Archive for March, 2009

3/27 Niaochao Gonyi Lighter

Posted: March 26, 2009 in Toys

Mom came back today, from Beijing…

She got me this lighter… which from the name… I have no idea what it’s suppose to be…
Then I realized… It’s that new Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing lah~~~ hahaha~

The box, of course, has to be red!
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There’re little details inside the stadium, which is kinda cool~
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The flame.. is waaaaaay big! But of course, it’s adjustable~

This is the interesting part… There’s a switch on the bottom side… hmmm….
Hahahahahaha!! It lights up lah!!!! It’s actually has two LED bulbs in side, one that flashes, one that changes color slowly…
How funny is that?! hahaha~ I’m so easily amused.. hehe~ Thanks mom~
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3/24 My Two Cents

Posted: March 23, 2009 in Just Another Day

After a late night conversation with a friend…

Things don’t always happen for the best, but that doesn’t mean it’ll always happen for the worst
Look on the brighter side beats standing in the dark
Give yourself a little hope, a little less doubt
Focus on actions that’ll count, and forget the ones that won’t help
It’ll come around, for better or for worse, no regrets

Does that worth 2 cents? or a penny will do, for my thought

3/23 Little Hyatt

Posted: March 23, 2009 in Food and drink, Taiwan

Since North Middle South from last week… or was it the week before… man… Discount Ginko anyone??

Anyway, this is suppose to be one of the restaurants from Four Four South Village, and it’s just called South Village Diner. However, customers who often visit call it “Little Hyatt”. It’s actually quite famous in Taipei. After the village was torn down, well… preserved… It moved to it’s current location… which is not far from it original spot.

Enough about that… Let’s get on with food… “Village Food”… is kind of like comfort food for many who are from these Military Dependent Villages.  Again, it’s just what mom would whip up from whatever that’s leftover in the fridge… hmmm… did they have fridges then?… It’s nothing fancy, but it’ll taste good and fill you up!

As you walk in to the restaurant, you’ll find a big display… umm… cart, case, whatever you want to call it, filled with “Lu Wei”, tofu, eggs, beef, chicken wing, liver and more, marinated and waiting for you to pick out the ones you want and enjoy.
The rest of the menu is simple, noodles, some veggies, and that’s about it… oh, and steamed crabs.

So we stared with peanuts, cooked in salt water I think… maybe a bit of spices… It maybe a bit blend, but I think it would make a good snack since it won’t make you want to drink a ton of water…
Then the cucumbers. They crushed it a bit, and cut into big chunks, and on top, they drizzled it with vinegar, peanut sauce, and minced garlic. It’s a refreshing dish, recommend it.
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This is what I picked out from the big steel cart. Eggs, tofu, seaweed, cow intestine, beef shank, pig head… yes, literally pig’s head… actually… skin on pigs head… with a bit of meat… hmmm.. now that I’ve put it that way… it’s kinda disgusting…. hahaha
Again, these are not very salty or strong in flavor compare to most of the vendors on the street or night markets. But there’s always chili oil to fix that…  It’s not bad, but I think there’s a chance that you might find the stall that sells the same thing around your house tastes better… Don’t get me wrong, it’s good stuff, just people who prefer they food with a bit more flavor to go with a bottle of beer or two might prefer others.
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OK, soup. They call it “Four Treasure Soup” because it has bokchoi, eggs, tomato and tofu. I like it, the simple with lots of stuff in it, and tastes good~
OK, this is actually not on the menu… But they have Sesame Sauce noodle and also Zha Jiang noodle… So I asked for both, but in the same bowl… hahaha~ It’s pretty good. The noodles are hand-made. And the sauce is pretty good. Angela said that the same noodle from Four Four South Village is better… But I wouldn’t know… Since I didn’t have any…
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This is an interesting dish from the menu, didn’t think they would have this in a place like this…
Even though it’s spring already, but this one got tons of eggs! But this one costs 500 NT…
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I think this is a restaurant worth trying if you are in the neighborhood, but might not worth your trip if you live an hour away…
If I lived around it, I’d probably go visit once a month, but since I don’t… I’m just gonna search for another similar one closer to my house… I guess it just doesn’t have what I want that would make me want to go back again and again… But don’t hesitate to drop in if you are in the neighborhood, have a bowl of the yummy noodles and soup, along with some tofu and beef shank~ It shouldn’t disappoint you, I hope…

3/23 Sakurajima

Posted: March 22, 2009 in Just Another Day

This was on route back from LA…

Actually, from SFO… It was a cargo flight from LA-SFO-TPE… Another long ass day…
This is near Fukoka I think… Not really sure… Didn’t pay attention to what’s next to it…
It’s Sakurajima, of if you prefer, Mount Sakura…
It erupted today… or… yesterday… or… whatever…  Didn’t see lava pouring out of it, and not volcanic dust in the air, so I guess can’t really say it erupted… more like… bubbling… yeah…. bubbling… hehehe…

Anyway, here are some aerial photos from FL400… that’s 40,000 feet in the air… And my little LX3 did not disappoint~ Got some pretty good shots of it, with only 3X optical zoom, I’m happy with it~
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I also found this "aerial shot" which is a preset mode under the SCN mode…
Can you tell the difference??
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Yes, I went back for more!

Didn’t really order anything different, and still amazed by the size of the nigiris and sashimi chunks…
Food still good, fish still fresh, price went up a bit, and still VERY VERY packed…
Got there around 6:40, waited for an hour to get in, fished dinner by 9, still a ton of people outside waiting…

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Soup is still free~
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Sashimi still in large chunks!! Good thing it’s fresh, otherwise it would be very hard two swallow…. hahaha~
Still love the Ika Nigiri, soooooo good!! But be warned, there’s a lot of wasabi in it… you might want them not to put any if you can’t handle the heat… hahaha~
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Age Dashi Tofu, yum~  Grilled chicken is average, and the Unagi Don… Didn’t have any… but Ryan says it’s good.
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Gigantic Uni Handroll is still good~ Uni was very fresh and sweet. (But some days, it may not be good, ask the waiter before you order)
Shrimp Tempura is good, so are the veggies~ The Omelette Rice is still as delicious as always~
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This is ummm…. yeah.. I forgot… It’s shrimp… I think this is from the south east coast, sweet and very very fresh!
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Had Starbucks afterwards, nothing beats a nice cup of coffee, tea, frappuccino, or whatever drink after a meal, and just sit and chat with friends and family and talk shit about people you hate and bitch about work… hahahaha~~

3/17 HAWX & Saitek AV8R-03

Posted: March 17, 2009 in Toys

So it finally arrived…

Earlier this month, I bought this game called HAWX. It’s a fighter shooting game. Being an airliner pilot, we get to see other planes on our navigation display (when they are close enough), but we never get to shoot them down… hehehe~
This game is not like the Flight Simulator series from Microsoft, it’s just a game where you shoot at whatever you see… and the online mode allows you to go head to head with a friend or a stranger in a aerial dog fight, or you can team up to go through the missions together.  It’s not the best flight shooting game ever, but it’s good enough… considering… it’s the only one of its kind for PS3…

The best thing about this game, is it has like 50 different jet fighters you can choose from~  However, they are not all available for you to use from the get go, you have to gain experience points and level up to unlock them. There are also 3 different weapon packs for each plane, so you can equip your fighter properly according to the objectives of the mission.

There are also some wacko things you have to do to gain those exp points, like flight up side down for 2 minutes… Fly over M2.0 for 5 minutes…. I guess it’s just to give the game a bit more fun?
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So, one can not play a flight shooting game with just a normal controller… You must have… one of these….
The Aviator Flight Stick from Saitek~ It’s only 50 bucks online, but it doesn’t have force feedback….
But then… most modern jet fighters are fly-by-wire! So no force feedback is fine with me~~ and I suppose this is how the Airbus feels like during flight? Howard?
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It’s a nice looking stick ain’t it? hehehe~
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A lot of buttons… And you actually get to use all of them in the game… and believe it for not, it should add one more, cuz after pressing all the buttons… I can’t find one to switch the view!!! The one that’s guarded is used for a ERS function in the game… X for launching missiles and Square for switching targets… Trigger of course is for your cannons~
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On the base of the thing, you have buttons for flares, assistance mode on/off button, PS Home, pause and switch radar screen…
There’s also a little thrust lever~ kinda cute~
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Anyway… That’s all the toys I’m gonna buy for now… well… at least this month… I think… well, one thing I know for sure, these will keep me busy for a while~ hahaha~

3/14 New Toys Arrived!

Posted: March 14, 2009 in Toys

Yes, more toys!

This is something I’ve wanted to buy since… Gran Tourismo first came out. That’s like a million years ago!
Anyway, today was my simulator check, and luckily, I passed once again, 3 more months to play around.. hahaha
So a couple of days earlier, I’ve ordered something for myself to celebrate today~

Coming back from my check, these two boxes are upstairs waiting for me…

In the first box… hehehe…
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Is a combination of pieces of metal~ It’s foldable for easy storage…
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In the second box… Is the official wheel of Gran Tourismo!
I didn’t buy the G25, one cuz it was too expensive… Second.. I could careless for the manual gear and clutch thingy…
The orange dial is for in-game quick setting of the cars.
The GT in the middle of the wheel lights up when it powered up! Cool~
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After putting them together… hehehe… I didn’t buy the rack with a bucket seat was because again.. expensive… and second, it takes a lot of room. So this foldable one seems to be a more suitable choice~
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After played with it for a couple of hours…

A chair without wheels would probably be a better choice… as I find myself sometimes would roll away from the thing…
Other than that… I felt like an idiot with the wheel… I don’t mean looking like an idiot wearing pajamas bare foot sitting in front of a computer screen turning the steering wheel around… I mean, DAMN! It’s hard to drive with the thing!! Especially when setting the game to simulation… which was suppose to simulate real cars… and I have to say… I guess I don’t have what it’s got to be a real race car driver…  Then after a bit, I got used to it a little, and set the game to normal settings… and it’s quite a lot of fun~ Bring racing games a whole new experience~

In conclusion… I would recommend anyone who likes car racing games to go out and get one~  You’ll see how different it is from playing the game with a controller~

Recently, old timer cuisine is making a come back…

Today our restaurant of choice is North Middle South. It’s located in the Xin-Yi District, near the 101 building, right next to the WFC in the Taipei Xinyi Public Assembly Hall. The location used to be called “Si Si Nan Cun – Four Four South Village”, which was occupied by military people and their families from China after the civil war with the commies, they are also called “military dependent quarters”. The “villagers” moved out around 1999 for the re-construction of the area, but then some dude thought its sort of a historical site, and convinced the government to preserve the place… That’s the short version of the history behind it… If you want to know more, Google it… or… there are little pamphlets in both Chinese and English telling the story behind the place…

Anyway, this is what the place used to look like, except, it used to have way more houses than now, and all the alleys were narrow and again, way more houses~ It’s kind of interesting that you have a place like this, and the 101 building, which are about 50 years apart, yet right next to each other…
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The inside of the restaurant is not retro/old… but it’s not exactly modern… it’s… hmmm….
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OK, now the important stuff… The food…
Back in the old days, the food from these villages were consists of all the different cuisines from all over China. However, there were no fancy shark fin soup or abalones, it was just simple dishes to get them through the tough times back then.
So today, we had:
Drunken Chicken – it’s not bad, but when it was brought to our table, parts of it were still frozen…
Lions Head – It’s not the best we’ve had, but ok to eat.
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Squash and Shrimp Buns were good, so was the Crab Egg Meat Buns. Both pretty good, but I doubt they were made this way back then. This is more like Ding Tai Feng style… But here you can order either 4 or 8 buns per order. Which was what we did today, so we can try more dishes~ The stuffing were very juicy, so be careful picking them up, and use the spoon so you won’t splatter the juices in your plate…
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Stir-fry Chinese Pancakes – I like it, but doesn’t really stand out from the same dish other restaurants make…
Radish Cake – This was good, the shell was flaky, the stuffing was moist, the flavor was good~ But again, I doubt this was the original version they made back then… It’s too… delicate…
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Steamed Veggie Dumplings, Chive Pork Dumplings, and… ummm… I forgot what was in the last one.. probably shrimp and some meat… They were all good~ The dumpling skin is thin like the buns, and the stuffing were all great. I would recommend eating them without any condiments, at least the first one… These also comes in either 8 or 4 per order.
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Da Lu Mian – This was suppose to be their signature dish. It’s a noodle soup with stewed pork belly and sort of a thick soup flavored with the stewing broth I think… It’s not bad, a little bland, could be better…
Zha Jiang Mian – This I didn’t try, but the Jay, Ryan and Angela said it’s good, so I’ll take their words for it.
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Scallion Cake – This was pretty good, the scallion stuffing inside was juicy, just be careful not to burn your mouth while eating it.
Hot and Sour Soup – This I thought was more of a HK/Canton Style, cuz the “hotness” came from chili paste, instead of white pepper. It does have lots of stuff in it though, tofu, bamboo shoots, pork/duck blood and stuff… Not bad lah…
Chinese Crepe with Green Been Paste – This is the dessert. The crepe itself is made with a mix of flour and glutinous rice powder, where the flour gives it the crispy shell, while the rice powder gives it a sort of chewy bite to it. Here, I think they put in a bit more rice powder than the once I’ve had before, so more on the chewy side, but not bad.
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Overall, I would say it’s a 3 out of 5… The dishes were all simple, without any drama or surprises..  Flavors are on the lighter side, however  I suspect the original versions were a bit more heavy, but I guess modern people, health conscious… I would say they made a descent modern replica of those dishes… There are other stuff on the menu of course, but not a lot more… Price wise… it’s a bit on the expensive side.. especially the drunken chicken leg… it’s 350… I would probably not make the trip over just to eat there anytime soon, but if I’m in the neighborhood, hungry… I just might pop in for a dumpling or two…

Toys and Shoes

Posted: March 2, 2009 in Toys

Even though I said I didn’t do a lot of shopping…

This is actually my Valentine’s gift from Angela~ Cuz she know that I have a set of the original "Cubee", so she went out and got me this Disney set of cubees~  If you want to know what they are… Basically, it’s 10 different animals/characters, each can sing 3 songs, and you stack them up into a pyramid, and who ever is on the top, will sing its 3 songs, and the rest will sing along with it… Google it… or Youtube it, I’m sure there are videos of it~
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This I didn’t buy in LA. I tried, but they didn’t have my size… So I actually found this on Yahoo Auctions in Taiwan. It’s the Limited Puzzle Series from Globe… Limited… Red… I like… hehe
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Got this pair at the Kenneth Cole outlet… I thought this would be more comfortable to wear it for work~
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This was ordered through Amazon… Darts~ Being me… I believe everything should be bought in pairs… So I got two sets…
One from Laserdarts – The Black Widow… and one from Bottelsen – The Devastator…  They might see some actions tonight… or… some other day…
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Even though I fly to LA almost every other month… But it’s been a while since I last went there for a short vacation…

This was the plane that took me there…    This is Andy’s car that took us around town in SD
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Saw some pets~
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Had some yummy food and drinks and desserts~
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Saw Andy pitching at his first league game… and lost…
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That was pretty much it… Not a lot happening, just hung out with family and that was about it.. Didn’t even do a lot of shopping either…
I’ll save that for my next trip~

There’re lots more photos in the photo album "02-21-09 LA Trip" for you to check it out…