31 January 2014


Hanging out with friends
All you can eat hotpot
Laptop fixed from Apple (in half the time they promised! faith restored!)
Watching Chinese New Years Eve Gala

Today's a good day (y)

29 January 2014


So my flash drive completely died and is being replaced by Apple. Should have a laptop again in a week. Surprisingly I'm doing absolutely alright without a computer. Guess that attest to how powerful our phones now are. 

Meanwhile, occupying myself with the sudden increase in schoolwork, and River Cottage Veg Everyday. Should have known that I'd really enjoy the cookbook since I loves the TV series. 

25 January 2014


UTEK was fun. Did by expect to be runner up to finals (y) 

Meet swifter 2.0, isn't he adorable?

The team worked exceptionally well together despite me not really knowing half of them. Glad I got to know them better though. 
Leggo next year!

Oh yeah laptops flash drive completely died. Sad. Appointment is on Tuesday sigh. 

24 January 2014


When I will be able to read the ending ;_;

Maybe I'll reread the entire series this summer. Same with Ares, I miss Icarus so much too. How many times did I mention here that Sanzo and Icarus are absolutely perfect? Best 2D men ever.

23 January 2014


Okay laptop is now working again. Did my software updates after restore and found out that my particular mid-2012 macbook air is one of the affected by the flash drive problem. Back to Apple store I go, curse Eatons for been booked solid for at least half a week in advance.

Although this incident and my continuous struggle with my iPhone (sight the good old days where I never had a problem with Apple products) made me less dependent on these devices. Normally I would be in great pain without my laptop or phone, and would download the latest apps/whatever had good reviews (the power of public opinion, a la vanderburg). Having to constantly wipe my phone made me declutter all my mobile apps (with ~3 folder worth of games I no longer play), and I was actually slightly looking forward to having a fresh install on my laptop (nah I chickened out and restored my back-up, but in my defense I need it working with full capacity for UTEK on Sat). The resulting abundance of free time was happily spent sleeping & cooking.


In other news since I had to trek up to Fairview, it made sense to drop by home and pick up some stuff. The stuff is mainly my suitcase, which I instinctively thought to bring since I'm going to go to New York. After grabbing it and while waiting for the subway to arrive, it suddenly dawned upon me that no, I did not need the suitcase since I was bringing a smaller carry-on. Oh opps, sigh.

Least I also picked up my bag that arrived a couple days ago:

Perfect capacity to hold water bottle & camera & perfectly shaped and unadorned.
First grown-up bag. Next target is the Bayswater (probably for when I get my license ah ha...).

22 January 2014


Yay WISE breakfast went well! The success makes the frustrating planning process worth it. 

I talked to two reps from MaRS, whom both offered very good, and relevant advice. One is about keeping your options open,especially when looking for new opportunities. Second is to ask potential mentors for advice, instead of straight up asking for a mentorship (is this like you ask someone out on a date instead asking them to be your boy/girlfriend?). Third is to have clearly defined mission and vision (I always thought this was such a chore and was just for looks) to refer to when conflicts arise within a team. Remind the team members to look beyond the current anger/frustration and remember the goal that they signed up for.

The last point is so true, convinced me to more likely stay with WISE next year. 


In other news, laptop down. Trekking to fairview to fix "orz

19 January 2014


After seeing many posts on /r/skincareaddiction about turmeric masks, I decided to give it a try.

Some preamble: I've tried some product that's highly recommended on SCA and also over at /r/asianbeauty, and haven't seen much results (eg. PC's AHA/BHAs) or could've broke me out more (eg. Benton's snail serum ;_; giving this another go though). Yet I'm stubborn and is thinking of ordering a bunch of oils and mixing them (cause this sounds fun too). Making the turmeric mask is a smaller investment (yay bulk barn!) than buying oils hence I decided to give it a try.

In short it works.
Wonderfully too I might add, though this is only after one application so we'll see how subsequent trials go. For me, it greatly reduced the redness around my acne scars. The scar itself didn't lighten, but it looks more like a darkened spot now rather than a blurry red smear beforehand (not the best description, would be better if I had B&A photos). The results also didn't immediately show, I only realized after waking up the next morning that most of the redness is gone.

The recipe I used is:
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chickpea flour (going to try rice flour next time, apparently it has brightening properties)
  • squirt of honey (probably somewhere around scant 1/2 tsp as well)
  • enough full fat yogurt to make consistency like yogurt 
The mask is nice in not drying completely (ie. to the point of cracking) as to impede facial movement. Washing it off also offers some exfoliation from the dry ingredients. Though I had some trouble washing it off with just my hands and had to use a washcloth, which got stained yellow because of the turmeric. 

18 January 2014

flow rate

This is too beautiful. I need to go places more.

In other news, the following two weeks is looking rather busy.
Boo full lab & tutorial schedule, and also last WISE OWL event plus UTEK, but yay winterlicious and Toronto tea festival (other fun food events happen too far away).

17 January 2014


School isn't particularly busy yet (and if we were to compare to first semester, this is right down chill atm), but still feeling lethargic when I get back. Browsing the internet just adds to the sluggish feeling too. This is my excuse for not posting.

What still is exciting is food! Gots to indulge in post-holiday chocolates (there's currently a vast quantity in the house) and cold weather food before summer comes along. Who am I kidding there's still such a long time until then. Can't wait until the weather is pleasant enough to leisurely stroll outside and visit all the shops in Kensington that I didn't have a chance to last time. Also eagerly anticipating the warm weather so I can grow my own herb garden.

Also want to grow kale. I discovered this delicious vegetable last year, and haven't had it again until now. It's sad when grocery stores don't put much produce on sale, so I bought a lot when kale was finally discounted. Roasted them along with carrots, sweet potatoes, and granola (fully loading the oven since it uses so much electricity) for a week worth's of lunch and breakfast. I had much trouble fitting it into the baking pan:

Also haven't been to Cora's until this week despite living right next to it. Incidentally I missed free pancakes at school (they advertised the wrong location...) so had to make it up:
The picture does no justice to how big the portion is. There are four 20cm diameter pancakes. Needless to say I am reminded that I don't go to Cora often because I can never finish the portions.

12 January 2014


Tea is so nice.

Unfortunately photo doesn't look as good as real life.

11 January 2014

butter chicken

Rejoice! I have found a good Indian place that doesn't require walking all the way to Queen and University: Matagali.

Butter chicken is good.
Overall portion was just right for mom and I, although on the pricier side (then again, every Indian restaurant seems this expensive).

09 January 2014

The Great Divorce

Hurray for finishing one book before the first assignment dropped (they wouldn't even let us have one free weekend ;_; )

It was surprisingly enjoyable to read for a non-religious person like me.

I really like the setting of the grey town and the foothills.
It's interesting that depending on how long you stay in the grey town, it is either the purgatory or hell itself, that is you have the choice. It's similar to how if you are at a low point in your life, you can either choose to pull yourself out, or let it define you as a person. It's also interesting how the people progressively become isolated as they move away from each other due to quarreling, though I'm not sure what's the significance of this. 
The foothills is also structured interestingly in how the ghosts become more solid the longer they stay. It reminds me of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, of which the title refers to how only living once lifts the weight from the consequences of one's actions, and so having eternal life in the foothills would be heavy?
The dawn and dusk element of the setting is also interesting (yeah my overall impression of the novel is "interesting"). These are times of change, so it contrasts against the the other ghosts who refuse to change. It's almost funny reading the conversations of the other ghosts, stubborn creatures XD

Might pick up some of his other books later in the year.

08 January 2014


My schedule's a lot more full with electives. Also disliking night class, such an energy drain "orz

07 January 2014


So cold today, brr.

A bright spot was that I got in the Greek Art&Archeology elective with this uber cool prof. It's in a much better timeslot than my other elective. Though I'll just be keen and take both at the moment, see which one I like more (or has a higher midterm mark) and drop then. Excited for the first lecture tomorrow :)

Also got last semester's mark back, narrowly kept my 4.0! I should be good for research funding.
  • Tech, society and biosphere: 85 (lower than expected...how'd this happen?)
  • Intro to civil engineering: 86
  • Urban engineering ecology: 91
  • Construction management: 90 (curve saved me, whoohoo)
  • Engineering communication: 86
  • Solid mechanics: 97 (yehh)
  • Engineering math: 95
  • Fluid mechanics: 96

A not so bright spot is the interaction with TTC workers today. Apparently basic manners are not part of the job requirement (excluding the exceedingly rare nice bus drivers), does it kill you to add a "please" to "move back!"?

06 January 2014


A trio of soup noodles cause I crave nothing else in the dead of winter. Just missing pho D:

Made In China / somewhere in Scarborough / Kenzo
they're hard to photograph cause of the steam :(

Also made roast meat for the first time, tasted so good! Adding potatoes make the sauce wonderfully thick. In fact the potatoes taste better than the meat, though both has the great melt-in-your-mouth texture.  Unfortunately it's not a photogenic dish so just imagine~

05 January 2014

winter readings

Finished 2 more books by Alain de Botton, The Pleasure and Sorrows of Work was alright though I liked The Art of Travel a lot better. Both books are well written, but I don't feel compelled to continue reading (took a lot of effort to finish both books).

There are good quotations though!
from work:
Our work will have at least distracted us, it will have provided a perfect bubble in which to invest our hopes for perfection, it will have focused out immeasurable anxieties on a few relatively small-scale and achievable goals, it will have given us a sense of mastery, it will have made us respectably tired, it will have put food on the table. It will have kept us out of greater trouble.
from travel:
Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conductive to internal conversation than a moving plane, ship or train. There is an almost quaint correlation between what is in front of our eyes and the thoughts we are able to have in our heads: larger thoughts at times require larger views, new thoughts new places. Introspective reflections are liable to stall are helped along by the flow of the landscape.

'the imagination could provide a more-than-adequate substitute for the vulgar reality of actual experience.' Actual experience where what we have come to see is always diluted in what we could see anywhere, where we are drawn away from the present by an anxious future and where our appreciation of aesthetic elements remain at the mercy of perplexing physical and psychological demands.

When I consider...the small space I occupy and which I see swallowed up in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I know nothing and which nothing knows of me [l'infinie immensité des espace que j'ignore et qui m'ignorent]
the french grammar seems much more eloquent
Sublime  places gently move us to acknowledge limitations that we might otherwise encounter with anxiety or anger in the ordinary flow of events. It is just not nature that defies us. Human life is just as overwhelming, but it is the vast space of nature that perhaps provide us with the finest, the most respectable reminder of all the exceeds us. If we spend more time in them, they might help us to accept more graciously the great unfathomable events that molest our lives and will inevitably return us to dust.

A dominate impulse on encountering beauty is the desire to hold on to it: to possess it and give it weight in our lives. There is an urge to say, 'I was here, I saw this and it mattered to me.'
But beauty is fugitive, it is frequently found in places to which we may never return or else it results from a rare conjunction of the season, light and weather. How then to possess it, how to hold on to the floating train, the halva-like bricks or the English valley?
Bonus from NatGeo:
Walking is falling forward.
Each step we take is an arrested plunge, a collapse averted, a disaster braked. In this way, to walk becomes an act of faith. We perform it daily: a two-beat miracle - an iambic teetering, a holding on and letting go.

rabbit ear fold

Thoughts in my head when I experience trouble falling asleep:

Things that happened in the day
How those things could have been different if I said/did X at Y
The perfect comeback to a conversation
Things that should and could happen tomorrow
Worries about the things that should happen tomorrow 
Anxiety about the things that could happen tomorrow
Anxiety about the future in general 
Anticipation about tomorrow coming
Varying degree of satisfaction now that another day has ended

and throughout all these, how miserable waking up will up if I keep thinking. 

02 January 2014

sweet plum

plus a blanket and a book and we're good to go on cold, cold days.

01 January 2014

2014 goals

^I miss having titles unrelated to the post content, but this should be the last of them.

Happy New Years ^^

My last moments of 2013 was spent playing Chinese checkers and cards with family, none of us actually noticed when the clock ticked to midnight. It's strange that so much emphasis is placed on an arbitrary division in time. Regardless, a new year is a fresh start.

The theme of 2014 will be to do and create more.
My resting state of last year (ugh using this term makes it seem so far away yet in actuality it's only been less than a day) seem to have been seated in front of the computer and just endlessly scrolling through the interweb's offerings. While there are great content to consume, consumption is a passive activity dictated by the content creators. So I endeavor to be on the creating side more.

A random list of things I would like to do / make:
  • blend facial oil and masks (so much cheaper than buying too)
  • have a self sufficient supply of commonly used herbs (starting with basil and green onion)
  • learn another cuisine (Japanese? Korean? Indian?)
  • go on more walks, preferably with my camera in tow
  • take more trips! Currently dreaming about Northern France attracted by the promise of the best sea salt. Also the tea producing regions of China. Or the Japanese countryside! As you can see, my travel ambitions are all motivated by food. 
For school, primary goal is to keep up the grades in hopes of funding third year with scholarships as well. Also trying to engage with professors more, but haven't figured out how exactly.

In terms of extracurricular, the main focus is on Sky Garden to ensure a good season with abundant harvests. It's the one thing I'm absolutely sure that I love doing, and through it I want to be more involved in local foods/sustainable agriculture movement. Related to that, UT has this cafe coop called Harvest Noon that has a weekly bread baking program! Volunteers can even take home half a loaf, which is clearly why I'm interested.
Unfortunately, my certainty regarding Sky Garden doesn't extend to WISE. While I believe in our mission, our dependency on sponsorship really bug me. It's almost like a catch-22, without the sponsors the events can't happen, with the sponsors it's no longer our events. Shall see how the rest of the year goes, though I want to stay and make it better, cause it definitely can be.
Otherwise, want to rejoin Solar House (the final design is pretty awesome harhar) in the summer and attend TEDxUofT! Also should learn some software in my spare time (SketchUp, Revit), but I've been saying this for a while now.

Oh yeah I should definitely visit waterloo, he..hehee..hehehe