just me


The glorious thing about having a car is being able to drive to your favourite fruit orchard one hour away on your day off from work and pick all the fruit you want to your heart's content.

I picked about 40 Honeycrisp apples, 15 Redskin peaches and a quart of raspberries.

Redskin peaches have a fresh, flowery-fragrant low-acid flavour. I just can't get enough of peaches. I planned to slice enough of them to make a peach-frangipane tart, but I didn't have the willpower to stop biting into their juicy, yielding flesh. One thing to remember about peaches is that when picking them off a tree, always remember to wipe off the peach fuzz before eating them. Otherwise you get something akin to that "whisker burn" you get after making out with your boyfriend who has decided to go all cute and scruffy by not shaving for the weekend.

Right now I'm eating roasted peaches. Just a dash of cinnamon, vanilla sugar and dotted sparingly with butter. Mmm... such a warm feeling.

Guess I'll have to make an apple-frangipane tart instead.
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  • Current Music
    Mr. Bluesky - ELO
just me

The Omnivore's Hundred

Got this from Andrew Wheeler, co-author of the British food blog Very Good Taste through Clotilde. Andrew says:

"Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it."

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

(Like Clotilde I've added an asterisk to items I particularly like/am interested in)

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare* (I've had tuna tartare tho)
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding (in the form of "blood tofu" 血豆腐 xuě dòufǔ made with chicken blood)
7. Cheese fondue*
8. Carp*
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
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Update (Sept. 22, 2008): Ate roadkill - deer hit by car.
  • Current Music
    Alicia Keys - No One
hp poa, fcuk y'all

Stupid LJ

There's now a stupid banner ad on the edge of my perfect layout. LJ is asking users to pay now to be ad free. I remember NOT upgrading to a PLUS account despite all the benefits because I didn't want to have ads on my LJ.

Thanks for going all money-grubbing on us, LJ. You suck.
  • Current Music
    Liam Lynch: United States of Whatever
just me

Kalamazoo Tea Party

Crumpets and jam. YUM.

Josh is the man for kindly making us piping hot crumpets to go with our tea for this week's meeting. The way Josh and Sara cook make me want to give up my communications grad program and join the environmental studies dept. instead. Then I can write a grant and live at the Gibb's House. Anyway as usual with anything jammy (blackberry this time) I somehow got sticky up to my elbows.

Note: Josh didn't have crumpet rings so he used metal canning bands instead.

Kourtney and Pat picked me up at 6:40 p.m. for today's tea party, hosted this week by the aforementioned Gibb's House. It was raining even heavier when we got done at 8:30 p.m. so she dropped me straight back home. My bike is still out there at the Bernhard Center bike racks in the pouring rain, and I hope to God this time I remembered to lock it properly.

During tea Travis brought up his latest two pound purchase of yerba mate, and the general consensus seemed to be that the brew is like coffee, only without the jitters and makes a person very playful. This spun the next gathering's theme of Yerba Mate Fort Building Tea Party for which I hope to do my part by collecting many many big cardboard boxes.

I was glad for tea today because I made the decision at 6 p.m. to defer grad school to next semester. I feel that with some work experience under my belt, I have a better chance of getting a grad assistantship next time, and I don't want to waste my student work permit anyway.

Morning started out with getting the official line on the dining international student employment policy for the school paper. Even though I hear different things from students, I can't print what they tell me because nobody wants to go on record and jeopardize their jobs. But at least I got a confirmation that students who fit into available time slots can start work immediately while waiting for their social security numbers to arrive.

Had a talk with Mum after that about grad school. Family convo is always exhausting for me because while I inherited my Dad's "fine, I won't talk..." defence technique, my sisters got my Mum's "fighting spirit HIYAH!" combat mode. Phone calls usually involve shouting (at me) for a good half an hour before decent conversation follows. Family talk is good in the mornings when I've had breakfast. Then I just feel all mellowed out and soft like putty for the whole day after being worked over by my family.

Saw Jyrki later in lab, and was surprised by Joe while I was heading towards the ISSA. Sometimes I forget that its possible to have a normal conversation with Joe without him booming out excitedly over something, and it was very soothing to talk to him today.

Best part of the morning was seeing Dan in Sprau Tower. I do adore his gorgeous bohemian self. We keep talking about hanging out and doing some baking but we haven't had time to plan that yet.
  • Current Music
    OneRepublic - Apologize
just me


Yes, 3/4 of the club members were gloriously kitted out like this.

I wish there was a casual cycling club at WMU. Reeeeally casual commuter-like, as in let's tool around on trails with mostly flat ground and no steep hills. I was excited to find the cycling team booth at Bronco Bash but they're all hardcore enthusiasts who bike 20 miles on a Sunday to Fort Custer for fun. They were kind enough to give me half an hour of recreational riding today but I don't think I'll be back next Sunday.

I did get to complete my mission at Bronco Bash to suggest that they ask the city council to update their downtown maps to include bicycle racks. The guy at the booth was all wow about it so I hope he does something.

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  • Current Music
    Daughtry - Feels Like Tonight
just me

Bronco Bash 2008 recap

Joe, Dave and Quang.

Bronco Bash this year was awesome. Day started out great with the Student Activities and Leadership Program (Katie!) giving me a free BB T-shirt when I went in to buy one. They had extras from orientation training all bought and paid for. There is always an overabundance of S sizes. And why does nobody like white?

After the CommUniversity luncheon I had to go to for work (small talk with Cheryl Roland and Prez. Dunn - yay!), went home and biked over to the Miller Plaza fountains at 2:30 p.m. Storm clouds overhead so I thought it was going to rain for sure and even packed a raincoat. Navigating between tables I saw Darnell, CABbie extraordinare and we consulted his map to find the IPC booth. I liked the bright violet polos the SALP volunteers had this year - easy to spot them!

At the IPC booth saw VP Joe and Treasurer Quang setting up, and I finally got to meet the very famous Matt Kelly in person, who has been in China for the past year. The Kelly brothers are great to watch because I haven't seen much brotherly love in action. Most of my friends back home in that elder/second brother relationship are hardcore rivals and kind of detest each other on the surface. Joe speaks in such glowing terms of his younger brother all the time and well, the guy has three Facebook groups dedicated to him (in a non creepy way).

Met up with Lin at the French Club booth and she, Quang and I did the freebie rounds. Extraordinarily good schwag this year and games that I really could appreciate, like dunking a professor of physical education (loads of fun; candy for trying and a keychain for a successful dunking). Highlight for me this year was seeing the IPC brochure I made all printed and out for distribution. *sniff, sniff* So proud of it!

It was wonderful to see everyone again. Reunions galore, esp. with IPC veterans Aziz BHG (former events promo and current Prez. Rose's brother) and Christina P. (former secretary and former international programming intern). And of course the whole meetup explosion of Japan Club members just a few booths away. I understand how Greg Flynn feels that this is a tag-along semester, since we've both already done the whole graduation thing. But it's not like we're just useless hacks with nothing else to do. I'm working downtown at the Chamber of Commerce and he's got a teaching job lined up in Japan in December.

Cool way to end the day; Dave Estime and I ended up yakking with two Mormon elders about IPC and Bronco Bash. First time I've ever had a convo with these guys that didn't involve religion.
  • Current Music
    Loverboy - Working For The Weekend
just me

Five days and 3.5%. Yoshi!

The day passed very fast today, and not only because I was doing stupid things, but we'll talk about that later.

Today I was ridiculously pleased with myself because I had just gotten the temporary password to my new HSBC Direct savings account in the mail. I signed up online Jul. 28, and the whole experience was not only highly enjoyable but very fast. The sign-up process is painless, and you are given an application number in case you want to come back later and complete your application, or if you're setting up a joint account, so your partner can login and complete their part of the application. HSBC's security check is thorough enough that you feel safe, but not overwhelmingly so that you begin to doubt your own identity.

I'm really happy with HSBC because
(1) it's a global financial institution.
(2) online bill payment includes not only utilities but people (they'll get a cheque)!
(3) you can send/receive money transfers to/from other banks in the U.S. and other HSBC Direct accounts worldwide.

And talk about great service! E-mails are answered quickly, and when I call customer service, I get a real person after pressing just one key. It's awesome. And they all sound normal and friendly and don't try to sell me credit cards. Can you tell I'm impressed? I'm impressed.
  • Current Music
    Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band - Express Yourself (Mocean Worker Remix)
that's life

Two Months and 29 Days

make a wish on the dent-de-lion

I finally got my employment authorization (OPT) card today. As a result I kinda slacked off the job market, only applying for five jobs instead of my usual 10. It was also in part because I got a interview confirmation for Monday with Kolbenschmidt Pierburg, a product engineering and development company for the automotive industry. I like them because they're all about incorporating green living into their business decisions.

However, the place is in Auburn Hills, near Detroit. I'm not too crazy about the two hour plus drive, but I applied for KP the same time I applied for the Chempetitive Group, which is in Chicago, also a two hour plus drive away. CG claims to be the only marketing firm dedicated solely to the life sciences industry. I had fun looking over their website - they have a cool, entertaining style and I wanted to be part of that.

I love Chicago, but CG didn't call me back. I have a vague notion of running away to Chicago anyway and working the front desk of a high end spa/salon. However, that does seem like a terrible waste of my $340 employment authorization application fee.

Okay, so I'm nervous about my Monday interview. Both opportunities are good, but necessitate moving. What a drag. I hate moving. That's why I've never moved all the four years I've been here. I've helped friends pack up and move out and it's a pain. So I also applied to a local job; the Kalamazoo Chamber of Commerce. But they haven't gotten back to me yet either.

Strictly speaking, KP is the best because it's a global company, CG gives the most diverse job duties and KCC would mean I wouldn't have to move.
  • Current Music
    Aiko [thanks, Shino!]
just me

Once a Malaysian, always a Malaysian.

I realize that even though I don't plan to return that soon to my home country to work and live, I still have that smidgen of loyalty ingrained upon my soul. When Malaysians group together around here, we either talk about food, strange Americans, or the state of things back home. The first two are neutral topics, but woe betide any non-Malaysian to helpfully join in the discussion where Malaysians are ruefully bitching about their own country.

Like a friend complaining about his/her significant other, or a wife expressing her frustration over her own parents, the rules are simple. You, an outsider are just not allowed to comment on the situation! Show sympathy, ask questions, but don't contribute any bitching and agreeing of your own. Compare these scenarios:

Wife: My mother is crazy!
Husband: I agree, dear.
Wife: What? You think my mother is crazy?
Husband, But... that's what you...
Wife: How dare you insult my mother!
(wife runs into kitchen and grabs a frozen leg of lamb)

Msian1: I wish Malaysia was more clean, like in America.
Msian2: More accessible dustbins, like Singapore.
Non-Msian: I couldn't agree more. Even when I was hiking in the jungle in Malaysia I saw...
Msian1: So how come breakfast cereal is so different here, huh?
Msian2: Yeah, I really miss eating Koko Krunch.

It only just struck me that I too am that sensitive about my own country. Most people, when complaining, do so about something that is deeply personal to them. But they don't like it being pointed out to their face, especially by an outsider, or someone who isn't really in the same situation as they are in. That's why family members can bitch about each other but if they hear anything bad outside the family? Collapse )
  • Current Music
    Palbasha Siddique - Praan