Wednesday, December 31, 2014

First New Years not in T.O.

Thinking back, this is the first new years eve since I've moved from HK that I did not spend in Toronto/Horseshoe.  Wow!

But given all the travelling this year, felt that a nice 'home' New Year's would be proper.  To start the day, we went to Taylor Shellfish... saved $9 because of happy hour :).  Then we returned home to get ready for New Years.

We met up with lil genius and his gf at their friend's surprise party, where the guy proposed to the girl!  Turns out they were actually trying to surprise each other secretly (her planning a surprise bday party with all his friends coming, he with trying to propose to her on New Year's Eve), and so completely was not expecting each other's surprise.  Cute!

Counted down, saw a bunch of fireworks coming out from Space Needle.  Pretttty...

Happy new year everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Last Benihana

We tried to call earlier today, but we weren't able to make reservations.  Good thing lil friend called and found out that we can try walking in - though it would mean that we would need to wait an hour+ to be seated.

Usually we would give up, but then the Benihana combo was happy hour, then migrate over.  So an hour+ wait wasn't too bad.  It just meant we would sit at the bar for 30 minutes more (aka. drink another bottle of sake :P before going)

So we took the bus to go to Benihana, sat for a little bit at the bar, and executed the last Benihana perfectly!  We even had enough food to doggy bag for lunch!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Regal Princess Cruise - Day 7: Sea Day - Last Day of the Cruise

Pretty uneventful.  I will miss the cruise.

Some final thoughts:
I have to say, I think this whole notion of 'standard' gratuity actually makes the servers and waiters more lazy and yield poorer service.  It was much better when they worked for their tips.  With the exception of 3 sittings, all the service was pretty poor.  One lunch the waiter managed to get half of my orders wrong.  Another instance I had asked a server for a coke, he went ok, and continued to fix up tables that no one was sitting on.  Eventually he didn't even bring me a coke and I had to reorder it.

I should mention that on the lobster night, we actually tipped cash to two of the waiters that was serving us - cuz they were just awesome at what they were doing.  And after the tipping, man - the service became even better.  If only I knew that earlier, I would have totally tipped every meal!!!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Regal Princess Cruise - Day 6: Sea Day - Lobster Day for Dinner

In the afternoon, I went to play some 4 on 4 soccer on the top deck.  Turns out most of the people there didn't really play soccer too much so I was easily one of the better players on the pitch.. Hahahaha.  It was pretty fun and turned out it requires a lot of core stability that I didn't notice while I was playing.

The main event tonight was dinner.  Tonight we had two dinner sittings.  One at 6:00pm, then another at 9:00pm :). 

As you might have guessed, tonight was the anticipated lobster and escargot night that I have been waiting for this whole cruise!

Result: I only had one type of appetizer and main course.  To be exact 26 escargots (so 4 dishes + 1/3 of lil friends'), and 11 lobsters.  Yummmmy.

While it sounds crazy to have 11 lobsters, the lobster tails themselves were not the gigantic ones, but instead, took about three bites to finish.  This was by far my favorite meal aboard the cruise :).

Lil friend had a salad for our second sitting, and it turned out there was a bug in it.  The head waiter came by to apologize, and took down our stateroom number, but it doesn't look like anything was done.  It was nice that they apologized, but what is the point of taking down the stateroom number if they are basically doing nothing?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Regal Princess Cruise - Day 5: St. Maarten

Another beach day.  Not as nice as yesterdays, but was a quieter beach.

Had a guavaberry colada, which was pretty yummy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Regal Princess Cruise - Day 4: St. Thomas Day and Coki Beach

No scuba excursion offered by the ship as it was all booked up.  The part I was most peeved about was that I had to go to the excursion desk to ask whether it was on or not in person the day before, when I submitted the form 2 days before.  No confirmation or message that it was actually not booked.  To add salt to the wound, when I asked I was actually talked over and yelled at by the staff.  Combined with the incident where lil friend was yelled at by the Assistant Manager of the Spa for dropping her key into the laundry basket along with the robe, and the seemingly forgetful staff who made me order two cokes to get one because they seem to always forget the first time, we decided to dock their 'standard' gratuity, and instead, give gratuity on a performance based system.

Anyhow, having arrived at St. Thomas, we still went to Coki Beach, as we heard that was a beach that we could do snorkeling.  Arriving there it was pretty busy (lots of people), but the beach was still pretty beautiful.  White sand, turquoise and blue water.  It was stunning.  As we walked down the beach, we spotted a shop that was doing scuba, and we were able to get in on it.  The dive itself wasn't super great, but did see an irubaja!.. Mmm…. To the excursion services staff who told me I would not find any local scuba shop to take us, if I can somehow state that you should not get any part of my 'standard' gratuity, I would.

A thought:
To this day, the dives and snorkeling I've been on in terms of clarity and beauty still doesn't compare to the very first dive and snorkeling I did back in the West Caribbean.  I am starting to wonder whether that was just my imagination given it was my first ever dive.  At this point, I should have been to numerous dive sites with a lot more sea life, but other than the sea turtle dive in Hawaii (which we weren't looking for coral reefs), I don't remember a better and cooler dive.

In terms of snorkeling, I still remember that first cruise where one of those days I went snorkeling and I was swimming with fishes and felt them prick me.  Ahhh the memories.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Regal Princess Cruise - Day 3: At sea day

Worked out.  Rode the bike for 30min.  4.5 miles.  There was this computer game thing that was pretty fun - kept me pretty motivated to actually bike across the finish line.  

For dinner, we had crab shack - paid $25 a head, got some Alaskan king crab.. Pounds of it.. Mmm...Definitely worth the $25 a head to eat here!

I should also mention that I had two dinners... heh heh heh

Monday, December 22, 2014

Regal Princess Cruise - Day 2: Princess Cays Day

Woke up, ate, then spa'ed.  Then went to the shore.
Beach day.  Funnnnn and relaxing.

Pretty cool that they owned their own island

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Regal Princess Cruise - Day 1: All aboard!

Had tons of deserts.  Got into the spa enclave - only limited space available.

Watched a show in the evening, and on the first day, I have managed to lose my key card!  Luckily it was very quickly replaced.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Pre Cruising - Day 2: T -1 day before Regal Princess Cruise

Went to Bimini's for dinner tonight.  Wasn't spectacular (nor good) at all.  Some negatives:
- Cup wasn't washed on the outside
- oysters weren't fresh at all
- food wasn't that great

So for safety, went to the place we went to last night. Mmmm...

Friday, December 19, 2014

Pre Cruising - Day 1: Harry Potter Land

Lil friend's most anticipated part of the trip.  We woke up at 6.30am (after sleeping at 2am) to grab breakfast and be ready for early admission since we started at the cabana resort by the Universal Studio.  Greatest decision ever!

First ride was Escape from Gringotts.  The inside was really cool in that they had robot goblins moving behind the counter and all.  The outside the dragon actually breathed fire every so often.  The rode itself was pretty interesting.  We waited about 30 min to get on the ride (this was with early admission...but turns out the wait wasn't too much longer throughout the day since it was a school day still.. In fact, most rides only had 5 min to 20min wait times)

After this ride, we went to the Oliwander store, saw a lil girl get their wand picked for them, and we also got the interactive wand.  Great idea for Universal Studio.. At $50 a wand!  So smart whoever thought of that.  They must make a killing.  It was fun thought walking around various locations at Diagon valley and Hogsmeade and waving this wand to see 'magic' happen.

Then we took the train to Hogsmeade since there is really only one ride in the new park.  The train station was pretty cool. 9 3/4 terminal from Diagon alley - that actually made the ' you run past the wall thing'.  Also, during the train ride, the window was basically a movie of sorts, making it feel like you are really in harry potter land.

Went on the Dragon Challenge next.  No line at all!  So we got a chance to go on both dragons.  The red one (Chinese fireball) is definitely the more intense of the two.  Then some butterbeer, and then we went to the Forbidden Journey ride.  This ride definitely made me feel woozy with all the 3D video.

With that, we then did some lower thrill rides.. Like the carousel 😊.

Had a quick lunch and nap, then headed for more rides!  With Harry Potter rides completed, we would go on the Hulk, the Rock It, Shrek 4D, and MIB.  We also rested in the AMEX lounge (since we purchased our ticks with an AMEX credit card - who are official sponsors of Universal Studio.. Meaning discounts at some places and use of this lounge which had chips and water). MIB was pretty neat in that the ride had a laser gun for you to shoot at bad aliens - and points get tracked as you hit them.

All in all, Harry potter land was pretty fun and relaxing. 
One thing I do have to admit is the I am getting old..., felt dizzy and nauseous for those first few rides.  Lol.  To think I used to do super crazy roller coasters!

Ate at bubba gump, and get a souvenir cup.  Then drove back.  Drove 20min, then decided to take a nap in the car.  One hour later we wake up and continue driving.  Get back to original hotel by 1pm... With free parking! Woot!

Super tired.  Soldier Mson out

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pre Cruising - Day 0: Landed!

Fort Lauderdale traffic is horrid.  Half an hour to travel 5 miles.  But finally I get to the rental car place.  

Sixt rental car.. Apparently the 4th biggest rental car company in Europe.  Their storefront was not dinky (originally given they were offering cars for a third of the price, thought they were a small local company).. In fact, it was huge and styling.  Also came out with a mini cooper.  So definitely nice experience.  Friendly staff, 5 stars!

After rendezvousing with lil friend, we went for a quick bite at G&B oyster bar.  Pretty fresh oysters and their raw clams were amazing.  Slightly pricey, but yummy.

Then we headed north to Orlando to prepare for some harry potter action tomolo!

Pre Cruising - Day 0: Fail A-ABC taxi

Cab never comes.  I had to call them and they said 15 minutes.  But really it would have been half an hour.  -10 for ABC taxi.  Yelp reviews are not accurate - I will go fix that.  They say they will reimburse my cab fare.  We will see if they do it.

Ended up finding an Uber 2 minutes away at recommendation of Lil Friend.

Got to airport.. Looks hectic.. But magically, I was able to checkin luggage, get through security and at the gate in 15 minutes.

At terminal now.  What a way to start vacation!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Benihana Bon Voyage

Fun times.  Got in before happy hour ended so we did it right!
Sad news though.  They will no longer do the deal starting 2015 😢.

Bon voyage French Ph.D. friend!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sick :(

Sick for the past week… no fun at all… 

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Had bought a free range turkey for the festivities this weekend.  The first time I would be hosting Thanksgiving... was pretty excited.   Feel like a grown up! :)

However, it wasn't meant to be.... Half way through cooking the turkey, the oven craps out :(.  Couldn't figure out what was wrong, so with half a turkey cooked, we moved the party back to Bellevue (not the old place, but where one of the friend's place).

As it turns out, it was just the GFSI plug short circuiting.  During our rustle and bustle, probably got some water splashed on one of the outlets and that tripped the oven, and a few plugs.  Pretty hard to debug as it turns out that the microwave, fridge,  garbarator, lights, dishwasher all had their own circuit breaker.  And the GFSI outlet is only associated to the oven and a few of the plugs.. strange.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Friday, November 07, 2014

Chiso Sushi and Sashimi Omakase

Went to Chiso for some dinner tonight.  Ordered a Omakase and was pleasantly surprised.  Very nice presentation, very good price, very fresh.  If I recall correctly, this was $45 or so.

If this is their omakase, I would order again next time during full diner (notice how big that uni and the lump of geoduck on the top right side of the plate!)

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Slept 17 hours...

… hahahaha.  Enough said.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Crazy Halloween

Haven't had one of these nights in a long long time.  Nice to have one every so often.  Very fun times all around!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Brazilian Grill!

Brazilian Grill!!! Mmm… Yummmmyyy

They charged $3 for a coke.  It came in a bottle, no refills.  It tastes really good - but not $3 good :P.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Arboretum, Travail and Beer Drinking Contest

Started the day with a brunch nearby where Lil Friend was staying at.  They had lobster and oysters for lunch, with $1 beer. Mmmm…. What a great way to start the day :)

After that, we headed towards the Arboretum, and then a raid at a Super Target.

Then it was a dinner at a super fun place called Travail.  Lots of interesting flavors of food and ways of serving.

At the end of the night, there was a 1-1 beer drinking contest.  I won against my opponent… a cook!

Afterwards, went to a sake bar, had some sake and food, then headed back home and chatted for a bit, then slept.

Menu (Raw Notes):
- Cavier
- Rabbit refine with bacon wrapped, squash bread with mitake mushroom, safe n croutons
- Pineapple bombs - grilled pineapple, cashew, pineapple juice, pineapple gel
- Greenapple freezie.. Creme fresh
- Cheese n cracker
- Arctic char - Xavier.. Grilled onion.. Jalapeani
- Pork belly and black garlic
- Food grad burger
- Cherry glazed chick luver patte
- Lemon saffron oyster sauce.. fish cou de mere .. Bronzini
- Buttermilk poached chicken
- Lobster crouton
- Pop a rock..
- Cauliflower puree
- Rib eye
- Pasta
- Apple cider n walnut praeline w cream

- Doughnuts n butterscotch... Passion fruit Jelly, toffee
(pictures are in somewhat random order)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Traveling to M town...

First time there.  Hope it's good!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Connector and a PO Box

So these past couple weeks I've been becoming a Citylite :P.  Taking the bus to work as it is pretty convenient and pretty on time.  Also for the return trip , it is actually faster than me driving because the bus can take the carpool lane - bypassing the on ramp gating light, and also in the evening, have a direct clear route to zip through all the backed up traffic.

Fast forward to today, and the Connector gets in an accident.  We were on the I5 and the Porsche behind us ran into the back of the van.  The strangest part was there was a decent amount of honking that I heard (easily 10-15s) before the thud.  You'd think if the lady had that much time to honk… that they might want to think about stepping on the brakes.   So that delayed by an hour.  What a way to start the day.

Aside from that adventure - also got my PO box :).  

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Burning Hole in Wallet Continues…

Today.  First stop - Home Depot.  Needed to buy a few more things.  $170 poof.

Carpet stretching.  That was pretty cool how that works.  A special device for kicking your knee on to move the carpet.  Seems like a lot of hard work.  Another ~$370 poof

With that, just burned another hole in my wallet… When does it end???

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Carpet Cleaning and Happy Hour

Used a coupon today bought on Living Social for carpet cleaning.  Citywide Carpet Cleaning I think was the name.  For $69, they would do the living + dining area, and the bedroom.  One person came, surveyed, and started using metal vacuum like thing.  300 F hot water flowing through the carpet - sound so clean!  I think for show, they really should have clear tubes so people can 'see' the dirt that is being picked up.  While I am sure that it should be cleaner now, because there wasn't anything to see, it was hard to know just how dirty the carpet was.  The guy afterwards said it was pretty clean - guess my vacuum schedule was alright :)

Since it ended a lot earlier than I thought, I headed home and then caught the Chiso happy hour.  What a nice deal.   Yummy!  This is easily quickly becoming my go to place.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Bday Weekend - Hangover Day

Hangover day - chillaxing and lounging about.

Enough said :)

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Bday Weekend - Dual B'day Edition

So we started the day by going to Taylor Shellfish and having some geoduck sashimi and oysters.  Delicious as always.  It has been awhile since I've had oysters - and I have to say, the geoduck sashimi plate is getting better and better every time we go eat it.

For dinner, we booked tables at El Camino.  There were 20+ people who came out so that was pretty awesome.  The server was also pretty awesome.  Got a free desert, free booze.  My bill was basically covered between the server and my friends.  Yet somehow we still ended up w/ $150+ balance… lol.

As the evening died down, we went back to our place for a quick drink or two.  We would have gone earlier but lil friend kept refusing since she thought the place wasn't clean enough, and that it wouldn't fit that many people.  But as the alcohol consumption increased, as we got down to a 'reasonable' number (# of chairs available), and with constant peer pressure, she finally caved! :). 

Fun night.  Thx all - and happy b'day lil friend (and me!)

Friday, October 03, 2014

Bday Weekend - Shiro Night and a Scavenger Hunt Surprise

After work, picked up lil friend from the airport and proceeded to go to Shiro.  Haven't been there for a while now but figured, why not? :). The food was good there tonight and it was very nice seeing lil friend in person!

Over the week, I had made up a scavenger hunt around the house as a surprise gift.  One for orientation purposes, and two, just thought it'd be fun!   Hope she liked it!

Happy birthday!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mashiko for Birthday!

So last week Aman tells me he has booked a table for my b'day at the favorite Japanese restaurant in all of Seattle - candlelight style.  I kept trying to change the date since I was suppose to be at soccer… but he wouldn't budge.  With a hint from lil friend, I declined the soccer, and went with him, as it turns out there was a surprise gathering unfolding :). 

So I arrive, and found that everyone was there! 

The food was great.   Free flowing sake, yummy dishes.  I hear 'we' were a bit rowdy, but it was allll good.  Oh, and we had a black forest cake too - that was delicious.

1. Geoduck sashimi with pear
2. Kusshi oyster
3. Rainbow trout with carrot and daikon
4. Baby shrimp w spinach
5. Tako suomono with hot mustard
6. King salmon
7. Hawaiian albacore poke salad
8. Sardine with ponzu sauce n pickled
9. Poached abalone
10. Tuna, albacore, tuna Toro, scallop, black cod
11. Pressed sumna
12. Sea snail
13. Trout w eggs
14. Chawanmushi
15. Green tea and Strawberry Ice Cream Mochi

Super fun times!  Thanks all!

Side note: I hear that it is getting more and more pricey - I still remember when the food portion (10+ dishes) didn't break $80 a person.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

First meal!

Mmmmm... Woke up and made the brunch of champions!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bye Bye and Pre Housewarming

Nostalgic as piece by piece, the furniture is hauled away into the truck. 

Since we were eating around the area, invited folks over for a pre housewarming...

Used my new sliding booze cabinet.. Served some Glenlivet.. Yumm

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Engineering Feat of Defrosting Fridge!

Moving time at work and we need to move our fridges ourselves. However the problem was that my mini fridge had about 7 years of ice built up in the tray.

Come my engineering skills - building a dam and a water collector to defrost the fridge.

Result: Bag of water collected, minimal leakage. Success!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dryer and Washer!

It arrives… but damaged my bullnose :(

They are bigger than I thought.  I can do soooo much laundry with one wash.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

First Sale on Craigslist!

I get an email today that someone wanted the crutches that I had posted :).  So some quick coordination and hours later, first sale complete!

Almost was able to sell one other thing but it fell through last minute.  Otherwise my sell count would have been at 2!  But I will take 1 for now.  Hopefully this is the start of many more to come.

*Fingers Crossed*

Monday, September 01, 2014

Breaking into my own place...

Today was work on the house day.  After 2 lunch of champion hard boiled eggs, I went about my work.

  1. Started by installing the showerhead that I got - which turned out to be child's play.
  2. Tried fixing the smelly washer - to no avail still.  I just can't help but to wonder what the heck the previous folks who lived here used it for.  At this point, I am very tempted to just replace the washer so that I am sure the clothes wash clean.
  3. Worked on replacing the hinges for the outdoor gate.  The goal was to replace the hinge so that the door would not get stuck when opening half way because of the slanted ground.  This took hours since I was doing it by myself and I had to keep changing the design throughout.

It should have been a simple replace.- cinder block how I want the gate to be, prop it up a few inches then currently, replace hinges and voilà - job well done.

However, as I started to work on it, I realized that the gate hinges weren't really installed properly and to do it, so I couldn't use the old hinges as a reference.  The side I was using to set the hinges on had no space to properly install it.  So then I had a genius idea of using the other side :) - which was a great idea and off I went.  Then as I was tightening the hinges, it turns out that the door pushed out and so now there was no space for the door to move!  So I had to move it a couple inches further away.  After that, Pythagoras came in and whooped my butt… so then I sawed the door a little bit to try to get those few mm so that the door would actually close - but that didn't really make a big difference… I had the right idea, but I needed some tools.

So I figure I would just call it a day at that.  As I walk towards my place and tried to open the door, I heard a clucking then, the lever no longer worked!!!  I was locked out of my own place :*(.  Luckily I had my phone with me and was able to call a locksmith out (I say lucky because for the most part of the day I had left it inside the house, and it was only because I brought it out to take a few photos of my handyman skillz that I had it with me.  When the locksmith arrived, he tried few things and then was went… errr.. Hmmm.. Is there another door to get in from - to which I replied no.  And then we thought about whether we can climb into any windows - and I thought .. Maybeeee.

So we ended up climbing onto the top of the locksmith's truck, prying the screen open, and then pushing open the window.  I guess I was lucky that I had opened most of the windows to air out the place today.  Otherwise it sounded like we would have to drill down the door.  Phewf!  On inspecting the door lock, we realized what was going and fixed it, so that it shouldn't happen again.

Lessons learnt:
A) A LOT about installing hinges on gates
B) I am an excellent climber.
C) Going to be buying some wooden dowels pronto!  And from now on, going to keep that window closed and locked.  Originally I had left it open for circulation because it was pretty hard for water/rain to get to it because there's covering above it that extends a couple feet.  But now I guess I need to be careful about that window.

The nice thing though about the locksmith coming was as I was talking to him about my afternoon, and then he helped by bringing a chisel from his van so that I didn't have to sand down the gate massively.  So now the door has passed the Pythagoras problem and I just need to sand to make smooth.

Handyman in Training out.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

20 Bottles of Booze...

I guess you know you have bought too much over the years (or not drinking fast enough) when you can't fit all your bottles in one box.

In box currently:
  • 12 bottles of spirits
  • 3 bottles of wine
Still to pack:
  • 4 bottles of spirits
  • 3 bottles of wine
Combined with the stash lil friend has (currently guarded by the whaleshark)... that's a whole lot of house warming fun.

Net: No more buying from duty from now on!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bus Adventure

Returned rental car this morning and so would be busing home from work.

It was fun! :).  20 minute bus ride, takes me basically door to door... Why didn't I know about this earlier!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lil Friend's Defense

After a mad rush and non stop writing, Lil Friend today presents her 5 years of work in an attempt to promote herself from a PhC to a PhD.

Result: Success (of course)

Soooo smark!  Congrats! :)

PS. I would like to claim that I helped!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Aman's B'day

After some cleaning and eating around the area, headed over to dinner at Root Table.  Very interesting place, lots of trees… lol.

After dinner, chilled on the rooftop of Dancing Beast, and drank some whiskey, then called it a night.

Happy b'day Aman!

Rest In Peace - Max :(

After 2 weeks of the car sitting there, and a week worth of phone calls asking what happened.  I spend an hour with different people trying to understand why this is taking so long. 

After a few calls, finally, I get the RIP phone call.  They have decided that the damages make the car totaled, and won't be sending the person out to reassess a 3rd time.  

RIP Max...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ceremonial Key Exchange Ceremony

Since my agent was out of town on Friday, today we met up for a ceremonial key exchange :). He brought a 6 pack and a champagne, and we used the bottle opener that came with the house to open the beers. Great agent. Highly recommended. No hassle, not pushy, quick response - took care of a lot of the nitty gritty stuff. Much different than the first one I had.

Friday, August 08, 2014

It's Official - Living Next to the Troll!

August 8th, 2014... Date coincidence.. Nooooope :)

Thursday, August 07, 2014

New lil dragon dumpling contender!

At Crossroads there is a relatively new place (Dough Zone) that appeared, today I tried it. It looks authentic - no A/C, all Asians making the dumpling and waiting the tables. Net: We have a new lil dragon dumpling contender in the Seattle area! 2 DTFs, and now this place.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Kukai Ramen Challenge

The deal is this - if you can finish 4 bowls of Ramen (soup included), then it is free.  Should you fail, you pay $30.

A bowl of ramen costs $12, and so I thought, 1 bowl is too little, and I am a bit hungry today… so as long as I eat 3 ramen's worth, then I would break even :).  Challenge accepted!

It was pretty fun, they yell out 'Ramen Challenge' and people came up and gave me encouragement… lol.

Ultimately, I did not succeed.  I ate 3 of the eggs, all the pork and veges, a lot of the soup, and 3 bowls worth of noodles.   But oh well, it was only $30!  Might do it again.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

One Beer - Good Things Come

- First time in weeks that calling State farm actually didn't require n times redirecting or useless convos
- Law firm calls me (instead of me calling them)
- Got my towing fees reimbursed
- Won $5 coupon for food

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Car Accident

And to add insult to injury.  I get a ticket for this??  Really .. Sigggghhhh

Not going to put the details here.  Would just rather forget it - it was not a fun day.
For 2 hours I sat waiting inside the car.  An hour+ minutes by myself.  Tow truck finally comes at 12:50pm…
Apparently after hot spells, the roads become very slick because of the oils once it cools down.

On a nicer note, the heat is working!  So we march on through with the deal.

Will need to also change insurance providers.  Pretty ridiculous to have to wait 3 hours for a tow truck, and 2 hours of phone calls (5 different departments) to get this sorted out.  I was already disappointed last time, this will now be on the top of my priority list to actively move off.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mashiko - July Edition :)

Kunamoto oysters
Geoduck with sea salt, shiso
Hawaii White mackerel (Ono).. With tempura lotus roots n tomato
Rainbow trout with ponzu sauce n shiso
Tombo poke (Hawaii albacore), Poached abalone and Yellow fin tuna tartar (not shown) 
Scallop, yellow fin tuna, king salmon, albacore
Saba pressed sushi, with miso paste on top
Hand massaged Tako, Nato, Korean seaweed with Red miso
Sushi - Shrimp, Skip Jack, Sanma, Herring
Albacore Toro
Alaskan  Rockfish
Salmon kama

and for desert, Mochi (not shown)

Also learned the drink theorum
"you should enjoy the drink, don't let the drink enjoy you"

Fun fun times!  No drinking streak ends at 7 days.  Let's try harder…

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Resolutions begin

A) Cut down on drinking.  Shall go no drinking until my birthday
B) Reduce amount of times eating out

Ready.. Set… Go!

On another note, I almost missed my connecting flight today as I went to the wrong gate.  Caused me to be all sweaty and heart beating really fast as I trekked across the concourse.  This must be a sign that I need to stop flying for a little while.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Week in T.O.: Ivory and Law's Wedding

After a morning dim sum, went home, watched the game and waited to be picked up.  Being super responsible, I had arranged to not drive tonight.  As we looked into how far it was, we realized there was a ton of time - so we decided that we would go and take a pit stop at ChaTime on the way there.  Best choice ever!  Had the Honey Aloe tea, and it was decent.  Next time I will have to try their one of their top 10 favorites.

The wedding and the venue was really beautiful.  The wedding itself transitioned smoothly from event to event, and I found out later on that a lot of the pieces were hand made by Ivory.  That must have took A LOT of time. 

One of the best slideshow ever at the wedding…
After the ceremony, it was photos and reception time.  While the bride and groom was out taking photos, the guests were thinking, hrmm… the Holland and Croatia game is going on, I wonder what the score is.  With people being very connected with the world through smartphones, it turns out that it was tied and extra time was going on.  Conveniently there was a TV playing a slideshow, conveniently it was plugged into the internet, and conveniently there was a mouse and a keyboard… After a few clicks, voilà, the best slideshow ever at a wedding started showing.  Within minutes, 30 to 40 people were watching this 'slideshow'.. Lol. 

At some point, the staff came by and approached the group and asked "did the bride and groom agree to this?".  Then pointing to uncle, replied: "the dad's right here"… and then the staff smiled and went "ok, just be sure to switch it back after" :).   Hahahaha.  Thank you uncle for entertaining the guests!

And so, we ended up being able to watch the remaining 15 minutes of the game, all the way to the last PK when a big cheer came through.

Best. Slideshow. Ever. (at a wedding).

Towards the end of the dinner, we were asked to go outside to watch the first dance take place.  The groomsman were waving sparklers as the song was going on.  It was nice and pretty, but then at the end of the dance, fireworks started coming out from somewhere far away.  At first, I thought it was just some kids shooting fireworks.. But then more came, and a song started playing, and I realized - woah, the fireworks are for this wedding!  A whole song worth of fireworks, complete with a finale.  That was pretty cool.  I feel bad for the next couple who will be having a wedding after seeing this.  It is like Hermie's wedding when he played the piano and sang Bruno Mars live during his dinner.

The night festivities was pretty low key (relative to the recent outings).  It was really fun to catch up and see a bunch of friends.

Congrats Ivory and Law!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Week in T.O.: Soccer Game and BBQ

Treated like a king at CS buddy's place, with her bf as the maître'D, we watched the Argentina vs. Switzerland game.  It was pretty relaxing and fun :).

After the game, went back home to see Lil Nephew playing in the backyard trying to move water from bucket to bucket.  He is getting cuter and sneakier by the day.. Hahaha.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Week in T.O.: Morning Brunch and Lil Nephew Potty Training Day

After a morning brunch and watching Holland come from behind to beat Mexico, we went over to visit Hermie and family.

Lil Nephew was running around, peeing and pooing everywhere… this was his potty training week.  Gets a sticker each time he half succeeds making it to his toilet - which is placed in the living room.  He wasn't doing too well though as he has only accumulated 5 stickers in the last 3 days.  Makes me wonder how I got potty trained.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Week in T.O.: Brooke's Wedding

Today was the 1st of 2 weddings for this trip out to T.O.  The venue was at Casa Loma - a place that in all my years in Toronto I have never been.  So I was pretty excited.  Getting there, I immediately realized one thing.  Casa Loma is not air conditioned… so it was pretty hot.  You'd think that for someone who built a castle from the ground up, that they'd put in AC.  But nope, it was hot hot hot.  Luckily, the ceremony area was air conditioned.

After a quick walk around the various floors, I returned home to watch the first of many World Cup games in the next week :).  What a great time to take a few days off!

Arriving at the dinner, I was at the Waterloo table.  The girl next to me was pretty cool.  Very nice person, friendly, kind and we had a very good conversation.  Gave me lots to think about.  The other trait that caught my eye as I think about it was she had that 'sparkle' in her eyes - the kind that only those who are able to believe in their own dreams, and convert this hope into a reality that makes them capable to take on the world.  These people who can inspire and push others forward, it's been awhile since I saw that in people I have been interacting with -  it was very refreshing.  It also reminded me how I no longer have these eyes, and have forgotten in the last couple years that I was aspiring to have eyes like those I had before.

It has been awhile since I met someone new on a trip back to Toronto.  It was really thought provoking to meet someone new and just randomly end up chatting about non fluffy stuff.  I am glad that this happened today (as much as I seemed to be more silent the more we talked - as it got me thinking about a bunch of stuff)

Congrats Brooke and Clay! Oh, and the shark's fin soup was delicious.

Oh, I also ran into someone from 10+ years ago.  Ahh, brings back memories - the fun and carefree days during co-op in Cali.  Perhaps as the girl next to me said, everything happens for a reason - perhaps there was a reason that both these chance encounters happened on the same day...

Friday, June 27, 2014

Week in T.O.: Trek back Fail…

Main purpose of this post: Vent on the pretty crappy service and logistics planning of US Airways…

With a 50 minute layover, I knew it would be tight to get to the next flight.  It didn't help that the flight was all the way on the other side of the airport.  But this being my 7th trip this year (amounting to almost 20+ flight segments), I figure I am pretty used to this airport stuff and this was plenty of time.  In most days, this would be enough time for me to grab a quick snack along the way even (which was what I did just last month…).

You'd think that US Airways would work out something with the airport to put their flights very close to one another, or at least try a little bit more to get their passengers onto their flights…. They didn't do either, and so I ended up missing dim sum, and spending an extra $80…

The first sign of trouble was when the flight didn't take off on time (by a couple minutes).  Then it flew slow and landed late, then sat on the taxi way for 15 minutes.  By the time I got off the plane, I had 10 minutes before the other plane took off.  The staff did nothing to try to hold the other plane or let the passengers who had a connecting off first…. Signnnn…

I did the best that I can, even jogging a little bit through the airport with my busted ankle and non running shoes - even losing one of my shoes and had to go back to put it on (yes, that was embarrassing…).  I arrived at the gate seeing the bridge just disconnecting from the plane.  Which means I probably just missed.  So as I waved bye to the plane , I was rebooked on the next flight, which leaves 3 hours later… .. . 

Eating down an overpriced breakfast at the Philadelphia airport, I looked at the guidelines for what happens when an airline who made the passenger miss their connecting flight.  Here I thought I would at last get compensated in some way for my lost of time, so I sent them a complaint.  (update: I got a response 3 business days later -> only to get the standard it's not in our control BS blah blah, and that they are sorry.  But does a sorry really make the 5 hours of wasted time feel any better?  In some ways, this kind of apology is worse than not saying anything...)

To add salt to the wound, the plane that I was scheduled on, well, it was delayed by an hour.  So I sat inside that plane this time, for 30 minutes listening to a baby cry while they were fixing something or what not. 

This has not happened in …. EVER.  I am never a big hater of airplane companies (since I take enough flights to know things are pretty much the same).  But this US Airways trip - with their total lack of coordination between their own planes, and subpar responses and old planes and commitment to hitting things on time, makes me wary of booking my next flight off Kayak that has them as the carrier.

Because I have been up since midnight, and after 11.5 hours of airport fun (14.5 if I count the time traveling), I took a cab home which costs an arm and a leg.  Good thing though is because of various accidents along various key spots on the freeways that day, there was minimal traffic on the route I was taking, and I got home in a reasonable time.

US Airways… bigggg minus 10 here.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Reflection: Need to start making better use of my time

Starting today - going to

- Cut down on drinking
- Actually finish writing an app
- Start writing on blog more
- Adding more food related things on blog - it's becoming hard to keep track of where I have eaten that was good

Thursday, June 19, 2014

2 years!

Went to Golden Beetle - not that great a restaurant.   Pretty expensive, service wasn't that great.   Costs the same as Mashiko.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Costco Day

Wuahahaha - saved sooo much today.  Me happy.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

in Toronto, again...

2 weeks later, back in Toronto again!
Very chilling this weekend this time around.  Nice and quiet.

Met up with a good friend I haven't seen in years!  Fun times!  And apparently he now has a kid!

This week - weekend trip to attend Will's wedding.  It was a short time, but fun times definitely!  Congrats!

Monday, May 05, 2014

Mom's 60th Bday - Last Day in T.O.

Woke up at 11am, bummed around, had some little dragon dumplings.
Got home, took a 2.5 hour nap today :).  Dinner (that had lobster and fish.. Mmmmm..), then airport.

Nice lazy day :)

The flight wasn't booked fully as it turns out, tons of empty rows in the back row - perhaps this is why they rescheduled me to this flight… likely the morning flight that no longer appeared didn't have enough people to fly on it.

I was up in the front half of the plane, where there were more people.  Thought this would be a quiet flight (since it was a night 8:45pm take off flight, and would be a 5 hour long flight), but as it turns out, there are two old men behind me that decided to drink a bit, and was drunk after 2 rounds, and talked a bit louder than what I would expect of an evening flight.  Perhaps I should have just moved to the back.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Mom's 60th Bday - Dim Sum and Mahjong Day

Original plan - Dim Sum early, then go to Cook's Town or Vaughan Mills, then back to Hermie's place for dinner.

But last night, we decided to change this plan.  Instead: we start with 11am dim sum, followed by endless mahjong at home :).  Nice and cozy!

Originally, Lil Baby Dragon wasn't going to be able to make it, but then in the morning by the time I woke up, apparently his mind changed.  So before I even walked into the bathroom, Lil Baby Dragon had shown up!  We quickly changed the reservation, and headed to dim sum.  Lil Baby Dragon eats A TON.  He wolfed down bun after bun (and at the house, he had a whole piece of peanut butter smeared bread.  Amazing.

After lunch, we went to get some take out for dinner (ideally I would have liked to cook food - but was vetoed against), and made some home made soup, then started playing mahjong.  Squeezed a dinner in the middle, and 8 rounds after, we have logged 8 hours of mahjong… a full working day! :P

I have to say, these new rules for mahjong is definitely pretty crazy.  Very easy to win with a lot of 'fans' cause of these wildcards.  It does make it much more fun than regular mahjong.  Big ups and downs - Mom at one point was almost bankrupt, haha - but by the end, she actually ended up way above water (now of course, this was with the help of a free 700 chips for everything because of Ema mistakenly thinking she won a hand when she didn't :P).

Friday, May 02, 2014

Mom's 60th Bday - Dim Sum and Lounging at Hermie's Place

Morning was dim sum w/ Emma, then after talking with my mom, I decided to write her something to make her more efficient :).  So on I went on with this project.  Ended up spending the afternoon, and also the evening after we got back from Hermie's place on it.  I am pretty inefficient! :(

We got to Hermie's place before he got home.  So we entertained ourselves by watching Lil Baby Dragon.  Lil Baby Dragon eats a lot, but he still shared and fed me blueberries :).  Pretty cute that after he fed me the blueberry, he would smile.  Keekeekeee. 

We then ordered some takeout and had cake at Hermie's place.  Those strawberries were huge. Mmm..

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Mom's 60th Bday - Airport to Home for $3.00

Since Air Canada once again decided to change my itinerary, my flight was to arrive at 3:45pm instead of 6:45pm.  Air Canada is pretty sad these days, changing flights all the time.  Because of them actually (since they also changed my return flight), I now have take an extra day off work.  One of these days I am gonna complain and see what they are going to do about it.  Pretty poor customer service if you ask me - can't honor a flight, and no coupons or perks.  The least they can do is offer something for randomly changing flights.  If I changed a flight, that would cost me $60 I think, so why aren't they giving me back $60?...

Anyhow, because of this change, I needed to arrange my own transportation.  With rush hour starting up, I wasn't fond of sitting on the 401 withering away in a cab (and paying the $55 to $65 nudging along), so I decided to take the TTC :).  After getting out of the baggage area, I proceeded to an info desk to ask what are my options to get home, and the lady pointed me to the TTC (perfect!).  The bus station was actually a 2 minute walk away, and would take me to Kipling.  From there, I would take the usual route home.

Trip time - 1 hour 45 min… Price: $3.00.   Not bad!
The trip back was pretty nostalgic, just like old days when I worked in Etobicoke.  So I had a lot of fun actually.  Hahaha.

For dinner, we went out for a sumptuous birthday dinner.  4 person meal with 3 people :).  I ended up having 2 bowls of sharks fin.

Happy Birthday!!!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mashiko! With French PhD

Significant other of French PhD came to visit, and Lil Friend decides that it would be a good idea to go to Mashiko for some Omakase experience.  I concur :) - Mmmmm…

 Kumamoto oyster with ponzu sauce
 Scallop with Fuji Apple Suomono
 Rainbow trout sashimi with soy sauce
 Sea Snail
Baby shrimp, blanched asparagus, miso paste
Shingoku, bonito flakes, chrysanthemum
White king salmon tartar
Albacore Toro with Garlic and Scallions on top, Shiso Leaf Tempura on the Bottom
Poached oyster with red onion
Tuna poke and tako salad

Sushi - Maguro, salmon, herring, Spotted mackerel (sawara), roe 
Iwashi (local spotted sardine), and fried bone
Clams with uni butter
Spotted mackerel with miso glaze
Abalone and Rice in a clay pot, with green tea leaves
Green tea and strawberry mochi

Haven't been here for a few months,  4 masus later... awesome experience :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Charmanders FC - #1 in Conference

With the other team playing earlier and ending up losing, there was a chance for us to jump from 3rd place to 1st place in our conference. 

We started the game pretty bad, and was down 1-0 on a fluke goal at around the 25 minute mark.  The rest of the first half was pretty bad as well.  We were just lobbing balls around, not converting chances, running all over the place.

Second half though we picked up the pace, ran hard and scored a goal 20 minutes in, and then scored another one at around the 30th minute to go up 2-1.  That would be the final score.

With that, we clinch first place!  First time ever.  Next stop, semi-final (and hopefully finals)…