February 2012 Archives

in being healthy |


February mileage was 167.5km, or 104 miles. It feels good to have done 100 miles, and in a short month too.

in being healthy |


Turned out, I missed last friday’s run to work day. Well, it wouldn’t have been practical anyway. It’s something ike 7.5-8 miles, which is on the edge of doable in the morning. Problem is, there is no shower facilities at work so, no way. I did run home for 5 miles from Euston Square station today.

in techtalk |


I struggle to get readers on my website. Well, that’s not entirely true because I don’t do any marketing or self-promotion or anything like that. I’m not famous or good looking or have books published or say anything remotely interesting, all I do is post about running and food and stuff I do so who the hell do I think I am?

So far, I’ve escaped the dreaded spam infection that seems to hit hosted websites like wordpress or blogger. MT used to be the market leader (within the tech geek community anyway) but it has been overtaken by the aforementioned wordpress, blogger and even tumblr.

Which is why it amused me to no end when I did routine maintenance and found that I had over 50 spam comments. They don’t show up because I set it so that I need to approve comments. These comments are twisted! For example,

The man underwear hiding more than 10 live hummingbirds were attempting to smuggle, customs and the hummingbird is wrapped body hidden in the men’s underwear, still survive in the new network on 28 September, the smugglers to steal the motion through the customs practices can change rapidly, according to Hongkong “astral island daily” reported on 28, the near future, a Holland tourists have more than 10 hummingbird living hidden in the special underwear, attempting to smuggle clearance, but ultimately not long.It is reported, the capital airport in French Guiana Cayenne, the Holland man put a dozen live hummingbirds with independent wrapped up, to prevent their wings flew, and put them away in only a slit in the underwear special packaging bag.The customs officers noticed the man “suspicious appearance and movements”, in the inspection requirements of he untied the briefs, they found about 12 live hummingbirds, subsequently, authorities seized.Reported that, the man in possession of a hummingbird, no birds anesthesia.It is reported, this man had a criminal record, has since tried to smuggle hummingbird convicted.According to introduction, the hummingbird is the world’s smallest known birds, by flapping wings hovering in the air, about 15 to 80 times per second, the speed of the body depends on the size of.

Seriously!!???!! I guess it’s just random words, they just want the link. But it’s a long way from the makfncilgoiereunarqf from the olden days. Another hilarious example, this is a comment so bot attempted to post on my sparkling cranberries post at Christmas,

I truly wanted to write down a quick remark to thank you for these pleasant secrets you are showing at this website. My time-consuming internet lookup has at the end been rewarded with really good know-how to go over with my contacts. I ‘d express that we readers actually are undoubtedly blessed to dwell in a fantastic community with many outstanding individuals with insightful concepts. I feel rather grateful to have used the web site and look forward to tons of more cool times reading here. Thank you once more for all the details.


in eating and drinking , outside interests |

ldnjpn059sushiplate ldnjpn049sakefutaho

I had a groupon for the hyper japan festival this weekend. Billed as the UK’s biggest j-culture event, I was intrigued.

There were lots of stalls for gadgets, toys, comics, dvds and all sorts of Japanese cute stuff. A couple of stalls selling sweets like collon, melty kiss and this PSP sour candy. I wasn’t tempted, because I know where to get these stuff cheaper. And I’m less interested in the cosplay and video games stuff anyway.

The main reason I wanted to go were the sushi and sake tasting events. Each of the competitor stalls will give you a sample so you can score and vote. There is also a chance of some big prizes. It was interesting, but also quite disappointing. 5 pieces of sushi for £20 and a chance at a prize draw is not good value for money. Same with the tiny sips of sake and a minute piece of cheese or snack they give you, for another £20. If I hadn’t had the groupon, I would have felt badly ripped off.

I had some yaki soba and gyoza too. Grabbed a few free bottles of yakult and was out of there before noon.

in being healthy |

29.03km (18mi) 3:36:44hr 7.28min/km (12.00 min/mi)

This week’s long run is 18 miles. I tried to break it down into smaller, manageable (mentally) pieces. Ran down to Hyde Park, around the Serpentine and then back home at mile 12. Took a loo break, took off my long sleeved shirt and changed shoes. The remainder 6 miles was done around the track. I must admit, up to the HM mark it was okay, the last couple of miles were tough. I probably shouldn’t have done it around the track cos it is very boring. I had in mind around 3.30 so I wasn’t far off. Only ate one cereal bar and a bunch of chomps, plus a bottle of lucozade sports. Should probably have had a second cereal bar.


Feet hurt at the end. Not injury, just tiredness. Sat on the cushion in the living room for almost half an hour with chocolate milk until I could move again to take a shower. I did reward myself with a lamb burger and skinny chips at gbk. I wanted buffalo but they didn’t have any. Had to take an afternoon nap too.

in eating and drinking |


SM and I went to Wagamama for lunch. I had the miso ramen. Nothing like the ramen in Tokyo or Osaka or Sapporo, but like any chain, the food is as expected.

in photography is life , techtalk |


flickr was down for almost 2 hours on Thursday. They tried to be humorous and posted on their blog something about the servers being uncomfortable and then later

our chiropractors have found the spot and are applying gentle [massage] pressure right now

Thank goodness for twitter. As soon as I got the connection refused message, I went to check #flickr and lo and behold a lot of people were reporting the same problem. I appreciate them trying to lightened up the situation, but a major site like flickr going down has dire consequences, however much they apologise. I have 11,488 pictures and videos stored there. True, they are backed up on iphoto, but imagine if I had to reload them if something goes wrong. That’s inconceivable.

That the internet and the cloud has become so integral to our lives is no surprise to anyone. IMHO, it is a utility, just like electricity or gas or water. Prolonged outage will cause major stress.

in evidence of my insanity |


I’m not doing anything special for Lent. I’ve never been one for fasting, or giving anything up. I’ll simply try to reflect and be more aware of my surroundings and the good things in life. I helped a blind lady across the road the other day, and I told another lady who lost her shoe down the gap in the tube to go talk to the station people who have these long grabby things that may retrieve her shoe from the track. There’s a big issue seller at the station who greets everyone with a “good morning,” I’ll give him a pound next time. As for chuggers, they will continue to be ignored.

Sometimes I think that it’s not necessary to do public things to acknowledge my beliefs. For me, my belief and faith are so very internal.

in eating and drinking |


I normally make pancakes for pancake day, but I didn’t feel like it this year. So I got crumpets and had them with strawberries and the frango chocolate sauce I still have in my cupboard. I must say, I lurve crumpets.

in arts and media , eating and drinking , going places |

Over the weekend i caught up with The Very Hungry Frenchman, the new bbc2 program where Raymond Blanc travels back to France and explores the cuisines of various regions. The series started with him going home to his parents’ house. How lovely to see his mother’s garden and kitchen, it’s no surprise that he learned a lot from her. This clip shows him making comté soufflé. Wow, oh wow.

Thus inspired, I looked at packages at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, his 2 Michelin-starred hotel restaurant in Oxford. Pretty expensive is an understatement. There are midweek and weekend packages as well as one the combines a day at his cookery school. For example, the Decouverte Experience includes:

  • room varying between luxurious to super deluxe suite
  • welcome drinks, flowers, chocolate
  • 9 course dinner, which has dishes like confit de foie de canard, wild brill with caviar, roasted venison and vacherin with truffle & honey
  • french breakfast

will costs at least £800. Gulp. Talked it over with mm, and even though it would have been a fantastic visit, we decided it’s too expensive.

in eating and drinking |


It seems that all I eat nowadays is steak and duck. (Well, there’s the soup weekday evenings and chicken or salmon for lunch, but I digress.) I bought 4 duck breasts at Tesco’s yesterday, and even though I have a huge pot of lamb stew in the oven, it’s duck for dinner again. Yummy. These are very nicely pink and served with delicious duck fat potatoes (fat from last week), roasted celeriac and savoy cabbage.

in being healthy |


chip: 21.1km 2:24:29hr 6:51min/km (10:58 min/mi)
nike+: 21.34km 2:25:22hr 6:49min/km (10:58min/mi)

  • overall: 1013 / 1116
  • gender division: 367 / 429
  • age division: 36 / 40

Race #2 of 2012, Race Your Pace Half Marathon, held at Dorney Lake which is: a) Eton’s rowing centre and b) where the Olympics rowing events will be held this year. That was one of the reasons I signed up for the race, to see the venue. Of course, the only feasible way of getting there is by driving, so I had to zipcar it thus increasing the cost from £27 to over £100. (Did a big shop at Tesco’s afterwards, sort of justifying the zipcar cost.)

The race start time was 10am, I got there just after 8.30am, which ended up being a good thing because I was able to park pretty close to where everything was taking place. People who came later ended up parking almost 1 mile from the tents. Got a cup of tea and then hurried to the warmth and safety of the boathouse café. It was cold-ish, not too cold. But what made it really bad was how strong the wind was. The 20min before the race start (which was delayed by 15mins) was absolutely miserable, standing in the open being buffeted by the wind with teeth chattering and hands becoming frozen. Ugh.

ldnryphm001sign ldnryphm003lake

The course was 4 laps around the lake. Not very interesting, but flat and good asphalt running surface. The wind never went away, along the 2km long length of the course, it was either crosswinds from the left or crosswinds from the right. Where I got hit direct by the headwind, I could feel myself struggling to move forward.

I started with the 11min/mile pace group, at the advice of the (absolutely fantastic) pacer, I stayed just in front of the group. It was a good tactic as my aim was never to let them pass me, and that proved to be a great incentive. At times it was touch and go with the headwind. Being a multi-lap course, it was inevitable that we got lapped by the faster runners. The field was only about 1,000 people so there was never too much crowding.

Can’t remember exactly what time I had halfway, but 10k was at 1:10. I took one bathroom break, ate some chomps and took a couple of bottles of the lucozade sports. They did advertise this as a pancake flat course that was good for setting PRs. My previous best was at the Chicago Half and I had in mind to finish at 2:20 or even 2:15. I’m not trying to make excuses, but if the wind wasn’t so blasted strong, I may have had a chance. As it was, I was coming up to the last 2km stretch and I saw that I was lagging. At Mile 12 I opened up, figuring I should have enough gas left to go for it for the last mile. My last km split was 6:13min or 10min/mi, and I did finish in front of the pace group.

It’s only a 17 second PR, but I’ll take it. I learned more about pacing and more importantly, that perhaps I do have the endurance and energy level to run faster under race conditions. The trick is to get more experience and get to the point where I don’t have to hold so much back.

in eating and drinking |


It was always on the cards to return to Hawksmoor, after our last experience. This time, we tried the one at Spitalfields, which is less than 5mins’ walk from the office.

The setting is similar to the other branch, same casualness, same leather furniture, same dark setting. We had cocktails, and then headed straight into the steaks. Tried 2 new cuts: a 350g D-rump £20 and a 700g chateaubriand £12.50/100g. Big difference in price. The chateaubriand was as soft as a filet but had flavour; the D-rump was chewier but less tough than normal rump. Had bone marrow as a side, a bottle of red and a couple of desserts. £100 per person. What can I say? I’ll come back again and again and again.

in eating and drinking |


I feel my resolve crumbling in the UK, I can’t resist all the biscuits and crisps that I grew up with. Chocolate I can leave. Except when it comes to chocolate orange. Sigh. I found these different varieties of chocolate orange on sale for 99p at Smith’s and simply had to get them:

  • honeycomb crunch
  • dark
  • volcanic popping candy
  • white chocolate smasher
  • regular

Apparently there are even more flavours. Argh. 4 segments is 180 calories, or running 3k. I guess I’ll have to really stick to the training plan.

in being healthy |


Something went wrong with my nike+. Either the GPS wasn’t working or something. It recorded that I ran 0.03km, or 33 yards. Funny, I know I ran around the track 17 times. The Garmin showed 4.1miles, or 6.6km, at 42.45mins. Not a bad pace 6.28min/km or 10.24min/mile. Stupid nike+. The website isn’t working with firefox either. I really should switch to Garmin Connect.

in eating and drinking |

fruit tart

My valentine lives 8 timezones away, so I don’t participate in today’s romantic festivities. I did make good use of the special effects on picnik to make a pic of me and mm framed with hearts and flowers and musical notes. Whatsapped it to her before bed last night. She sent back a romantic, beautiful video, kiss the rain by Korean pianist Yiruma.

I left work with my friend SM. He was going home to cook dinner for his wife and stopped at Patisserie Valerie to get dessert. He kindly bought me this fruit tart. Such a sweet gesture.

in eating and drinking |


I bought this at either Borough market or at the real food show or…somewhere. Honestly can’t remember. Great tasting ostrich burger. Low fat, much healthier than beef. Low carb dish too, I didn’t put any bread or pasta or potato.

in eating and drinking |


It’s been a while since I did wholesale home cooking. Dinner today was something I’ve had before — roast gressingham duck, carrots & parsnips and cabbage. Didn’t need sauce, the duck was very tender. I also stuck a few slices of orange into the cavity as it was roasting to give it a slight tangy flavour. I also made roast chicken thighs for lunch, sautéed savoy cabbage, baby corn and the said carrots & parsnips.

in how the day went |

burger chips and cider

I chickened out of the 17 mile run today and did just 13. HM in 2.30 is slow for me.

When I got home at around 1pm, that was the start of a whole afternoon of drama. Water started leaking from a point in my kitchen wall. it’s not too bad, but for my downstairs neighbour it was worse. I had literally just struggled home from the run. The decorator upstairs turned the water off, and we had to wait for the plumber to come around. Remember, I’d just run 2.30hrs and desperately wanted a shower.

Turned out, they did some re-connection upstairs that somehow managed to open up an old pipe that led to what used to be the tap in my flat. They hadn’t capped that joint so when they accidentally reconnected, water came down that pipe, and out of the disconnected tap which has since been plastered over. Took them a couple of hours to figure out and fix. By then it was almost 5pm.

I had planned on cooking but by the time the guys all left I was too exhausted. Couldn’t think of anywhere good to go though. After a whatspp discussion with mm, it was decided that I’d just go somewhere withing walking distance. Originally planned on going to the Thai place at the station, but I ended up walking the other way and eventually found the nearest pub. Had a very clear cider, a burger & chips and a 2-for-1 old fashioned cocktail.

in in the news |

snow again

Snowed again last night. It was cute this morning, walking on fresh snow. A lot had melted during the day. Clear skies tonight, ugh. It feels really really cold. Cold do with some of those 5-min microwave jacket potatoes.

in arts and media |


Imagine a freezing, bitingly cold day. Imagine huddling underneath the scant shelter of a bus stop, stamping your foot waiting for the stupid bus to arrive. Imagine being tired, hungry and cold. What do you feel like? How about a freshly baked potato? Hits the spot, right?

TV chefs have talked about smellivision for years, that their cooking is so great and smells so good that they wish viewers can partake in those smells too. Now, McCain, maker of oven chips are promoting their oven ready jackets, baked potatoes ready in 5 mins in the microwave. And how are they promoting it? By mimicking the smell of baked potatoes in bus shelter ads. Press a button on the side of the shelter, and the smell wafts out. Took them 3 months working with a scent specialist to get the smell right. Clever.

in habitat , objects of desire |


Sometimes when I’m really, really tired, like after running for 4 hours plus, I don’t even have the energy to step into the bath and stand up for a shower. I’d always wished for an automatic showering unit, and had envisioned that it’s like a tall tub where I can sit down and the top closes at neck level, enclosing the body and automatic sprinklers do their business, kinda like a car wash for humans.

This horizontal shower from German company Dornbracht isn’t quite the tub, but I think it probably makes for a far more relaxing experience. The showerheads can be adjusted as gizmodo describes, like

an inverted version of the Bellagio’s fountains, as the various showerheads can be programmed and choreographed to cycle through different intensities and water temperatures

Obviously the main surface should be warm and soft, otherwise it’ll be like laying on a marble slab. Still some tweaking needed, but I’m on board with the idea.

in techtalk |

Yes, it’s 45mins long. Yes, Gil Amerio drones on for the first part. Be patient. Wait till 6:55, when Steve comes out on his return to Apple. The contents of his speech may be outdated (NT, Director, LaserWriter) and who remembers NeXT computers anymore but he was already talking about apps running on cross platforms. The conviction and charisma is there. Still compelling. I watched all the Steve bits and fast forwarded the Gil bits.

in being healthy |


Wow. It only opened 6 days ago, and today registration for chicago marathon 2012 has closed already. That’s in record time. Seems like more and more people are taking up marathon racing. And with this being one of the majors that does not depend on qualification or lottery, it’s not surprising that it’s so popular.

in in the news |


I was right, it snowed last night. Yes, it’s still piddly, and when I went to bed the chair on the balcony had about 2 inches of accumulation. Some of that melted overnight, and throughout the day, it seemed to turn slushy. I’m very relieved I didn’t have to go out. Now the snow has turned to ice, will have to be careful tomorrow.

in being healthy |


24.01km 3:06:01hr 7:45min/km

15 mile long run today in the plan. I missed 2 weeks’ of training, so I had no expectations of pace. Normally I do my long run on Sunday, and my intention was to do it tomorrow. Two things changed my mind: it was sunny, and the forecast is snow overnight. I know, I know, it’s just London snow, which is piddly. And I’ve been crazy enough to go running in the snow, rain and wind. Thing is, why unnecessarily torture yourself?

I tried out my new photochromatic glasses, the ones that darken in the sun. They were fabulous, I won’t have to worry about losing the clip-ons again.

What wasn’t so fabulous was the run itself. The first 10k was okay, and then I got tired. Had to take a couple of walk breaks, and it was slow going from 19k till the end. Lack of training and too much food when I was on vacation. I need to build my endurance back up, and probably can do with getting rid of 5 pounds or so. Conditions were great though, dry and sunny, just some parts when it got windy. It was very cold, 2°C, I had long sleeves, long pants and gloves.

After dinner, I went outside to take the rubbish out. It’s snowing. Light flurries, not sure if it will stick. Very glad I pushed myself to run today, don’t fancy having to negotiate icy pavements tomorrow.

in being healthy |


Registration for chicago marathon 2012 opened on the 1st. This year, it will have to run without me. I don’t want to go through two marathon training cycles a year, I will be very busy in August. Plus, I’m going to give marathon running a rest for a year or two to work on speed.

in eating and drinking |


So, how many of the top 40 must try food have I tried?

  1. french toast — yes, yes. I scrape the butter off though
  2. scrambled egg sandwich — yes
  3. stinky tofu — yes
  4. cheeseburgers — no, not sure what they are
  5. sweet tofu soup — yes
  6. pineapple bun — yes
  7. chicken feet — yes
  8. wife cake — yes, but I don’t like them
  9. ginger milk curd — yes
  10. five layer roast pork — yes, not too keen on the fat though
  11. indonesian satay — yes
  12. steamed meat mountain — yes
  13. preserved sausage — yes, but not for a long time, too fatty
  14. trendy hot pot — hot pot yes, what’s trendy?
  15. beef brisket — yes, not a favourite
  16. egg tart — yes
  17. yung kee roast goose — oh my, yes
  18. kowloon city thai — yes, a whole street of thai restaurants, what’s not to like
  19. roast pigeon — yes, many times
  20. snake soup — yes, I miss it
  21. lotus seed paste — yes, not on its own, in a dessert or bun
  22. typhoon shelter crab — yes, a little too spicy for me
  23. egg noodle — yes, not sure why it is on the list
  24. milk tea — yes, under duress. tea made from canned milk is disgusting
  25. joy hing char siu — yes, I used to get scads of it and freeze them
  26. cha siu bau — yes
  27. claypot rice — yes, yum
  28. north point egg cakes — yes, but the np ones are overhyped
  29. thai shrimp sashimi — yes, RM took me to a place last year
  30. mulberry mistletoe tea — not sure what this is
  31. block 13 cow offal — no, I think
  32. congee — yes, who hasn’t?
  33. bowl pudding — yes, childhood memories
  34. tonkatsu — in general yes, even in Japan, but not the specific place mentioned
  35. b boy grass jelly — yes, mm and i were going to go, but didn’t have time
  36. mango pudding with mango sauce and mango — yes, oh yes, mango yes
  37. sweet and sour pork — yes, far too many times
  38. louis steak — yes, must go back soon
  39. fishball — yes, love the stuff
  40. swiss chicken wings — yes, I think

in how the day went |

Flight was full on the return trip too. I got a bulkhead seat so I could move around easier. We arrived early, around 4.45am. My bag was only 17kg, so I just took the tube and walked home. I had planned on getting milk and some basic staples on my way home, but nothing was open, no shops. Okay, it was only 6am. After showering and unpacking, it was a reasonable hour to go out, so I went to the supermarket and got a few more things. Most of the rest of the day was laundry, vacuuming and catching up. Early to bed.


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