7月 31, 2007


Learned a few new Chinese words today! 囫圇 is usually used in this phrase: 囫圇吞棗. According to my friend, the origin of this proverb was that "棗" is good for the stomach, but bad for the teeth, so someone said it's best just to swallow the 棗 without chewing... So 囫圇 means "胡亂吸收不問內容" :-)

Thanks for teaching me that!


7月 29, 2007

無晴、 友情

Thanks much for organizing the trip! It's totally different to what we have planned, but I enjoyed it. The GameWorks was fun! And thank you so much for the picture you drew. Honestly, I was really surprised a 30-year-old guy will still find the time to draw. Your thoughtfulness and the friendship behind it are unforgettable! Thank you!!

Don't remind me I have only two weeks left before my departure. I am getting screwed now... Will need to ship things back to Canada now. Probably everything if I can't sell them all...

Argh!!! I hate moving... not to mention going across the continent!


7月 28, 2007


The tiramisu wasn't that successful, since the bottom layer did not have enough espresso... and the candles didn't work well! They melt quickly so by the time the "birthday" was being lightened up the "happy" was almost gone...Don't buy these stuffs from QFC!! Glad that I took this picture before they're gone :)

I'm so careless today... gave a good bargain to a boy for my bed frame :(


7月 27, 2007

No Reservations

Yet another film using cooking as the theme, but unlike Ratatouille, No Reservations seems to be more like a family oriented romance kind of film... which I am not a big fan of.

Finally I have registered the classes. It's going to be very busy, considering that I will probably look for a job in a restaurant. I am also going to learn two languages at the same time--French and Italian...! Hopefully I won't create a new language combining the two. It's a bit aggressive I know, but I really want to get started on both languages before I make up my mind what cuisine I want to specialize later on. Their Italian program is pretty good, since the students will get a chance going to ALMA, the top culinary school in Italy located near Parma. But then, learning French cooking makes me feel like I'm a real chef... but just in case my French isn't good enough for the French culinary school, going to Italy isn't a bad idea too.

Got a call from a local furniture store owner asking me if I would like to do consignment with them. She said the prices I asked for are way too cheap! This is the second person thinking that my prices are too good :) I will go meet this person soon so may be one day if you walk by a mid-century themed furniture store you'll see mine displaying there! I am also picking one piece and will bring it back to Toronto as a souvenir... which is going to be a difficult choice :)

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7月 26, 2007

嘿! ( 送舊不迎新 II)

So far craigslist has served me well, although there are more inquiries than making a real deal. People come and go and calling and bargaining is fun but it started to become a little bit annoying. It's interesting to see people asking for a 50% slash on the price, or send a "certified check" that is most likely a scam, and this lady who bought my lovely party couch said she'll call the cop....

What happened was that this lady who is from the great east coast NYC said she'll drive a UHAUL truck to pick up my couch right away. Since I have a dinner to go to I asked my housemate to take care of the transaction--receive the right amount of money and open the door for her to pick up the couch. I thought it should be a smooth process untill my housmate said that she took away the couch paying $10 short.

OK, fine, $10 isn't a big deal, but I called that lady named Katie anyway to ask her to kindly give me back the $10. And once she knew the reason for my call, she hung up immediately. I called again and again for three times and she just hung up immediately. Until this fourth time she finally answered my call, didn't give me a chance to say anything she said that she would not return the $10 and if I kept on calling she'd call the cop.

Sigh... it's not the matter of how much she owed me, but her attitude towards what she had done wrong.

Oh well, I guess I learned my lesson too--I have to take care of my own business next time.

And I decided to list my stuffs up on ebay now.

The couch that I sold is another lovely masterpiece. It's big enough to sit 10 people comfortably as it's huge--spanning almost 74 feet wide. I have to thank my friend who drove me to preview this couch during work hour :) It was a very hot summer afternoon in Seattle and his car was broken down right after we took a look of it. We sit on the sidewalk for two hours waiting someone to fix the car... it was a funny experience. And then the next day, I rented a U-HAUL and this same friend went with me to pick up the couch! It's hot and humid and the U-HAUL van was just large enough for the couch. Bringing the couch to my basement was another challenge... after a lot of sweating we finally brought it back home. And on my way to return the U-HAUL van, I was caught speeding :( The ticket was fight off, but I paid $300 hiring an attorney....

I guess the friendship behind this couch is what make me treasure it the most.

And what's more moving me? That friend had a surgery just before the pick up...

(that friend said I should add this: those are actually three heavy stones, and we're plain dead after moving it...)

Well, thank you!!

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7月 25, 2007


Butterflying a leg of lamb isn't an easy task, especially to a first timer... I'm glad though the butcher at QFC was kind enough to handle the mess for me :-) However I do need to do more trimming, but it's relatively an easy task. Unfortunately I wasn't able to leave a thin layer of fat... so I guess I have to do something to mend this "mishap". Oh well, I partially did this on purpose since I heard the lamb fat has the most pungent smell. Hopefully things will go well this afternoon.

Reuters reported that one of the short term missionaries from a South Korean church was killed in Afghanistan. AP said that the male victim had 10 bullet holes in his head, chest, and stomach... I'm saddened by the news. Hopefully all of the hostages will be released soon.

Talking about short term missions, I am just approved to join the Rainbow Missions (彩虹工程) to China in this coming December. Our goal will be to serve the local disabled kids in various cities and facilities. I'm gald that I can be part of the team now, since the first time I wanted to join, they're full; and the second time the trip was cancelled because of severe drought (and hence I changed my plan going to Europe instead). Hopefully things will go smooth this time. It appears to be a perfect timing though since my fall semester ends on 12/14, and I'll have to leave on 12/15 joining the rest of the team in either Beijing or Shanghai.

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7月 24, 2007

Thanks for reading :-)

Yup, I'm talking to you!


7月 22, 2007

淡然、 真摯

As I am preparing my turntables for sale, I decided to play a few songs before they are gone. And among them, this is my favorite--The Brothers Four's Try to Remember. There are a lot of versions from different artists, but I think this is the best. Their voice is still so 淡然、 真摯... even though it has been all these years!

Try to remember when life was so tender
That dreams were kept beside your pillow.


7月 20, 2007

送舊不迎新 I

Finally I've started selling my furniture in preparation for moving back to Toronto. It's indeed painful parting with them--not only because each of them is a piece of art to me, there is also a story I can tell behind each and every piece I obtained one by one over a period of almost a year.

This is the No. 3107 designed by Arne Jacobsen, a Danish architect and designer. The chair's predecessor, No. 4130 was awarded a Grand Prix at the Milan XI Tirennale in 1957, which basically the same same chair with a wooden base. The teak-faced moulded plywood seat connected to chromed bent tubular steel base with rubber cap. Although it appears to be a simple chair, the moulding of the continuous plywood seat and back is a complex process. It was said that this design was influenced by the Eameses' earlier designs.

This is one of my favorite chairs. It is a very high quality reproduction of the lounge chair Model No. 670 designed by Charles & Ray Eames for Herman Miller in the 1950's. The original design was based on a prototype exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art's "Organic Design in Home Furnishings" competition in 1940. This model was the Eameses' most constructional complex chair and their first design for the luxury end of the market. This particular chair is constructed by moulded plywood seat shells with leather-covered cushions, cast aluminium base. I obtained it through a colleague of my former company.

(Information courtesy of Jeremy Schneyer, co-owner of Collective in Ballard) This chair is referred to as "Falcon" chair, and was designed in the early 1970s by Sigurd Ressel for Vatne Mobler, a Norwegian furniture maker.

The frame is molded rosewood plywood frame with polished chrome flat bar steel fittings supports canvas sling seat with removable tufted leather cushion.

This platform bed is a classic Danish mod design. This particular design is unique since the base is smaller than the upper layer so that it is sort of hidden underneath, featuring a light and flying aesthetic. With the pair of drawers floating on the sides of the bed, the essence of space age is revealed. I believe this particular bed is made in North America using composit wood with teak-like wood covering. This bed was shipped from California, and despite its simple design, it took me several hours to assemble it. For one thing, the wood is very heavy. And the wood pieces look more or less the same so it's like solving a puzzle.


7月 19, 2007


Just finished reading The Alchemist, a novel recommended by a friend a while back. The plot of the story is pretty simple: it's about a journey of a little shepherd who travels across Sahara to Egypt, where he is told in repeating dreams that treasures are buried under the pyramids. Of course, it's a long and uneasy journey, and what's important is not the treasures, but the self-discovery of the boy along the way. A detailed plot summary can be found in this wiki.

Honestly I don't like novels, especially those that talk about myths, legends, "energy", etc... and when Christianity is involved (yeah, the author, Paulo Coelho, is a Catholic).

That said, I like what the author mentions in the introduction the four reasons we don't have the courage to confront our own dream:

1. We are told from childhood that everything we want to do is impossible, and hence burying our dream over the years.
2. Love--even though we know what we want to do, we are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream.
3. Fear of the defeats we will meet on the path. But defeats are necessary and unpreventable. Just that if you fall down seven times, get up eight times.
4. Thinking that we do not deserve success.

I also like these quotes:
(When the shepherd boy is about to cross Sahara, the camel driver says) Once you get into the desert, there's no going back. And, when you can't go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward. The rest is up to Allah, including the danger.

You must love the desert, but never trust it completely. Because the desert tests all men: it challenges every step, and kills those who become distracted.

All in all, 一步一驚心!


7月 18, 2007


Wouldn't it be great selling your dream satisfying people's needs while getting success? Pixar did it again, and this time creating a dream through the fantastic Ratatouille! It's a funny movie yet very meaningful. The drawings are so real and delicate that make me feel so hungry!

Love this quote from Anton Ego in the movie, who is a restaurant critic:

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more. (courtesy of IMDB)

Hopefully, being an overaged chef school student, I could have half the talent of Remy the rat in the movie, and half the luck of Linguini, the once unrespected garbage boy of the kitchen who eventually opened up "La Ratatouille" after all those twists and turns. And, most importantly, the love and profound efforts of all those who realized their dreams and pursued them.


7月 15, 2007




7月 14, 2007


Can you believe it??

Ho gor is vacuuming!!! Without me telling him to do so!!

The world has changed... the world has changed...



It has been reported that rent has been going up for quite some time recently...

Thanks CL for looking up the market rate :)


7月 11, 2007


“耶穌卻回答說: 經上記著說: 人活著, 不是單靠食物, 乃是靠神口裡所出的一切話。” (Matthew 4:4)

No wonder I always feel something's missing. If it's not because of tonight's dinner, I would almost forgot the reason for this career change... looks like what I really need to learn is not French, but Mandarin.


7月 10, 2007

More about Lyon...

Oh, btw, when you're in Lyon, don't miss the central local butchery market "La Boucherie Centrale" located at:

102, cours lafayette - Halle de Lyon
69003 Lyon

It has a lot of meats there, but what you'd be most interested in is the sauages--one of the traditional foods of Lyon (another one is beef tripes :) You got to try their 血腸!

From 蛇果 Travel:
現時La Halle de Lyon是全法國優秀貨品最齊備的街市,市內的餐館和星級餐廳的廚師,都前來選購心水材料,集合各式肉檔、芝士檔、蔬菜檔、魚檔、酒鋪等等,尚有餅店、小酒吧、生蠔吧、三文魚吧等,是可以讓大家即買即食的地方。
星期二至四7:30am-12nn、3pm-7pm 星期五及六7:30am-7pm 星期日7:30am-12nn

102, Cours Lafayette


You can fix all your lunches there for a good price.

This article from 蛇果 is pretty good too.

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7月 09, 2007


Woke up by a phone call at 5 this morning--my sister in Hong Kong who is going to travel in France wanted to know if I have any recommendations on restaurant in France. I guess it'd be worth if I blog the information instead. So, here you go:

In Nice:
This is the restaurant I mentioned earlier that has a very long line. It is tucked away from a little square in the old town of Nice. The food here is very cheap, and I guess the quality should be good given that the line is so long. A quick search on the web though warned that their puddings are over-priced.

If you like dessert (which you should be :) go to the little square and find a gelato/crepe store that is crowded with people (there are many such stores, but usually only one of them has a long line).

Restaurant du Gesu
Address: Restaurant du Gesu, 1 place du Jesus
Directions: Just off rue Droite which is the road that runs straight through the Old Town, north to south between rue St Francois and rue de la Prefecture. It's on the same road as the famous Palais Lascaris, which will be sign-posted. (closed Sundays and cash only)

Make sure you don't miss the beautiful sunset at the beach! I would go for a dinner after 9pm because of that...

In Lyon:
It's difficult to find a place that has bad cooking in Lyon, except that if you order beef tripes like I did--so never ever order internal organs in Lyon and you'll be fine.

Here's one that is a little pricy:
La Mere Brazier
12, Rue Royale
69001 Lyon, France
04 78 28 15 49
04 78 28 63 63

Here's one that is less expensive:
Cafe Comptoir Abel
25, Rue Guynemer
69002 Lyon, France
04 78 37 46 18

I tried their Quenelle mere Brazier (a pike mousse/"dumpling" on white sauce) but I hate it. I couldn't find, or even tasted, any fish in this huge mass of flour. It's recommended by the registrar of the cooking school though, so I assume other dishes are good.

Notice that most restaurants do not open for dinner until 7:30pm.

Of course, you have to try out the restaurant Saisons located inside Institut Paul Bocuse. I think it's the best in town for the price!! Enjoy a three-hour meal in this peaceful Château! Notice that the restaurant closes on Wednesdays.

Call ahead to reserve: +33 (0)4 72 18 02 20 (English spoken)

If you are taking the bus, take Metro Line D (direction Gare de Vaise) to Gorge de Loup, then take the Bus (TCL) Line 3 (direction Dardilly-Le Jubin) to Ecully le Trouillat. There are two Line 3 buses from Gorge de Loup, get on the bus with the correct direction. Also the bus stop names are spelled out on the sign of each individual stop, so you don't have to speak French to get off at the right stop... the challenging part though, is that you have to find the way walking to the school. Ask the locals and they should know. The walk is only 15 minutes or so after getting off the bus.

You can also take Bus Line 55 (direction Ecole Centrale) from a different Metro station to Ecully Le Trouillat. The bus stop is closer to the school than Line 3.

Here's a map with directions to the school.

Pick up a Metro and Bus map from a Tourist Information center when you arrive.

Actually, it's much easier if you take a cab :) Here's the address:

Institut Paul Boch

Château du Vivier - BP 25
69131 Ecully Cedex - France

In Paris:
I didn't get to try out the restaurants in Paris. For one thing, it's kind of expensive comparing to Lyon, and I didn't have much time eating. But if you want to spend 140EUR for two for a lunch (which I'm sure you won't :), you can try

La Tour d'Argent
15-17 Quai de Tournelle
75005 Paris
+33(0) 1 43 54 23 31

It's a short walk right across the river of Notre Dame.

Of course, there are many restaurants along Champ D'Alysee.

Oh, when you're in Pairs, make sure you go to the Paris Opéra (or National Academy of Music) and get a ticket for that night's show. Usually it's not expensive (20 EUR), and the box office is super helpful to get you a cheap ticket with good seats.

And you can't miss a classical concert in the Sainte-Chapelle! It costs 25 EUR (but the regular entry fee is already 7.5 EUR, so it's worth it!). It's an unforgetable experience sitting in this historic building surrounded by stained glass listening to classical music!

Hope the information helps. Have a great trip!!

(argh, you made me start missing France... it's indeed a country I would like to go back some day)

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The pursuit of happiness

Here comes Justin's version of pursuiting happiness in the beautiful British Columbia:


7月 07, 2007

美味 Foie Gras?

I heard that people over-feeding ducks to farm foie gras, but couldn't imagine it can be this inhuman:

I have decided not to take any foie gras from now on...


7月 06, 2007


Finally I'm done with all the trips--I just came back from Whistler and Vancouver where I stayed for four nights with my brother's family. Justin my nephew is super active but cute, and he sort of reminded me how I was being a kid... although, of course, he's funnier than I was.

There is only one response when people asked how I liked the trips--tiring. I know, the main reason is because of a tight schedule and they all happened around the same time. I think I need several days to fully recover from this tireness, even though some issues will become more pressing if I leave them untouched: finalizing the rental contract, selling the furniture, painting the house, cleaning up the lawn, and the most important of all--

Printing the pictures I got from the trips.

Yup, I just got them back from the lab today! Hopfully I can get some scanned these few days, and start working on the contact sheets next week.

Looking at the negatives, the last month was like a dream stitched together with these little rectangles...