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Mikimoto was here.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Crashed

Seen this a few times on the old Link busses. It's the first time I see one on a new one.

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A little parting gift

My technician of 1.5 years is leaving... So. I got her a little parting gift. She'll be travelling fair bit, so I got her a travelling purse from Kathmandu.

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Papaya (K' Road, Auckland)

So... I noticed this little shop on K' Road when we were coming back from that Korean BBQ place in Upper Queen Street. It looked like a Japanese joint. Since then I've always wanted to give it a go... And finally I did.


I was pretty hungry, so I had some California rolls first...


Then had a tendon. Altogether it was about 15 bucks. Not bad for a quick dinner.

I had to have some more of this stuff. So I went back there for a lunch next day... Had a katsudon; they can make both pork and chicken varieties. I had the pork one as it is the only "proper one" for me. It was less than ten bucks...
Small things make me happy and I'm glad I gave a go at this place. I think I'll be frequenting this joint. Might try conquering the whole menu...

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A little flooding

The Storm of the Decade made little paddles in the Auckland Domain. Photo taken from the pavilion.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Adelaide Arcade

My favourite arcade in Adelaide off from Rundle Mall. I got my academic gown in my first year in a shop located in this arcade. I also like the specialty writing instrument shop here too.

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Cafe Karadeniz and Mikano again

So we had an invited guest speaker in our department. We went out for a late lunch after the seminar to Cafe Karadeniz. This time I had a Shish kebab.


It was very nice. I had a Chai Latte after this, which was also pretty good.
After a few hours, we went out for a dinner... We tried to go to this French Cafe, but we couldn't get a table. So we settled for Mikano instead. I had a grilled tuna which was very good; nicely cooked, and rare in the middle, on a Sardinian couscous, crushed peas, pine nut with an undertone of lime (or currant) that accentuated the tuna. Last time we came here, we made a mistake of not ordering side dishes; we went home hungry. Not this time however. We got a serving of bread, potatoes, grilled pumpkin and also green salad for the table. I also got a glass of Kumeu River Pinot Gris which is a little out of my character as I do not handle alcohol too well. Anyway. After the mains, I got a Chai Latte; this one tasted quite different from the ones I've had before. It had this strong flavour of anise. It was certainly different, and I don't know if I liked it or not.
As to the invited guest speaker. She reminded of someone... Who was it...? They say there are 3 people that are lookalike in this world. This invited speaker was a dead ringer of the mother of a friend of mine (Dr. NvS). She even had the mannerism and the way she spoke was even like her, though not as tall, and obviously younger... But the resemblance was uncanny.

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Beans!

Jelly beans! The boss got them in... To get rid of them, or so he says. He bought some paint from a hardware store, and they gave him a 4 litre can full of... Jelly beans. Good of him to share some with us.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Ouch...

I've done my lower back in again... I felt something funny on Friday morning walking to the bus stop. During the day the pain developed steadily. Over the weekend it was really bothering me. Last time I hurt my back, my doctor told me to do some exercise. It got better in the last couple of days, but I guess I'll have to take something up then.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Storm of the decade

The Land of Sheep was hit by the Storm of the Decade... That was about the same strength as an average Atlantic hurricane. I was a little worried about my rickety apartment's roof until I heard about the strength of the storm. Oh well.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

ANU Alumni reception @The Langham

So I got invited to an ANU alumni reception at The Langham Hotel for the ANU Roadshow in Auckland. When I registered myself as an alumni at the ANU site, I got the invite. So... I put my nice clothes on then went down there. The Langham is located pretty close to the Med School I work at, just over the Grafton Bridge, so I just walked down there. I was wondering if I knew anybody but was not holding my breath. After all, I left there 7 years ago... But to my surprise, I caught up with a school secretary who remembered seeing me from all these years ago. I also got introduced to this fellow who study photosynthesis in cyanobacteria. It was pretty interesting stuff; the guy's ultimate goal seemed to be to have photosynthesis in vitro. Ie. in a test tube with artificial components. It sounded great to me if it worked out. We also talked about possibilities of exchanging summer research students between universities but probably that would be difficult as ANU and Auckland targeted different audience. ANU summer scholarship offers free boarding in one of the catered residential college on campus (meaning free accommodation and meals) and also airfare to fly students in, plus some spending money so students of other universities can relatively easily take it up while Auckland one offers a lump sum of money only, making it more difficult for students not based here to take up the scholarship and thus primarily targeting local students. Anyway. I got some promotional material to distribute and circulate at my school (which I definitely will). I've also requested a poster to put up on poster boards around the campus. I think it's a good thing to move between universities while you can; I did my postgrad degree in a different uni from the one I did my undergrad. I think it's a wonderful opportunity for students to travel for free... In exchange for not much.We kept talking for a couple of hours, then we parted. It was quite an enjoyable night.

A South Australian Favourite

When in South Australia... Can't go without the favourite... The Farmer's Union Iced Coffee. One thing I miss from South Australia.

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Down the Gouger Street

The morning after the reception, me and my sister went out to Port Adelaide, to check out a market there. My sister was after this Lego stall in the market; specializing in rare Lego blocks. I just tagged along to see the market. After much browsing, she found what she wanted. To me the market reminded me of this koukashita market in Kobe.

Port Adelaide

After finishing business at the market, we went down the Gouger Street in the city looking for some Chinese chow. We went to Ding Hao Restaurant first looking for some Yum Cha action but the place was chockers. They suggested we sit outside and to this I answered in not-so-polite manner; it was rainy, windy and cold out there. So we just walked down the street. Thought about hitting Sushi Train for some sushi action, but decided that we'd come back if there aren't any other place. Then we found this Chinese restaurant I cannot recall the name for. It's a Hong Kong style restaurant with roasted meat hang behind the window sort of place. Didn't look fancy but then again you don't expect a fancy decor from a place like this. So we ordered Singapore noodle, scallops with ginger and shallots (I think it was) and also deep fried pork with salt and pepper.




To be honest, the dish were unremarkable, nothing to write home about. But for the price, couldn't complain, could we? We did get full for a small price...

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Friends' Wedding

So, this is the primary reason why I took this little trip; attending my friends' wedding. It was held in a church in Kent Town. I have known the guy for 13 years; since when I did Honours at Waite. He was doing his PhD back then. I met his girlfriend (now wife) a couple years ago when I got back from the US. Anyway. I got a lift from my sister to the church, and attended the ceremony; sat on the wrong side of the aisle but I guess that's alright since I knew both of them. The Best Man happened to be another of my friend I hadn't seen for... 13 years. We went through the undergraduate together. Turned out he's also married now with a kid! He got married to my genetics demonstrator from my third year undergrad. Mmm... And so the ceremony began in a usual church wedding manner, and it went on... For only about an hour. I expected it to be a lot longer since the last one I attended took yongs... And so, I had to kill 2.5 hours before the reception began... And so I decided to take a little walk to the city and loiter there until the time came. But what could I do, really? Went to the uni, walked across the footbridge I used to use to come to the uni...

Torrens seen from the Uni Footbridge

Then took a bit of a walk around Rundle Mall, had a coffee, and while doing all this, got myself a blister on the right foot as I am not used to walking in my dress shoes... Then... It started pissing down. I happened to carry a small umbrella, not the big one, as it is jinxed; when I carry the big one, the sun shines and I look like a dick carrying it. When I left home, the sky looked menacing, but I decided to take a chance as I thought I would be under a roof or another for the most of time. Alas it was not to be. And so I dragged my sorry feet over to Rundle Street... Then I saw the bridal couple with the photographer! I decided to barge in on them to say hi. It turned out that their first date was at this cafe. I sat down with them, got pictures taken then I got a lift back to the reception. Thank goodness for that...

After getting back to the reception place, we got around for little drinks at the bar, then sat down at the designated table; my table was for people from Waite. I met a couple of people, and also caught up with some others. Then the dinner started; minestrone to begin with, stuffed beef as a main then pudding to finish off.






After all was said and done, I was invited out for more drinkies in the city, but by this time I was knackered and just wanted to go home (I sound like an old man!). Must be all the walking I did during the day. Anyway. I got a lift into the city, caught a cab then went home. Wasn't a bad day after all.
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Friday, July 18, 2008

Yakitori Takumi (Melbourne St., North Adelaide)

So I read about this place Yakitori Takumi on a web page... I originally wanted to go to this place Ajisen but it won't open until a couple of days after I leave Adelaide... Bummer. So. Instead, I decided to give a go at Takumi. My sister and I headed out to a Northerly direction towards North Adelaide. After finding the place on Melbourne Street, we went in... We sat at our booked counter seats. The place was clean, probably too clean for my taste for a yakitori bar/restaurant. That's fine. I guess I expected a little too much. I read that the chef was trained in Japan and wanted to get Japanese style and so we got some of that but... Well... It was alright I guess, but unlike the Corner Bistrot last night, it wasn't quite the place I wanted to go back for more. Yakitori Takumi on Urbanspoon

Corner Bistrot (Leigh St., Adelaide)

So I got to the City of Churches alright, with my bags intact. My sister suggested we go out to this place Corner Bistro in the city; on Leigh Street off from Hindley Street. We went there around 6:30PM... The place was fairly small but had a very high ceiling, and also had seats in the loft as well. It had a very nice atmosphere. Very nice indeed. After going through the menu, I settled for a sardine salad as an entree.


It was very nice. Then I had one of the fish of the day; ocean perch.


Again, very nice, very delicate. For a dessert, I had an orange crepe, and a flat white. Again, very nice.



It's not often you happened to go to a place for the first time then thinking about going back there already. To my delight, Corner Bistrot was one of these places. The only problem was the toilet... The toilet door will let you out of the building, leading to nowhere. If you are going there, and if you need to use a bathroom, ask the waiter to show you where it is, or otherwise I don't think you will ever find it. Anyway.

Corner Bistrot on Urbanspoon
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Off to the City of Churches

So I'm yet again waiting for boarding at the Auckland airport... No free wifi... Mmm... Anyway. Just like any other time, I left things to the last minute. I did laundry alright but left packing and dishes to the last minute. Packing ended up easy, I am taking my suit and good overcoat with me since I am attending a wedding after all. So I'm taking a garment bag instead of my customary suitcase. I'll see how well it fares when I get to Adelaide. I just hope it won't be destroyed... Samsonite come through for me please... I ended up sleeping very little, just dosing. Woke up around 4, did almost all my dishes except for my stock pot, finished packing then called for a cab at half past 5. Checked in straight away, breezed through the security gate as usual. I just make sure I carry nothing made of metal on me, and that helps this process. Then did a bit of duty free shopping; got something for my father. I'll be borrowing them for the wedding though. Now I see boarding time is only in 15 minutes, and so I am heading in the general direction of the boarding gate... Better find out which one!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sharing and caring, or how I came down with the flu

Quite frankly I debated whether to name this entry a quack medicine or not. Let me backtrack a little. I came down with a bout of flu; obviously got shared with my roomie at work. He was coughing his guts out, and I had a bad feeling about it since our shared office is more like a cubicle. The next day, I started to feel itchy in the throat. In retrospect this was the time I should've gone to get flu medicine, but I didn't, thinking that I'd be just fine. Oh how wrong was I! I got steadily worse, and by the 4th day I was desperate to get something... Anything! So I left work a little earlier, headed to the closest pharmacy from home. That was a mistake. I should've gone to a pharmacy closest to the work; there is one in the hospital across the street from my work. Anyway. This pharmacy offered me two choices; Tamiflu or herbal. I heard something little sinister about Tamiflu, from Japan. That Tamiflu may cause you to act a little strange, like taking a flight from a balcony. I wasn't quite prepared to take the chance to cure the flu by blotting myself out on the ground. Not yet, anyway. Sure, it may be an unfounded fear from few cases but. In any case, Tamiflu is most effective when taken within 48 hours of infection, and that 48 hours have long since gone. So that left me the only options from this pharmacy; herbal. I usually do not trust herbal medicine at all; I think they are quackary. But my desperation to get anything took hold, and I gave in for just once (never will though). Yet another mistake. They sold me this bottle of cough syrup and vitamin C for 60 bucks. Elixier? Hello? I know I am in the Middle Earth, but... Then vitamin C? For flu? Jeez, what century are you from? And this costs 60 bucks? Puhleeeease... I'd call this a double quackary if you ask me; remind me never to make a hasty decision on the spot when sick. But at the same time, part of me was telling me that this would be a funny story to tell later on when I recover. So there. Anyway. I miss the CVS in the US at a time like this... When this happened to me the last time, I just took some Day/Night capsules, took Nyquil to suppress coughing and itchy throat, drank lots of water, hit the sack and the next day I felt a lot better. As there is no CVS in the Land of Sheep, I couldn't get any of this stuff; instead I got hit by a double whammy. Anyway. As expected, the medication I bought didn't do much at all, and it was up to my immune system, as well as some off-the-shelf medicine I happened to have, to do something about the flu. I took ibuprofen and anti-histamine (benadryl in the evening, claritine during the daytime). It took a few more days for me to start feeling better. I don't remember having flu is such a painful thing! Good thing my work is flexible enough to take some time off to recover...


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Dinner at the Boss's place

Well. For a little celebratory occasion in the lab (papers published, a grant coming through and also a research fellow's birthday) we research fellows got invited to the boss's place for a dinner. I always wondered if they believe in the same thing as I do; that too much of good thing is wonderful. Anyway. After the nibbles and drinks, we had this beautiful chicken pie and vegies. After the meal came out the dessert; poached pears.



Wonderful. Bugger that I was getting sick with flu and so couldn't fully appreciate it... Oh well.
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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Shiratama Zenzai

Just wanted to have some shiratama zenzai... After all, it's winter down here in the Land of Sheep. I guess I had to make it by myself as I don't think it is available made up ready to eat. So I went ahead and bought powdered sticky rice.


You knead this thing by adding water, to the consistency of your "earlobes" according to one recipe. Then you make small amount into a ball then depress the middle by using your finger. Then you boil them...


After they are cooked, they are cooled down in a bowl of water.


Then add some to zenzai, heat up, and mmmm yum!

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Tomokazu (SFO, San Francisco)

I wanted to have a quick bite before flying back to the Land of Sheep. How about a bit of a sushi action? Why not? So I saw this Tomokazu place at the international terminal after security check at SFO and ducked in...



Little did I know, Air NZ served dinner pretty much straight away after we took off. Mmmmm.
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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The toaster

died on me yesterday. When I need it the most, at the breakfast. This NZD20 thing lasted about 6 months... I guess I'll revert back to what I used to do; use of grill. I don't think I'd do an Elwood Blues wire coat hanger toasting device trick though. I'm not that desperate. Yet.

iPhone 3G in the Land of Sheep

The pricing plans for an iPhone 3G in the Land of Sheep have come out. Well. It's a tad expensive in this country thanks to the lack of competition. You are realistically looking at paying more than NZD6000 over two years (to use the phone properly). Lots of Kiwis are whinging about it but I say... If you don't like it, you don't have to buy it. You should let your wallet do the talking, not your mouth in a consumer matter like this. I think I wrote something like this before on this blog. But when you look at current plans available from Voda NZ, it's actually cheaper than what's currently available, by about 25 bucks a month. Anyway. I don't think I'll be getting one, unless parallel importers can do something about it. I really wanted one to replace my Moto mpx220 as its battery has died on me. I guess I'll look for elsewhere, like... HTC Touch Cruise looks good to me. Anyway.

Idiots don't catch cold

Or so the Japanese proverb goes. After coming back from the US, I noticed that it got real cold here in the Land of Sheep. My colleague who shares the office with me was coming down with cold. He was coughing his guts out in our office, and I had a bad feeling about it... Next day, I managed to catch one myself, coughing my guts out like him. I guess that proves I'm not that much of an idiot according to that Japanese proverb but...

Monday, July 07, 2008

Tax return 2008

Well. I nearly missed it. The deadline for filing the tax return document is today (7/7/2008). It's 10PM. Thank goodness for the fact that I could file the document electronically... Just filled in blanks online and took me maybe 10 minutes tops. *sigh* I didn't claim anything which is probably stupid but I don't think I spent enough to claim anyway; probably up to about 100 bucks for various professional organizations and societies membership fee. Everything else is usually reimbursed anyway. Considering everything it was probably a bit of a time waster, really. I'm just glad it's over though.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Central Park, New York


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Momotaro

In that afternoon when I was playing with my friends' twin sons, in that public garden, in a gumtree backdrop, I saw this sculpture of Momotaro... It looked so out of place. Didn't catch who the sculptor was but.

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