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Thursday, May 31, 2007

A tragedy

Well. A power company cuts off power after a family didn't keep up the payment. As a result a woman on an oxygen generator died. What a tragedy. For what, NZ$170 or so. So much for a Kiwi generosity. The company is claiming it didn't know the medical condition of the woman and the family says otherwise. I blame it on a probable and unfortunate miscommunication between the two parties involved. The family asked the contractors not to do it, but the contractors were just doing their job. I'd imagine if they didn't do their job, it would be their job that would've been on the line. Maybe the family should've contacted the power company a lot earlier, perhaps? When I moved in at my place, within a couple of days I got 2 or 3 letters from the power company to establish an account with them and pay up, or else the power would be cut off. I'd imagine the family would have received letters also. Maybe they could've contacted the company in writing, leaving paper traces all over to cover the tracks. Telling contractors what is happening is not the same as informing the company... They needed to go a little higher in advance to get anything done. Especially when they were late in payment for the bill. But the media here is blowing up the story as usual, they really love the sensationalism. They were quick in blaming everything on the "big bad corporation", hopping on the bandwagon. So much for the neutrality of the media. I'd really like to know all the facts and what really happened without the dumb commentaries... Maybe I'm expecting too much from the media here. They would do anything to sell their publications. Anyway. The fact as far as I can tell is that a woman died, and this probably could have been avoided. Something like this leaves sour taste in everyone's mouth...

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Consistency is important. Yes. In order to have any coherence in the social structure, we need to have it. So it is important. The other day, I was watching telly; Cartoon Network on Sky. It said something about a show called Ben 10. It was claiming "All new". I had a strange sense of deja vu. Now, where did I see this? Oh yeah, back in the US, about a year ago. I thought it might be a new series of Ben 10... But it doesn't look that way. Yawn.

Also the other day (different from the above mentioned "the other day"), I saw this item, and just had to get one. I was looking for it since I left the US, but just couldn't find it. I got it about a year ago, soon after it came out, but when I left the US, I left it there.

A vibrating razor with 6 blades; 5 in the front, one in the back. I remember as a kid when two blades razor came out; it was touting the closest shave ever. It never changes. It's still claiming the closest shave ever. Then Gillette Mach3 with 3 blades then the Schick Quattro with 4 blades came. I remember old "The Late Show" skit where they produced a 10+ blades shaver. Some blades were there for "tickling beard to get in the mood", "completing paperwork" and of course "just for the ride" (after writing all this down, I found a YouTube clip for this... Just wonderful, this Internet truly is). I saw this Gizmodo analysis on the blade number; I thought it was hilarious. At this rate, we'll be producing that version in no time. I guess with each iteration, it gets better and better; we'll be scraping our skin off the chin pretty soon at this rate. Anyway, so finally it got here. About a year after its launch in the US. Yeah, I see a consistency here; things arriving to the land of sheep after a year gap. Just wonderful. But then again, maybe I should be thankful that it at least managed to get here.
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Wednesday, May 23, 2007


So busy! No time to do anything! Had to do PG teaching... Had to do some reports... Have to write up a grant proposal... When do I get to do my own work? OTH heard a good news or two today so that made my day. Before I knew it though the day's about to end. Sheesh.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

More brisket roast

When I saw some brisket stocked at the usual Chinese poultry shop (in Newmarket), I had to get some... I got 2 kg of this stuff and went home to prepare it...

It got rubbed all over with liquid smoke oil (from Zarbo, Newmarket), dried garlic powder and dried onion chips then sealed in foil and spent the night in the fridge. This was before I started preparing for the dinner party last night.

Next day, I sprinkled some salt, black pepper and paprika on it then it went into the oven at about 150 degrees Celsius and spent some time (like 6 hours) there.

And this is the result. Looks wonderful, pretty tender, and tasted even better. Slow cooking rocks (for this type of dish).
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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Dinner party

I got invited to a dinner party. We were to watch a DVD, and since I was asked to make an appetizer, I made buffalo wings. I got the ingredients from the usual Chinese poultry shop in Newmarket and the rest from Foodtown. I just followed this recipe to make them. Good thing I have a deep fryer; it always comes in handy for any deep frying dish. I also made some blue cheese dip to go with the celery sticks and baby carrots. The dip came out a lot better than I expected it to be. It was wonderful though I went a little easy on the amount of butter to be used in the wings. The other couple that was invited made the main (lasagna) while the couple invited us made salad, vegies (baked mushrooms and tomatoes) and dessert (poached pear with custard). We had an intermission during the movie to have the dessert. We watched the movie "Saw". I thought it was going to be a lot more gory, but it came out just right. The movie was very engaging, and we all enjoyed it. We should organize another party like this... To watch the sequels.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Orange cake

Well. I just felt like making one... Got two oranges and made marmalade last night. Just peeled the oranges, removed all the white bits (called pith, I heard), chopped up pulp, sliced up peels (after removing all white stuff from the back) and cooked the whole lot in a cup of water with a cup of sugar for 15 minutes on the simmer then added and 1/4 cup of Grand Marnier and cooked for another minute or so. Cooled down to room temp, transferred to a plastic box and rested for overnight in a fridge. Then I made the cake by following the usual banana bread recipe, except for subbing the banana with the marmalade, and added more Grand Marnier to the batter. I'm a little disappointed that it didn't rise as much as I hoped it would... Must be my mixing technique. Anyway. After it came out of oven, it got doused with more Grand Marnier (just 3 table spoons though), smeared with the marmalade then dusted with icing sugar. I went overjealous with dusting, but I'm sure it's okay. I'll rest it overnight before bringing it to the lab. I hope they will like it.
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Saturday, May 12, 2007


I heard this rustling noise overhead... Must be a bug, I thought. What could it be? A beetle, maybe? I hoped it wasn't a wasp like a while back... That was a bit of a mess. Anyway. I looked up to see this. A praying mantis. I didn't realize we had these guys in the Land of Sheep. Last time I saw one of this kind was back in the US almost a year ago. How time flies...
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Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Which God or Goddess are you like?
Your Result: Budha

You are Budha. You are a very peaceful person, you love all who love you. You are a cheerful personality, and you have a great sense of humor. Congratulations!! You are Budha!!

God Zeus
The Christian God
Goddess Sekhemet
Goddess Bast
You are your own God or Goddess
Which God or Goddess are you like?
Make Your Own Quiz

Good to see my Zeusness is pretty high.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

User ratings and feedbacks

While I was reading some articles on Google Reader, I saw this article about Aussie equivalent of Great Firewall of China. The argument for installing such a behemoth that is totally against the Aussie ethos IMHO was put forward by a teachers' union's boss to block an online teachers' rating site. OMG that was a long winded sentence, would've failed a scientific writing class.

Anyway. as pointed out by some in this Slashdot article, if they didn't want it to be noticed, they should've kept the mouth shut and ignored the site. But since they made noise about it, it got the attention of media, and down the road people like myself got to find it. I took a look at it, and sure enough, the school I attended was there... But obviously I don't know where my teachers are now (it's been 16 years since I left school; wow that's a long time) and so I can't even comment on that.

Anyway. I personally don't think it's such a bad idea. There are other sites to rate services you have received... Like Epinions. So why not rate your educator? You could even applaud teachers that are doing good work. However I can see a danger or two in this sort of site/system, like harming reputation of competent teachers through defamation, anonymous rating could be irresponsible, and so on. But it certainly is not enough to turn ourselves into self-censoring clueless mobs IMHO. Filter out (in you own mind) if you don't like it.


I love cats. Even though I'm allergic to them. I would've kept one if I was living in a house; they need space to roam. Anyway. I stumbled upon a Japanese site that choose a kitty cat pic for you according to your name (or any other things you can think of). According to this site, matching kitty's picture is this.



Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tax return

This time it's for the income earned in the Land of Sheep. Even though I've been here only a day over 7 months... I got an envelope from Inland Revenue today. It's the NZ equivalent to IRS. I just quickly browsed it through, and it looks a lot less complicated compared to the US equivalent. No separate Federal/State/local taxes. Thank goodness for that. And the paperwork is personalized... Well. Starting with the name, the address and even the landline number. I guess the Big Brother is really watching you. Further examination however revealed that... Well... I need to get a Form 1042S equivalent by actually requesting it. I don't know if they send it out as a default. What a pain in the butt. I've signed up on their website so that I can look at it online; after they send out a letter. I guess it will take a few days for it to get here; so it will be next week at the earliest. Meanwhile I will be procrastinating.

And I thought there was NO personal tax paperwork in this country, according to a colleague at work. I guess he was wrong. I've just done the US tax paperwork though... What a hassle.