The (big) bird

Usually, once I park my car after using it, I'll not only put up the front windscreen wipers but also the solitary back wiper. I thought it's only logical to put up both but apparently most people only bother with the front wipers. Why?

Anyway, the strange thing is that sometimes I noticed that the back wiper was down. I usually assumed that some people had itchy hands and put it down as they walked past. You know what's Ban's explanation? Birds. Oh yes, you heard it right. He said that the birds must have thought, "Oh, what an unusual car. I must fix it". Lol, see lah what my crazy partner thinks up :P

One fine day, Ban was with me when I parked my car. I put up both side's wipers and was about to leave when I noticed that he put down the back wiper.

"Ehhh, why did you put it down?"

"Huh? Ohhhh...I didn't think."

"So all along you're the bird, is it?"

Lol.

Still soy milk?

Couple of weeks ago, I blogged about switching from cow's milk to soy milk. Shortly after that, my sister reminded me that intolerance/sensitivity sometimes undergoes an accumulation phase before displaying symptoms. Coincidentally, that night and the next day, I had stomachache (probably irritable bowel syndrome i.e. IBS). Lol.

Ok, I didn't give you an important fact: right up to before that blog post, I had been drinking V-Soy Multi-Grain, which is a mixture of soybean, purple brown rice, black sesame, malt extract and barley. It's smooth and appears to be creamy.

Then I thought of just alternating between that and V-Soy's normal soybean milk, simply because the latter has slightly less sugar. That was when I had stomachache. Coincident? Hmmm...

Here's another information: I switched back to purely V-Soy Multi-Grain. The IBS symptom didn't recur since then.

Is it still coincident?

Regardless, I'll just stick with Multi-Grain since it's yummier anyway hehehe.

D'italiane

During the tail-end of my backache saga, I decided to get back to exercise but still avoided yoga. So I chose to use a treadmill during our weekly excursion to the gym. We went to the nearest FF outlet at Paradigm Mall to exercise.

We had dinner after gym at D'italiane, which is conveniently located just below the gym. I have always wanted to try this restaurant but kept forgetting to do so. It was good that my stomach decided to do so that day hehehe.

D'italiane 1

D'italiane 2

Yes, their menu was sort of in the form of a newsletter. Actually, the overall ambience of the restaurant was pretty good. Later, when the sun about to set, they placed this at each table:

D'italiane 7

After contemplating among a few choices, at the last minute I ordered Angel Hair with Scallops (RM33):

D'italiane 3

D'italiane 4

Looks a little messy, doesn't it? I was a little surprised by the choice of sliced lettuce but pleased with the amount. Often than not pasta dishes have little to non-existent amount of vegetables.

There was simply too much pasta, made worse by existence of only 3 scallops. The texture of the pasta was similar to the Chinese wantan noodle (I felt ripped off lol). The taste was alright but surprisingly spicy. I wonder how potent their black pepper version would be. There was thinly sliced pieces of garlic which was yummy. Unusual dish.

D'italiane 5

I also ordered the Ciocchino Mocha, which was an ice-blended drink. The waiter confused me when he asked me whether I wanted it hot or cold.

Me: Shouldn't it be ice-blended?
Waiter: No, there's no ice-blended.
Me: Please read this description *pointed at the menu*
Waiter: Oh...ok.

That was so strange...and somewhat unpleasant.

Oh, and guess what? Our pasta (Ban ordered Angel Hair too) arrived but drinks had not been served yet. I had to point this out to them before our drinks arrived. I guess they were busy producing water from a salination plant somewhere and needed to wait for it to be transported.

Thank goodness the drink was quite good and flavourful. It was, however, small for the price of RM 13.

D'italiane 6

Unusual glass, right?

Yes, there were a number of unusual things about this restaurant to perhaps differentiate itself from other restaurants but if they don't get their quality right (both in food and service), then those will be pointless.

Will I try again? Yes, I'll likely give another chance.

Inaho: 6th and the last time

Since I deviated from my original plan previously, I had their Shoyu Ramen once again. Unlike the first time I had this noodle, I'm severely disappointed in the lack of meat (only 1 or 2 pieces!) and the absence of seaweed. Gosh, so stingy for a RM 18 bowl of ramen.

Also, the green tea tasted diluted, despite it being the most expensive hot green tea (RM 4) I had among Japanese restaurants of similar tier.

Again, consistent with previous experience where they didn't follow my instruction, this time they didn't follow Ban's request of not having sauce on his salad.

As noted before, this restaurant has huge problem in maintaining consistency. Normally I would visit a restaurant at most twice if it is bad. I believed 6 times are more than generous and there will be no more visit. A pity.

Reading

I read aplenty everyday. Each day I read my e-mails, Facebook, 2 news media online and actuarial news sent by the institute to my e-mail. Every now and then I also read investment blogs and forum. Offline reading materials are the Actuaries magazine, various story books and occasional annual report (by various companies and condo management).

Even if I have project to work on (like recently), I still read the above. What I cut down is my gaming time, which will be restricted mostly to after dinner (when I'm off work). Incidentally, another item that I will not cut down is my exercise time. Too important.

However, lately I realised that the amount of online reading materials are so much that I started to neglect the offline ones and the latter have been piling up on a chair nearby my laptop as a constant reminder of the backlog :) So one day, I resolved to make more progress on this by doing the following: each time I want to start a game, I'll read some of these reading materials.

Although the reading time is only about 10mins each time, I do this frequently because I start and stop my games regularly. I managed to get through a 80+ pages of report within a few days by doing this and now have started to go through the Actuaries magazine.

Systematic and part of routine. Yeah :)

Ramen Ten & Shin Tokyo: 2nd visit

As stated in a previous post, Ban and I had lunch at this restaurant again and, yes, we used Groupon voucher once more.

I had planned to try their sushi since I already had their ramen. However, I was still in celebratory mood (our 5th anniversary :) ) and so I splurged a little more to order Dry Spicy Miso Crayfish (RM 32.90).

RTST 4

RTST 5

It had a "1 chilli" symbol but boy it was spicier than expected. I had to drink water regularly as I ate it. Here's an interesting observation: their Black Pepper Dry Beef Ramen also had "1 chilli" symbol. Gosh, I hate to think what sort of potent black pepper they're using!

It's probably quite obvious that there was huge amount of noodle, and vegetables such as beansprout, carrot, lettuce and spring onion. It was difficult to mixed them together due to the crayfish being placed at the top. I had to move the crayfish to a smaller plate to do so.

The sauce tasted like popiah sauce! Quite disappointing and amusing.

I had crayfish years ago and I remember how easy it was to extract its meat from its shell. However, in this case, it wasn't. It was like pulling meat that was glued to its shell. Also, I don't understand why they fried its skin with flour. I certainly couldn't eat the skin (too tough!) and so the flour was wasted.

The meat, fortunately was sweet and fresh. So were the prawns, squid and crabsticks.

I definitely won't have this again because it was too spicy for me, too large, too sweet and the way the crayfish was cooked was bizarre.

Milk to Soy

I've been drinking fresh milk for maybe at least 5 years. The spark was when I had it first in Australia when I was schooling there. It tasted so much better than most of the milk found in Malaysia.

However, it was quite expensive relative to my salary when I first started working in Singapore. Equally expensive in Malaysia too. It was not a top priority and I had other pressing financial issues than drinking fresh milk e.g. housing loan, saving up for emergency fund, insurance, investment.

Later, when salary permitted, I started drinking fresh milk in Singapore and it was continued when I moved to KL. As a testament to Malaysia's inflation, the price of fresh milk increased from about RM 5.20 to RM 6.40 currently in 4 years i.e. a 23% rise with an effective annual inflation rate of 5.3%.

Recently, during a conversation with a doctor about acid reflux/GERD (he initiated it), I was told that soy milk is better than cow's milk because the latter stays longer in the stomach and somehow generates gas. There may be some truth in that because if I have milk at night, say, an hour before I sleep, half of the time I'll have stomach discomfort. Also, once a while, I have slight diarrhea after having milk for breakfast.

So I checked out the soy milk available in a supermarket. As usual, I'll try to buy food that has the least chemical as possible and in the end I chose Vsoy (RM 4) despite it being significantly more expensive than the next best, Homesoy (RM 2.70). It is still much cheaper than fresh milk.

I've been on soy milk for maybe 2-3 weeks and it's working out just fine i.e. no stomach discomfort and no diarrhea. My only complaint is the added sugar. Homesoy has no-sugar added version but it still has food flavouring.

Ramen Ten & Shin Tokyo

I've been slacking in the department of try-new-food-each-week. I definitely can't depend on Ban. In fact, I believed that he hopes I forget about getting us to try new food :) However, to his credit, whenever I suggest new food that I know he can safely eat (i.e. not oily, not fried, not too spicy, lactose-free), he usually agrees to try.

So armed with a Groupon voucher, we had lunch at Ramen Ten & Shin Tokyo. I believed that these are two separate restaurants (one serves mainly ramen, the other serves all other food) but housed within one shop at Jaya 33.

RTST 1

Customised bowl! Rare.

RTST 2

RTST 3

I had the Yaki Niku Ramen, which was served in 5 mins! That was so fast. I had the suspicion that it was a misplaced order for another table.

The first thing I noticed was the egg. It looked perfectly cooked with soft yolk and, yes, it tasted delicious! Hmmm should have found out whether I could have ordered additional egg or not.

The beef was not salty (unlike many others I had) and lightly seasoned. There were a variety of vegetables: sliced carrot, beansprout, seaweed and spring onion. Again, this was better than expected.

It smelled good. The soup was, similar to the beef, light in taste. This all worked well because often than not normal ramen tastes salty when you are halfway through it. One downside was that the soup was not sufficient.

The texture of the ramen was quite unusual. It felt almost like Chinese noodle.

Ban noticed that the recommended dishes were different in different copies of the same menu. Hmmm...

Will we go there again? Yes, for sure...and we did! Hehehe. To be blogged next time!

Backache

Two Fridays ago, after a shower at night, I noticed the ache on my right upper back that seems to gradually affect the right side of my neck as well. I was a little worried but was hoping that it would be gone after a good night sleep.

However, I woke up in the middle of the night feeling sharp pain around that area (it was difficult to pinpoint the exact spot of the pain), so much so that I could fall back to sleep. I had to wake up, had some early breakfast and painkiller.

I had to stop all my exercises, including my weekly Sunday yoga class, to properly recover. Fortunately, by Monday, it was more or less gone.

I am still not entirely sure what caused it. My best guess is that I may have performed improperly the crunches or a particular yoga pose on Friday.

That it struck again. Somehow, due to "bad" pillows back home (they were uncomfortable), I sort of reinjured that area by sleeping on my side (I usually sleep on my side if my nose is not blocked). So I did what I did before to recover: used heat pack twice a day in the day and heat rub twice a day in the evening and night.

I'm almost healed. I still stay away from yoga and swimming though. Had to do treadmill for exercise.

How To Think Straight About Psychology

How to think straight about Psychology

After started reading this a few years ago (yes, it has been years hehehe), I finally finished reading this about a month or two ago. It was a book that Ban lent me for reasons that we both forgot :P It was a recommended reading for Ban's course to understand research methods.

This is a great book to read (and easy to read too) for anyone who is interested in understanding scientific methodology (despite its name). It opened my eyes to interesting things such as case studies & testimonials, guns in US, just-world hypothesis, and parsimony. It also reinforces statistical concepts that I learned in university.

Boy, incidentally, I have a backlog of reading to do.

Duel Champions: Yukiko won Swiss!

In a previous post, I stated that I tried winning a Swiss tournament using Sanctuary to get my first Sanctuary victory but I failed. I thought too long and in my haste I made costly mistakes.

However, recently, I finally did it! I used Yukiko. It was auto-win in the first game due to a bug (I would prefer to duel properly as I hate the bug myself, being a victim for about 10 times already), won the second game against a player who was ranked marginally higher than me (quite happy with that duel) and won the third game against a player who ranked significantly below me (but sometimes such player do play well and so never underestimate anyone!) and surrendered by the 9th turn after I cast ice meteor.

So, that is my 10th Swiss tournament victory :) The list of victories are as follows:

Necro (2) - both Ariana on standard and BS2 format each
Inferno (2) - Deleb probably on Inferno-only format, Kal-Azaar on "minimum 30 spells" format
Stronghold (5) - 3 Kat on standard and 2 Kat on BS2 format
Sanctuary (1) - Yukiko on standard format

Also, I managed to get my 5 levels to complete the Week of Enrolment quest. Yay! I dearly hope I remember my starting level correctly as I really need a break from DoC for while.