Tuesday, August 28, 2007

First Reading Book Completed

At 12:54am, I officially finished the first Reading Book borrowed from the library. It was an interesting read. The book is called the "Book of Reuben" (354 pgs), and its a story about how a person who tried to do the right thing, only to have his life screwed over time and time again...

Here's a short spoiler (partly created by paraphrasing from the blurb from the book)
The story begins with Reuben (main character in the story), a kid who's father committed suicide and left him to tend to their farm in a small town. Because of this, Reuben, who was the finest baseball player that ever came out of this town, had to give up chasing the big leagues and start working to support the family. He works hard and by 18 is able to buy the local filling gas station. He meets a rich mistress with whom he develops a relation with, only to witness a mysterious murder of the mistress's child and also getting caught cheating by his childhood sweetheart.

Still very much in love with the childhood sweetheart, they eventually get back together and he was given the chance to marry her, only to find himself "in a battleground that lies bewteen desire and responsibilities" straight after the honeymoon. The childhood sweetheart eventually cheats on him later down the road, and in the process messes up their kids pretty badly.

The story ends with him starting to get things on track once again, and realizing that it's time to move on with his life.

Pretty sad in a way... since this guy tried to do all the right things in life, but misses time and time again what he truly desired. So close, yet so far...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Random Sunday Part III - 2 lb Steak and Shrimp Dinner

Having not ate real meat in 4 days, I decided to splurge a little and go for a gourmet meal.

Earlier in the day, I had saw the sign that today's the day for a carnivorous day when I saw a close to 4 lb meat package on sale at $3.49/lb. This was not uncommon, but what was strikingly odd was that this package had only 2 pieces in it (usually, for this size and packaging, there would be 4 pieces of steak).

To add to my gourmet meal, I decided to buy some shrimp and learn how to steam it... I am glad to say I have semi-mastered another dish in my ever expanding cooking repertoire

So a couple hours later, and close to 2 lbs of meat and 0.66 lbs of shrimp later, Mson is once again satisfied :)

Note: Real meat means meat that looks and tastes like meat. Not the vegetarian tofu meat, but the real meat that comes from animals. Also eggs and stuff that comes from a cow does not count as 'real meat'...

Random Sunday Part II - A Little Lighbulb Math

Also got free lightbulbs today!!! Not sure how it quite works... but here's the details:
Bought 8 lightbulbs in total...
2 x $5.97 (100W equivalent)
2 x $3.97 (75 W equivalent)
4 for $3.97 (ie. $0.99 each - 60W equivalent)
Total Cost: $23.85 + Tax

Now I had 8 coupons at $2.00 off each lightbulb. Meaning a total discount of $16.00. In total that means I paid $7.85 for 8 lightbulbs...

But technically, each coupon applies to one lightbulb... so actually, it meant I got $4.00 from my purchase of 4 lightbulbs for $3.97!!! :)

Random Sunday Part I - Shopping at Safeway

Today I became a 3-time Safeway member! Having forgotten/misplaced my card yet again (realizing right before I checkout as always), I applied for another Safeway card! Saddest thing was I even went back to the car to look for the card and wasn't able to find it initally, only to find my original card in the car AFTER I got my 3rd Safeway card...

But true to Safeway that I am, I saved $14.50 (18%) today! :)... And in the process, racked up another $0.10 off my next gas purchase at a Safeway gas station!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Builder Mson at Work

On an early Sat morning, Builder Mson, true to his calling, wakes up and proceeds to go about building his furniture.

His first masterpiece... called the LAXVIX was completed after 2 naps and 4 hours later, is shown below (note the time elapsed used to build was maybe 1 hour)...

Next to the LAXVIX, is a pic of the fabled cutlery set, assembled by taking it out of the box and hanging each piece of utensil with the utmost delicate care onto the rack provided.

A few other pieces of furniture had been assembled today ... ... by others :).

Below are other pieces ... notice the nice faux fur backseat cover and the white bath mat :)... soooo soft and niccce!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hiking and Happy Hour

Today was another team event... this time a 2 mile hike up Tiger mountain.

The hike was not strenuous (though some ppl might disagree). The only thing that happened was that I got bit by a mosquito perhaps on my hand, and that resulted in my left hand swelling up like a bear paw! (Staring closely at the left hand, where the index and middle finger meet, and you will notice some swellage...

The other cool thing is that people apparently do paragliding on this mountain. They carry all their gear up to where we had lunch, and then fly off!!! That sounds sooo amazing. Their gear looked very heavy though.

Without Benadryl or allergy medication or insect repellent, the only way to reduce the swelling was the age old remedy... BEER! After the hike, went to a local pub and got a passport, officially becoming a citizen of rogue nation :). By being a citizen of rogue nation, I am entitled to a free yard and a free T-shirt on my birthday, as well as some discounts here and there when I go to a rogue nation bar. Woohoo!

After becoming a citizen, went back to work to check up on a few things and then went to my first Happy Hour with my fellow Canadian coworker. A local bar with cheap pitchers... ahhh, the taste of cool beer on a sunny Friday evening! ... Mmmm...

Of course, all this beer drinking was to reduce the swelling caused by the reaction to the mosquito bite... because I usually do not drink... right Anime Buddy? :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Goal of the Week Achieved!

Today is a special day on many fronts...

1) Got in at 8:30am for work today! I had planned to get into work early for the entire week... but have something failed miserably. Monday was 9:30, Tuesday was 9:45, and topped out with Wed arriving at my desk at 11:00. But today I made it all up by arriving at 8:30!!! :)

2) 8/23/07... A great day for a big event in my life :)... (notice the numbers 8-23 :) )... coincidence? DEFINITELY NOT! ... wuhaha

3) Finally got a chance to watch Forrest Gump. A movie that's been on my to-see list! Another good recommendation from the folks at Issaquah... haha. Very interesting movie indeed... will likely have a follow up post on the Mson's Collections part of this blog soon for it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

First Late Day at Work

So today I broke all records and was at work until 9pm+.

First time in my life working this late... but then again, it serves me right for waltzing into my desk at work at 11am...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

My First Haircut and Charging Up my CC

After almost 2 months here, I finally decided on a rainy Sunday morning to go in for a haircut.

After the haircut, went to Ikea to charge yet more onto the credit cards... Luckily, the damage wasn't too bad. phewf!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Yet Another Shopping Adventure

Since I have gotten into the US, it seems that I am starting to developed an interest in shopping...and buying stuff. I came to this realization when I was offered a battery of activities to choose from for this weekend, and I replied "I rather go shopping."

To start things off, we went to a rotating sushi restaurant that was really tasty. Tried sea urchin for the first time... This is the first restaurant I have seen in a while that even offered sea urchin, so I had to try it (as part of my experience new experiences mode here). In summary, the sea urchin reminds me of the black stuff in cooked oysters.. yuck!

After sushi, we proceeded to drive up north for 1 hour and finding ourselves in an outlet mall. There I bought yet more stuff, including a cutlery set that looked very pretty (above). A crescent moon as a stand with dangling sparkly cutlery... all for the price of $30.00!

At the outlet mall, also spent 2+ hours at the adidas store. It's been a long time since I last bought shoes... for the longest time, I couldn't decide which ones to get!!! But in the end, I decided and now have 2 more pairs of shoes...

Shoes, cutlery set... AND I also bought some new shirts :). Ended the day at a Mongolian Grill. It was not very busy there, but walking inside a Mongolian Grill did give me a dejavu moment. Can't believe it's already been almost 6 mths since I had my last Mongolian in Waterloo!

As always, AYCE food is always good! As we were paying the bill at the counter, I noticed 3 Hello Kitty figurines on the counter and started playing around with it... Turns out they are actually pens and these were toys from Happy Meals from McDs in Taiwan. Seeing my extreme fascination with them, the girl at the counter gave me one :). What a nice girl!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Big Day of Signing

Today was another big step for me.

An hour of signing papers later, I come out feeling that much more independent...though the word independent is ironically used for how I got to where I am today...

One day, one day I will be able to fully stand on my own two feet. Until then...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mson's Salad Gala #2

So today, with the help of my Master Salad Maker Officemate, I set out for my second salad experience.

Recommended by Master Salad Maker, I went for the 'kitchen staff tossed the salad approach'. This is where the kitchen staff would make the salad, but I would get to pick the stuff to put on it.

Staying ever true to my salad goals (of not getting meat), I stayed away from selecting the bacon bits and chicken that could have gone with the salad.

In salad gala #1, I had went for the no dressing salad - supposedly a big no-no in the world of salad; so when the kitchen staff asked me what dressing I wanted, I went "I want one that is sweet and not sour". Unfortunately, this choice did not exist and she started running off these foreign names to me. Lucky Master Salad Maker was there to safe the day and helped me picked the sweetest of them all, a dressing called "Honey Mustard".

Pics of Salad Gala #2 (note the salad is alot more colorful than the the salad in Salad Gala #1)

For Salad Gala #3, I will need to recruit a new Master Salad Maker since my officemate will be leaving in late August.

Goal for Salad Gala #X: Be able to make my own salad, without the help of the kitchen staff

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A la Bibliotheque

Waking up at the good regular time of late 11ish, I proceeded to eat the original breakfast of champions. I think I've been eating out wayyy too much this week, seeing that I ate out on on Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, and Sat!!!

Today was a very special day though... because today is the day I go to the library! My goal is to borrow a 'reading book' to read (something that I have not done in 6 yrs). Here is the definition of a 'reading book' (as defined by Mson's dictionary):

"A 'reading book' is a book that is a non-textbook. It can be fiction, or of non-fiction type. If it is a non-fiction book, it must not be a researchy type-like book. A 'reading book' is not a classic; books similar to Shakespearian literature, Aristotle's Ethics are not 'reading books'. Another criteria of a 'reading book' is that it must not resemble a brick. Also, a magazine is not a 'reading book'.

An example of a 'reading book' is, but not limited to a novel."

So after a 4 hr laundry session, I set out to the library in search of a 'reading book'. The library system here is pretty cool. Even though I cannot show that I don't live out of a box on the street, I am allowed to borrow 2 books :). You also get to choose from 6 different designs for your library card...AND you have the option of either getting the card version, or the key chain version. I got the keychain version because I have wayyy too many cards already that my wallet would burst if I put another one in!... But then again, there are so many things on my key chain right now that it looks like I stuck a football in my pants when I walk around.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Seafood Galore Day Part II: After Salty's

After the good brunch, we proceeded to work it off by spending the next 4 hours at Ikea! Yet another scouting mission but it was fun watching other people buy stuff :).

Exhausted from the walking around, went to the local McD to grab a meal... only to find that they are not taking any customers into the restaurant. First time EVER being rejected by McDs! Refusing to get drive-thru, we went to another McD and got stuff off the $1 menu there instead!

After McD, chilled to watch a movie called "The Usual Suspect". It was a very good movie. The characters were developed nicely, the plot was very cool. Good recommendation indeed!

Seafood Galore Day Part I: @ Salty's

Woke up bright and early today to go to an AYCE seafood brunch. We arrived early to find complimentary valet parking for this restaurant. After talking to the hostess, we realize that the others did not make a reservation, so we had to on the spot make one... luckily the restaurant had a table for 12 available; and it was a good one too! It was a table outside on the patio, facing the Seattle skyline! It got a bit chilly towards the end when I was eating the fruits portion of my meal, but it was a very relaxing and filling brunch.

The food at the brunch was amazing! AYCE raw oysters (though there were pieces of shell on it at times), hot and cold Dudgness crab, shrimp, clams, mussels, chocolate fondue, crepes, roast beef, ham, omelet cooked on the spot. The service was also top notch too. I didn't have to ask for my water to be refilled the entire time! (the night before I had to ask at least 5 times for my water to be refilled).

At times I felt bad for the oyster shucker, cuz I would see him chuck an oyster, only for me to grab it from him to put on my plate. I saw him rubbing his hand a couple times, but them oysters were just too good for him or me to take a break! :)

But of course, for all good things in life, there is Mastercard...or VISA in my case for a $48.23 per person bill.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Prelude to Seafood Galore

Another day, another night out for food. Tonight the destination was Crabpot, a very nice place that I visited a couple months ago where they dump the food right on the table. Instead of getting all Dudgeness Crab, went for the mixed combo platter (had corn, king crab, Dudgeness crab, clam, and mussels). In my personal opinion, the all Dudgeness Crab galore I had last time with young grasshopper suits my tastes more. But it was good nevertheless to chow down on that much seafood!

To think, this is just a prelude to what's the come...Tomorrow, it's AYCE oyster and seafood brunch. I am so excited! :)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Teapot: A Vegetarian Restaurant

Being too lazy to cook... I unknowingly said 'yes' to an undisclosed location for dinner. Little do I know that in a few short hours, I will be eating dinner at a vegetarian restaurant!

It was an interesting experience. The night before I had tried Kung Pao chicken (the real kind), so today I thought I'd compare it to the vegetarian version... aka. Kung Pao 'vegetable' (the chinese name explicitly says 'chicken', but the english name says vegetable...hrm... false advertising?).

Anyway, in summary, vegetarian food still leaves me w/ that empty feeling. No matter how much spices you slam onto the tofu, tofu just cannot substitute for meat...

Other dishes tried:
Mongolian ...vegetable
Mushroom and Bamboo Shoots
??? (Mystery Dish that I forgotten the name of)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Anacortes Nite

After waking up early and hitting numerous non touristy spots... I set out on a 1.5 hr drive up north to eat some fresh crab and good booze!

Was pretty tired after all the talking and walking about in the morning and afternoon. Haven't had much 'relaxation' time these past few weeks (actually mths), so it was refreshing to be able to just sit down not have to do anything.

One of the things I learned is a drinking game called 'beer pong'. Beginner's luck wasn't on my side, so my team didn't win, but then again, is there really a winner in such games? lol. It was tremendously fun. You line up 10 cups on either side of a ping-pong table, and you tried to throw the ball into the cup. You sink one in, the other team drinks, then remove the cup. Game ends when all the other cups of a team disappears. Very fun indeed.

Haha, apparently I was also talking up some guy twice my size at some point.. hehhehehe... oh well. All fun and games!

Ended the night pretty early, sleeping on a random couch :). Ahhh.. the worry free life!