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'."

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Rants on UBC

I am confused by the recycling policy in Vancouver. They have big nice blue bins everywhere, orderly categorized into papers, plastics, newpaper, to promote the culture of recycling. That's very nice. Fantastic efforts, I concur.

But why are there paper towel dispensers in so many toilets in UBC???? Take a walk down to 1st level, Kroener Library, and you'll see the paper towel overflowing onto the floor everyday in hazardous piles. Ok, I can't remember specifically where else this happens (I only mug in Kroener Lib.), but it is common enough for me to take notice...

People generally take them for free (hmm... Singaporeanish?) and press the lever for the paper towel to be dispensed consecutively at least 3 times, before pulling the long strip off the dispenser (without saying thank-you to the poor inanimate dispenser. Haiz.) and after carelessly wiping their hands on the paper towel, aimlessly throw them at the gigantic bin (specially designed to be big so even a one-eyed pirate/parrot won't miss) and miss.

I say the very existence of the dispensers is a source of pollution and excessive wastage. One very important use of clothes, other than to be worn, is for you to wipe your hands. At least that's what my mother told me. (Probably not, but that's not the point...) Saves on paper, saves on washing. You wash your clothes, don't you? That's 2 birds with one stone. Wipe N times and it'll be (N + 1) birds.

Anyway, your hands are supposed to be clean after washing, right? (If I'm not, perhaps you can tell me the exact definition of 'washing your hands' in the comments box down here and we can have a debate on it. Lawyers prohibited.) So what's so dirty about wiping your sparkling clean hands on your shirt/pants/whatever?? The environmental savings far justifies the action.

Perhaps the dispensers were placed in good faith that the student population will use them wisely, but time has definitely made the student population take it for granted.

Perhaps it's time for the school to step in and install coin-operated (25cents per piece?) paper towel dispenser that the really needy ones (i.e. when toilet runs out of toilet paper) can use. But then again, business will really be bad and the paper towel may expire and decompose with crawlie maggots all over before actualizing their potential as paper towel. Also, the needy one may also not have a quarter to spare.

Dispose of the paper towel dispenser and dig a hole into the wall (with a needle inside) for emergency use.

Eugene's Laptop got revived! Hallelujah!


Prayed about Eu's lappie before sleeping yesterday. It seemed so impossible for his laptop to be revived, but this is the time that one can really test God's miraculous powers, eh?

Prayer does help. It's something I very seldom do, but when I really need help, He's there. I should pray more. =)

Let His Will be done.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Attractions in Vancouver

Been there:
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Butchart Gardens
Bloedel Floral Conservatory, Queen Eliz. Park

Not going:
Capilano Suspension Bridge

To go?:
UBC Botanical Garden
Park and Tilford Gardens and Shops
Greater Vancouver Zoo
Science World British Columbia
International Buddhist Society
Christ Church Cathedral
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre
Burnaby Village Museum
Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site
Fort Langley National Historic Site of Canada
International Buddhist Society
Park and Tilford Gardens and Shops
CN IMAX Theatre at Canada Place
Granville Island Brewing Co. Ltd.
Richmond Go-Kart Track
Vancouver Lookout! Harbour Centre Tower
West Coast Railway Heritage Park
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
Grouse Mountain, The Peak of Vancouver
Vancouver Police Centennial Museum
Fort Langley National Historic Site of Canada
Maplewood Farm
Pacific National Exhibition

Travelling to Victoria, Galloping Goose Trail? Anyone?

Is anyone interested in going to Victoria for long weekend(s)? Interested in going along the Galloping Goose Trail soon for the scenery. Ride bicycle. Yayz.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Never run on a rainy day.

Ran from Broadway up Commercial Drive to home in the slight rain, chasing Bus 20 till I no need to take it anymore. Shall not do that again. I'm down with fever now. =(
Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

One step closer to my dream of opening a provision shop.

Bulk shopping @ London Drugs, Broadway, after today's intensive mugging in the library and the corresponding test at 5pm-7pm.

I'm a happy man after buying 13 (@ .99 each!) cans of Beef Ravioli, Mini Raviolis, Beefaroni and Cannelloni, 5 (@ $6) cans of Primo Soup, and 4 (@ $10) packs of oatmeal bars.... The array of stuff I've imported over these days can put any mamaks to shame. Any day I feel sad, just need to open my larder and see my personal mama shop to brighten up my mood.

You might (or might not) know that I have a dream of opening a provision shop as a retirement plan. Not that it will be a vehicle for earning recurrent income or whatnot (my style of management will probably make losses... haha..) , it's simply that looking at rows and rows and stacks and stacks of food, and knowing that I can take any of them to feed my insatiable hunger, pleases me. And in a very primitive sense, I can actually provide food for those around me. Want some Heiz beans? Take take take.... Koropok to go with it? Take take take.... Ah, what a cute boy! Want a lollipop? Take take take... hahaha... Whole day just sit in a rattan chair with a straw fan, looking at the crowd going by...

And anytime I dun feel like working, can just close shop and go for long walks/hikes/tours/vacations/voyage/migration++. If anyone complain my working hour sucks and dun buy from me, no fuss, cos I can still eat everything myself anyway... haha...

I think I am going mad thinking about all this, so I better not blog anymore and go and sleep. Maybe I will dream of my aspired Mini-mart/mama shop/provision shop. It's late, and my lack of sleep will simply make the sleep more enjoyable. I have a provision shop to takeover (in my dreams).

Friday, October 08, 2004

Links to all the photos from Rockies

Here they are. Super raw, super never-edited, but they exist!

Pathetic attempt at commenting, but if they suck, tell me. I won't do anything about it, but at least I will know. =)

Rockie Day 1 Rockies Day 2 Rockies Day 3
Rockies Day 4 Rockies Day 5 Rockies Day 6
Calgary Day 1 Calgary Day 2

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Bridget Jones within

is definitely having some fun with me. Lone bus rides home leads to whimsical fantasies and day dreams (of bikini girls running along the beach.....not really.)

I think of different people in people cities living different lives,
I ponder over how to use the least amount of money for the rest of my Canada stay,
I think of when to wake up early to call back home (feeling guilty for calling back only twice...),
I dream of how to hook up an international girlfriend (ok, this is really just daydreaming...) while here,
I wonder if the asian girl next to me speaks chinese/cantonese/french/english-only,
I wonder why some people are fat and why some people stay thin (PSYCH 101: environment or genetics?),
I wonder if there will be any happenings around my neigbourhood,
I wonder if my house got robbed already,
I cross my fingers that I will get my homework done at the end of the night,
I hope that Garry will not play his avant-garde music at night,
and I contemplate what's for dinner.

After all this, I think about how sad God is that I'm so caught up with mundane stuff instead of focusing on Him. Then I stop thinking about all those stuff. Not important anymore. =)

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I think you know that I think I know what you think I think.

You are correct if you think so.

Of Safeways, MetroTown, London Drugs, and ChinaTown

Why are there such great differences in prices of foodstuff (and everything else) between different shops in Vancouver? What are the components for deciding actual pricing?

From what I see:

Safeways are generally providing quality food at PREMIUM prices. Relatively value-for-money stuff include promotional items like meats (ValuPacks). Milk and eggs are also generally cheap there. (5/10, as benchmark)

MetroTown: The Real Canadian Super Store, good for buying stuff in bulk. Cheaper than most other supermarkets for mostly everything, and promotional items are very good buys. (8/10)

London Drugs: Look out for their weekly best buys, dudes and duddettes! Their normal stuff is not cheap, but best buys are really best buys! Can buy! Best buys often include canned foods, confections, and other household appliances. They also have 1.5l softdrinks at 99cents throughout the year! (5/10[normal buys] to 9/10[best buys])

ChinaTown: Hands down best place to buy fresh grocery like meats and vegetable. Freshness guaranteed and prices are uber low compared to others (40% - 60% lower). Want to buy anything asianic, also must come here. Also good for morning dim sums. And Hon's Wonton House. Yumz. (11/10)

What about the basic value of products, generally speaking? I think labour costs account for the high costs in products. Why can I get a can of spaghetti @ 1 dollar whilst eating outside cost around 4-7 dollars? Why is cooking so much cheaper than eating outside? I can only think of labour costs. Singapore has a relative cheaper labour force, judging from the $2.5 - $3.5 char kway teow sold everywhere *drool*...

Some cheap stuff here, relative to Singapore prices:
Chunkies!! Definitely cheap! Costs around 1.5 - 2 per can and is a very good substitute for a meal in school.
Drumsticks compared with chicken breasts here has a reversed relationship compared to that in Singapore! Must eat drumsticks like siao here!!!
I'll think of more and tell you later....
Or better still, go clck some stuff up there, then come back here and leave a comment to tell me what you think is cheap in Canada?

Important dates

29th Jan
6th March
9th March
1st April
5th June
6th June
8th June
24th June - Some Twerp's Birthday...
13th Sep
22nd Sep - Thim's Birthday!
9th Oct
12th Oct
19th Dec
24th Dec

As you can see, I am not patriotic at all.


This Fri : CS311 Prog Lang Mid-Term(just found out.)

This week : PHIL 120 Logic Mini Exam

Next Fri : PSYCH 101 Cognitive Behaviour Mid-Term
CS320 Algorithms Mid-Term

Next Next Mon: Prog Lang HW3 due.

Siao liao.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Peaceful Sunday...

If there was ever a random shopping day for me in Vancouver, today is it. Went to Gransville and got myself a bit lost looking for DVD for Yusry (Rites of Passage) and then went down Broadway to shop at London Drugs. Bought 7 cans of spaghetti ($1 each), 4 packs of 1L juices (60 cents each), 2 boxes of 8X muesli bars (2.2 each), 20 packs of noodles (20 cents each), 4 cans of boneless herring (60 cents each), and 3 cans of power stews (1.60 each). Now got one whole shelf of cans (reminds me of the Matrix when they summoned up the weapon shelves.. swoosh~~~!) The fact that they are all Best Buys perked up my day! Think if I ever become a house husband, I will be extremely happy on grocery days... =)

Church this morning was bizarre, or rather that I am not accustomed to it. You have people spontaneously standing up to testify and/or talk from the bible (it's a non-structured service, without any main speaker.) And too much Amens (if it's ever possible!) and repetitions.

I am having second thoughts about going back to the same church again. =(

Sunday, October 03, 2004


Saw a lighthouse and hollanded a bit in the trail.

Was excited at hollanding! Got a tad bit feeling like those good old scout days when we know everything will be alright, after we un-holland ourselves (which was never long, never more than half a day).

I must lose myself again some other day.

It's your birthday today

Happy birthday to you. Hope you are stil fine with your life and school and everything else. Don't let your parents worry too much about you, you should be old enough to know that. Still no pets allowed in your house and/but smuggling hammies back?

Miss your smile and the smell of your hair.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Yusry:: Added 2 more photos of Victoria Buses (Elisa's)

1 is closeup shot of bicycle holder in front of bus, the other is a one that says "I am sorry" on top...

Yumz yumz @ Elisa's

3 Singaporeans in Vancouver attempting to cook Hazelnut Toute and Beef Stew sounds kinda exciting to me, especially when one of them is me.

Results were above market sentiments, and all of us were happy. Yay. Love the beef stew (so meaty and strong in flavour that it puts Chunkies to shame!) and the Hazelnut Torte (I think it taste a bit like banana cake, but a tad bit more moist). Apparently today was so enjoyable that it seemed to have initiated the cooking club, with us 3 as the founding members...

If there is a better view of Vancouver's sunset than from Elisa's apartment, I will call his/her bluff and denounce him/her a cheat. Gage has a super view of the mountains and sea to the north, and cannot be outdone by anywhere else. I admit to that and you should too. I count myself lucky that she's not charging admission fee to her apartment...

Was a forgetful day. Forgot to pass Yanying her table tennis bat, forgot to pass Garry's CD to Elisa, and forgot to take my sausages back. Forgetful Frank...

My eczema is acting up on me again. Having drippy wounds again. Yucks.

Expenses Report!

Dear all-who-are-interested-to-know-how-much-I-have-spent,

My expenses are updated at

To summarise, Frank is a poor poor man. He has only SGD$900+ to spend till end of year, meaning that he have to survive/suffer on bananas and Chunkies for the rest of his stay in Vancouver. =(. Donations are welcome.