Thursday, December 30, 2004

Coming Home

This must be the period of my life with the most travelling done, in both time and distance.

First it was going down to San Francisco via Greyhoud (25 hours X 2 ways), and travelling around in San Francisco.

Then it’s another 20 hrs flight from Vancouver back to Singapore. How my butt disagrees with me when I got back to Singapore

And how my Mom disagrees with me too, when I arrived back in Singapore.

Ladies and Gentlemen, if you want to give your father/mother/brother/sister/daughter/son/dog a jolt short of a heart attack, do go on a one or two semester exchange program and DO NOT CUT YOUR HAIR. This also makes a good camouflage should you intend to sneak past your eagerly awaiting ‘welcome-back party’. Mother was totally shocked into oblivion, as if she owns the stock market and Wall Street just crashed.

The next few days was spent in long hours of sleep (using jetlag as an excuse, of course), and few minutes of unpacking.

Every other minute was spent on intense efforts at dodging Mother, who keeps lunging at me, wielding a pair of barber scissors in one hand. Ok, I imagined that. But the real thing is nothing short of PRC asking Taiwan for unification, and Taiwan insisting on independence. The matrix stunts I have to perform just to get away from her…

And HERE’s my final expense report for the duration of stay in Singapore, IF you are interested. Same conditions apply as per last blog entry.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Belated San Francisco Happenings...

Hello once again to my few friends who have been tirelessly coming to my blog in anticipation of something interesting, and have been met with nothing less annoying than… nothing.

I shall try to keep you updated with what’s going on in my life in the FEWESTEST WORDS possible so that the next time I meet you (if I meet up with you), you can act as if you’ve known me all my life and that you are such an attentive/caring/concerned/kind/sweet/demure?/cool friend/fiend. (The more pertaining reason/excuse for this concise summary is that I‘ve been lazing around, doing nothing but staring at ceiling, making friends with shadows on the wall, and can’t be bothered to give you an in-depth analysis. Not that you are THAT interested anyway ;)

So here goes ….


San Francisco::

Let’s see what I can remember of the tripรจ

Super long bus rides (25h X 2) on Greyhound, with lots of lost connections and an unnecessary adventure to the unknown with a new-to-the-route bus driver. She’s jovial though, and that added to the adventurous air.

Chinatown. Good food at Yee’s Restaurant! Cheap (I think) American Ginseng.

Fisherman’s Wharf / Pier 39. Lots of exhibitionistic seals resting nonchalantly on floating platforms, while a larger number of tourists stare at their naked bodies in awe/disgust/love/adoration. Conjured up an image of tourists resting nonchalantly on floating platforms, while a larger number of seals stare at their naked bodies in awe/disgust/love/adoration, and that made me chuckle a bit, until I realised that I was naked on a floating platform too.

Crookedest (Heck, this word failed the spellchecker in Ms Word…) Road, at Lombard Street. It’s the crookedest Street! Wow! Amazing! Ok, so it’s crooked. And then?? It’s a tourist trap in both sense, I tell you. No one should come here to disturb the privacy of the poor (not really, they are quite rich to live in such a posh district) residents on both sides of the street. The gradient of the road is so steep that you can roll a marble on the high end of the road, and possibly kill 2 or more persons walking la-di-da-di-da-ly at the lower end of the road with it. Saw a sign that allows only parking at the sides, PERPENDICULAR TO THE GRADIENT, and I’ve been wondering how many drivers actually tried parking here, and how many drivers actually found themselves alive after that. Heck, this is too much attention for such a trappy street. Let’s move on.

San Francisco Bay. Nice strong waves with crazy surfers attempting a surf in the fr**king cold waters. Ooh, the kick of staying in 2-5 degrees waters, waiting for strong waves that may possibly drown them simply makes me feel happy for the world. How else do we stop the exponentially increasing population growth?

The Golden Gate Bridge! Wow, what a nice RED bridge! It’s really a nice red bridge, and that’s the whole cake.

Cheesecake Factory! Always have a weak spot for them. No wonder they can get away with 1-2hr long queues. Did you know that they give out pagers for customers, so that they may shop around and wait for their seats at the same time? It’s a really neat idea that saved them from being lambasted/boycotted by the general public.

Muir Woods. Saw those humongotongous redwoods, and had fun popping myself into the burnt cavities within the trunks (or what’s left of them). There would have been live salmon (Yum!) if it was just past the rainy periods, but we missed them, so too bad.

Taking wrong buses and getting lost are not such glorious events, and I think I will leave them out of my blog, thank you.

And that’s what the lazy me can come up with within the immensely short period of my unlaziness. So there.

Pics? Where are they? Look HERE. If I’m not so lazy, I might update the HERE to my imagestation album. And that’s a big IF. But do try looking back here for it anyway, IF you are interested. And that’s a bigger IF. =)

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Presents Thread::

Hello boys and girls, these are the appx things I will bringing back:

Jelly bellies!
Maps for Yus.
Tons of chocs.
Starbucks mug and stored-value card.
Hardrock (Chicago) T-shirt.
NO maple syrup. =(

Most prolly you will be getting chocs or jelly bellies from me, so it's good useful edible stuff from me, unlike those other lousy friends who buy lousy useless white elephants for you to collect dust on your shelves. I'm good, didn't I tell you that? ;)

So much things going on... so little time to blog!!!

In a nutshell::
1)Exams finished! Intense ineffective mugging hours, and effectively my 2nd C+ for grades, up to now, but I don't really care! Woohoo. I'm a free man.

2)In between exams, went to Chicago to see my sis and bro, and there's where the meat (literally so) is!
Chicago's nice and cold and wind-chilling like anything and it's not really fun to be out there in comparison with Vancouver! VERY FLAT terrain also.

Where did I go? I define that by what I eat, mostly..
Let's see now... (in chrono order)

Philly Cheese Steak for 1st lunch:
Decadent, I tell you! Hot dog bun with lots of cheese and meat inside, will kill your heart!

Was a nice place, but I think vancouver has a better one! Of course lah, if you compare the population ratio of chinese, it has to be that way...

Deep dish pizza for dinner:
Never heard of that? It's pizza the thickness of a small cake! Filled with cheese and meat and everything sinful. Yumz.

Polish sausages for breakfast: Big nice bulging polish sausages cannot be wrong! Yumz.

Fanny May chocolates: Nice wholesome famous chocies. Only ate one sample though. The others became present for pple.

Pork chop at Ronny's: Was so large in proportion and so value for money that we went there the next morning to eat also! There will be pics, I promise!

Chicago Art institute: Definitely one of the larger artsy fartsy place I have been to. Nice pics and displays, and I think the $10 is a well-spent event.

John Hancock Tower: Supposedly spectacular bird-eye view from 94th floor around all of Chicago. Was getting a bit dark when there, so there was problem with taking photos. Great view from top though, if you can be there.

Cheesecake factory dinner: Bistro shrimp! Yumz. Was expensive though, and the whole place was really crowded, though the atmosphere was there. Very theme-decorated place. Nifty.

Going to leave for Singapore right after my San Francisco trip tomorrow to 28th, so now have no time to tell what's going on now!!! Ahh!!!!! Mad rush!!!! Pictures will be out post-event. Duh. That's such a moronic statement.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

My Itinerary -- For those who wants to organise ra-ra arrival party for me... =)

Wed, Dec 29-Thu, Dec 30: JAPAN AIRLINES INTL, JL 0017
From: VANCOUVER BC, CANADA (YVR) mapDeparts: 11:20am
Departure Terminal: MAIN TERMINALGate:Check for latest information
To: TOKYO NARITA, JAPAN (NRT) mapArrives: 2:20pm
Arrival Terminal: TERMINAL 2
Class: EconomySeat: Check-In Required
Status: ConfirmedConfirmation: UNHPE2
Meal: Meals , Snack or Brunch Smoking: No
Aircraft: BOEING 747 JET Mileage: 4681
Flight Time: 10 hours and 0 minutes
Verify flight times prior to departure

From: TOKYO NARITA, JAPAN (NRT) mapDeparts: 5:30pm
Departure Terminal: TERMINAL 2Gate:Check for latest information
To: SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE (SIN) mapArrives: 11:55pm
Arrival Terminal: TERMINAL 1
Class: EconomySeat: Check-In Required
Status: ConfirmedConfirmation: UNHPE2
Meal: Meals Smoking: No
Aircraft: BOEING 767 JET Mileage: 3311
Flight Time: 7 hours and 25 minutes

Monday, December 13, 2004

Jelly Bellies!!!!!!

I want to go here... *drooling already*


Things to buy

- Jelly Beans for Evan (this one is tentative, cos he still choosing flavours. Also depends on if he's naughty or nice.)
- Alberta Quarter for Bea~ (does it really exist?? Can’t find it online)
- Choc Delights, maybe (12 +/- 3) packs. Jiayun say got better chocolate deals.
- Maple leaf syrup, <=5 bottles. Last heard cost around 10 SGD for 250ml of PURE maple leaf syrup. Must beat this price.
- Walking pole. Saw one around 30 dollars at a consignment store near MEC (forgot what name is the shop liao..)
- luggage bag, to hold all the excess baggages I am bringing back for the peeps back home

We have good view @ Pender Apt too!

Was coming back late at night and the mountains north of us (Whistler Mt? BlackComb?) was shimmering in the sea of darkness, that they almost seem to be floating on nothingness.

I am a moth to city lights, and this is what I am enticed to. Pender Apts is a love-hate relationship.

This is getting stressfully exciting.. Woohoo....

14-15th: Exams
15th-19th: Holiday trip to Chicago
20-21st: Exams
22-28th: ANOTHER TRIP*
29th:Fly back to Singapore

* = Trip tentative
from ::
Vancouver -> Sacramento -> Stopover at Fairfield -> San Francisco
return ::
San Francisco -> Portland -> Vancouver

There's no time to do anything!!! This is so happening to me... I sure hope I pass my exams without much studying. =P

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Our two very polite (but very inanimate) hiredhands. Keep good company with the mouse in our kitchen.

2 not-so-enticing pathetic dried shrimps draws their attention... Posted by Hello

2 pathetic fake-o-mouse looking at the pathetic support (fork) of a pathetic mouse trap (drawer). Posted by Hello

Friday, December 10, 2004

What's heaty and what's not? The Yins and the Yangs...

Vegetables: carrot, leek, onion, shallots, spring onion, watercress
Fruits: apricots, blackberries, black currant, cherries, mangoes, strawberies, peaches
Herbs: basil, bay leaf, dill, caraway seed, cardamon

Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, zuccini, corn, aspeagus, button mushrooms, radish, lettuce, cucumber, celery, aubergine, spinach, cabbage, pak choi, kelp, seaweed
Fruits: melons, apples, tomatoes, citrus fruits, persimmon, pears, bananas, pineapple, coconut
Herbs: most teas, white peppercorn, marjoram, tarragon, tmeric

Vegetables: Brussels sprouts, beetroot, pumpkin, snow peas sweet potato, taro, turnip
Fruits: dates, figs, grapes, guava, papaya, plums, raspberries, raisins Herbs: fennel, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme Others: brown rice, kidney beans, almonds, peanuts

Comments on Singapore

Here's an interesting view on Singapore I chanced upon =)

Going to Chicago for Holiday on the 15th

Woohoo. How exciting. Will be going to Chicago during the exam period right after my 2nd paper on the 15th, to fly back on the 19th for exams due the following two days. I've already got my tix and here's the aggarated plan::

0830-1100:: take exam (complete with backpack for Chicago)
1100-1500:: Mug and get to Best Western @ Downtown for bus (
1500-1855:: Journey to Downtown Seattle
1855-2100:: Walk around downtown and eat lunch and mug (not!) and get to bus tunnel
2130-2200:: Take bus to SeaTec Airport

2358-0544(15th):: Plane to Chicago (Midway)
0544-1500:: Hang around downtown Chicago, wait for hotel
1500-????:: Unplanned tour
????-1000:: Get my ass to Chicago (Midway) for plane back to SeaTec
1220-1444:: Plane to SeaTec
1444-1635:: Eat lunch and get to Best Western Hotel
1635-2035:: Take bus back to Vancouver
2035-2115:: Take bus back to home for dinner
2115-????:: Mug and prepare for exams tomorrow.

...and that's the full extent of my planning. Not much of a plan considering that I dunno what will be going on in Chicago and how much mugging I can do there (not!)

If there's anything anyone wants from Chicago, now's the time to leave a note in the comments. Won't be getting them, but at least I can laugh over how naive you can be to expect me to buy things for you. =)

Double Delectables

I am addicted to Double Delectables (Milk Chocolate covered Blueberries/Cranberries.) Think will be getting a few pack of them back to Singapore for distribution... =)

Food crisis!

I am getting really fat from all the binge eating sessions for the past few days.

A quick review of traffic through my system::

Viet beef noodles, Lunch @ !@$!$!! Viet Restaurant @ Kingsway
Coffee @ JJ Beans
Steamboat, Dinner @ Home

Mixed rice, Lunch
Pasta and Tiramisu, Dinner @ Anton's

Dim Sum, Brunch @ Sze Chuan Restaurant
Krispy Kremes, Teatime @ Delta
Coffee @ Perky Beans
Stirfry Beef + sausages and pasta, dinner @ Home

Viet beef noodles, Lunch @ Thai Son, Richmond
Wonton noodles, Dinner @ Ho Tak Kee

Coffee, Breakfast @ JJ Beans
Pasta, Lunch @ Anton's
Beef and broccoli rice, Dinner @ Home

Satay Horfun, Lunch @ Garlic and Ginger (Pui!)
Coffee, Teatime @ Bean Brothers
Mashed Potatoes and Drumsticks, Dinner @ HoMe

Mixed Rice, Lunch @ Yaohan
Pasta, Dinner @ HoMe

Canfood pasta and 4 snack bars
Pizza and chicken noodle soup, Dinner @ Home

And this is on top of numerous snacking occassions that I am not keeping track of...

And the worst thing is......
I've still got quite some can foods++ to clear from the larder before I set for home~~~!
How the heck am I gonna finish all campbell soupies/canned pasta/meat sauce, when I have effectively 20 days left in Vancouver, with 5 of them to be spent in Chicago? Mama sai~~~~!!! Siao liao lah!!!! Panic panic...


Complains about the weather::
It's getting colder and gloomier, definitely. Temperature hovers around 2 degrees, with drizzles aplenty, and traces of snow. CAn't get enough of the snow, but hate the rain.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Viet Food @ Richmond ++

Went to Richmond for Viet food today, and it was excellent. Thai Son sells excellent Tai Pho at reasonable price that I am tempted to go again for again and again, if it was not located in Richmond where there's so much other nice asian food to eat~!

Must go Richmond again before going back to Singapore.

Complains about the weather::
It's getting colder and gloomier, definitely. Temperature hovers around 2 degrees, with drizzles aplenty, and traces of snow. Love the snow, but hate the rain.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Krispy Kreme's @ Delta

Went for Dim Sum in the morning, followed by a pilgrimage to Krispie Kreme's @ Delta. The place was more accessible than the one we went to in Seattle, but we missed the most exciting icing event of the day (we found that the do that in the morning from 530 to 11)

Nevertheless, we bought some delectable doughnuts and also filmed the whole production process (the doughnuts are produced machine assembly line style, and it's really quite cool to see such an industrial feat, not to mention all those drooling doughnuts...)

Brought some back for further savouring and drooling over...

The video for the production line will be up soon. Anticipate for it. =)

Went to Eugene's uncle cafe at New Westminster and had a triple (yes, triple.) shot mocha. Caffeine overdose, I tell you... He was going on and on about the good points of moving over to Canada from Singapore though I am not the least tempted to do so. Can't stand the blasting weather [yet?])

Anton's Pasta

...was simply overwhelming in proportion. The portion is undeniably enough to feed 2 cows, judging from everyone coming out with styrofoam boxes containing leftovers after a hearty meal there.

The quality of food there? Not exactly a purist's heaven, but to the layman who has no inkling as to what defines an italian pasta or a Tiramisu, it may actually work. Bastardized versions abound in the menu, and the taste's not too shabby. But on the overall, it wins by sheer size. It's quite not possible to come out without experiencing a carbo-high.

Be prepared to wait in line if you are going there at peak periods (between 530 and 9pm.)

Friday, December 03, 2004

Last day of school

Tomorrow's the last day of school and no one's really caring here to even go for class. Except peeps who have to hand up assignments and papers and such. I'm skipping all except one class @ 2-3pm.

We've just had a pleasant gathering over a steamboat dinner, and tomorrow's simply a day to pass for the exam breaks to come. And then what? We study? No... We are exchange students from Singapore. We party. Yay. Where to? Does it matter? It does.

There's so little time to do some much things which we don't know we have to do before we can't do them anymore.

Tomorrow will be going to the famous Anton's on Hastings for dinner, followed by a bus ride west to east on Hastings.

Bro's website

I've got a wonderful brother at here =)

Updated my financial accounts again, can go here to find it. It's the excel file.

Extended budget to 9k, but still got .3K left from that. Looks like I MAY have to use the full 10K from the Lee Foundation Award for the term of my stay here. Haiz, no earnings, but never mind lah, have a good time here count myself very blessed already. =)

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The most important key on the keyboard

One of the most important key on the keytboard is the backspace key. With out the backspace key, we simply cnaoot corrcyt our errors and all oru entries will look very funny, much like what you are seeing now. How do we correct sentences tha t we do not want anymore? Can we simply say >ingnore last sentence? > or something like that? Probably not.

This is much like asking ourselves if we can get a fresh clean sheeat of paper from one really messed up one, without using a n eraser. Simply impossible. Perhaps this is much like what our lifes are withouthte saving frace of God. Full of errors and imncomprehensible. Jesus is the ersaer, the backspace pkey fro us, and o;nly with it can we correct our resally mesesed up lives into correcy allignment with Him.

The most important key on the keyboard

One of the most important key on the keytboard is the backspace key. With out the backspace key, we simply cnaoot corrcyt our errors and all oru entries will look very funny, much like what you are seeing now. How do we correct sentences tha t we do not want anymore? Can we simply say >ingnore last sentence? > or something like that? Probably not.

This is much like asking ourselves if we can get a fresh clean sheeat of paper from one really messed up one, without using a n eraser. Simply impossible. Perhaps this is much like what our lifes are withouthte saving frace of God. Full of errors and imncomprehensible. Jesus is the ersaer, the backspace pkey fro us, and o;nly with it can we correct our resally mesesed up lives into correcy allignment with Him.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Ouch.. static

I am quite confident that the taps in Gage are bearing a grudge against me. You can't get static-shocked 9 times on the same taps and call it coincidence. It would be illegal.

And recently the toilet door is also giving me some nerve-jabbings. It's a conspiracy, I tell you...

Things we left behind

There seems to be an intense competition which I've been either kept in the dark about or I'm just ill-informed about, in Kroener's Library's Level 1 toilet.

I am talking about the increasing number of chewing gum in the left and right urinals in the guy's toilet. There have apparently been active voluntary participation from UBC's guys (awww... how spontaneous and sweet...) in depositing their elastic remains with much accuracy (more accurate than the general aiming at the paper recycling bin in the corner) into the urinals. It's simply a marvellous sight to behold, all those blues, greens, and yellows of eclectic flavours once possessing.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Weekend @ Whistler Blackcomb

It may not have been a good time to find out that Greyhound bus stations (at least the one @ Pacific Railway) does not open 24hrs. Went there at 11pm with the intention of staying overnight for the 530am bus to Whistle next morning, but was abruptly informed (by the security guards) that I'm not to spread my butt and legs awkwardly all over the cubicled seats in the intention of sleeping, because the station was due to close in an hours time. Not a very pleasant thing to take note of at 12am.

After several bouts of panicking and pacing around the place thinking of some miraculous solutions, left my bag (and Serene's) in one of the station lockers, and went back home (with Serene) to sleep. Yup, I'm not the only one stuck with such bad planning of mine...

Had to wake up Eu and Zhiqing. But such thing was inevitable, since the inevitable had happened already.

Traversed back to the bus station @ 4.15am in the morning, and arrived there near 5am, not after having a most exciting walk down the sidewalk of East Hastings where all the nocturnal criminal activities had not the notion to subside yet.

What an eventful start to the Whistler ski trip. =)

Whistler was (and still is) beautiful. This was probably the first time I've seen the land covered in snow aplenty (not counting the glacier plains of the Rockies) and the structure of snow particles seems so distinctive and pronounced. Couldn't take much photos because of bad lighting in the morning, and also because I didn't bring my camera up the mountain (didn't want to bring a camera whilst skiing). This was (on hindsight) a bad deal, because the view from above Whistler Mountain were to die for. Stupid me.

How was skiing? Fun fun fun fun. Tons of fun. Notwithstanding the fact that skiing was unnatural to me and I spent most of my time in the lesson trying to get my steering right (I've had a terrible time trying to move right, though left was not a problem) and not skiing down the wrong slopes, it was tons of fun.

However, you might want to try snowboarding instead. It seems way cooler and way more fun, if you can handle it. The pricing for rentals are the same, but be prepared for worst falls. I leave my disclaimer here.

Ski lesson (everyone needs lessons!) was spent learning the 4 basic direction keys on the keyboard, and near the end of our lesson (Whistler starts closing @ 3pm. The sun sets early there) was when the most happening event happened. Estimating that we were a good deal capable of skiing down the slopes, we embarked on a treacherous (it's relatively easy to non-newbies) journey down quite some slopes (and not without frequent hiccups) before we were found wanting. The snow has not settled to a great depth yet, and the ice layer was simply too slippery for us imbeciles. We had to turn back, and it was not without much difficulty before we managed to grind our way up to our starting point.

Jiayun owes me 4 bananas and 2 strawberries for carrying her skis up more than half the way. I'm still suffering from muscle spasms now.

The journey home was another exciting event. Apparently an accident occured at Highway 99, blocking the way back home. There was, of course, much disagreement from the tourists wanting to make their way back to Vancouver. It seemed that Singaporean's favourite pasttime (complaining) was undertaken by many of them there and then. Some commotion ensued, and I vaguely remember a lady (but not ladylike) complaining to the much bothered bus driver that she 'has paid for her ticket', much to the amusement of the whole mob who were also impatient (but not complaining much) and also holding tickets in their hands. Mutters flew around silently as all of us shuddered in the 2 degrees weather, and it was only after some time that we gave up waiting and proceeded for dinner.

Finished a nice dinner at Citta's before heading back to the bus station, which by then was relatively cleared of angry people waiting for their rides home, as the highway was cleared sometime earlier during our dinner. Some did remain, and there was slight priority disagreement as to who should board the bus first. It was all settled without much physical activities, and we were soon on our way home.

T'was an eventful day spent at Whistle skiing indeed. Go again? I'm not sure. Did not purchase the Edge card, and am hardpressed for time. Still have my galloping trails and bus riding to contend with.

Photos for Whistler

Not much of them.

But here they are anyway. =)

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Presents Thread::

Ok, in view of the impending coming back to Singapore (sob sob), dear boys and girls and ladies and gentlemen and whatever type of homo sapiens, please notify me as to whether you want a present or not (this is to reward you for being loyal viewers of my blog ;) ).

If yes, what pressie you want?!? Got specifics then name them, see can get or not. Else I RandomSelect.

Some of the foreseeable pressies:
-maple leaf syrup in fancy gift glass bottles?
-Starbucks limited edition stored value cards from main branch in Seattle (fyi, the original Starbucks logo's siren's breasts are not covered. And these original logos are still in print ONLY in that main branch)
-postcards (...)
-tourist maps (? haha...)

If there's serious rejections of any of the above pressies, please also state hor....

Going to Whistler Mountain for skiing tomorrow

Won't be blogging. Haha, as if I blogging everyday. This is the first time I'm skiing, so I think it'll be fun. Why not snow boarding? Dunno leh, think skiing easier lah, and also less extreme. I'm an old sack of bones unable to withstand much excitement. ;)

Friday, November 26, 2004

Best study (mugging!) spot found!

After traversing every corner of the Kroener Library, found that the best seats are on level 4,5,6, at the glass-shield side facing Main Library.

You get a nice scenery to look at when tired from studying, that's one reason.

But the main reason is that..... the heater is running parallel to that side! That's a very useful thing to have when you are all cold and shivering and your socks are both wet (The feeling of wearing warm socks freshly heated over the heater is orgasmic, I tell you...)

I don't like the rain that much now. Too much of it dampens the mood too much (on top of feeling all cold and wet inside), and that can be quite depressing. Depression is good for short periods of time, but not all the time. =(

This morning cooked a relatively heavy breakfast again. Shiok shiok.

And Sushi tonight. Yay. Oh happy day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

New photos are up! And about time too....

Here are the photos::
04-10-22 Seattle
04-10-22 Seattle Bus
04-11-19 Lytton & Kamloops

Dinner @ KFC and Dairy Queen's

Had KFC Twonies meal again today, but this time was 3 meals to 2 persons (that makes out to 3 pieces + 1.5 packs of fries.)

Went to DQ for their milk shakes (we ordered strawberry and chocolate++:: the favourite flavours) and played bridge till 9pm, when we feel totally tired and full. It's a weekend feeling experienced on a weekday.

Yes, the fat intake for the day is absolutely sinful.
And Sushi Whammy is on Thursday! Must detox. Hmm. But I'm just saying. =)

Weekend Vacation to Lytton and Kamloops (Kamloops Part)

I dig the Hostelling International @ Kamloops. It's situated in an ex-courthouse, still furnished with all that should belong to a courthouse. You can study while sitting @ the judge's seat, or eat breakfast in the witness' box, or play yoyo in the jury's post, or whatever. Also, this might be the only HI (not even the Seattle one!) which has a bath tub.

We arrived at HI @ around 2 am and had a mini Amazing race adventure
1) Find the HI.
Where's that? Isn't that a courthouse? But the address is rite... Oh! It's the HI! Yay!!! Let's go to the entrance...

2) Try enter HI.
Damn! The door's locked! How? Oh, for late entrance, it's through another entrance? Great, let's go find it...

3)Find other door.
Is that a passage way under the main entrance? Oh, there's a box with a lock in the door! Quick! Unscramble it with the combination you have... Oh, there's a letter in it!
Hi Frank,
Welcome to HI! Blah blah blah.... Attached is a key to your room.
Your bed is on level 3, room B (3rd room on the left), bed 2.
Please approach to check in in the morning. =)
Lock the box with this combination : 2102

3)Enter HI.
Go up to the main door, insert key (it works!), then figure way to bed.

Happening, I tell you.

Morning woke up late and took some cheesy pictures revolving around all the cool courthouse stuff.

Spent a deal of time looking for this famous Amsterdam's pancake restaurant, walking up and down Victoria Street a few times looking for it, only to find that it's closed down. How's that possible for a gourmet restaurant that's suggested by people? Even the clerk at HI suggested that...

Had instead an awesome breakfast @ 'Hello Toast' gourmet toast restaurant, and it's a 5/5 on my must-eat scale. Breakfast's really good, what with the bennies (egg Benedict with Hollandaise sauce) and sandwiches... Felt that much closer to heaven there and then. Guaranteed best buy. So there.

Bought a bus pass @ 3.75 each and checked in into this Grandview Motel (GVM) at the end of Columbia Street, and it's great I tell you.

The power of Lonely Planet (LP) cannot be more underestimated. GVM was slammed down by LP for uncourteous staff, and because of that, business dwindled (I guess from the 'crowd' I missed seeing there...), so they sorta became more courteous, and also drove prices down from 60+ (as stated in LP) to 45 before taxes (50 after tax). This is by aggaration, a similar price to HI, but comes with super comfy beds and attached bathrooms! With bathTubs and freebies to kop and TV to watch and everything nice and wholesome! This is a guaranteed best buy, from the Ramada Inn next door which sets us to $80 and Hospitality Inn to $50.

Took a bus traversing along the Thompson River and saw nice sceneries. Pity my puny A40 couldn't take nice photos from the bus. =(

Ended the night with dinner @ Rainbow Family Restaurant near GVM, and a night view from an excellent viewpoint (there's a Chapters Restaurant @ the viewpoint [it advertises itself based on the view it has], and I think it has the best view in kamloops city.)

digression:: The Chapters Restaurant is signaged as 'Voted as the best Restaurant'. What does that mean? How much can you trust the value of the restaurant from that? Say I cast one vote (from the entire nation) to vote for my kopitiam to be 'the best kopitiam in Singapore', am I eligible to say that my kopitiam is 'Voted as the best kopitiam in Singapore'? How legal is that? Any lawyers around, please comment on this... ::End of digression

The Rainbow restaurant was a nice restaurant. We had the MMMMMMonster Burger that was humongous and had 3 juicy huge humongous (did I say that again? cos it IS humongous) meat patties inside. The burger was big enough to make 2 person (1 big meat eater) suffer in its generosity.

Breakfast the next morning was at Rainbows also, and this time it was Bennies (I think I love Egg Benedict now, though I have no idea who Benedict is) and the two-of-everything meal (eggs/bacon/sausage/pancakes). It's a great family restaurant. 4 thumbs up for value. Like the bearded cook (maybe he's boss also) also. Friendly guy.

And so completes our journey to Lytton and Kamloops.

If you ask me, Kamloops is worth the trip, but there's no need to stop at Lytton for whatever reason, even if you were born in Lytton.

Weekend Vacation to Lytton and Kamloops (Lytton Part)

Last Friday skipped school (Frank! Skipped school? This is unbecoming of you...) to go on a bus trip to Lytton and Kamloops, about 4 hours east of Vancouver.

Lytton is a small town with a population of 300+, which is about 3% of the size of a church in singapore, which is the size of 12 junior college classes, which is 1.5x one batch of NUS law students, and 1x one batch of wedding dinner guests. There's really nothing much to do there, so if you are wanting to go there in the expectation of some really neat and cool activities, don't. The Lytton link above really did a good job in detailing everything that's existing in Lytton to be exaggeratively interesting.

At the greyhound stop is the Pioneer Cemetary, where the more photographic part of you may want to stop for some cemetary shoots. Or not, if the photographic part of you doesn't want to.

The visitor information led us to take picture of a funny sand contour structure they call 'Jelly Roll' (and frame it up alongside a wall), in the hope that it may one day become a famous landmark of the remarkably small and deserted town. Sadly, this belief reinforcement led to a great anti-climax that I have not recovered from, after seeing the real McCoy to be just a funny sand contour structure that they frame alongside a wall.

The caboose park beside the GrEaT Lytton Jelly Roll was the size of a budget-limited coffeeshop in an overpriced CBD district. 5 groups can play hopscotch in it, with all of them trying very hard not to collide amongst themselves. Except that after they brought in the cAbOoSe, there seems to be only room for 2 groups left.

We had lunch at the best cafe in town (truth is, it is the only cafe), which was facing the notorious Fence, where all the toughies of the town hang out (really, the place's so limited that even toughies can't be picky about where to hang out...). Where is it? It's the only noticable fence in the whole town, so you can't miss it.

If there's anything worth the time at Lytton, it has to be the Fraser river and all the adjacent mountains that makes the whole place so picturesque. Took some pictures that you might see soon on my website. Elisa has got more pictures, so you might want to link there via the link on the left. But then again, she's so perfectionistic that only a few rare photos (taken from obscure angles or under super rare elemental support[rain @ horizontal angle, rainbow, rays of lights through clouds...]) pass the cut into her gallery.

We also took the Lytton Reaction Ferry that was a boat linked via to the two sides of the Fraser River by metal wirings. The tilt of the boat allowed the slight heavy current to push it from shore to shore, and that's the physics part of it.

Ended off the day waiting for the greyhound @ 10pm, after seeing all (at around 5pm?) that was interesting in Lytton, the (only) supermarket included. Bring lots of work along to maximise time efficiency.

Alan Hu

I have a very interesting Lecturer for CS418, Computer Architecture. Just for the record, his name is Alan J. Hu, but this is not as interesting as he is, though you can make still fun of his first name (Alan Hu. Alan Who? Get it? =)) We go to his class every Thursday even though that's sorta the only class we have for the days. It's more of a free entertainment event. =)

Amidst floating (and sometimes sinking) on the flotsams in the sea of technical jargons in archi class, we were relatively challenged by Hu (last week, Thursday) on remembering a certain term for some bizarre data system component that stores instructions during processing. Terms were blurted out after much cajoling from Hu, including 'instruction queue', 'reorder buffer', 'Register renaming unit' (and a whole slew of other similar sounding names performing similar duties), but not to the utmost satisfaction of our normally easygoing Hu.

He hinted, poked, cajoled, and lured, without getting the right answer from us for a good 10 minutes, by when most of the amusement was wearing off. Mitch, the usual brain of the class, was exhausted from guessing in futileness.

Almost giving up, Hu gave his ultimatum. That it started with the letter 'R'. Now this was not the ultimatum that one would normally expect in lieu of the exact answer, but we gave him another chance at it, for he was normally such a nice guy. Unfortunately, no one was mugger enough to remember the term still, and it ended off with Hu talking more and more about what it does, and forgetting to tell us what the term was, after keeping us in what seemed like hours of suspense. Mitch saved us from dying in our own curiosity by blurting out (after giving Hu some time to remember that he has not told us the term yet) 'So tell us the name already...'

'Reservation Station' was the answer, and it still seemed a jargon lost in the vast sea to us.

If he doesn't seem interesting to you, that may be because I'm not giving a good description about him. Try going to his website here to find out more. He's really a nice guy to boot, and neat and fuss-free.

His usual pet phrases:
~'...gobs and gobs of money'
~'Anyone have any questions? I have no shame, you have no shame...'
~'Let's vote on this'

His usual punchlines:
~involves making fun of the whole Wintel union as 2 associates ready to stab each other in the back, should the opportunity arise. It usual dallies around Intel giving support to Linux and other OSes, and Windows giving support to AMD...
~involve periods of silence, with much question marks flying about everyone's head.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

A Personal Analysis of Transcontinental Economy differences

If there are anything cheaper over here (Canada) than in Singapore, it would have to be 'Made in Canada' stuff or Kentucky Fried Chicken, which I had for dinner tonight.

Today is Toonies Two's Day @ KFC and there is an offer for (2pcs Chick + Small Fries) @ CAD$2 (did you guess this? You would be wrong, cos there's a 15% tax. =) ) And you could add an extra piece of chicken or an extra drink (20 oz) for a loonie (in fact you can add unlimited chix/drink if you had unlimited loonies).

That works out to a 3-piece meal with fries for $3.45, after tax. Convert that to SGD would be around SGD$4.50? That totally rocks and increases my affinity for it. =). How agreeable and delightful.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I did it! I called home! Now I'm guilt free! Yay

To all those nil-wishers,
here's the latest news: After N weeks, I finally called home again! Though it got hanged up after 12 minutes is another matter...

Got meself skypeOut points to call out from my lappie so no need to go out and face the elements in that (yes, THAT.) dingy phone booth 2 streets down. No more shady stereo-man to disturb me phonecalls!

Anyone want to get me can get me @ skype: user :: native02

New Concept: Hair Conditioner

Just found out that you are supposed to use conditioner AFTER shampooing. Hmm... interesting.

When was the first time you used hair conditioner? My first use was last year in Malaysia, when I bought a pair of conditioner+shampoo, when I accidently mistook it as shampoo. How about that? I was so pissed off that the 'shampoo' had no foam. Damn.

Trip to Shannon Falls and Squamish

The trip to Shannon Falls and Squamish last Saturday is about 1hr ride (CAD$15, return, Greyhound) from Vancouver, with a little bit of scenery on the way (the way back at night is better, I think, cos you can see the Vancouver skyline and all the glitzy lights of Vancouver while the bus moves along the shore line of horseshoe bay)

Shannon Falls' nice (BC's third-highest waterfall)and comes with a few delightfully awkward hiking trails. Not the usual well travelled ones, but those of quite steep elevations (they have steps for some of the way, but only rocks on others). There's also some awesome rocks (Stawamus Chief Mountain) which would look very nice on postcards and photos, except the day was too cloudy for nice photos...

Squamish is a relatively small town with little to squam about. We went on a walk along the touristed estuary, to some slight disappointment at the lack of birds (wrong season?) and the cloudy weather. It was nevertheless, a walk to remember.

Some touristy facts about Squamish:
Situated at the head of Howe Sound and surrounded by mountains, Squamish is cradled in natural beauty as only a West Coast community can be. Growing in fame as the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada, visitors will discover the abundance of attractions, activities and opportunities to explore in the community of Squamish.

Things to do::
-Shannon Falls Provincial Park
-Stawamus Chief Provincial Park
-Alice Lake Provincial Park

-Rail history showcased at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park
-Shannon Falls also attracts thrill-seeking ice climbers
-Squamish Estuary provides extraordinary birding, with over 200 species identified.
-Windsurfing: Squamish has the Spit, a long breakwater located at the mouth of the Squamish River. It is the launch pad for windsurfers who rely on its predictable wind, known as a squamish, which blows each afternoon.
-In 1994, Squamish set the world record with an astounding 3766 eagles counted in one day! The month-long Eagle Festival is held in January, drawing crowds from around the world.

.... and that's all the nice stuff you can do there. But we went there for the Estuary walk only, cos not time/dun like/no money for all the other stuff. =)

Ended the day @ Granville trying to find the much acclaimed (by Rockies Express Groupie) Sushi restaurant to no avail, and gave the search up for a warmer dinner @ Congee Noodle House. Congee Noodle House never fails. =)

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Changes in Singapore: Computer Times is now Digital Life

A few months out of Singapore and it seems that changes are slowly but surely creeping me by. I'm almost certain that something shocking in news value will great me at Changi Airport when I get back, or in the next few days after. Something big, and many things trivial.

I can almost imagine my brother saying to me 'Oh, nothing much happened while you were away... There's a few more Starbucks, Old Chang Kee pulled out of Singapore, that's about all. Oh, and by the way, Nathan died and Gurmit Singh became President.' Horrors. Imagine that.... Old Chang Kee pulled out of Singapore? That will be the day, I tell you... Absolutely mindless.

I still remember a period of time of blind-going-to-school-and-do-nothing-else, only to find that the local shopping mall has undergone such drastic changes when I went there the day after all the semester exams. New jewellery shops shifted in, Pizza Hut renovated, BreadTalk came in, a few fashion shops started[but they always come and go, so this is trivial], M1 Shop came in... Now who EVER notice changes in the local Mall?? Changes in local Malls are supposed to be so transient and so gradual that you won't even notice them if they move the whole mall 2 blocks down the road. Sorta tells how I've been not having a life (to even visit the local mall once in the whole semester) while in NUS.

Changes always seem to pounce on me from all corners, at all angles. They are so well-concealed and camouflaged that they should be given Commando status. In fact, changes are so constant taht I've gotten used to them already, but will (as a customary protocol) always give the 'What just happened??' face, so as not to disappoint anyone who may think change to be a really cool stuff.

Perhaps this is the period (my period) of time when time seems to shift to gear 5 and everything passes you (me) by so quickly that you can't say 'whytheheckwasthatgarbagebagflyingdowntheroadatthespeedoflightminus15kmperhourfor?' and 'someoneshouldcallthepolicetogiveitaspeedingticket!'. There is a greater preoccupation with studies and work and whatever time-wasting-stuff-that-adults-do that you (yes, me) don't seem to be noticing the small stuff in Life anymore. No more playing badminton at the carpark downstairs every night (that's me @ pri3/4!), no more watching Chinese MTVs at 2am on Fri/Sat nights (that's me @ sec1/2/3), no more hanging out at the kopi-shop with your kakis (ok, this is not me), no more going down to Orchard road with your hair super-geled and donning orchid print shirts blowing wolf-whistles at RGS girsl(not me also, I swear) and whatnots. Is this for the good or worse? I am not sure. Life doesn't get simple, and pre-heats for the rat race in Singapore is about to start soon. It seems so inevitable, yet so preventable.

Everyone should do something about this before nothing else mundane happens to everyone.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I have 2 more Jelly Belly Jelly Beans left.

Forsooth I am undone!
To buy more, or not to buy more: that is the question:
Whether 'tis better for the stomach to suffer
The 20-flavours of Jelly bellies,
Or to refuse against the torn soul of desire,
And by opposing end them? To eat: to yearn;
No more; and by a yearn to say we end
The gastric pain and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consumption
Devoutly to be wished."

Fire Engine outside Pender Apt! (Again)

The fire alarm in our apartment has been tripping ever so often that I've made friend with the fire engine driver who comes along helter-skeltering in his red fire engine (with firelights and all).

His name is Joe and he has 3 sons (4, 6 , 9 yrs old)and 1 daughter (16), his wife left him 3 months ago and he hangs out at Pizza Garden every night after work. Just kidding.

Ok, apparently there's something wrong with the fire alarm in the building, and all of us are not pleased to be woken up by it in the wee hours of the morning (think 2am). Thought of smashing the bell to pieces, but... that's a crime isn't it? Might as well leave it to some other impatient tenant to do the dirty work... =P

Results on Quizilla.

You're the model Singaporean student!

You actually enjoy going to school,
doing your work and get straight As!! But at
the cost of your social life, you dumb mugger.
Nobody knows or even cares about you.
Congratulations, everybody else openly hates

Which Stereotypical Singaporean Student Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, November 08, 2004

A pleasant sunday following the pleasant weekend. =)

Went to Granville Island after church today and had an agreeable lunch of Calamari (w/ unagreeably oily fries) and Indian curry rice (rice + dhal + masala chicken + spinach++ ).

Window-shopped till contentedly tired and is now home blogging this entry before going to sleep.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

A pleasant weekend. =)

Was supposed to go Steveston Park (south of Richmond) after the excellent dim sum @ the szechuan restaurant @ Granville, but ended up walking down Granville window shopping instead.

The drizzle followed us all the way after we left Granville till we arrived at Cafe Aritigiano in downtown, where we had premium latte and companionship, before deciding on yet another meaningless traversal, one round along the skytrain loop.

Met yanying (she's going Metrotown) on the bus towards skytrain, but separated later as we were going in different directions. But halfway through the traversal for scenic sights along the skytrain, randomly decided to go MetroTown also and left off the meaningless traversal.

I have no good taste when it comes to clothes, but was thankfully accompanied by one who has much better taste than me. The MetroTown trip then evolved into a 'Shop For Frankie Frenzy', in search of the perfect jeans for me ( nice...). GAP, Levis, Old Navy was parsed through without much success, ending off on Robson's GAP, where it was finally found and approved by the stringent QC personnel.

Watched 'Bruce Almighty' at night, after a dinner of wanton noodles.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Poppy flowers everywhere

Saw people wearing poppy flowers around, and we thought that there's some anti-drug campaign going on, although the idea of wearing poppy flowers seems contrasting to the very idea of banning drugs. Imagine people protesting against on the streets against drugs, yet smelling the poppy flower in their shirt pocket? The irony...

Found out that it's for Remembrance Day this coming Thurs (holiday to cao mug! Yay. =|) and it's some sort of day to remember those that had died in some war (WWII? I can't remember... =P)

Do you want anyone to remember you when you die? I have no particular preference for that. As long as God remembers me and how Jesus has died that my worthless life can be considered worthy in the Lord's eyes, I am satisfied. I have no great ambition to become any more famous than I am now (I am not.) but just to live a simple life with the one that I love, without worries of survival in this modern rat-racing society (if can open a provision shop in the end, then best).

Peace and stability are my current living goals, and towards them I have grown to be quite aggressive (even blindingly). Perhaps I have seen through turmoil and instability, and that's what's driving me towards these goals that others take for granted (and start reaching for other things in Life). I don't take them for granted, for I know that they aren't. At least to me, they aren't. Call me insecure or whatever jargons you want, but that's me.

Weekend Vacation to Squamish: something to squirm about.

And no, haven't been there yet, but it's slotted for next weekend. Hope there will not be any further changes to this, thought we all know that 'the only constant is change' blah blah....

Squamish sounds like an adjective/sound/verb/watever for something that's... squamish.
'The apple pie looks squamish.' seems like a perfectly logical sentence, except that you don't really know what's squamish. It's a description for something.... squamish. Heck. Someone google for it and tell me if it exists.

Ok, one day we will be there and find out what's exactly so squamish about Squamish. I hope it's not too squamish though.

Pawnshops encouraging stealing stuff in Northeast Van..

Horrors! Here is a report on pawnshops around my area (northeast Van) encouraging people to steal goods!

Aiyoh, cannot hang my underwears out to dry already, scully pple steal them... =P

Of pumpkin pies (? Haha..), potato salads (Hmm..), and delectable grilled drumsticks

There must be some laws (if there isn't, someone should motion for them) to make it illegal for anyone to not own an oven. The drumsticks in tomato puree/mayonaise grilled in a 230 degs oven taste so delicious that I must must must try to make my own. (Even if it takes N times of washing to get the pandoric oven clean before I can experiment with it)

Pumpkin pie? Haha... What can I say? Better luck next time. Thank God that it doesn't take as much effort as the hazelnut torte, or all of us will feel really bad. Really really bad.

There is something about the potato salad that I cannot put a finger to it. And so I won't. It has something to do with the beans being too long, the radish being funnily bland, and... argh! I'm putting my finger into it! Stop it, Frank...

Elisa has a secret recipe notebook that I am tempted to swipe while she's sleeping. I could ask it from her, but then, where's the fun? Would love to see the horrified face when she finds her 'precious' gone... bwah hah hah...

Friday, November 05, 2004

Weekend Vacation to Tofino cancelled.

It was to be either a long weekend in Tofino (beach, hiking trails++) encumbered with thoughts of back-logging homework, or a short weekend elsewhere (leaving some time to do work).

Don't feel like rushing around, so giving Tofino a miss for now.

Maybe will whack Tofino/Victoria together during study break, see how.

Just found out next weekend is bad for travelling. Rememberance Day is burnt by the Psych Midterm 2 the following day, whilst the following Monday's Algo Midterm 2 killed the weekend. Though the bigger picture is to enjoy the stay here, I still don't think it's wise to be on extended-away for the weekend, so Lytton and Kamloops will have to wait slightly longer... Maybe the waiting and eager anticipation will make the trip better, or not. Hmm.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Sacre Bleu.

Is my English getting from bad to worse or is everyone's english getting better? Or is this a transient problem among all engineers?

Been reading friends' blog and cannot believe that I am standing in awe of their literary flair, gazing but from a distance off.

The competitive spirit in me does not admit that my A2 in GP does not last forever, and I am determined (for this immensely short period of insanity and indignant) to master a language that I once did, engineer or not.

Financial Situation (update)

Dear all-who-are-interested-in-my-financial-situation,
Please find under 'My Files' at my website (look to the left for link), an updated excel spreadsheet on my financial status.

While rampant spendings and several high budget expenditures/holidays have contributed greatly against the heavily stretched budget, I assure you that EVERYTHING IS STILL UNDER CONTROL.

Though only around SGD$300+ is left for ALL EXPENSES TILL END OF SCHOOL, do not panic.
Though market sentiments are against my surviving on the pittance left, do not panic.
Though I might well be chomping on can foods for the rest of my stay here, do not panic.
Though there are still a few more trips (to Tofino, Chicago, Seattle [again?], +++) to be embarked upon and will incur more costs, do not panic.
I should be the one panicking, and I am not.

This is because :
all the heavy duty expenses have been paid up (rent and other household overheads, clothes+++),
the initial budget of SGD$8K is simply unrealistic and just a high-aim goal,
there are still reserves of over SGD$5K left for emergency situation.

Any eating into the reserves will simply mean less money for travelling to Taiwan/China/Thailand/Vietnam/HK when I get back.

So, chill.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Sunday, October 31, 2004

What am I? A nerd, a dork, or a Superman?

What is a nerd? What is a dork? Does Superman exist?

An intimate friend of mine has labelled me a nerd, to which I feel unjustified (like, totally...). Does a mugger constitutes a nerd? Do I really look nerdy? I need a second opinion on this, that I may save myself from this wrongful label.

If in the unforeseen circumstance that overwhelming odds find me a nerd, then perhaps some drastic changes must be applied unsparingly. Extreme makeover, anyone?

Tell me, kind friends of mine, what am I? I have already braced myself for your answer. Shoot me.

So it seems that we are not going to Las Vegas anymore....

So where should I go this weekend? Tofino? Gallops Goose Trail? Or some other unknown corner off the beaten tracks of Vancouver? I am spoilt for choices, but slouthy to plan. Randomized algorithms are my weapons of choice.

As an exchange student, I love the freedom of being able to treat schoolwork with contempt (ok, slightly only. I still kiasu...) and go on random trips to random places. But time is surely gaining upon me, and the end of this exchange program can be seen looming in the approaching horizon. How many more day trips/road trips/weekend trips are still possible before going back to Singapore? Have I fully utilized my time here? I call myself to accounts and find myself lacking in weight. I need to travel more.

Too much stress and concentration over studies has marred the enjoyment of this wonderful holidayish semester, as I fear falling behind in studies once back in Singapore. It doesn't help that what I have learnt is insufficient for me to enter the workforce with, and that I don't feel adequate in knowledge on my field of studies. But perhaps I should stop caring about the quality of the manure in the field, and start smelling the roses growing on it. Been pricked by one before shall not stop me from smelling another rose.

If there is anything worthy of profits from this trip, it has already been profited. I consider this long-term investment invested, and regard everything else as bonuses.

I leave everything else to God and His instruments. He works in his own mysterious ways for His divine Purpose.

Missing food in Singapore... drool

This message was forwarded to you from Straits Times Interactive ( by

Snack attack
by Teo Pau Lin

XXL marks the spot

THE owners of Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks knew they had hit the right note when a customer ordered their crispy chicken seven times in a day.

Called XXL Crispy Chicken, each fillet is the size of a large hand palm and is deep-fried until it is crispy outside and juicy inside.

It is then cut into bite-sized pieces and tossed with a secret blend of Chinese spices.

The Taiwanese snack stall, which also offers handmade oyster mee sua and chicken floss egg crepe, has been attracting queues of up to 30 people at its five outlets.

Owners Melvyn Wong and Daniel Tay, both 26, first tasted these snacks when they were on national service in Taipei more than five years ago.

Right through their studies in the National University of Singapore, they had their minds set on bringing the items here.

'A lot of Singaporeans who have been to Taiwan love these snacks, so we know there's a ready market,' says Mr Wong.

But there is no franchise available for selling the items, so he took matters into his own hands.

Last year, he spent two months in Taipei's Shihlin market - the most famous night market in Taiwan - learning how to cook the three items. He paid three chefs a five-figure sum for the lessons.

With their savings, the owners launched their first company-owned outlet in Far East Plaza in February this year.

Since then, they have gone on to open four franchise outlets, with two more to come by year end.

The pair still receive one franchise inquiry a day, they say. A franchise right goes for between $25,000 and $35,000, depending on the stall's location.

'It's a simple business. We supply the ingredients, they just need to cook and serve,' says Mr Tay.

He is not worried that the craze will go the way of Taiwanese bubble tea.

'We're not selling a fad, we're selling staple Taiwanese food. We're confident it'll be popular here for a long time,' he adds.

Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks

Sells: XXL Crispy Chicken, handmade oyster mee sua and chicken floss egg crepe, at $3 each

Five outlets: Far East Plaza, Bishan Junction 8, Plaza Singapura, Bukit Panjang Plaza, IMM Building

Stick them up, they're good

STREET versions of expensive food are rarely good.

But not only are Tori-Q's yakitori fresh, tender and deliciously addictive, they are reasonably priced from 80 cents a stick.

Owner Yohei Takeda, 36, admits to another reason his chain has expanded to an impressive six outlets in four years - machines.

Each outlet boasts a $20,000 yakitori-making machine, which dips the sticks in sauce and grills them at two sticks a minute.

'It produces many sticks in a much shorter time, all made fresh on the spot,' he says.

Mr Takeda, who has lived in Singapore for 10 years, first started selling takopachi (squid balls) from a pushcart in Clarke Quay in 1994.

Business was so encouraging that the now Singapore permanent resident moved to Takashimaya food hall two years later.

He now has three Takopachi outlets at Takashimaya, Bugis Junction and Bishan Junction 8.

But with the rising prices of squid, he decided to branch out into a different snack that uses cheaper ingredients - yakitori.

He imported the yakitori machines from Japan so he could sell cheaply and in vast volumes. Now, a constant stream of customers snap up more than 3,000 sticks at each outlet every day.

Mr Takeda, who is married with two children, says he keeps a tight rein over quality.

He prefers to mince the meat for the chicken balls himself because 'suppliers don't always give you the best'. All sauces and mayonnaise are also made in-house.

For this reason, only the Paragon outlet is a franchisee.

He is not selling any more franchises because 'we want to really control the quality'.


Sells: Japanese skewers of chicken, pork and eel, from 80 cents to $1.60 each

Six outlets: Takashimaya Food Hall, Bugis Junction, Paragon, Liang Court, Far East Plaza and Bishan Junction 8

Croquettes stay crispy for 2 hours

FANS of deep-fried food would find croquettes irresistible.

But Corochan's Corokke offers an edge - its croquettes stay crispy for up to two hours.

Mr Hoo Shao Pin, managing director of the Singapore franchise, says the secret is in the breadcrumb coating, which includes chopped vegetables like carrots, pumpkins, red peppers and tomatoes.

The family-owned Japanese croquette chain has over 700 outlets in Japan.

Mr Hoo, 35, came across its website when he was looking for food business opportunities on the Internet in 2002.

Convinced that the tasty snacks would be a hit in Singapore, he flew to the company's headquarters in Gifu to persuade the owners to sell him a franchise.

Now the master franchiser for Singapore, he has set up four company-owned outlets since launching the first in Far East Plaza in 2002, with an initial investment of $150,000.

They offer seven types of croquettes - plain potato, camembert cheese, prawn, onion tuna, milk, seafood and omelette.

For $3.80, you can also have them with rice covered with Japanese curry, deep-fried chicken, cabbage salad and watermelon.

At its peak, each outlet sold up to 3,500 pieces a day, although the number has since dipped to about 800 a day, says Mr Hoo.

But the former IT specialist of 12 years is confident of his product's staying power.

All frozen croquettes from Japan are made with top-grade potatoes from Hokkaido. For frying, all outlets use the healthier canola oil which is low in harmful fats and high in beneficial fats.

In fact, each seafood croquette ($1.50) contains only 40 calories, Mr Hoo says.

Corochan's Corokke

Sells: Seven types of potato croquettes from $1 to $2 each

Four outlets: Far East Plaza, Plaza Singapura, Bugis Junction, Bishan Junction 8
IP Address:

Friday, October 29, 2004

A highly inefficient randomized algorithm for traversing Broadway

Today for some rhyme and reason was feeling randomly free after enduring the long periods of mugging for the accursed midterms(es).

Sweet miseries are left behind and post-stress behaviour sets in, leaving me with no obvious choice but to traverse Broadway with (cons (Eu (cons (jiayun zhiqing))))) under the good-natured activity one would term window-shopping. With the exception of potato chips, plum sweets, and dinner, nothing else was taken into our possession from Broadway, less the ideas of future purchases from MEC. Those ideas, may, however, be just acquired by me and jiayun, who was feeling sore in not getting the MEC card from Garry in time for the purchase of a dainty water container I call a 'Nalgene'. I was, and am, thinking of one particular fashionable pantaloons which would leave me much better accustomed to the blight weathers in Vancouver.

Food was partaken at a hospitable restaurant which I find somewhat inappropriately named 'Singapore Restaurant'. Off the busy street of Broadway, it was miraculously left almost-virgin by the crowds that flows along Broadway in fluid motion. A quiet corner (off Singapore) left to 4 Singaporeans leave us no doubt of a spontaneous bridge session, which was abruptly terminated by the service of food by the gracious Indonesian (the irony!) restaurant owner. Our amazement at the sweet char kway teow, dainty assam chicken, suspiciously-wet hokkien mee, and tomato-sauced mee goreng, was only surpassed by a greater amazement at an unfamiliar rendition of 'Dayung Sampan'. Some contemplation of whether Teresa Teng or this newfound unfamiliar voice first lent voice to this tune ensued, only to a conclusion that this was a ridiculous task, since Teresa existed much after the times of sampans. I did remember that she died of asthma in Thailand, which cannot, by no normal situation, be reached in a sampan or any other primitive transports, from HongKong.

A highly inefficent reverse traversal back to UBC to catch 'The Return' at the SUB cinema was sadly met by the ill-informed news, by way of a letter-sized printout of 'no-show', that our journey for the day has met an untimely end.

And thus ends a highly inefficient and neutrally interesting day.

Some thoughts and discussions of the day:
Do you believe in Fate? Destiny? Why and why not? (10 marks)
What does Frank do first thing in the morning? (2 marks)
What does Frank do after coming home? Exclude administrative duties. (5 marks)
Why are there marks for thoughts and discussions? (0 marks)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Back from Vacation in Seattle!



Day 1 :
It was pouring while we made our way to the greyhound bus terminal.. the ride to seattle was abt 4 hrs... we were playing bridge & hearts all the way there... haha...
the entire day was really really dark & gloomy [YUP]... maybe dats why my 1st impression of seattle wasnt dat great. [AGREED] had lunch at quiznos sub [I TOOK OUT MY RAVIOLI CAN FOOD. GARRY ALSO], a subway equivalent, but much better i tink... checked into HI.. HI seattle has got to be one of the more high class hostel we have ever stayed in so far... towels provided, free breakfast, free coffee 24hrs!! =)... after settling down, we went for the underground tour at pioneer square. seattle has such a ridiculously stupid history, which i bet not many seattle-ans noe abt... seattle is a low-lying land & the tides will flood most of the land area... so many years ago the govt decided to build higher roads, while sidewalks & houses which are private propeties remained 1 storey lower... how stupid can they get??? [VERY]... after the tour, we went to the seattle art museum which was having a spanish exploration exhibition...[THEY HAVE THOSE REALLY FUNKY AUDIOSETS FOR YOU TO LISTEN WHILE LOOKING AT THE EXHIBITS] which i tot was pretty interesing.. anw, along the way we saw many photo or art gallery dats simply open to the public. tot dat was really cool.. pple cant do dat in s'pore. they will go bankrupt. nobody will sponsor them. nobody will appreciate them... oh, but back to my story.. after dinner, we went to this inprov Unexpected Productions.. i dun really noe how to describe the show [I'LL TRY WITH 2 WORDS. "WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY". OK, NOT 2 WORDS. SUE ME.] but it was a very interactive show whereby audience get to choose wat they want to see on stage.. the actors were good & really fast in their response & had good coordination... had a few good laughs... =) definitely a new experience... best of all its free!![IF YOU STAY IN HI!!!]

Day 2:

took a long bus ride around seattle... intended to visit the arboretum park but were advised against it by the bus driver & went to The Locks instead. (the bus driver is so nice! gave us day passes for free!![I LIKE...]) the locks is basically this whole complex system of regulating water levels b/w the freshwaters & the sea water.. i've seen one in m'sia but this was on a much bigger scale... then we went to the cheesecake factory for lunch [HEY, ITS NOT 'the cheesecake factory', BUT 'THE cheesecake factory'...] to me it has got to be THE best part of my seattle trip.. [THE SHRIMP BISTRO SENT ME TO HEAVEN AND BACK] i luv the ambience. classy yet not formal & oppressive, lovely deco, lively yet retaining privacy, great service, great food!! it has to be my best dining experience since i left s'pore. (i am so deprived!!) the shrimp bistro pasta was awesome [THAT'S WHAT I JUST SAID!]. really unique. they had a dizzling array of cheesecakes, but i tot they were good but not dat great.. the cheese part wasnt cheesy enuff for me & the crust isnt as great as i expected. u noe wat, i still tink coffee beans' cheesecake is the best [NOT TRUE! IT WAS REALLY GOOD. OK, NOW YOU HAVE 2 OPINIONS, SO JUDGE YOURSELF.]. but besides dat, i really enjoyed my meal.. it is the kind of place i'd want to visit with my bf =).. after spending a long time in the restaurant, we went to seattle centre to visit the seattle space needle.. didnt go up of course its too ex... then headed to the waterfront to see the sunset. i dun like to sit still in the cold beside the sea. it gets WAY TOO COLD for comfort!! gosh... brrrrr...... [JUST THINK THAT YOU ARE AN ESKIMO AND THE FREAKING COLD WIND WILL FEEL LIKE SUMMER BREEZE ON YOUR FACE. =)]

back in the hostel, we played a board game called Careers. haha... pretty cool game which kept us entertained for a few hrs...[JIAYUN WON 2(?) OSCARS AND THE GAME, WHILE I KENA STUCK IN PARK BENCH, WENT TO SEA AND GOT LOST, BECOME A DOCTOR.... HOW EXCITING LIFE IS...]


Day 3:

went to pike place market which sells giant seafood, flowers & misc stuff. highlight was the very FIRST starbucks store there. with the original logo of a siren with her full breasts exposed & all... i'm not a big starbucks fan but its still pretty cool =)...[I BOUGHT AN AUTHENTIC MUG WITH THE OLD LOGO! AND A STORED-VALUE CARD WITH THE OLD LOGO ALSO! WHO WANT?? I DISH OUT AS PRESENT WHEN GO BACK SINGAPORE] then we went a long way out to get this supposedly very famous doughnuts Krispy Kremes [APPARENTLY THERE'S ONE IN DELTA, SOUTHEAST OF RICHMOND]... we took 1 hr to get there on foot but it was all worth it!! the doughnut has got to be the softest i've ever eaten [AGREED]. its so soft u got to be so delicate with it & it melts in ur mouth!! YUMZ.. it brings a new definition to "doughnut"... we all bought 6 dozens back in total... haha... willingly lugging the big boxes of the time we spent on lunch & walking to the bus terminal to return to vancouver...


Travelling to Chicago in the midst of exams. How exciting.

Will be travelling down to Chicago for sightseeing between 15th and 19th Dec. Anyone interested in going down to Seattle on the 15th can get back to me, so can travel down together paying companion fees. I taking my plane from there, cos cheaper.

That means I will be having half a day to travel around Seattle again! Kreemie Kremes, anyone?

Friday, October 22, 2004

Going to Seattle for weekend getaway in the morning. No more blog till I come back.

Time to destress after a super stressful week! Hope it doesn't rain too much. I'm just starting to be on the road again. =)

Will it be good? I dunno. Will tell you when I get back.

But I sure think the mouse in the kitchen will have a raving mad party with his jovial rodent-friends this weekend. Talk about pesty friends.... Fed it some dried shrimps (at least I think it did feed on them. Otherwise it might be Garry or Eu who removed them ... Or did they eat them? Hmm.... Frank, you think too much of nonsensical thing.)

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Travelling to Seattle.

Will it be raining? Will there be things to do there? Interesting? Dull? I'm not sure. But finally, we are going to Seattle. I'm going to be sleepless there. Sleepless in Seattle. Haha. Bad joke.

Mid Term results.

CPSC320:: 32/45. Slightly above average. That's bad. Garry got 37 (I think) but Eu got 18. But I'm sure he'll survive, and he won 1 can of Chunkies and 1 can of Ravioli from me and Garry already.

CPSC311:: 95/120. 3rd highest in class. yay.

PHIL120:: 94/114. Lost to Yanying by 12 points (I think)

PSYCH101:: 69/100. Lost to Eugene by 10 points, but won yanying by 11 points.

Days before Seattle. Rants.

Need to finish homework for this week and next week. That means HW3 and next week's readings for CPSC418.

Got Mid term exams next Thurs. Not studying yet. Study in Seattle? Yah rite. I'm not a mugger. =)

Need to finish all the soon-rotting vegetable (and whatnots) in the fridge.

Help. There's a mouse in the kitchen. Hmm......
Yay. New pet. Don't be too jealous. =)

Finishing my $2.5 tub of Yoplait Yogurt (mixed berries) to avoid seeing random mushrooms in the fridge after coming back from Seattle. Enjoying it. Yumz.

Garry is cooking some of the brocolli and carrots now for supper and to 'eat-for-the-sake-of-finishing'. Smells nice, but I'm not sure about the taste.

Monday, October 18, 2004

I cannot sleep.

I am thinking.

It's a long way out there and I am not sure if I want to be drenched (again) in the rain that my GoreTex is helpless against. A fever takes a long time to recover from.

But how can I reach there if I do not start? The road looks good and favourable, but I need a weather forecast. I need a sign.

I am one who likes to hike but this is a journey to which I know not where it leads.

Acquiring the taste of garlic pasta and Peru/Guatemala coffee brew

Garlic pasta and fresh brewed peru/guatemala coffee are two things new and refreshing to my senses that I would never have ordered and tried by myself (not entirely improbable, but mostly not probable.) But after trying them both, it seems that a flood gate has been opened, and all things pastay and coffeey may inevitably rush out to contend for a spot in my system.

I do not understand coffee much though. Their bitterness creates imageries of carbon blocks and unsaid words that matures into an intense feeling of submissive perseverance within, a robust character developed no doubt. Yet this bitterness leaves a longing for more, a craving, a curiosity that searches for 'what's next?' with the full knowledge that there will be nothing more except the same bitterness. This taste, this imagery, this feeling, is now entrenched into my memory and I will know it for a long time. I am curious to find out more. Pavlov's conditioning has its effects on me already.

Toffee apples are meaningful to the palatte. The crunchy and malic taste of the green apple contrasts with the sweet and gooey toffee, yet they couple together in perfect unison. If there is any weirder combination with the same compatability, I do not know of it.

Harold and Kumar does eventually get to White Castle Burgers' and live happily ever after, albeit for a while.

Yes I owe you big time, and I will make good of it to you.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Oh happening day.

1) Weird dream in the morning.
Dreamt that I was wearing an army singlet and jeans, with short beard. Stuck in Vancouver. Growing old. Getting lost. Something else I forgot... What does that tell? Hmm.

2) Went Ikea today.
Ikea (Coquitlam) is big! 2 levels only, but the place is huge and filled with nice stuff and design concepts. Didn't manage to get the metal plate I wanted, but bought 3 deep plates at 50 cents each (awesome!) and a lamp base @ $7. Missed the $1 dollars breakfast which everyone who reached there before 11am MUST eat, and those who arrived after 11 (I arrived at 1110am) must miss. Ate a sumptuous meal of 20 meatballs, 1 muffin, 1 pecan pie, and 1 lemon meringue, shared with Elisa.

3) Went Richmond also!
Arrived at Richmond quite late and went around Richmond Centre a bit till public announcement gently shooed us out, but was happy to find food (glorious food!) @ Richmond Public market. Hands down one of the best place to eat (Beats Hon's Wonton House!!!). There was Rasa Singapura (Nasi Lemak, Rendang, Mee Siam++++++++++) which was relatively expensive, and a whole array of other super nice 50-stars cheap food stores selling mixed vegetable rice (they have crabs! and Taiwan Food! and Claypot soups! and many many more!) If I was a criminal from china hiding in vancouver, this will be the place I will hide. Won't miss any of the food back home. Pple in UBC can take bus 98 down here to try the best buys. No loss, Frankie Foo guarantee. Ate claypot seafood soup with mee and another type of mee, bubble tea (3 dollars, but portion is suuuper uber), and the disastrous pork pie. The pork pie was nice. It was disastrous (for me at least) cos was already running on full tank before topping up with it. Elisa enjoyed it though. Bottomless pit. =P

4) Went downtown to take Seabus over to North Vancouver, just to see the city lights. was quite transitive considering that we took the same seabus back. Hmm. How many pple do that in a day?

5) Went to UBC. Some cuckoo left Garry's Flashcard in her bag but cannot find it then, then have to go back and get it, only to find that it had been with her the whole day. Fate plays with us, but tortures only me.

6) Drooled on my GorTex a bit on the way back. No tissue paper, so had to pretend was still sleeping while everyone else was looking at me in disgust. It's ok, I dunno them, they dunno me, I reasoned to myself. =P

7) Had to wash GorTex. =(

It was altogether a happy day. Wish everyday could be like this carefree.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Stephen Lynch is a damn funny comedian Singer!!!

Was browsing through blogs just now and came upon this article about Stephen Lynch. Heard his songs, and oh man... this guy rocks!

Go here and check it out, listen to the free songs (and the WMV) , and leave me a comment, k?
Go Here


There's a certain little meaning in meaninglessness things.

To attempt to even have meaning is meaningless, for the fact stands that everything is meaningless. Thus in acceptance that everything is meaningless and do things without meaning, it is in accordance with the meaninglessness of Life itself, and we are doing as we are supposed to be. This is meant to be so, for whatever meaningful thing we attempt to do, it is, in the end, meaningless. If you do not get the meaning of what I am trying to say here, it is all right, for what I say means nothing. It is meaningless, like all other things, for that is what it is supposed to be, and what all things are supposed to be.

'Meaningless! Meaningless! All is meaningless!' The teacher says.

"Now that all has been heard, here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for that is the whole duty of Man." - (Eccle last verse [I think])

Just rantings.

Yesterday jogging saw a crow trying to smash up a bone by throwing it down from the air onto the road (hoping that cars will run over it in the process). It did that a few times until it saw me staring at it. Then it continued a few more times before feeling a bit embarrassed (or I think it to be) and moving to fairer pastures with the bone in its beaks.

I sorta knew that happens (from Nat. Geog? Earthvisions? Forgot where...), but never saw it in the process. Perhaps I should slow down more often to smell the roses and the manure that made the rose what it is. Paying attention to the things around me is what I need to do. Being too focused and caught up with doing instead of experiencing is something I am very guilty of, but that's me. Or maybe it's not. Perhaps I am changing, but I do resist changes, for that is me. I'm so resistive of things that most engineers will label me a short-circuit. But then again, I am digressing.

Digressing from what? I am always digressing anyway.

I digress using corns and jokes and stupid remarks, for those are my forte. I digress with work. I digress by moving on to other things. Sometimes I feel that I am trying to digress from myself, my emotions, my thoughts, but I digress away from that feeling soon enough.

Introspection is something I always do, but there is a level within me that I fear to dwell into and upon, and from that I digress. Perhaps we should leave it at that, and leave Knarf as he is. There are already enough problems in the world to settle, and with that, I digress from it again.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Barkis is willin'

We might have gone about half a mile, and my pocket-handkerchief was quite wet through, when the carrier stopped short. Looking out to ascertain for what, I saw, to MY amazement, Peggotty burst from a hedge and climb into the cart. She took me in both her arms, and squeezed me to her stays until the pressure on my nose was extremely painful, though I never thought of that till afterwards when I found it very tender. Not a single word did Peggotty speak. Releasing one of her arms, she put it down in her pocket to the elbow, and brought out some paper bags of cakes which she crammed into my pockets, and a purse which she put into my hand, but not one word did she say. After another and a final squeeze with both arms, she got down from the cart and ran away; and, my belief is, and has always been, without a solitary button on her gown. I picked up one, of several that were rolling about, and treasured it as a keepsake for a long time.

The carrier looked at me, as if to inquire if she were coming back. I shook my head, and said I thought not. "Then come up," said the carrier to the lazy horse; who came up accordingly.

Having by this time cried as much as I possibly could, I began to think it was of no use crying any more, especially as neither Roderick Random, nor that Captain in the Royal British Navy, had ever cried, that I could remember, in trying situations. The carrier, seeing me in this resolution, proposed that my pocket- handkerchief should be spread upon the horse's back to dry. I thanked him, and assented; and particularly small it looked, under those circumstances.

I had now leisure to examine the purse. It was a stiff leather purse, with a snap, and had three bright shillings in it, which Peggotty had evidently polished up with whitening, for my greater delight. But its most precious contents were two half-crowns folded together in a bit of paper, on which was written, in my mother's hand, "For Davy. With my love." I was so overcome by this, that I asked the carrier to be so good as to reach me my pocket-handkerchief again; but he said he thought I had better do without it, and I thought I really had, so I wiped my eyes on my sleeve and stopped myself.

For good, too; though, in consequence of my previous emotions, I was still occasionally seised with a stormy sob. After we had jogged on for some little time, I asked the carrier if he was going all the way.

"All the way where?" inquired the carrier.

"There," I said.

"Where's there?" inquired the carrier.

"Near London," I said.

"Why that horse," said the carrier, jerking the rein to point him out, "would be deader than pork afore he got over half the ground."

"Are you only going to Yarmouth then?" I asked.

"That's about it," said the carrier. "And there I shall take you to the stage-cutch, and the stage-cutch that'll take you to - wherever it is."

As this was a great deal for the carrier (whose name was Mr. Barkis) to say - he being, as I observed in a former chapter, of a phlegmatic temperament, and not at all conversational - I offered him a cake as a mark of attention, which he ate at one gulp, exactly like an elephant, and which made no more impression on his big face than it would have done on an elephant's.

"Did she make 'em, now?" said Mr. Barkis, always leaning forward, in his slouching way, on the footboard of the cart with an arm on each knee.

"Peggotty, do you mean, sir?"

"Ah!" said Mr. Barkis. "Her."

"Yes. She makes all our pastry, and does all our cooking."

"Do she though?" said Mr. Barkis. He made up his mouth as if to whistle, but he didn't whistle. He sat looking at the horse's ears, as if he saw something new there; and sat so, for a considerable time. By and by, he said:

"No sweethearts, I b'lieve?"

"Sweetmeats did you say, Mr. Barkis?" For I thought he wanted something else to eat, and had pointedly alluded to that description of refreshment.

"Hearts," said Mr. Barkis. "Sweet hearts; no person walks with her!"

"With Peggotty?"

"Ah!" he said. "Her."

"Oh, no. She never had a sweetheart."

"Didn't she, though!" said Mr. Barkis.

Again he made up his mouth to whistle, and again he didn't whistle, but sat looking at the horse's ears.

"So she makes," said Mr. Barkis, after a long interval of reflection, "all the apple parsties, and doos all the cooking, do she?"

I replied that such was the fact.

"Well. I'll tell you what," said Mr. Barkis. "P'raps you might be writin' to her?"

"I shall certainly write to her," I rejoined.

"Ah!" he said, slowly turning his eyes towards me. "Well! If you was writin' to her, p'raps you'd recollect to say that Barkis was willin'; would you?"

"That Barkis is willing," I repeated, innocently. "Is that all the message?"

"Ye-es," he said, considering. "Ye-es. Barkis is willin'."

"But you will be at Blunderstone again tomorrow, Mr. Barkis," I said, faltering a little at the idea of my being far away from it then, and could give your own message so much better."

As he repudiated this suggestion, however, with a jerk of his head, and once more confirmed his previous request by saying, with profound gravity, "Barkis is willin'. That's the message," I readily undertook its transmission. While I was waiting for the coach in the hotel at Yarmouth that very afternoon, I procured a sheet of paper and an inkstand, and wrote a note to Peggotty, which ran thus: "My dear Peggotty. I have come here safe. Barkis is willing. My love to mama. Yours affectionately. P.S. He says he particularly wants you to know - 'Barkis is willing'."