldn't you rather forget? Then I found out the significance of the day. Well, sort of. I was told by my friends jokingly not to tell I was a Japanese to a stranger on this day, for the fear of physical harm. JK. Of course the day is for remembrance for those who were lost in wars. Anyway. I saw it on telly the other day that more and more younger generation of people visit Gallipoli on this day. Pilgrimage, they call it. I don't know... To me it looked so manufactured, looked like just another "trendy" thing to do, hopping on a bandwagon. Sure, it could've started as a "paying respect" thing, but now the media is fanning the flame for all their worth. Who's leading that, I don't know. It's important not to forget, but it's also important to know when to let go...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ants

Bloody ants. Where did they come from? When I got home, I thought I saw something moving in my kitchen section... I didn't realize what it was until I looked at it closely. Ants. Yeah. Bloody ants. It's getting cold out there, and could they have sought a shelter in my home? Is it from my neighbour? I didn't see trails of them so I couldn't tell where they could come from. No matter, I didn't care. I squashed all the ones I could see, washed up whatever dirty dish I had in my sink, washed up the sink itself, stored all my food in the fridge and sprayed whatever I could within reason (I hate insecticide). Hopefully that contained the creepy crawlies. I'll go out there to buy more chemical weapon to fight these little nasty buggers tomorrow.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Something hearty

It's getting a little chilly in the evening, and I felt like something hearty. What am I in a mood for...? Well. I just felt like having some pot roast. I mostly followed this recipe. I got my beef brisket from the usual Chinese butcher in Newmarket. I also got some potatoes and carrots to go from the neighbouring Chinese grocer. After getting home however, I realized that I didn't have some ingredients (namely parsnips and some herbs). So... I just went ahead cooking without them. I also subbed water called in the recipe with white wine (would've preferred red but). After cooking the brisket for almost 5 hours, I took the meat out (falling apart into pieces just by lifting it) and attempted to carve.





Potatoes and carrots came out very juicy, and the meat very tender. It was certainly hearty, and was pretty good. Looks like I'll be eating the rest of it for a while... Maybe I shouldn't have cooked 2 kg of beef. But no regrets though!
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Friday, April 20, 2007

Things you cannot get in the US

Things you cannot get in the US but can in the Land of the Sheep... Hmmmm. Are there anything? There are things you cannot get here but can in the US. Lots and lots of them. But in reverse? Hmmmm. Lemme think... Hmmmm... I know! I got it! It's... This!










Yeah! A refill for a toilet bowl cleaner! I don't know the current situation, but during my 5 years of stay in the US, I could never find one of these. I had to get the one with the holder all the time. What a waste of plastic. But then again, they probably didn't want to touch the holder that might be... Well... Splashed around.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Rum-soaked carrot cake



Somebody requested at the last lab b'day cake gathering (happened to be mine, actually) for a carrot cake for the next one. So, I rose up to the challenge; I've never baked one before, but found a very good recipe. It takes a bit more time, but it's worth it; carrot and sultana need to be soaked in dark rum before prepping. I used my favourite, Bundy. I soaked the sultana overnight and the carrot an hour or two. Then I followed the recipe. Whatever ingredients I missed out on, I complemented them by looking at another recipe of a carrot cake and (hopefully) making sensible substitutions. One mistake I made was that I put icing on the cake before it completely cooled down; it melted a little bit (at the edge of cake tin). I've never put icing on a cake before, and now I know what not to do. It turned out alright though as you can see on the picture above. I had one worry on this cake; I used gluten-free flour substitute. I could tell by the taste, it's that strong, that I used the stuff. And it turned out that the rum masked the nasty taste/texture of the gluten-free flour, and it worked out really well. I certainly enjoyed baking one, and it's always gratifying to see people enjoying my cake and complementing it.
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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Media frenzy

In the wake of Virginia Tech shooting (amazing Wikipedia is already updated on the subject), media here in the Land of Sheep is having a field day. If you happen to be there at the VT, here's your opportunity to 15 minutes of fame. Sensationalism in journalism runs rampant in this country. But then again, it happens all over the world anyway. Whatever sells the most. TV is showing stories on gun control, gun lobby by NRA, commentary by so called experts etc, but they all singularly fail to explain that it's their constitutional right to arm themselves in the US, just in case the government turns feral on them. Fools and fools who are guided by fools. The Land of Sheep has a long way to go before they achieve a respectable journalism.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Chiao tzu is Gow gee is Gyoza


I just felt like those little morsels of potstickers. I usually stock the skin, as well as the contents, usually frozen in my freezer. I just thawed them out overnight on my kitchen bench. After coming home from work, I just wrapped the meat in these skins then panfried/steamed. I think it looked alright and tasted okay. Another satisfying meal down the belly.
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Sunday, April 15, 2007

A "Gottsu" view from a train

I like traveling on a train. I used to take CountryLink Xplorer between Canberra and Sydney when I was a grad student, whenever I was meeting up with my parents in Sydney. I commuted on the Red Line in WMATA system for 5 years. Supposedly the rolling stocks used on that system have the same torque rating as the Hanshin "Jet cars." I got to ride the Acera Express when I went up to UPenn to give a talk in Philly. I don't remember since when, but traveling on trains has always fascinated me.

Anyway. There is a long-running TV show in Japan by the name of "A view from a train window". It's a series of short travelogues in a doco format. I found this hilarious spoof on YouTube:

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hustle Mussel



It's another dreary day; a hallmark Auckland Autumn weather. Weather's been crap for the last few days. I don't know why, but I just felt like doing some mussels. But... I wanted to make something different from what I usually do; plain old steamed mussels. I trawled the net as usual for my inspiration, and found this recipe for mussel pilaf. I went out shopping for the ingredients (namely mussels, some spices and herbs) and came back. After doing the afternoon tea, I went about cooking this stuff... A bit of a hassle removing shells, but I think it came out okay, and I think it was worth the effort.
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Friday, April 13, 2007

21st b'day

I went out tonight for the first time in a very long time. I got invited to one of our Honours student's 21st birthday party at the Schooner Tavern down in the city.



It started around 7PM, I thought I could go straight from work, but decided to go home to tuck some dinner in my tummy first. I quickly fixed me dinner, ate it then went out. It's a short walk from my place, and I got there around 8:30. There were a few people from my lab, and I hang around with them for the evening.

The pub had a few bands playing, but boy were they loud! My idea of drinking nowadays is to nurse a quiet one with friends so that we can actually talk. I practically had to yell to be heard, and I really had to strain to hear what other people were saying. I was getting a sore throat from all that yelling. And when the bands played, I felt like my stomach was rumbling, and that's no exaggeration. So in the end 5 of us left the party fairly early, and called it a night. Very unfortunate, but too bad. At least I wasn't the only one to feel the same way. Anyway. My ears are still ringing...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Felt like fish

I finally managed to get to the fish market today. It's way out there... So far away... I think I'll take a free shuttle next time. I went over there after taking care of some business at work. Despite the fact that it's an Easter Sunday, the market was open (thank goodness for that, or it would've been in a vain). It had a few fish retailers, and also a fresh producer, as well as a butcher. It looked pretty upmarket really; it didn't smell fishy at all, and almost too clean for a fish market. All neato and nice. But prices looked pretty reasonable, and fish looked fresh enough. Maybe next time I'll get some sashimi from here. Anyway. I got a piece of marlin steak and a couple of other things... I got some breakfast/lunch/snack sushi at Sushi Train on the way home. Then walked all the way. After taking a nap, I went ahead and cooked the steak.




This became...





This.



I just followed this recipe, except for a few things. I didn't have bok choy on hand, so I subbed it with a little bit of lettuce, tomato and then added spring onion garnish. Maybe I should've cooked a minute or two less, but I think it came out alright.
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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Suunto Observer

I wear Suunto Observer; the cheapest elastomer band kind, but then. I got it from REI when I was in the States.

Anyway. The battery was running out, and needed to be changed. There is a battery kit out there. The kit contains a battery, a replacement lid and an o-ring. I thought about getting it... Then the watch died on me today. I had to change the battery no matter what. So, I looked up on the web, and found out that it takes a CR2032. So, I just got a CR2032 3V lithium battery from a local Dick Smith in Newmarket for NZ$5. Tried to open the battery cover; very tricky. Needed to pry it open using a knife... But got it opened and replaced the battery. Dunno how long it's good for but at least for the moment I won't have to worry about it.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I don't want to work



















I don't want to work! Not during Easter weekend!
Something I found on the Internet.
But somehow it's not the same in English. It has lost the subtle nuance in translation.
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Easter weekend

Easter long weekend is coming up... I've got a lot of things to do. Need to finish off that US tax paper... Need to do some laundry... Need to clean my place out... Need to study traffic rules of this country... Need to go to the lab... At least it's a national holiday. It's not in the US, and the first year I went over I was quite confused. Anyway. Happy Easter to all!














Now only if all the shops are open... Dammit!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Inspection

My flat got inspected today by the landlord. I used to get that when I was in Australia all these years ago... '94-'95, in fact. When I was in the US, I never got my place inspected... Not even once, during my five year tenancy. Back in southern hemisphere in the land of sheep, I guess things are little different. After only six months of tenancy, my place got inspected. I keep it fairly tidy, and thank goodness for that. I didn't have to clean the place up in a hurry. I did empty the bin, and replaced the lining of my stove, but that's about it. I didn't get any phone calls from the landlord, so I am assuming I passed the test. But then again... They might send out a formal letter or something on a later date. Oh well.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Adminspotting

Choose no life. Choose sysadminning. Choose no career.     
Choose no family. Choose a fucking big computer, choose hard
disks the size of washing machines, old cars, CD ROM writers
and electrical coffee makers. Choose no sleep, high caffeine
and mental insurance. Choose fixed interest car loans. Choose
a rented shoebox. Choose no friends. Choose black jeans and
matching combat boots. Choose a swivel chair for your office
in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose NNTP and wondering why
the fuck you're logged on on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting
in that chair looking at mind-numbing, spirit-crushing web
sites, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose
rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last on some
miserable newsgroup, nothing more than an embarrassment to
the selfish, fucked up lusers Gates spawned to replace the
computer-literate.
Choose your future.
Choose sysadmining.

I think I saw this when I was a grad student. Around the time Trainspotting
came out if I remember right. At the time I used to do this sort of work to
make some money for myself and make ends meet. I've been doing a bit of
that since I came to work at the current workplace. I wonder if they made
versions for grad students or postdocs... Maybe I should give a go at it.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

6 months

It's been 6 months since I started working here in Auckland. Yeah, 6 months. Half a year. Already. It's been incredible. Time flew like a f*cking arrow. Can't believe how fast it went. Anyway. This is the fourth country I've lived in. I've lived in Japan, Australia and the US before. They all had their charms. I miss the US the most now, probably because that's the place I lived just before I moved here. I have most of my friends, as well as my immediate family members living in Australia. I somehow don't miss the country as much, probably because I know back in my head that I can visit the country whenever I wanted to; only a few hours of travel to Sydney from here. I used to miss the country when I was in the US; 27 hours travel from the DC to Adelaide. I miss Japan the least just because it's been so long since I left there. 18 years ago. After writing that I just realized... OMG, 18 years! But then again, all these countries can be reached in 24 hours or so... Not too far away if you ask me. It's not like traveling on a ship for months on end.

And of course it's the April's fools' day today. I could've written a total bollocks, but I just didn't feel up to it.