Tuesday, 31 August 2010

bento #26: the one with the homemade sushi...

last sunday, i woke up craving for sushi... so i decided to cook some, since i still have 2 bags of sushi rice in my kitchen. so here's my sunday dinner (woke up too late to be cooking for lunch lar! :P)...

rice turned out a bit hard... *note to self: to put more water next time.

ta-da! sushi rice laced with some egg furikake and seaweed...

as the minimum quantity of rice my rice cooker can cook is 2 cups of rice, i decided to separate out half for my bento lunch the next day. i used some furikake again in the middle of these rolled up sushi... here, you can see very clearly that the rice is so dry that it's not sticky at all!

my lunch bento of homemade sushi...

read also:

Monday, 30 August 2010

2nd toy: gakkenflex tlr

as mentioned in my previous post, i went to collect my gakkenflex tlr from kino after work that day. so excited...

and so the assembly process begins. 

these are the camera parts that came out from the box... a bit daunting, looking at all these...

even more daunting is, the instructions are in japanese!

but i found a trick to recognizing all the parts. firstly, don't take out all the parts from their compartments! when you need a part, match the japanese writing for that part to its picture on the front page (showing where everything is) and locate the compartment they're in. there are a few near-similar parts in there, so you have to make sure you're using the correct one. there are a few parts in small plastic bags, so after taking out one part, be sure to put the plastic bag with the other parts still in them back to their original compartment.

ta-da! took me over an hour to put it all together... i got stuck at one or two places, but i guess crocheting with japanese patterns helped me heaps in figuring how japanese instructions work! :)

with the viewfinder flap opened up...

they even provided 2 types of stickers for us to customize our tlr... i chose this brown one to give my tlr a more classic look, instead of the colour triangle ones, which is more retro. and then i found this cover template, where you can print just about any pattern onto them on a sticker paper, cut them out and stick them on to personalize your tlr!

i've tested it out a bit during the weekend and all i can say that it takes a bit of getting used to. first of all, like i mentioned before, we hold it at our waist, look down into the viewfinder and turn the lens to focus, instead of bringing the camera up to our face and sticking the viewfinder to our eyes.

secondly, the viewfinder will flip all the images! for example, if your books are on the right side of cabinet, you'll see it on the left side in the viewfinder... so it's really hard to get the right focus, especially if you're moving left and right to try to put the object in the centre of the frame.

also, it doesn't have a double exposure interlock, which means if you forgot to wind up the film after taking a shot and continue to take a second shot, you'll double expose your film. i think i did that a few times... we'll see what comes out when i get the film developed!

but other than that, it's really an awesome thing to play with! very fun to explore... and can't wait to see the results!

read also:
1. new toy!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

wide angle/fisheye lens test-out...

yay! received my jelly lens set in the mail today! *happy*

i couldn't wait till i get home, so i decided to test out one of the lenses, the wide angle/fisheye lens with my phone's camera... and here's the result (pls excuse the mess at the back there!).

regular photo without the add-on lens...

with wide angle/fisheye lens. this lens has dual functions... it gives wide angle effects when taking landscape or scenery, and fisheye effect when taking objects close-up. pretty cool, eh? :)

oh, oh! and i just received an e-mail from kinokuniya that the magazine with the gakkenflex tlr is here! gonna go collect it later... so excited! :D

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

new toy!

it was quite a slow day in the office yesterday, so i was reading up on lomography online... and the more i read, the more obsess i got with it! i feel the lomo effects are really cool, and i just had to have it! and chatting to biow about it only made my obsession worse, coz she's also as crazy as i am over it. she kept asking me to buy it first, do a review about it and then she'll decide if she wanna get it herself... so good friend hor? :P

anyway, i know there are actually some photo software that allows us to apply lomo effects onto our photos, and some compact digital cams have the lomo functions build onto them, but i find the effects not there yet. not so "lomo", if you get what i mean! :D

ok, for those who don't know what lomography is, here're a few definitions:

so anyway, i had my eye on this ultra wide & slim sakurasan (limited edition). so cute right??? but currently the online shop is out of stock, and it'll take them about 3 weeks to restock. but with my kind of obsession, you think i can wait for 3 freaking weeks??? so i went over to klcc after work yesterday, coz i heard kinokuniya carries some brands of lomo cameras. first, i went up to the arts section on the upper floor of kino. yeah, they had a whole display cabinet of lomo cams, but all are high-end models for more serious lomo users. i didn't really check the price there (shy lar, wanna ask the sales ppl to open up the cabinet when i've no intention to buy), but from my brief research in the internet, those models are in the price range of RM400-500 or more. i may be obsessed, but i sure ain't gonna spend that kinda money on this "toy"!

then i traipsed downstairs to the japanese section, coz another friend mentioned that sometimes there are some japanese magazines that have cheap lomo cams attached to them. and ta-da! see what i found!

ultra wide & slim (uws for short) clover san! i think this is the latest in the uws series (see the whole series here), coz even the online shop don't have it yet... so even tho' i'd love to have a pink toy cam (the sakurasan), clovers are also one of my fav plants. and i get to lay my hands on it like NOW! :D
it's sold as a magazine in the japanese section, coz basically, it IS a magazine, with a box attached to it at the back which contains a "free gift" (the toy lomo cam!)

a close-up of my clover san... and it's cheaper in kino too! in the website, they're selling for RM110 including free delivery by poslaju within malaysia. i bought this for RM118.30, but there's a discount sticker on it. meaning if we buy another item of any amount, we can get a 20% off this item... so i just grabbed a book from the "train the dragon" series (that i'm collecting anyway), and i just need to pay RM94.64 for the cam. erm, for the magazine, i mean! :P

it's a toy camera, really. very basic... don't even require batteries! just load in the film and snap. but no batteries mean no flash, so i guess no nighttime photography. but the cute thing is, after snapping one shot, u'll need to wind the film forward for your next shot... just like an antique cam! only thing is, i feel the strap should be of a cuter colour, instead of boring black, don'cha think?

the magazine that talks about lomography using this uws, but too bad it's all in japanese!

so far, i've only taken a few shots to test it out... but as it's using film, we can only tell the results after i've finished the 36 exposures and sent it to the shop to be developed. biow told me to get 24 or 12 exp film, so that they'll finish up faster and we can see the results earlier, but i forgot... hehe...

as for the feel of it... well, it's a toy. so it's very light, with a very plastic feel to it. that means we'll need to have extra steady hands when snapping... but then again, isn't blurry photos part of the effects of lomography? :D oh yeah, i've placed an order for additional lenses! these jelly lenses come in a set of 4, each giving different effect to the photos... looking forward to experimenting with them! ;)

anyway, there are actually digital lomo cams... but it doesn't allow users to preview their shots in the cam, because they don't have lcd screens on them. they only allow users to load their photos straight onto the pc, without the hassle of having to develop the films. but digital lomo cams are much more expensive, and i feel the effects are not as nice as film ones. so i guess there are pros and cons to the two, depending on individual's preferences.

i think a lot of serious photographers will scorn at lomography, coz maybe it's not even real photography? it's just pointing and snapping with a toy camera! but i love the effects... i find them ultra cool! and i feel even though these are toy cameras, to get all those effects require some sort of skills too.

and even though many people speculated that this is just a phase, which will die out eventually, i still found the effects very cool cool cool! i know, i've said that many times already, but it's still oh-so-cool! hehehe...

also, i discovered that there are hundreds of different kinds of lomo cams out there. a friend on fb told me that he has a friend who is totally into lomo photography, and she has about 6-8 different lomo cams! that is really a lomo addict! i guess it's a good thing that they're so cheap, so more people are able to explore this strand of photography... and i actually don't blame them for having so many lomo cams. cuteness factor aside (tho' it IS quite a major factor in our decision making - for me at least!), each camera has their own different features and functions. in fact, i myself am thinking of getting another one! hehehe...

photo copied from the *click* shop

this is the gakkenflex tlr (tlr = twin lens reflex), made of plastic (also considered a "toy") and it's totally different from our conventional camera. to snap a photo with this, we hold it at our waist and look down into the viewfinder, instead of bringing the camera up to our face and sticking the viewfinder to our eyes. i find this camera totally awesome! it's also a "free gift" that comes with a magazine, but this one requires us to assemble the camera ourselves... how awesome is that?! we'll be able to learn about the inner mechanics of a camera and how it works... however, tho' i pride myself in my diy skills, i'm just a tad worried that it's beyond me...

the parts will come in a box like this...

with instructions in japanese! *gulp*

but anyway, when i enquired about this in kino yesterday (to compare it with the clover san), the info counter people said it's sold out but if i want it, they can reorder for me. i think the price is around RM120. not very expensive also... hmm... should i? :P

Friday, 20 August 2010

when life gives you lemons...

...you freeze them! hehe... ok, lame joke, i know :P

anyway, this is a trick biow taught me, so just wish to share it with everyone. you see, it's quite difficult preparing food for one person. there're so much wastage! for example, when a recipe requires some lemon, we can't possibly just squeeze out a tiny bit of the lemon, then keep the rest. ok, we can cut up the lemon in 1/2, use one 1/2 and wrap the other 1/2 in cling film to be used later. but sometimes 1/2 a lemon is still too much, and we end up just using like 1/3 of it, with the rest being thrown away.

so what do we do? we freeze them, of course! seems like i'm freezing a lot of stuff lately, huh? anyway, even though biow's reason for freezing them is slightly different from mine, but i find this a good idea...

2 lemons will give us one tray of ice cubes (1/2 cubes)... i used 2 cubes before i remembered to take a photo! :P

this way, the next time we need to use lemon juice, we just need to pop out a cube or two (or more!). so far, i've only used it to make hot honey lemon (hence the 2 missing cubes in the pic), so it melts easily. now i'm wondering what should i do if i need them for my guacamole or other things not involving hot water... thaw them out in a cup? nuke them? crush them up with a spoon? any suggestions, people?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

house vs. home...

it's been more than a month since i moved into my new place... and so far, i've only had 2 visitors! ok, 3 if you count the property agent... and that 2 visitors were my YWD leaders, who dropped by for a home-visitation. so strictly speaking, i've not had any visitors at all! which is truly depressing, really.

sometimes i wonder, would the sentiment be different if it were my own place, and not a rented one? would my close friends be more excited for me then?

i guess unlike our western counterparts, we asians are more realistic. for them, a new place, irregardless of if it's bought or rented, is always a reason to celebrate. they throw parties and housewarmings. guy friends come over to help lift the heavy boxes. girlfriends come over to help with the organizing and decorations (have i been watching too much Sex In the City?). in a way, it symbolizes a new beginning and a new life. but in our asian culture, a rented place is just a "house" where you keep your things and a roof over your head, while your own place is a "home" where you actually live your life... so question: before we are able have our own piece of property to our name, does it mean that we've not really started living? is it because a rented place is not our own, so there's no need for celebration? we're gonna move again anyway, so it's just a temporary arrangement, hence there's no need to get so excited?

but to be fair, the girls are coming over next weeked for a small intimate gathering, so i shouldn't say that no one cares... i guess now that we're not staying under the same roof anymore, it's no longer a friendship of convenience. we need to make a greater effort to meet up and keep the friendship going. a friendship will rot if we only remember our good friends when we're free, or we have nothing to do, or when we need something, or if it's convenient to us... personally, i think a friendship needs commitment too. like in a boy-girl relationship, friendships have emotional attachments too. if the effort is only one-sided, there won't be any tango.

anyway, san and mon, thank you for being such great friends! love you guys! ;)

Monday, 16 August 2010

the city never sleeps...

and if this city never sleeps,
does that mean that no one ever dreams?

went up to look out point a few weeks back... my first time there. 11 years i've been in muddy estuary and i didn't even know that such a place existed!

anyway, it's a place on top of a hill (dunno what hill, but it's in hulu langat) and there are a few restaurants that offer under-the-stars dining with a fantastic view of the city skyline. the food at the restaurant of our choice, the haven restaurant, is nothing to shout about, but i guess the food is secondary for most people who go there...

a good place to chill out with friends and enjoy the cooling breeze of the hills when the air in the city gets a tad stifling. it's also a great place to practice our *nighttime photography! :D

*the above photo was taken using my panasonic lumix compact, which i discovered has a night scene mode that actually slows down the shutter speed! :P

moving again - part 4

when i went home to bear hill 2 weeks back, i brought along a few empty pots with me... and when it's time for me to come back to muddy estuary, those empty pots have miraculously been filled up with plants! :D

ok ok, no magic involved lar. i just passed them to my dad, pointed out to the various plants in dad's garden, and dad was so good and kind to plant some into those pots for me! am i so spoiled or what? :P

the flowers in the pot on the far right is supposed to bloom every morning, but so far i've not seen any flowers appear yet... oh, the white half-orb thingy on the far left is a solar lamp from ikea. recharges with sunlight and will turn itself on automatically when it gets dark. energy saving and environmentally friendly!

my little garden on my balcony... i simply love that little hanging pot from ikea that i got for my pegaga! and yup, it was raining outside...

read also:

Friday, 13 August 2010


i have this calendar in my office, with a stunning picture of my company's spa outfit on the front page. so i never flip that calender to show the current month, but kept the front page on display all the time. i have another calendar for that.

calendar is from an interior designer company who designed the spa for us...

then i discovered something weird. as this is considered a "deco" on my work station, i seldom pay much attention to it. but when i do happen to glance at it, it'll nearly always show the page of the current month, and not the front page with the amazing spa photo! wonder who (or "what") is so busybody and itchy hands...

this is what i saw today... calendar page flipped to the month of august!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

bento #25: the one with the 8 treasures herbal soup rice...

i made soup yesterday! of course, chi would not consider it as soup, as i made it from those packet sachets and that crazy gal made her soup from scratch!

anyway, so i made a pot of 8 treasures herbal soup yesterday, with only some chicken fillet and salt. (i know, i know, i should use boned meat for boiling soup, but i hate touching raw meat! and fillets are the easiest to manage... :P) but after having 1 big bowl, i still had lots more in the pot... so that gave me an idea for my bento for today: how about cooking rice with that soup? so that's how the name of this post came about... rice cooked from soup!

so that's what i did... boiled down the soup to thicken it a bit more, soaked and chopped up some chinese mushrooms and dried shrimps, dump mushrooms, dried shrimps, washed rice and soup into the rice cooker and set the timer to finish cooking at 7.30am this morning.

voila! today's lunch...

woke up to the pungent smell of herbs... had to open up all the windows and glass doors to let it out! and the taste? really nice! a bit like yam rice, actually... and the chicken bits have a really strong herbal taste to it.

i packed along some garlic peri-peri sauce and my fav pickled szechuan vege, just in case the rice is too bland. no, they're not bland at all, but i still finished up the vege and sauce! :)

read also:
1. bento #23: the one with the pumpkin porridge
2. bento #14: the one with the experimental porridge
3. bento #8: the one with the yellow vege
4. bento #7: express bento
5. bento #6: sushi breakfast and home-cooked lunch

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

miri/mulu: day 5

ok, final installment. and a short one too, i swear!

day 5 was more like a free & easy day. our flight was late at night, hence we had the full day to kill. so after a breakfast of sarawak laksa (forgot to take photo!), ryuu brought us to the pasar tamu (sunday market) to have a look at the local produce there... there were 2 sections at the pasar tamu, but we only went to the orang asli (indigenous people) section.

some scenes from pasar tamu...

i bought 1/2 kilo of buah salak coz i've not tried them before. doesn't it reminds you of armadillos?

peel off their snake-like skin, and the flesh inside is cream coloured...

there's a pit inside... it has a tiny bit of nangka taste n texture, but also a bit sour.

next, ryuu drove us over to the handicraft centre... something like our central market here in kl, only much smaller!

after that, ryuu was very excited to show us this balinese shop that sells all sorts of authentic (dunno how true) balinese furniture and interior deco. N bought this, and she claimed it's her best buy in this entire trip!

and then it's lunch time! we went to this food court place near the balinese furniture shop and i had this typical fu-zhou dish called ding bian hu... it's a bit like our mee-hoon-kueh, but according to ryuu (a proud fu-zhou himself!), it's made differently. by the way, most chinese in miri, or rather sarawak, are of the fu-zhou descendants...

this is what N had, kacangma. it's sour ginger chicken... tasted ok, but was only lukewarm! would be better if it were HOT!

after lunch, we were feeling particularly sleepy and tired... and also the heat was slowly melting us down! so we voted unanimously to return to ryuu's home for a short rest.

there, we started on a korean drama series, where N and i drifted in and out of sleep on the couch... hehe...

at around 5.30pm, we ventured out again to collect our laundry which we sent to the previous day! so biow, yes, we managed to find a launderette that opens on a sunday... according to ryuu, most shops don't open on sundays. as the majority of sarawakians are christians, most shops remain close on the sabbath!

luckily we found a launderette operated by a non-christian! this shop has a "guan-gong" idol in the shop! :D
here's me looking so happy to have all my dirty, wet and stinky clothes taken care of for me.

ah, freshly laundered clothes (and bags! and sleeping bag!)... one less headache when we get back to kl!

as it was still early for dinner, we went back again to ryuu's place to continue our korean drama. yes, miri is so small that we can just keep going back for a short rest before going out again!

during dinner... no, we did not get drunk drinking beer. this is what mirian restaurants use to sell their herbal tea, or "leong sui". you can order it by the glass or by the bottle. sorry, no photo of our dinner... but we went to a chinese restaurant and ordered a few dishes...

then i received an sms to inform me that our 9.45pm flight has been postponed to 11.30pm! what the...? so after dinner, we went back again to ryuu's place, where we helped ourselves to ryuu's neighbour's sour mangoes in the backyard! ok, fine, only me! but N helped me pluck! :P

luckily our flight took off right on (the postponed) time, ryuu was finally able to get rid of us, and we arrived at home sweet home at 3am!

read also:

lame joke...

was telling x about how i replaced lynette in my current company, when lynette got a job offer in dubai 2 years back. then now, lynette is moving on to beijing. so she's asking me if i wanna replace her in dubai.

x: wah, she got ex-bf?
me: har? y? *blur*
x: then maybe u can hook up with her ex-bf lor!
me: =_='''