Archive for April, 2007

Classic Chinese condiments

Monday, April 30th, 2007

chinese condimentsWhen you go to have “dim sum,” you are really going to “yum cha,” the correct way of describing the regular weekend brunch event in Cantonese. “Yum cha” means “drink tea,” which is in fact the main point of going to the restaurant. Going to eat “dim sum” is just a side activity that accompanies tea-drinking.

Last time I went to Chinatown to “yum cha,” they gave me a dish of classic condiment: chili sauce and Chinese mustard. The common practice is that they’d put these two condiements in one dish, a lot of times they even arrange them in a yin-yang pattern (Taijitu).

Espresso not coffee

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

stovetop espresso machine cross-section view
How come I can’t handle coffee (particularly dripped coffee) but I have no problem drinking espresso? I don’t get it.

Coffee nauseates me. The smell of it makes me sick. If I have a cup of dripped coffee from the diner I will become super hyper. If I have a cup of Starbuck’s joe, forget about it, I might just have to call 911: my heart will beat intensely, I will feel like I am going to have a heart-attack. I just can’t handle them.

But strangly, I have no problem with espresso, nor cappuccino, even when I have 2 cups of double shots espresso. The smell of espresso is actually pleasant to me, and definitely not nauseating. When I feel sleepy, a shot of espresso lifts me up lightly, and I don’t feel hyper from it, even my heartbeat remains normal. How come? I was told that dripped coffee is more acidic than espresso, perhaps that’s the reason why?

I love to make a nice pot of espresso with my stove-top espresso makers. I love the process and the science behind it. I would use a stove-top steamer to make steam milk sometimes. So much more work is required for that tiny cup of dark liquid. Forget about those automatic espresso machines that require only press-and-drink.

Oh, and with a scoop of vanilia ice cream and some almond brittle chucks, it’s another story…

Great stuff for your hard-drive collection

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

Hard-drives are getting cheaper and cheaper every ‘month’, as their capacities are going higher and higher. You get yourself a new 500GB internal or external drive, what the heck are you going to do with your old 250GB? Or even your old 80GB? They barely worth anything, but yet they are usable.

You might think, “oh I can use it for my MP3s… or backing up my photos… or setting up a RAID.” That’s fine, and you’re not alone. Most people are probably thinking about the same solutions to reuse their old drives.

But another problem arises, as your drive collection is growing bigger and bigger: you are running out of ports. Perhaps it’s the internal IDE or SATA ports that you’re running out of, or the rack space in your computer tower; or perhaps you are running out of USB ports for your exernal drives. It probably also worsens your never-ending-running-out-of-power-outlets problem.

More external drives!? Maybe not.

Here are a couple of great stuff that I have got recently, both are related to solving my ever-growing hard-drive problem.

External RAID

external drveI have at least 3 external drives: 1 USB/Firewire external drive and 2 converted from old IDE drives using USB enclosures. In a way I am sick of all these drives hanging around, so I could buy a new drive, but why? They still work! Then I found a multiple drive enclosure that could house all of them. But yeah, another enclosure…

However I thought, this will not only save space, save ports (1 USB port only) and power sockets. Perhaps it will also save some electricity. You don’t need to use this as a RAID, but the drives can be accessed seperated as well. So, snap, snap, all my drives show up on the desktop with only 1 USB and 1 power cord.

Reuse hard-drive from old laptop

On the other hand, I bought a very sleek external drive enclosure for my old drive savaged from my broken laptop. I used to have a firewire enclosure for it. But switching it to USB might just be more convenient. This enclosure is the smallest possible size for a 2.5″ drive and it looks just like a compact (if you know a thing about cosmetics). And it’s only 20 bucks (from TigerDirect).

Mindfullness of your own feelings

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

I was given this short passage yesterday, it’s supposed to help me focus when I am in a state of overwhelming stress, fear and anger.

Method RAIN

The first method is bringing mindfulness to directly experience our actual feelings just as they are. We did a guided meditation in Berkeley using this technique that you can hear on the website. The key is to not get lost in the story of the situation. Whatever it is—sadness, anger, wanting or fear—go directly into feeling the bodily experience or energy of the emotion. Use the acronym RAIN (devised by meditation teacher, Michele McDonald) to help feel your experience directly when opening to difficult emotions. When you want to work skillfully with a difficult emotion:

  • Recognize what you’re feeling. (What am I actually feeling right now?)
  • Allow it to be here. Give it permission to be just as it is.
  • Investigate how it feels in the body on an energetic level without getting into the story or having an agenda for it to change (bring a curiosity or interest that is simply exploring the landscape of the emotion without figuring anything out.)
  • Non-identification (a fancy way of saying not taking it personally)—don’t take ownership of the experience as being who you are. It does not have to define who you are (“I’m such an angry person.”) Your experience of anger or sadness isn’t so different from my anger or sadness. You are exploring the human condition.

Yet if you know the source of this passage, please let me know so that I can credit the author appropriately.

Deathly Hallows

Sunday, April 1st, 2007

Will Harry win or Voldermort? Find out in July.
deathly hallows