30 September 2015

peck of pickled peppers

Presenting the 2nd variety of fridge pickles: pepper
(previous version was the carrots)

Some years ago I stopped liking to eat bell peppers. Now I'm slowly warming up to them again, though only in roasted or pickled form. This batch is incredibly crunchy and ...cheerful. A wonderful pairing with the huge pot of curry that's the star of this week's menu.


I also finally admit that I enjoy my wuyi teas more when brewed nice and slow versus flash steeps, which is the tea equivalent of saying you like individually wrapped plastic cheese instead of the ...I don't know enough about fancy cheese to make a good comparison opps. Though it's less severe than saying you like a steak well done.

Conventional wisdom for brewing wuyi is cram the pot full of leaves and brew it hot and fast. Today I grandpa'd a cup with very low leaf ratio and it taste great. Zen Tea brews them western style, and it taste great too.

The silver lining is that it's much much cheaper to drink wuyi this way.

PS. finally made my way to the Bei Dou from last Christmas' Tao Tea Leaf haul. This is my favourite out of the three.

28 September 2015

fade into one more today

Preliminary words of excitement: Wolf's Rain is so goooood. It's everything I had hoped Ergo Proxy to be. Yoko Kanno is a god at anime soundtracks.

I accidentally spoiled the story for myself, thus saving the second half of the series for later in the week when I can curl up in bed for extended periods of time to process the feels.

Here's the ED, which I like for the exact same reasons as Champloo's ED. Except I like this animation sequence better, for the same reason as Katanagatari since it adapts to each episode. Oh the episode title screen is also reminiscent of Bebop, hnnnnng.
^that's a lot of praise.

PS. the lyrics remind me me this passage in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which unfortunately I have not reread beyond the first 3 chapters after buying the book:
If every second of our lives recurs an infinite number of times, we are nailed to eternity as Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross. It is a terrifying prospect. In the world of eternal return the weight of unbearable responsibility lies heavy on every move we make. That is why Nietzsche called the idea of eternal return the heaviest of burdens (das schwerste Gewicht).
If eternal return is the heaviest of burdens, then our lives can stand out against it in all their splendid lightness.
But is heaviness truly deplorable and lightness splendid?
The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in the love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man's body. The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life's most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become.
Conversely, the absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into the heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant.
What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?

PPS. a great joy of reading manga is finding an image that works beautifully as a wallpaper. This one is from Angel Densetsu, which I did not find particularly great. Each volume follows pretty much the same plot and the main character barely shows any growth over the entire series.

26 September 2015


Memebox goodies:

Justification for this order:
  • Air puffs: the sole reason why I wear base make-up is because how easy it is to out it on with these puffs. Memebox ones are cheap and convenient.
  • Pony x Memebox lipstick: to fill the hole in my heart where the Burberry redwood lip velvet should be, and because I got sucked in by the outer box design. 
I've assembled a formidable stash of make-up and skincare items now, perhaps most accurately described as a wardrobe of options. Will now be on a no-buy (of any non essential everyday household items) until I land in New York this winter.

25 September 2015

Shampoo Planet

I picked up this book because Ivy was posting really good quotations from it on Tumblr. True to my expectations, I did find a couple of gems. Though Douglas Coupland's fiction style is not entirely to my liking, it feels too real haha.

Without further ado:

I have this feeling no room is ever really quiet; this feeling that even in the quietest, emptiest and most uneventful of rooms there is always an event of profound importance occurring. This event is Time itself, foaming, raging, and boiling like a river, roaring through this room and through all rooms [...] and Time, with its grand, unfightable sweep, taking me along with it.

I think about how I think I know a person the poof! I discover I only knew a cartoon version. Suddenly there's this fleshy, demanding, noisy creature in front of me, unknowledgeable and just as lost as I am, and equally unable to remember that every soul in the world is hurting, not just themselves.

I think of how people can betray me simply by not caring enough to hide the fact of how little they care.

In periods of rapid personal change, we pass through life as through we are spellcast. We speak in sentenced that end before finishing. We sleep heavily because we need to ask so many questions as we dream alone. We bump into others and feel bashful at recognizing souls so similar to ourselves.

Our achievements may make us interesting, Tyler, but our darkness makes us lovable. [...] Beauty and darkness are woven together, even Frankenstein gets lonely. [...] forgiveness is what we have no choice but to work towards, or else we are just animals. Dark animals. And that is too much to bear.

And I am fuelled by the awareness of all the badness in this world - badness I have tolerated because I had never chosen to see it for what it was. And I am fuelled by my embarrassment at my profoundly mistaken belief that simply living in freedom in itself guarantees the continuation of that freedom.
Yeah, "real" is a good word that summarizes the quotations above. 

The last quotation is something dear to me because I've acutely experienced this moment before. Twice before to be exact. In my case the relief did not come until long long after.
Once out on the sidewalk I had the distinct feeling that a point was being passed, a point after which, I might never again have the opportunity to say certain things to Anna-Louise with a certain level of intensity ever again. There was a sense of loss in this, but there was also relief.

22 September 2015


Sick, ugh.

Here's a song instead:

有多久没见你 以为你在哪里
原来就住在我心底 陪伴着我的呼吸
有多远的距离 以为闻不到你气息
谁知道你背影这么长 回头就看到你

过去让它过去  来不及

也至少给我们 怀念的勇气 拥抱的权利
好让你明白 我心动的痕迹

总是想再见你 还试着打探你的消息
原来你就住在我的身体 守护我的回忆

Found via my high school mate's performance on 中国好声音

21 September 2015


I fawn over 2D characters a lot (like today's update for Tales of Felluah, had to pause because too much feels), occasionally for male celebrities (Jay Chou and JGL to date), and now I add to my list Antonina Vasylchenko, the most perfect looking woman.

I think I'm attracted to her girlish look. A weird but accurate analogy is like a particle in a high energy state and the potential it has.

all images via tumblr, sorry I'm too lazy to give individual credits.

17 September 2015


I am armed with my dutch oven and totally ready for the cooler weather 8D

Vegetable soup loosely based on my coworker's recipe.
I totally forgot to soak the beans, so I subbed for lentils. Also switched out cabbage for collards because that's what I had on hand. Overall a very handy and versatile recipe that will definitely make frequent appearances.

The dutch oven is also great to use, it's the beginning of my love affair with enameled cast iron.


Other food items from sometimes past:

Fridge pickles, sichuan style with numbing peppercorn and spicy chili. I just discovered how cheap carrots are, so I'll be making a ton of carrot pickles as a side dish.

The last bit of the previous soup, which will also be making frequent appearances because pork shoulder is also extremely cheap. But I want to switch to buying humanely raised meat, which means not much meat at all because a) difficult to judge, b) difficult to find and c) difficult to afford.
I have switched to buying organic/cage-free milk and eggs, thankfully I can finally start aligning my spending habits and beliefs. Although I don't notice a taste difference, which is to be expected since freshness has a bigger impact on taste, I noticed that organic milk taste longer and organic eggs are easier to peel. Nifty side benefits (y)

14 September 2015

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

I didn't know this was a collection of short stories until I opened the book to read it. It's done a good job of convincing me the power of short stories.

My collection of quotations is extra long since almost every story had at least a beautiful descriptive paragraph, or a couple lines of profound (to me) truth. Without further ado:

It's like the silence in his right year deepens to the point where it crushes out any sound on the left side.


He stated at the loving fingertips, and the workings of his mind went strangely flat. She seemed to have lifted the edge of the world, and now she was loosening its threads little by little - perfunctorily, apathetically. As if she had to go it no matter how long it might take.

Then her eyes would look like white moons glaring at the edge of a dawn sky - flat, suggestive moons that shimmered at the single cry of a bird at dawn.

It made him think of a small room - a nice, neat room that was a comfortable place to be. It had strings of many colours hanging from the ceiling, strings of different shapes and lengths, and each string, in its own way, sent a thrill of enticement through him. He wanted to pull one, and the strings wanted to be pulled by him, but he didn't know which one to pull. He belt that he might pull a string and have a magnificent spectacle open up before his eyes, but that, just as as easily, everything could be ruined in an instant. And so he hesitates, and while he lingered in confusion another day would end.

I sometimes think that people’s hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what's at the bottom. All you can do is imagine by what comes flaring to the surface every once in a while.


Everything was simple, and direct. Cause and effect were good buddies back then; thesis and reality hugged each other like it was the most natural thing in the world.

Though I might have forgotten some of the details, I distinctly recall the overall tone. When you listen to somebody's story and then try to reproduce it in writing, the tones the main thing. Get the tone right and you have a true story on your hands. Maybe some of the facts aren't quite correct, but that doesn't matter - it actually might elevate the truth factor of the story. Turn this around, and you could say there's stories that are factually accurate yet aren't true at all.

"And when it was all over, the king and his retainers burst out laughing," he finally said. "That line always comes to me
Whenever I remember what happened. It's like a conditioned reflex. It seems to me that very sad things always contain an element of the comical."


Taking on the responsibility for something means offering it salvation

"They tell us that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, but I don't believe that," he said. Then, a moment later, he added: "Oh, the fear is there, all right. It comes to us in many different forms, at different times, and overwhelms us. But the most frightening thing we can do at such times is to turn our backs on it, to close our eyes. For then we take the most precious thing inside us and surrender it to something else."


But as the months went by he lost the ability to recall the things that used to be in the room, the memory of their colours and smells faded away almost before he knew it. Even the vivid emotions he had once cherished drew back, as if retreating from the province of his memory. Like a mist in the breeze, his memories clanged shape, and with each change they grew fainter. Each memory was now the shadow of a shadow of a shadow. The only thing that remained tangible to him was the sense of absence.

His memories had grown indistinct, but they were still there, where they had always been, with all the weight that memories can have.


Gazing at the particles of light in the still space, I struggled to grasp my own feelings. Everyone is looking for something from someone. That much I was sure of. But what comes next, I had no idea. A hazy wall of air rose up before me, just out of reach.


Maybe chance is s pretty common thing after all. Those kinds of coincidences are happening all around us, all the time, but most of them don't catch our attention and we just let them go by. It's like fireworks in the daytime. You might hear a faint sound. But even if you look up at the sky you can't see a thing. But if we're really hoping something may come true, it may become visible, like a message rising to the surface. Then we're able to make it out clearly, decipher what it means. And seeing it before us we're surprised and wonder at how strange things like this can happen.


Junpei fell silent. He has a policy of not talking to anyone about works in progress. That could jinx the story. If he put it into words and those words left his mouth, some important something would evaporate like morning dew. Delicate shades of meaning would be flattened into. Shallow backdrop.


Today will feature a double post because I can't get over how amazing the weather is today. It's absolutely perfect.

(side rant: second image was a nightmare to straighten because the poles aren't actually plumb)

If I can choose the weather for my personal heaven, it'd be modeled after today.

13 September 2015


Today is undoubtly a fall day. I was skeptical when I saw Starbucks rolling out it's fall promotions earlier this week, but this morning is definitely a crisp, fall morning. In fact it feels like I'm back in Ontario.

While sipping some slower brewed wuyi with a cool breeze coming in from my open windows, I feel as if I can totally live happily in a little cabin perched on some rugged mountain deep in the woods. Or more practically a cottage in southwestern England. There would be a functional fire place where I can boil water in a cast iron kettle set on some charcoal (possibly a ventilation nightmare), and an abundance of heavy wool blankets to bury myself in.

So ready for the cooler weather.
  • Making my last batch of cold noodles for the year
  • My dutch oven is arriving in the mail today, so time to start braising *u*
  • Switching from peaches to pears and apples
  • Changing lipstick selection to darker colours
  • Can start wearing blazers and sweaters so I won't freeze in the office
  • Wish I have a set of bizen-yaki dishware to switch to :(

12 September 2015


It's hard to believe that not a single shop in the entire Lenox mall sells Burberry make up. Well I should be happy about the $30 that I saved (or rather $18, because someone on /r/asianbeauty found a very similar shade of lipstick)

Instead I got some freebies from Sephora. It's hard to believe that I've spent $500+ there over the years...

Bite is worth all the hype (Toronto represent!)... I am so impressed by the luminous cream lipstick. I applied it without any lip balm underneath and it is not drying at all, nor does it sink into any lip lines, nor accentuates any dry patches! Normally a lot of prep is involved in getting my lips to look this smooth. Best of all it's super comfortable to wear and doesn't feel like there's anything on my lips. Been looking into the mirror periodically throughout the evening and it's hard to believe how good it looks.

Later edit: wore this again today because I am totally in love with the formula. Can confirm it is still comfortable, non-drying and a general dream to wear. It also lasted through 2 separate tea sessions and pasta for lunch, although I was eating carefully.

PS. I found that they have a "lab" location in NYC where they'll make custom lipsticks to your specification. Definitely heading there!

09 September 2015


Why am I such a sucker for FFXV? All it takes are a couple location concept arts and I'm back to wanting to throw my money at SE. Can I hope for a LE PS4 as well? ;_;

Concept art:

Pre-render, but Tabata-san promised that it'll look just as good in game:
(both images via)

This is Altissia, which is modeled after Venice. It really can't get any better.
This is also where Noctis will meet Lunafreya, which is exciting because a) her name is part Norse goddess and b) Tabata-san emphasized that she is a strong characters (probably due to critism that the main cast is all male)

Maybe I won't miss Stella too much...

AND 2016 release date.

06 September 2015

Zhe Jiang

Classic Chinese Black Tea from my Joseph Wesley order:

I'm not sure why English didn't adopt the Chinese name which is 红茶 or red tea. This brewed into such a beautiful red colour. It makes much more sense than naming the tea after the leaf colour since other types of tea, such as some highly roasted oolong and fermented tea (which is actually black tea or 黑茶 in Chinese), all have dry leaves that are black in colour.

Taste wise, this tea reminds me of molasses and velvet. It's a very deep and musky sweetness, though it turns into a cleaner sweetness if you drink the tea cold.

04 September 2015


My gosh it's been more than a year since I've posted a cpop song. To be honest I've been listening to mostly instrumental since it's easier to work to. Also Années de pèlerinage, which is the greatest song to read to.

Sidenote: I need to create a Murakami playlist because his books have great jazz / classical. So far I've listened to this one on 8tracks on repeat for a couple days.

Anyways! I dug through my Jay Chou songs and finally found one that I haven't posted before. The lyrics are amazingly poetic as always, and this being one of his earlier songs, have crappy pronunciation.

海天 连线的 地方是那夕阳
木造 的甲板一整遍 是那金黄
你背光 的轮廓就像剪影一样
充满着想像 任谁都 会爱上

琴键声 在船舱 随海风 回荡
竟有一种 属于中世纪才有的浪漫
微笑眺望远方 是你的习惯
古典钢琴 在敲打 小小的那哀伤

你的眼神 隐约中有着不安不安
你不敢不敢 继续的暧昧喜欢

你泪化了妆 不舍全写在脸上
摇摇晃晃 船已入港
我不忍为难 问谁在等你靠岸
一圈戒痕 在你指上
目送你 越走越远的 悲伤

我害怕故事走不到一半 你心里早就已经有了答案
走偏了 方向 你绝口 不谈 不谈
我不过问 只是彼此 的心被捆绑

明明 海阔天空 蔚蓝的海洋
你心里面 却有一个不透明的地方
浪倒映月光 足迹遗留在沙滩
留遗憾在码头上 空气弥漫着怀旧时光

我看见 呵护着你的那个 对象

你泪化了妆 不舍全写在脸上
摇摇晃晃 船已入港
我不忍为难 问谁在等你靠岸
一圈戒痕 在你指上
目送你 越走越远的 悲伤

你泪化了妆 不舍全写在脸上
摇摇晃晃 船已入港
我不忍为难 问谁在等你靠岸
一圈戒痕 在你指上
目送你 越走越远的 悲伤


Have to steal the spotlight of the cpop comeback with gushing about Kim Yeon-joo's manhwa.

I am forever grateful that I found this Nabi fansite. I finally understand the plot after reading her explanations. Excuse me while I go sort through these overwhelming feels, alternative timeline #1 has too much Ryu-Sang x Myo-Un moments, like a kiss that I've waited sixteen volumes for. Why am I far less competent to deal with emotions when they pertain to the 2D world?

Also, Igrainne is definitely the So-Ryu of Felluah.

PS. Zoe was also overwhelmingly sweet to Adora in this week's chapter of Winter Woods *clutches heart*

03 September 2015


A rainy day is the perfect day to receive new tea.

First up is some taiwanese oolong for the upcoming cooler weather (I hope...). Some heavier roasted dong ding and asian beauty. I'm interested in comparing the dong ding to Eco-Cha's offering, and the asian beauty to Tea Ave's.

I admit this is totally an impulsive purchase to get the limited edition khullar with is a GWP with the assam. The khullar is the traditional serving wear for masala chai, and it's a little ironic that it's a LE offering since you're suppose to smash these clay cups after drinking your chai.

The other huge motivator behind this purchase is the beauuuutiful packaging (and website!) of Joseph Wesley tea. I'm undecided as to whether it beats Tea Ave for the most gorgeous tea packaging.

02 September 2015


I've reached a new level of laziness for dinner:

Smashed soft boiled egg on toasted bread, with soup.

Takes one pot to make, which is used to boil the soup and egg. The beauty of gas stoves if that it can double as a toaster.

...I've had a long long day out in the field. Two water penetration tests that are 15 mins each took 7 hours to complete.