Saturday, January 31, 2009

Things you don't see waking up late.

One thing I noticed while having a 9am breakfast at Mekong with my parents (it was brunch for them in Auckland time), is the number of women dining alone. I mean not only Mekong, even after that while we were strolling around, we could not escape seeing Asian women eating alone on benches, food court, cafes etc. On a Saturday morning too.
After a heated debate dad and I came to a conclusion that they were all mistresses of married men.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The thing about 43C.

Is that women obviously wear less, even within the agency.
Now I don't have any problem with that. The challenge I have to face, is the bra/ tube top/ cleavage adjustments while I have conversations with them.
I am having trouble figuring out whether they think I'm a perv and are trying to cover up; or are simply asking for attention.
Again, I don't have any problem with that. Just that it is pretty difficult to maintain eye contact when they're clasping themselves.
Ah summer.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy New Year.


This would've won Best Music Video of the year if it were to be the official video.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

CNYE.


I accepted the fact that I'm not celebrating Chinese New Year with my family nor am I going to be anywhere near the vicinity of Klang. Hence I decided to go full blow on anti CNY and cooked a fully western meal for CNY Eve. Who needs reunion dinner when I have an awesome chicken breast with crispy posh ham with rosemary, parmasen cheese and a bit of lemon zest in between? (seriously though, I had no idea that pathethic amount of lemon zest would make such a huge difference in taste. Next time add some balsamic vinegar and you'll be blown away.)


Even my dessert was chicken. See I don't need Chinese food. Plus I have Parky coming over tomorrow. I'm the winner. Yeah!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cracker of the month.


I will drink Heineken tonight.
Funny how beer ads always cheer me up.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Best lunch in the world.


It really is.
Chili eggplant with minced pork on rice (Yui-Heong-Kay-Gee-Fahn in Cantonese) from Pacific House South Yarra. They make it better than Victoria Street.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nice ad.


Got it initially from an all-staff email. But I have a feeling the link via should go to branddna since the scan and the tilt looks exactly the same.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Why fitness centres would go bankrupt if more people were to read this.

I remember telling Y when we were in high school tutoring for physics or whichever subject that proved redundant in my later years, that the reason I stayed fat was that I couldn't deal with the disappointment.
I told him, what if I lost all my weight and still ended up being exactly the same? I needed a reason for being miserable, and during high school obesity was my perfect alibi for happiness. He laughed so hard that I figured I might as well outlaugh him since he would never believe I was being serious.

7 years and 15kg later, here we are. I decided to lose weight not because I wanted change, but because it was convenient and my doctor advised me to do so. But factually speaking, things stayed the same if not worse.

Let's start with the shallow No.1: Before losing 15kg, I've got a girlfriend; after losing 15kg, single and miserable. Some of you might cringe on that, some of you might question her taste, but a fact is a fact.

No.2: I've lost my niche. I've lost the 'wow' factor. I used to be the fat guy who could run/sing/dance/tell jokes/ listen to music/ take photos/ do multiplication/ whatever you think a fat guy will never do except eat and sleep. Now I'm just an Asian with glasses.

No.3: When you're fat, girls talk to you. They might pity you, but they talk to you. Sometimes they end up falling for you because you're so sad and pathetic that they feel safe with you because there's NO WAY you could ever cheat on them. Now I'm just an Asian with glasses.

No. 4: Even Christians don't give me pamphlets anymore because they no longer think I need salvation .

No.5: Since they charge $15 per kilo overweight at the airport, my mass value has gone down by $175 whenever I fly.

No.6: What, at least I'm healthy? I'm as alive now as 3 years ago, and now I have Patello-Femoral Joint pain on my knee.

I could go on but you see the point. The truth is, looks never made any difference. I see white guys hitting on meaty Asian chicks all the time. And vice versa. It is depressing to conform that it is how you see yourself that makes you a happier person. Perhaps my self confidence has never changed since 7 years ago.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday with Ian.


Sweet Lovers 1990. via ngv

"... This major exhibition of Rosalie Gascoigne’s work ranges from the boxlike assemblages of her early career through to large scale installations and her creation of master works constructed from Schweppes soft drink crates and retro-reflective road signs. The exhibition investigates the artist’s ability to draw creative inspiration from the discarded; her intrinsic response to her chosen materials, and her unique ability to evocatively convey the essence of nature and the transitory and captivating effects of light, air and space ..."

I walked into the gallery expecting photographs but was thrown off guard by stacks of real life installation ranging from weird dolls to random arrangements of sticks and barrels. I guess the biggest surprise of the day was Rennie Ellis' "No standing only dancing" photography exhibition across the hall:


Cosmetic Salesgirl, Toorak Rd. c. 1973. via rennieellis.com.au

"Photographer Rennie Ellis was renowned for his candid documentary images of contemporary Australian life. He was best known for his photographs of social events, such as music festivals, fashion parades or nightclubs. But his oeuvre also encompassed the grittier side of life. During his career he photographed life on the streets, sometimes showing the darker aspects of society such as his Kings Cross series. Ultimately, Ellis’ vision of the world was celebratory; his photographs in this exhibition document the richness and diversity of contemporary life from the 1970s and 1980s."

Both exhibitions are showing at the NGV Ian Potter Centre in Fed Square with free admission. "No standing only dancing" closes 22nd February while Rosalie Gascoigne's show will go on until mid March. It'd be a real shame to miss.

Sim-for-nee.


I think the way I cook is not too different from how I think and design as I tend to complicate things as time goes by.
This whole dish started out as a broccoli pasta, with the main ingredient being, well, brocolli. ($1 for 2 stalks at Vic Market.)
I then decided to add some prawns to have an in-between texture between the soft pasta and the not-so-soft broccolli. And with prawns come garlic and with garlic comes chili, just to fulfill my Malaysian stereotype.
And then I thought I probably need some saltiness to balance and diced some bacon into the pan.
To top things off, I chose the farfalle bow tie pastas just out of curiosity.

The end product is some sort of alien pan-asian italian stir fry. I wasn't even sure if I should grate cheese or simply add soy sauce on top of it.
But hey, I am having the leftovers for brunch now and my stomach ain't complaining.

Optimism.

Pantone, the professional colour standard provider has announced the colour of 2009: The Mimosa 14-0848 TCX, also known as yellow.

"The color yellow exemplifies the warmth and nurturing quality of the sun, properties we as humans are naturally drawn to for reassurance," explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "Mimosa also speaks to enlightenment, as it is a hue that sparks imagination and innovation."

If I don't refer to the Pantone book whenever I'm in studio, I'd say that's a complete load of bullocks. But then again I do like yellow. I wonder when will pink ever be considered as colour of the year. Maybe the year we break out of the financial crisis. Or when Boy George get out of jail and run for Prime Minister.

Link via Spiekerblog.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Open sesame.


I've realised the magic ingredient of Korean Jap Chae(or any Korean dishes so to speak), is their sesame oil.

It has that solid nutty smell like peanut butter, which is absolutely fantastic. It also adds a nice layer of gloss to your dish. You can easily find the Korean sesame oil (and of course, the Dangmyun sweet potato starch noodles) in any Asian grocery stores.

I used a recipe from my sister(who got it from the SBS Food Safari DVD, under Extras), but tweeked it a bit with garlic chives and fish cakes but what the hell, Jap Chae's supposed to mean "mixed vegetables" to start with. Use whatever you want.

Just remember the marinade: soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar with a 2:1:1 ratio. Add a couple spoonfuls of Gochujang red pepper sauce for kicks. Don't let the restaurants rip you off ever again.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Deer Raffles.



At first glance Collingwood's Old Raffle's Place seems like a decent cozy place. You get your typical uncle and auntie sitting you down, serving you water while they hand you the menu.
Then the price just stings you in the butt. Here we are, looking at a 'Laksa King' menu with Ing Doi's prices. (Translation: expensive LAH! Dishes start at $12.)
So we had the Char Kuey Kak for entree. I had the Garlic Prawn Fried Rice while my companion ordered the Curry Chicken Laksa.
Although tasty, my taste buds could not convince my brain that paying double for what it's worth is a good thing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dumplings so good I had to swear. Fuck.

Come to think of it, there aren't many memorable Wednesdays I can remember in my life, except of course, for today.
I've always wanted to try this new dumpling place. Coincidentally my date with Louise was probably overdue by 3 months. So we kinda decided to meet up on a hump day for our on going food quest since 2006.
The name Hu Tong is a big contrast with their neighbor Flower Drum. It's saying 'Yeh screw you I'm not going to come up with something cute for you white people'.
So without further ado, this is the feast:


fig.1

The good thing about Louise is that she is always up front with how much she could eat. It's been a long while since I've had so much fun. Let us start with the Xiao Long Bao(小笼包):



fig.2

What can I say? We no longer have to compromise with Shanghai Dumpling House. No more 'yeh it's not really that great but at least the ginger broth is good(sometimes) and it's not that expensive'. The XLB in Hu Tong has thin but delicate skin (experts would refer to the 'folds' of the dumplings), yet strong enough to hold the broth within itself (fig. 3). The mince meat is soft with the right texture unlike some meatballs you normally find.



fig.3

The pan fried dumpling
(锅贴) is probably nothing you have seen. First glance they look like steamed dumplings until you observe the thin crusty pancake below. I dare not say this is the authentic way of preparing the dish, but this is the literal translation of the dish's name, because 锅贴 means 'sticking to the pan'. In short, steamed dumplings with a crunch at the bottom.


fig.4

One can observe the fillings are different from the XLB's (fig.5).



fig.5

The Dan Dan Noodles was probably good, but got overshadowed by the dumplings. I ordered it just cause. One could compare it to the hot girl's ugly sidekick friend.


fig. 6

The wild card of the night was probably the Szechuan spicy chicken. If Dainty's version were to be referred as an atomic bomb, Hu Tong's would probably be more like fireworks. It's just the little things like the peanuts and their extra seasoning in the batter.


fig.7

All in all, I doubt that there's any better tasting dumpling within the CBD. The downside of the restaurant would be the awkward triangle chairs, limited seating even with a 2nd floor and the radical (ingenious) location, Market Lane. It is competing directly against Flower Drum, Shoya and two other German and Korean restuarants. These aren't casual restaurants so I doubt people would get seduced by dumplings when they have already made reservation for $200 meals. Let's hope they manage to carve the niche.

Update: I realised I left out the most imporant thing for certain people - the price. The XLBs were going for $8.5 for 8 and I think we paid $9 for the 12 pan fried dumplings. The chicken was the pricey one at $20+ while I honestly can't remember anything about the Dan Dan Noodles.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tunes on wheels.


Updated my shuffle list for the New Year.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Andreas Gursky.


Chicago Board of Trade II. 1999. via Wikipedia.

"German photographer Andreas Gursky is recognised as one of the world's leading contemporary artists. In this Australia-first exhibition, see how Gursky has taken the principles of objectivity and, through the scale and sophistication of his work, has pushed photography to extreme lengths. "

Now showing at NGV until 22nd Feb.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Love is dangerous.


The new Adidas safety wear ad directed by Kosai Sekine.
Good story telling. I predict a Cannes lion.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Ask a stupid question...


Now I'm just waiting to find out if I'm trouble.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

一个隔天得恢复工作的美术指导的记载。

一眼睁开时针显示六时正。由于昨晚被莫名其妙地卷入一对情侣纠纷的缘故,打消了晨跑的念头,睡眠持续了两小时。

早餐是蛋包乳酪。花了半小时查阅汽车销售网站,了解市场。不久又和家人谈了接近两小时的电话,大约了解了哥哥和姐姐购买房屋的途径。然后开始研究Carlton的地产状况。同时和姐姐网购挂钟,和X研究了房屋,金钱,女人。

收到了简讯,昨晚情侣正式告吹,女方问我是否可留夜一晚。被我“噢是吗是吗?有点不好吧?”地拒绝了。任何一个会接受的男人,智商应该低得可怜。

帮X在“与女性在短时间离开前相遇的借口”那方开窍后有点欣慰。可能以后自己真的可以当类似Hitch的人。但是那种角色似乎永远都没有幸福。

步行到了汉堡店读着村上春树的《雪梨!》,已经是下午四时。虽然不是晚餐时间,汉堡还是等了半小时才到。所以人只要一悠闲,就会懒散起来吧?店员给了我一副“很抱歉,谁叫你在只有我一个人当班的时候来”的表情。我也不是很赶时间, 所以不是很在意。

今晚想静静地过。 应该会将第一季的Dexter看完吧。

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Framed money.


So I found out my agency had transfer an additional sum of money into my account, only to realise later that it was our bonus of the year.
I spent it on Kozyndan's Pacific Drift. It's not cheap, but somehow I feel better thinking my agency has given me that instead of cold hard cash as a present.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Last year of the 00's.


My projected resolutions for the year:

1. Stay alive.
2. Retain more dignity for myself.
3. Be more aggresive.