lunch with family

Met up with Uncle Yau and my aunt’s daughter for lunch. I think we realise that we need to see more family. I only recently learned that my aunt passed away in 2003, and I haven’t seen my cousin for decades. My aunt had 8 children and they are all older, the youngest two are a couple of years older than me.

Uncle Yau also told us that Uncle 2 passed away before my aunt, which surprisingly we didn’t know about. So Uncle Yau is the only one left of the 4 siblings. With his daugher in the UK he’s now on his own. I have to make sure we keep in touch.

a day of two burgers

burgerbeefliberty

Met sis to deal with Papa’s stuff. Lunch at Beef & Liberty’s. I had the bacon cheeseburger and substituted salad for fries. Sis had sweet potato fries so I grabbed a few. Really great burger. Ordered medium rare and it came nice and red inside. I don’t usually eat onions but the caramelised onion jam was the star of the dish. We felt like wine, which surprisingly went well with the burger.

burgerpokka

Met mm for early dinner and ended up at a Japanese café. Also had burger. Definitely a few notches below the lunchtime one. They didn’t ask how I’d like the burger cooked and it came dry and well done. The onion wasn’t caramelised so I gave them to mm. The potato chunks had no colour and no colour = no flavour. It filled me up, which was the only good thing. Just as well, we went pokéhunting at the nearby park and it was a couple of hours of walking and rushing from one side of the park to the other.

completed: 101 tasks in 1001 days

chiptr012finish

So I set out on 1 December 2013 on this 101.1001 challenge. I was determined to finish, having failed the last time in 2007 because I was actually doing 232 tasks.

The tasks varied between easy and more involved. I added 1001 posts to the website, 1001 pics on flickr and 1001 posts on instagram. I read a bunch of books, went to an art exhibition and saw a couple of musicals. Completed both nanos that coincided with the challenge, finally finished LL and designed its cover. Writing a short story was more difficult, but I got it done.

New countries, new US states, new World Heritage sites visited. New restaurants, new recipes and new whiskies too. Ate some insects. Ran and walked 1001 miles, then the 1779 miles of the Walk to Mordor challenge. Did some activities with family and mm, sorted out finances and achieved some other personal goals.

The one task that isn’t 100%, but I’ve checked it off as done, is go wall climbing. Because the courses are fully booked, I’m going in October. But I went and made the reservation and paid the fee before the end of this challenge, so I will definitely go.

Here for the final time, are the tasks with links to the posts corresponding to their completion:

101 tasks in 1001 days

mission: complete 101 preset tasks in 1001 days
criteria: tasks must be realistic and specific, requiring actual effort and with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined
rollover: incomplete tasks from original 2007 list are marked with **

start: Sunday 1 December 2013
end: Sunday 28 August 2016

    technology

  1. upgrade macOS at least once // done 01-feb-2016
  2. get a new idevice // done 31-mar-2014
  3. become proficient at Evernote // done 07-mar-2015
  4. complete an online course // done 05-aug-2014
  5. 1001 posts on website (start count=3,259) // done 25-may-2016
  6.  
    arts, media, books

  7. visit an art exhibition / museum** // done, chihuly garden & glass seattle 23-may-2014
  8. new musical // done 02-jul-2015
  9. old musical // done 13-jul-2016
  10. use my library card** // done 12-feb-2014
  11. read 101 books // done 26-sep-2014 (posted 08-oct-2014)
  12. finish a book in one day // done 20-jan-2014
  13. finish all the Harry Potter books** // done 10-jan-2014
  14. read Mythology for Dummies** // done 21-sep-2014
  15.  
    writing

  16. nano 2014 // done 12-nov-2014
  17. nano 2015 // done 20-nov-2015
  18. finish Lamplight (seriously, get this done, no excuse) // done 17-aug-2016
  19. outline book ideas // done 21-oct-2015
  20. design a book cover // done 16-aug-2016
  21. write a short story // done 20-aug-2016
  22.  
    photography

  23. 1001 instagram/vine/snapchat total (start count: instagram 452+vine 1 = 453) // done 03-mar-2015
  24. 20,001 flickr photos total (start count=18,555) // done 25-apr-2014
  25. complete a photo challenge using a photo app (was lomo)** // done 12-dec-2013
  26. complete an alphabet photo series // done 12-dec-2013
  27. try one of the challenges on photochallenge.org // done 18-feb-2014
  28. tues’ assignment: find colour in an unusual place** // done 26-dec-2015
  29.  
    travel

  30. make a list of 101 landmarks and notable places visited // done 06-feb-2014
  31. make a list of 101 places to visit // done 07-feb-2014
  32. 3 new countries**: 1. greece // done 23-feb-2014
  33. 2: israel // done 26-feb-2014
  34. 3: vietnam // done 16-mar-2016
  35. 3 new US states**: 1. washington // done 24-may-2014
  36. 2: alaska // done 30-may-2014
  37. 3:south dakota // done 20-jul-2014
  38. make a list of World Heritage sites visited // done 09-jan-2014
  39. 3 new World Heritage sites: 1. greece — archeological site of olympia (23-feb-2014) and acropolis athens (01-mar-2014) // done
  40. 2: israel — old city of jerusalem and its walls (26-feb-2014) and baha’i holy places in haifa and western galilee (27-feb-2014) // done
  41. 3: palestine — birthplace of Jesus church of the nativity and the pilgrimage route bethlehem (26-feb-2014) // done
  42. go on a cruise** // done 05-mar-2014
  43.  
    health/sports

  44. run/walk/bike 1001 miles // done 16-mar-2015
  45. complete the walk to mordor challenge — 1779 miles from Hobbiton to Mt Doom (bonus return trip 1625 miles from Minas Tirith to Bags End) // done 19-feb-2016
  46. break a running PR // done 14-mar-2016
  47. db bench PR // done 25-aug-2016
  48. 101 crunches // done 30-dec-2015
  49. 101 squats // done 06-sep-2014
  50. take a tai chi, yoga or martial arts class** // done 24-apr-2015
  51. go rock-climbing (real or wall)** // done 26-aug-2016
  52.  
    food & drink

  53. make a list and photoset of 101 bucket list foods already tried // done 09-jan-2015
  54. eat an insect // done 28-sep-2014
  55. 10 new recipes: 1. lebkuchen // done 16-dec-2013
  56. 2: chocolate log // done 24-dec-2013
  57. 3: baked cheesecake // done 23-jan-2014
  58. 4: roast belly pork // done 04-feb-2014
  59. 5: roasted cabbage // done 09-feb-2014
  60. 6: no-bake chocolate tart // done 19-apr-2014
  61. 7: key lime pie // done 15-aug-2014
  62. 8: chicken ballotine // done 27-aug-2014
  63. 9: rosemary flatbread // done 31-oct-2014
  64. 10: double chocolate tart // done 18-jan-2015
  65. make vanila extract // done 07-jan-2015
  66. open a cookbook to a random page and make whatever comes up // done 22-jun-2016
  67. plan, make and serve a three-course meal, with wine** // done 13-jul-2016
  68. make a cocktail // done 31-dec-2013
  69. go to a wine/beer/whisky tasting** // done 18-jul-2014
  70. 5 new whiskies (bonus if they are in 101 whiskies book): 1. auchentoshan three wood // done 22-dec-2013
  71. 2: laphroaig px cask // done 20-mar-2014
  72. 3: dalmore 18 // done 11-aut-2014
  73. 4: bunnahabhain cruach-mhona // done 13-jan-2015
  74. 5: arras // done 15-apr-2016
  75. 5 new restaurants in 5 cities**: 1. sapporo hanamaru // done 09-apr-2014
  76. 2: seattle five points café // done 22-may-2014
  77. 3: portland food carts // done 07-jul-2014
  78. 4: dublin bear // done 09-apr-2015
  79. 5: london dishoom // done 13-apr-2015
  80.  
    home & finance

  81. put away $10 (or equivalent) for each goal achieved // done 27-aug-2016
  82. set aside $1 for each goal achieved and donate to charity // done 27-aug-2016
  83. make a will** // done 30-jun-2016
  84. build net worth calculator // done 21-dec-2013
  85. money-free weekend // done 23-mar-2014
  86. invest in a kickstarter-type project // done drinkable book 24-jun-2014
  87.  
    family

  88. scan 101 family pictures // done 19-jan-2016
  89. 3 new places/activities with family: 1. gingerbread house // done 12-jan-2014
  90. 2: christmas bazaar & bbq // done 29-nov-2014
  91. 3: kayaking // done 06-aug-2015
  92. 3 new places/activities with mm: 1. easter sunset // done 20-apr-2014
  93. 2: day trip to tai o // done 02-aug-2014
  94. 3: jjimjibang korean spa // done 26-sep-2014
  95.  
    personal

  96. make a list of 101 things already achieved // done 08-jan-2015
  97. make a list and photoset of 101 favourite things // done 09-aug-2016
  98. make a 101 someday list // done 06-dec-2013
  99. leave an inspirational note inside a book for someone to find // done 03-dec-2015
  100. take pictures of all my hard rock café polo shirts** // done 13-dec-2013
  101. count how many swatches I have** // done 14-dec-2013
  102. make a font from my handwriting // done 04-jan-2014
  103. pack a go bag // done 05-jan-2015
  104.  
    7 things: this is another dayzero project — an alternative to boring new years’ resolutions

  105. learn how to…rocher (single spoon quenelle) // done 26-jan-2016
  106. start…drinking more water // done 22-sep-2014
  107. stop…using as much salt and substitute with herbs & spices // done 16-apr-2015
  108. take a vacation to…one of the 101 travel wishlist places (see #27) // done 19-apr-2015
  109. find…a race and train for it // done 11-oct-2015
  110. try…meditation // done 09-aug-2014
  111. be more…grateful and patient with family // done 25-mar-2016

Time to set a new challenge? Not sure. I can’t think of 101 new tasks to do, and repeating some of these ones is kinda boring-souding. I have started making a list of 101 things I never want to do, like bungee jumping, eat durian or do the iditarod. It’s an interesting list.

#74, #75 set aside money

moneyjar

Tasks #74 and 75 of 101.1001 are money related.

#74: put away $10 (or equivalent) for each goal achieved and #75: set aside $1 for each goal achieved and donate to charity. At first I started doing it, then I thought I’d just allocate a portion of my account at the end of the challenge for these. Interestingly I never thought about which currency. Local dollars? USD? AUD? Or even GBP / EUR?

Putting away $10 will give me $1010. I’m going to use this towards buying a new macbook later this year, when hopefully the new model comes out. I may get the new model or I may get a refurbished one year old model, depends on what’s available.

$101 for charity, but which charity? I have in mind two. Initially I thought of pAge drinking paper, which was #79 of this challenge. They’re no longer a non-profit and have set up a for profit company to distribute the book. I’m not sure how I feel about this. It’s still a very important cause, to make sure people in need get clean water.

I’ll probably end up giving to the charity mm helps out with, that deals with mental health issues. They are quite small scale and fairly new, so every little counts. She puts in a good deal of work so I want to show my support.

#46 wall climbing

wallclimbymca

Task #46 of 101.1001 is to go wall climbing. I have researched, and one of the best places to go is the YMCA. To begin with, everyone must go through an introductory course, which is great. Unfortunately they don’t accept bookings on the phone or online. It’s stupid. Anyway we were going pokéhunting in the area so I got off the bus one stop early and went up to the office.

They’re fully booked. The earliest available class is in October. There was a class of young kids when I was there and it looked like a lot of fun.

I’ll check it off, because it’s the last task. I’ll update after the class.

edit: completed 08-oct-2016, went to introductory class and passed assessment.

pokehunting, happy hour, steak dinner

hullet02night

Met up with mm to go pokéhunting. The shopping centre we went to didn’t have many good pokémons but it was nice to just sit and relax. Our friend D whatsapped us that he’s ready to hunt. We met up first at Hullet House, which used to be the marine police headquarters and now converted to a hotel. The colonial building has been restored and it looks very pretty, both during the day and at nightfall.

hullet04bar

The bar had happy hour which included local craft beers. Definitely a colonial atmosphere and a nice place to meet and chat.

steakdinner20160824

D took us to some hotspots: the back of ToysRUs, the far corner of a rooftop car park. Got a few draginis and a golduck. We had dinner at a casual Italian place. I had the wagyu beef set: scallop salad, pumpkin soup, A5 wagyu steak, petit fours. The steak was…okay. Very thin and not rare enough.

After dinner we walked to a place D said he found Pikachus but there weren’t any. It’s next to my bus stop home so it was at least convenient.

2016 olympics

2016olympics

The Olympics finished. Didn’t watch a lot because the tv channel only showed the big sports like swimming and athletics. Very happy and proud that Team GB finished second in the medals table. So many greats, Katherine Grainger, Mo Farah, Andy Murray, Nicola Adams, Giles Scott, Max Whitlock, Nick Skelton, the divers, the hockey team and the entire cycling team. 67 medals in total, 2 more than London 2012, an impressive achievement for an away games.

Another way of looking: 7th weighted medals by team size which is very good too.

Special shoutout to the 10 countries winning their first gold medals: Bahrain, Fiji, Ivory Coast, Kuwait (as Independent), Jordan, Kosovo, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Tajikistan, Vietnam. It’s easy to focus on the big countries and big crowd-pleasing sports, the achievements of the smaller countries and smaller teams is proportionately even larger. And what about Sakshi Malik, who won India’s first ever medal, a silver in wrestling. Imagine the difficulty she’s had to overcome.

sportsmanship

There are no better embodiment of the Olympic spirit than Nikki Hamblin and Abbey d’Agostino, who were awarded the prestigious Pierre de Coubertin medal for fair play. One of the best moments of these Games.

lunch and dinner

jadelunch

Went with Mum to renew her teachers union subscription, had lunch at one of the restaurants opposite. The building has plenty of restaurants: korean chicken, japanese buffet. We thought we’d try crystal jade, a noodles and xiaolongbao specialist. Usually long queues but surprisingly quiet for a sunday lunchtime.

We had starters of pickled cucumber and crispy eels. It’s a clever way of presenting cucumbers, rolled up with almost all the middle tasteless part removed. Haven’t had eels for a long time, it’s good.

The xiaolongbao is supposed to be comparable to din tai fung and they were good. The noodles are handmade and also good but the portion too small. Overall, a good place for lunch.

clamsalad

Went to the market to buy fruit & veg. Bought some clams too, for dinner. Simple: clam salad.

#19 write a short story

moderator

Task #19 of 101.1001 is to write a short story. The idea came to me after seeing the call for submissions for a gcls fundraiser anthology.

Pretty standard romantic tale. For some reason I decided to write it like the narrator is telling the story back to the two MCs so second person pronouns are used. I don’t know if it works. I have no idea if I’ll even submit it because of possible conflict of interest.

2,871 words written between tuesday and saturday. That’s slow for my standard but I can’t compare with the writer!me of 10 years ago.

steamed egg with pork mince

steamedeggpork

Tried my hand at making steamed egg with minced pork. The ultimate comfort food. Goes very well with plain rice and supposedly one of those dishes that are easy to make yet hard to master.

Steamed the pork first, seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil and I chopped a few dried mushrooms in with the mixture. Poured in the egg and water mixture and steamed for 10mins.

Not quite as silky and smooth as it can be. The egg was overdone on the outside but undercooked in the middle. Apparently both the heat and egg:water ratio are important. I used 1:1 egg and water (measured in measuring cup) but next time will try 1:1.5. And use low heat.

office drinks

donutwine

Went over to the office for office drinks. Brought red bean doughnuts from the nearby bakery.

Strange office drinks. Everybody took their glass back to their desk and continued working. I was left sitting there waiting for pokemons to appear. Afterwards mm and I took a bus back and forth to visit more pokestops.

I thought we might have dinner together but I ended up sadly having noodles at place near the bus stop home. Seems like my company is not wanted.

#16: finish LL

llblur

Task #16 of 101.1001 is to finish LL. Actually finished a while ago, but still not 100% happy.

I have a deadline now. I need to get it ready and submit it by next summer. One of the best publishers I’ve ever met asked me. Face to face. There is no excuse.

There are parts in the middle that need to be expanded and better explained. Probably need more character growth too. I should stop tinkering with it and let good editors take a look so I can learn and improve.

#18: design a book cover

llcover

I have to start working on writing again. Task #18 of 101.1001 is to design a book cover. I had in mind to take some pics in NYC for LL. Not as many or as good potential as I wanted.

The background is of stock market quotes in a newspaper from flickr user andreas poike under cc by 2.0. If/when I get a chance to submit a cover myself I’ll get a copy of FT and substitute my own image, I just didn’t have any newspaper at hand.

The Wall Street street sign and SMELLS graffiti are my own, from the most recent trip. I have a couple of pics of the charging bull but there were so many tourists I had to borrow from someone, this from flickr user sam valadi also under cc by 2.0.

The play on the son of man is based on a pic of me taken at Carleen’s friend Tom’s costume shop last year. The apple is also my own image and the frame from a random google image search for free images. Photoshopped to make it blurry and more like a painting. It’s something that will be referenced in LL, which I’ll need to edit in.

Is it a good cover? A passable attempt I guess. Can be so much better in the hands of a professional.

papa birthday

It’s Papa’s birthday. We went to visit, and it started raining when we were there. Sis tells me about one of his pics showing up on her random screensaver (out of hundreds of pictures). I feel mostly numb today.

It’s also Grandma’s birthday so afterwards Mum and I went to get some flowers and visited my grandparents too. Grandma would have been 100.

Happy Birthday, Papa and Grandma.

masterchef australia

The weather will turn bad next week, so we went to the market and got plenty of veg. We have meat in the freezer and lots of fruit so we’re sorted for at least a week.

The new tv channels are activated, so I was going through them, looking at what’s available. Wow, Masterchef Australia. One of the best Masterchefs in the world, with as much emphasis on learning as competition. Weekend catch up of 5 episodes. It’s now at ep 25, with around 10-12 contestants, so around a third of the way through. Between this and MKR, our evenings will be busy in a good way.

off air

offair

I feel like I’m currently off air. I’m doing the minimum, routine stuff: posting on the website and instagramming food pics. My friend sent me cute cat pics and I haven’t responded. The most active whatsapp groups are on mute. I’m replying to emails that I have to, but ignoring the rest.

I just looked at my PMs and I have to apologise to the friends who sent kind messages when I was feeling down last week. I haven’t replied to a single one and I feel like such an idiot. So rude. All I can say is sorry again and thank you for being such good friends. They made me feel less alone and despondent when I needed it most.

There are things to do, fairly urgent things, before the end of the month. External things and people that do not care that I’m feeling depressed, or lack motivation, or the other three thousand excuses I come up with. And like buses, when they arrive, they arrive all at once.

Just let me get through the next couple of days, the urgency will make me shift gears because I have no choice.

pokehunting with friends

Going out for the third time in 3 days. Met mm and another old friend D to go pokehunting. He’s at level 23 or 24 and goes out every night hunting, so diligent. He has a lot of the high level pokemons. The funniest thing is that his son is already in college and has refused to play because his dad does, hahaha.

We met at a shopping centre, took a slow bus ride to the big shopping centre at ocean terminal. So close to the harbour and in one of the most crowded areas there were plenty of sightings. We couldn’t walk 10m without another fish or squid showing up. The two of them were deflinitely more keen on playing than me.

koreanbbq201608

D’s wife joined us for dinner at a popular authentic korean place. Good food and value for money even though it’s in the michelin guide. Four of us had a 2-3 person set and added ox tongue. We called our friend P who is having dinner with his family nearby and he joined us for ice cream.

Quite tired. Looking forward to staying home tomorrow.

sherry cocktail, vietnamese dinner

pasitococktail

Went over to the flat to get some stuff done. Had an hour or so to kill before dinner so I stopped at a tapas place offering $35 happy hour cocktails and bottle beers. Had a cocktail called pasito: pedro ximenez, triple sec, lime juice, mint. Not bad, can taste the sweetness of the sherry tempered by the lime, could do with a little more lime.

prawnsduckcurry

Dinner was with my old friend Dr W, we were in the same year at king’s and had lost touch. Reconnecting friends is one of the better things about social media. She lives near me so we met at the shopping centre nearby, at a new vietnamese place. Had 2 starters: sugar cane prawns and vietnamese spring rolls; mains were coconut duck curry and vegetables. The curry came with french bread and wasn’t too spicy. Very nice.

errands, tv channels

Did a bunch of errands with Mum. Bank, teachers union to look at fridges, renewed her cable subscription. The plan she had before isn’t available anymore and of course they now charge more. Then again, we can pick from 3 bundles and we now have more channels than before. After I’m able to cancel my subscription, the cost isn’t significantly higher. We now get all the National Geographic and Discovery channels as well as both BBC Lifestyle and BBC Earth (which I miss having). Food Network, E!, History channel. We now have almost all the entertainment channels that have series programs, not just one. Plus one that has oldies, I see they are showing X-files season 4 as well as, gasp, Golden Girls, Taxi, A-team, MacGyver.

And speaking of X-files. I need to watch them all again.

#88: 101 favourite things

It’s taken me almost to the end of the challenge to complete #88 of 101.1001: make a list of 101 favourite things that make me smile. I didn’t want to list a whole bunch of food or places visited, so I tried to be a little more casual. Had to get help.

aeronchair2015

  1. aeron chair
  2. air-conditoning in summer
  3. heating in winter
  4. alaska daily life / survival programs
  5.  

    daikiya05all

  6. all you can eat japanese buffet
  7. the amazing race
  8. autumn colours
  9. bag of clothes and stuff for charity
  10. basketball
  11. coedobeerflight2016

  12. beer flight
  13. goodfoodmag2014

  14. bbc good food magazine calendar
  15. bless the lord my soul at the end of mass
  16. bouncing on huge hotel beds
  17. checking things off lists, completing lists
  18. chicagosign

  19. “chicago” from licence plates I bought from my ex-landlady
  20. clean crisp sheets
  21. clear skies, no pollution
  22. clothes that just came out of the tumble-dryer
  23. cookery competition programs
  24. cycling along the lake
  25. darth maul double lightsaber I made at disney world
  26. driving
  27. duvet “fluffy” that mm bought for me
  28. eating an ice cream cone huddled together outside in the freezing wind
  29. avmarket20090916

  30. farmer’s markets
  31. fast internet
  32. fizz in soft drinks (was coke zero, now more likely to be soda water)
  33. cx1st04steak

  34. flying first class
  35. flying with entire empty row
  36. foam-rollering my back and hearing it crack back into place
  37. sg061seafood

  38. food that need all fingers to eat
  39. fresh herbs
  40. giant fruit — giant mangoes, giant peaches
  41. mini fruit — mini watermelon
  42. good investment return
  43. half my hair gone after haircut
  44. homemade jam & marmalade
  45. squashsoup03

  46. homemade butternut squash soup
  47. hot shower
  48. leaving/escaping the region, no matter how short
  49. maps on a road trip
  50. menthol crystals that have been in my family for decades
  51. mindfulness
  52. new restaurant
  53. no need to talk
  54. no plans is the best plan
  55. bwp5004

  56. noise isolating headphones on the plane
  57. o holy night
  58. oncoming runner who waves or smiles at me
  59. joz070spaoutdoor

  60. onsen in japan (hot springs)
  61. paddington recreation ground, maida vale
  62. panettone at christmas
  63. parking perfectly into a narrow space (“one hand wheel”)
  64. peace and quiet
  65. dub088guinness

  66. perfectly poured pint of beer
  67. pg tips
  68. photograph that just works
  69. photoshop magic
  70. playing old school games–scrabble, marble checkers, trivial pursuit
  71. playing with excel
  72. propping my knees with a pillow in bed
  73. rachmaninoff piano concerto #3
  74. rain after a hot day
  75. random kindness
  76. tinychoccake07all

  77. recipe successfully executed
  78. reading a new book, discovering a good author
  79. re-reading a favourite book
  80. flr033dining

  81. retreat houses and convent stays in italy
  82. running along the lake in chicago with snow still on the ground, in shorts
  83. running around hyde park in the pouring rain, water dripping down my cap and everything completely soaked
  84. running around reservoir park except at weekends when it gets crowded with baseball players
  85. chimarathon093finish

  86. running: completing a race
  87. saying thank you at 11:11 or 1:11
  88. seafood so fresh, you can taste the sea
  89. scented candles
  90. sharp knives
  91. skiing on fresh snow in the alps
  92. smell of baking in the kitchen
  93. smell of freshly mowed grass
  94. soft, fluffy, thick bathrobe
  95. sourdough starter
  96. ldnhawks043chateaubriand

  97. steak at hawksmoor with a glass of blanton’s
  98. steak from less popular cuts
  99. sunset over water
  100. surprise presents from abroad
  101. tech that follows me everywhere — iphone, ipad, mba
  102. travel research
  103. travelling — anywhere
  104. hrcshirtnewyork

  105. uniform of hard rock cafe polo shirt, jeans, sneakers
  106. vegetables I can’t get readily — kale, savoy cabbage, fennel, parsnips
  107. view of british hedgerows and farms from the plane
  108. wallpaper of queenstown nz at sunset, still not tired of looking at it
  109. warming my hands on the radiator
  110. watching bbc programs outside the uk
  111. watching cricket, wishing I can play
  112. nikka106tastebar

  113. whisky — japanese whisky from nikka distillery
  114. whisky — wee dram of highland park, doesn’t matter which year
  115. whisky hip flask
  116. whisky tasting and discovering a new good one
  117. wine all the time
  118. wine tasting at the winery

bbmm hh hunting

Met mm for tea, wanted her to look at a document I was sent. We met up in a corner of a bookstore where people sat and read. She was also charging her phone. Showed me how to play pokemon gym too. We went to a nearby department store to look at white goods and coffee maker for her, and to the wine department to look at wines.

Happy hour at a burger place where we had draught beer and a snack. Bus to the computer centre, taking advantage of the ride to play more pokemon. Got her an external battery and had quick wonton noodles.

Nice pleasant day out, and cost efficient too.

emptygym

The gym near me all of a sudden was empty but it was 11.30pm and too late for me to go over there. It’s only 2 mins’ walk. It was quite exciting for a minute because there’s never anything nearby.

king’s friends dinner

Met up with King’s friends for dinner over the weekend. This is the group where I’m one of the youngest. Everyone has done so well, and most people hadn’t changed even though we haven’t seen some of them in over 20 years. Getting to an age where these types of gatherings are enjoyable and nostalgic.

I realise there are roughly 3 King’s groups I belong to: this one with the oldies, who gradutated before me or a year behind. Most of their kids are in secondary school or college now. The medium group, graduated around 2 years after me or around the time I got my PhD. The younger group, more mm’s age, lots of people and quite active.

cauliflower rice / couscous

Been noticing more and more cauliflower getting onto fine dining menus. As a purée serving as a perfect bed for scallops; as a curried tempura and cooked three ways [pdf]. It’s touted as a superfood nowadays.

I made cauliflower rice, aka cauliflower cous cous. It’s described as a low-carb substitute for the starch component of a dish. It’s also gluten-free, vegan and forms part of the paleo diet.

Easy enough to prepare. Grate the florets of a whole cauliflower using a box grater. The stem is harder to grate, just put it in with other vegetables. There are many cooking methods for the rice: steam, sautée, microwave, roast in oven. I just tossed it around in a pan with a little s&p and water for about 10 mins until it felt cooked and there were no visible white uncook bits.

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Served some with slow roasted pork and crackling. I don’t have much luck with making crackling in the oven so these were fried in a very hot pan.

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Another batch of the cauliflower I treated like regular couscous by mixing in dried cranberries and pecans from a packet I bought at the farmer’s market a long time ago.

I knew it’s cauliflower and I could taste the vegetable freshness. But it’s true, it’s just like rice, couscous, mash in its ability to accompany the main protein and absorb gravy. Doesn’t make you bloated after the meal too. Definitely must make more.

olympics is here, remembering london 2012

The 2016 Olympics is here! Whilst there are undoubtedly problems due to many factors such as weather, illness, incompetence, corruption, the fact is that it’s an event that is worth getting excited about. I hope I can get my once-every-four-years fix of sports hardly seen on tv like handball, rowing, dressage. I’m also hoping that there is more coverage of the Paralympics, the athletes deserve so much more exposure.

Nostalgia time. Four years ago I experienced London 2012 at first hand, having been lucky enough to be in London at the right time and getting lucky with tickets. Been looking through my pics and posts. Pics: olympica | paralympics

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Catching the torch on the last full day before it got to Olympic Park. So, so, so glad I decided to hop on the bus. Holland Park was a good spot to see the relay pass not once but twice. Was at the right spot to see one of the handovers too.

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Getting a last minute ticket to see beach volleyball at Horse Guards’. Got a nice seat, the atmosphere was carnival-like and for a change I didn’t mind the drunken loud people around me. Watched until the last game ended at almost midnight shivering in the summer chill. Saw two big US names: Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor.

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Another last minute ticket to see archery. Walking distance, at Lord’s. Even tried my hand at it in the play area.

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I had tickets for 3 diving events, gave one set to Sis’ FIL. The first one was women’s 3m springboard final. First time at Olympic Park too, went there with mm early so we could explore. It was super sunday and I remember someone shouting that Andy Murray had just won the tennis gold medal and there were cheers all round.

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Diving was quite spectacular but ended quite quickly. The second diving was women’s 10m platform final, I had 4 tickets so CC and M could join.

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What was really enjoyable and eye-opening was going to see the Paralympics. I got a last minute ticket to see athletics. I’d never been to a track and field event in person. It was absolutely wonderful. Highlight was definitely David Weir winning the T54 1500m final.

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I had a day pass at Olympic Park and managed to see tennis, football, wheelchair rugby (murderball) and goalball. All very different. Tennis was wheelchair players. Murderball was so exciting, I can’t believe it’s not shown more on tv. Football was 5-a-side and blindfolded. Goalball was played in absolute silence.

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My last Olympics/Paralympics outing as at Excel. Saw boccia, table tennis, wheelchair fencing and sitting volleyball. Love the quiet dignity of boccia and the excitement of fencing.

insurance claim update

insurance

Finally chased the insurers enough for them to give me a breakdown of the insurance claim for the Paris/London trip. Apparently they paid into our accounts already but never sent us any communication. Now I have to go to the bank and request a statement for May.

Anyway, they paid everything I claimed for. I didn’t have proof of forfeiture for the Brittany ferry tickets, I should have tried to claim it too by sending in the receipt. Ah well.

it’s watermelon day

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It’s watermelon day! Much needed refreshment for the height of summer. I cut up a mini watermelon after dinner and thought I’d make a drink too. Most watermelon cocktails are made with vodka, I’ve found ones with bourbon so I thought I’d give it a try since I don’t want to open a bottle of vodka just for this.

The first try I kept it simple, muddled a few cubes of watermelon with my current bourbon: the excellent Breckenridge. That’s it. I can smell the mixture of bourbon sweetness with watermelon freshness. Tastewise, the strength of the spirit wipes out the sweetness of the fruit and the combo has a slightly unpleasant bitter aftertaste. The remaining watermelon flesh had zero flavour that ruined the whole thing. Very surprised. I’ve kept it too simple; it’s not balanced.

The watermelon julep recipe adds lime juice, basil, mint and sea salt. I think definitely needs mint and a few drops of citrus plus a little sugar syrup. May be even soda water. I’ve also seen cucumber added: not sure about that because cucumber, though fresh, also has bitter notes.

The second try I soaked a few cubes of watermelon in bourbon for a few hours. They tasted better after infusion. Added sugar syrup and a few slices of cucumber for decoration. Much better.

typhoon last night

We got a direct hit from typhoon Nida last night. It made landfall 40km away and there were winds at 150km/hr plus more than 60mm of rain. Many places were flooded. T8 was raised.

Apparently.

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I heard some gusts of winds just before I went to bed but I slept through it all. When I woke up, there were winds and some rain but nothing out of the ordinary. There were bits of leaves over the windows but it was only when I looked outside that I realised it was a ferocious one. Branches all over the ground, the cover of our neighbour’s car had blown off and a couple of the papaya trees in the garden had fallen over.

around the world in 80 dishes

Around The World in 80 Dishes – Teaser from Dave Wallace on Vimeo.

One of our favourite recent programs is Around the World in 80 Dishes with Manu Feildel from MKR. Based loosely on Around the World in 80 Days, Manu makes his way around the world in 30 days armed with AUD20,000. Along the way, he can work and trade for food, lodging and travel but can’t accept money or free travel.

He started in London and already he’s endeared himself to me by going to Foxlow for chicken and waffles. Foxlow is a sibling restaurant of my beloved Hawskmoor.

Some of his trades are a bit farfetched. Can’t believe he got luxurious hotel in exchange for cooking at At.mosphere inside the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Selling vegetarian burgers on a train from Mumbai to Kolkata couldn’t have been difficult: a white dude with a camera crew? He sold out in 15 mins.

This is a more relaxed and playful side of Manu we’re seeing, and it is always enjoyable to see a chef host a food & travel program who clearly loves what he is doing.

We love watching MKR and food programs as a family. Every time I see this new show, or the latest season of MKR, I can’t help but think how Papa would like it. He would have loved this new program. Sniff.

p.s. not a lot of online information, turns out that it isn’t due to start in Australia till after the Olympics. Wow, we get a headstart for a change.