Keeping a record of this for when I get a new macbook. What a lovely desktop. What I really like are the clean, simple icons on the right. Instructions at lifehacker
Keeping a record of this for when I get a new macbook. What a lovely desktop. What I really like are the clean, simple icons on the right. Instructions at lifehacker
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
arts, media, books
food & drink
home & finance
7 things: this is another dayzero project — an alternative to boring new years’ resolutions
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.
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.
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.
#weights 2×20: db bench 22.5, bentover row 10, goblet squat 10, pushup, woodchopper lunge, plank 60s
— watty (@watty) August 26, 2016
Task #42 of 101.1001 is to get a db bench PR. Bench isn’t set up so I’ve been worried about this task for a while. Turns out, it’s okay to use the bed as a bench. 22.5 pounds is 10kg.
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.
The bar had happy hour which included local craft beers. Definitely a colonial atmosphere and a nice place to meet and chat.
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.
Looking at what’s new in the app store, mainly to download pokémon trackers. Downloaded flip diving and it’s surprisingly addictive.
There are different locations, tricks to learn and different divers too. Each game takes only a minute or so but I turn around and I’ve been playing for 20mins. We can even record our best or worst dives.
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.
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.
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.
Went to the market to buy fruit & veg. Bought some clams too, for dinner. Simple: clam salad.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Another last minute ticket to see archery. Walking distance, at Lord’s. Even tried my hand at it in the play area.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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! 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.
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.
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.
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.