Archive for August, 2007

Eviction

Friday, August 31st, 2007

land ladyIn my last job our office has been evicted numerous times. I have actually got accustomed to it and not to be afraid of it. This morning we got a notice delivered to us by the landlady asking us to vacate the apartment by the end of next week. The reason being, she wants to sell the building.

We are on a month-to-month rental and she would like get rid of us while the FOR SALE sign is standing obnoxiously in front of the building. What baffles and irritates me is that she didn’t even have the guts or courtesy to call us and tell us that she’d want us to leave. I was rather prepared to move, but what really upsets me is that she didn’t even treat us like normal human beings. Not even a call? She’s definitely one of the most horrible landlord I have ever encountered in my entire life. And she’s out of her mind to ask 2 million dollars for the crappy building. It’s probably going to take months for her to successfully kick us out, good luck to her.

Obsessively checking…

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

iMac 4th generation 24 inches
Whenever I order something hot online, I would check the shipping status 24/7. All right, maybe whenever I am not sleeping. But I am definitely obsessive, as obsessive as a lot of people checking the order status and shipping status on UPS and FedEx’s websites. Yes, you know I am talking about you. Right at this moment, after probably 20 browser refresh attempt, I am so excited to find out that my new iMac is just being “prepared for shipment”. My baby is coming!

Current Reads

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Wild SwansJung Chang’s Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China is a saga of herself and her mother and grandmother: 3 women in China during the time of political turmoil in the last century. It’s really an engaging read. I never thought I would even get through the first half. I have only about a quarter left.

When I was in high school I learned about the upheavement of Manchuria, Japanese’s occupation of China, the Civil War between KMT and the Communist Party, the rise of Mao, the Red Guards and the Cultural Revolution, but nothing compared to personal stories and recollection of what’s really happening to the people. I am totally mesmerized by their intense stories. They are dramatic and sensational, but at the same time they are what they were experiencing, that’s what’s different than history lessons.

Compared to Chang’s last book Mao: The Unknown Story, which has gotten a lot of bad reviews, Wild Swans seem to be much more popular. I guess it’s the personal accounts that count. Can you still criticize her as being biased if she’s writing her own personal accounts? Perhaps she has the license to be biased?

The World Without Us

The Joy of Chemistry

In The World Without Us, Alan Weisman speculates the scenario of our Earth with all human vanished. It’s an alternative method to help us think about our impact on Earth, thus helping us to see our environment in a different way. I can’t wait to get started on it. I read his article in Scientific America last month and I wanted to read The World Without Us real badly. Now it’s sitting on my head table and I have been reading a few pages every night before bed.

At the same time, I am skimping through The Joy of Chemistry to remind myself of the Chemistry I learned in high school, while getting ideas of some kitchen experiments that I can play with at home. It turns out that I can make salicyclic acid (key ingredient in treating acne) from rubbing alcohol and asprin. Amazing.

Definitely a great find

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Alvin Rover Mobile TaboretI almost never go to second hand store and buy stuff, let alone picking up anything thrown away and left on the sidewalks.

However, a few days ago, when we saw the black Alvin Rover caddy, we just couldn’t help it. We stopped, checked it out, and hesitated… since we would have to clean it up real good before, oh, sell it on eBay for like 200 bucks. But after all we grabbed it and rolled it home. It’s in a great condition, except it’s dirty. Nothing seems to be broken.

It’s been sitting outside my apartment door in the hallway for a few days now. I have been thinking, oh, maybe we should just throw it away, as I really didn’t feel like cleaning it. But all of a sudden this morning, I decided that perhaps I should really clean it up, and save it for myself. It seems like I can simply wash it down with soap and water, and it will be good to go. We shall see.

Crystalline fructose: HFCS’s bastard offspring

Friday, August 24th, 2007

We have been watching out for high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) on food labels for years now, and while the informed public has been getting more and more informed of the health impact of HFCS and trying to avoid it, food manufacturers (think for a second, what an odd term per se) have found a replacement: crystalline fructose.

It does sound organic, natural, and possibly healthy, doesn’t it? Apparently the ever-so-popular Vitamin Water has been using crystalline fructose for a while now. Crystalline fructose is created from HFCS, by crystallizing the fructose in it. Turns out we have one more thing to look out for, not only that we should avoid food products that have HFCS, but also crystalline fructose. I am sticking to my green tea with no added sugar.

If you want learn to about just how bad these manufactured sweeteners are for you, just Google HFCS and crystalline fructose: you will likely not drink a regular soda or Vitamin Water anymore. Now, of course, diet soda with aspartame and sucralose is another story…

On a side note, a lot of organic food labels also list “crystalline cane juice”, that’s just plain cane sugar, companies just want to make it sound more “organic”, that’s all.

ONJ’s Physical

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007


Phyiscal was really the first pop song I remember singing when I was a kid. Mom had a mixed tape from a colleague of her, which I lived by. The first song on side A was Physical.

I got written up!

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Finally, the latest issue of Theme Magazine arrived. I have been longing to read it because I have been written up in the magazine. To be exact, my books have been written up. Yes, yes, I was extremely happy about it.

Theme is one of my favorite magazines, which makes it even more exciting. It’s a magazine on “contemporary Asian culture,” with high-quality professional design, writings, layout and photography.
Theme Magazine CaiLun coverage

Back to Basics
Cai Lun was a eunuch who lived in first-century China. He invented paper. While Dennis Yuen may not share much with this gelding, he clearly has a love for the medium that Cai Lun invented. Studio Cai Lun creates one-of-a-kind, handmade journals, which take Yuen five hours to make—a labor of love executed in his spare time outside his day job as a successful interactive web wizard. The journals are made from papers of unexpected textures and origins. Yuen’s love for the art of bookmaking has landed his books in the Chelsea Art Museum and has spawned a blog where you can discover more about paper and bookmaking than you ever thought possible. Like about paper made from elephant poop. It’s odorless!! http://www.studiocailun.comMichelle You (Theme Magazine, Issue 10, “Journals”)

Durians

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

DurianWhat’s the deal with durians? Everyone is talking about durians these days.

My parents love durians. When durian was in season, they would have it every day. Not until I was a teenager did I dare to try it. I liked it. But after a while, I hated it. I didn’t want it anymore. Up to this day, I haven’t tasted any durian since.

But I can assure you that it’s not the smell. The smell doesn’t bother me a bit. Yes, it’s smelly, and it looks really ugly. In fact, this depiction of durian right here makes me think of doodie. Durian flesh smells and look like doodie!

It’s really the texture that I am not crazy about. I don’t particularly like thick and creamy stuff, except ice cream. I hate food that is creamy and sticks to the roof of your mouth. Durian is exactly like that. It’s like peanut butter. I don’t like peanut butter.

I saw some freeze-dried durian in the store the other day walking down Chinatown. I wonder how it tastes like. Will they stink? I bet they won’t stink to the roof of my mouth!

Pricey fruits

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

Summer time is always the season for yummy fruits. When I was growing up, there was always abundance of heavenly delicious fruits: watermelons, lychees, longans, rambutans, custard apples… and oh of course, mangoes and papayas.
3 fruits
God bless Chinatown, most fruits are always available there, though their prices are insanely high. $2/lbs for lychees (which are small and tasteless), $3.5/lbs for longan, and $8/lbs for rambutan. $8 for rambutan!? Are you kidding me? And no, I didn’t get the $8 rambutan, I just couldn’t do it.

Kitten fight stopped by… another kitten

Monday, August 13th, 2007