Monday, May 31, 2010

Project 365: Day 145

AC unit is broken upstairs. Sooo hot, will upload pictures from another location. Must fix AC immediately.....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Project 365: Day 144

PP's coworkers are so nice. One of them made banana pudding while the other bought a huge assortment of balloons for PP's birthday. They are still going strong today.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Project 365: Day 143

Definitely not just a box! I actually hand-wrote the font for the letters. I probably should have taken more cursive lessons...

Project 365: Day 142

Today is PP's birthday! Knowing that she loves seafood, I decided to cook up a seafood semi-extravaganza consisting of lobster, crab cakes, bacon wrapped-asparagus, and potato salad. Having never cooked lobster before, I consulted some online resources and they all pointed out that it's actually very easy. It turns out they were right. I think the key was the thyme and bay leaves tossed in with the water to add a little flavor to the lobster. Following the instructions provided, I managed to cook up some delicious lobsters. I think I missed the timing by about 5 minutes as they could have been even more tender, but it was delicious nonetheless.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Project 365: Day 141

Perhaps not just a plain white box...

Project 365: Day 140

A full month into P90X and still going strong. I really think this is something that I will be able to start and finish, something that sadly doesn't happen too often in my workout world. So far, I feel a lot more energy and can feel some tightening around the neck and chest area.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Project 365: Day 139

A plain white box...

Project 365: Day 138

It's been a while since I played anything on Xbox360 outside of P90X videos. This weekend, I finally had some time so I decided to get Lost Planet 2. Despite all the negative reviews of the game, Kingpet and I found the game to be quite awesome. It puts the focus of the campaign heavily on cooperative play. So much so, that without human players, it's almost too difficult to complete. From a solo player point of view, this sucks, but from a coop point, this is exactly how a coop game should be played. Every player's actions matter. For instance, the very first boss we faced, we actually had to strategize and come up with a plan of attack. Kingpet occupied the boss' attention and held the strong close ranged weapons, while I took the minigun and attacked the boss' appendages from afar. This caused the boss to collapse after enough appendages were taken out, letting Kingpet devastate the weak spot from up close. Before the plan, we had tried this level 3 or 4 times, with each time depleting less than 1/4th of the boss' life bar. With the new plan, none of us even died once. It's rare that a game gives such a satisfying sense of accomplishment.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Project 365: Day 137

This is probably the most painful fruit in terms of P90X. Superman Banana!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Project 365: Day 136

PP has been reading this book lately filled with philosophical principles. Even though it's very old, a lot of it can still apply to the government structures of today. Ideally, the highest level of government is where no one notices the government is there. It's a little hard to imagine such a scenario, but I suppose if every person is inherently viewed as being good, then it's possible.

Project 365: Day 135

Plane tickets to China is so expensive right now. Typically, a round trip is maybe $1000 to $1100 but right now, the cheapest available is at $1500. Big part of the reason is probably because of the Shanghai Expo 2010. Even though I haven't been there yet, I did manage to win an official T-shirt from a raffle drawing. Woot!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Project 365: Day 134

We have this dilapidated cabinet sitting next to my almost-dilapidated computer desk that is just falling apart. The draws are coming apart, the frame is warped and half the draws don't even close properly. Time to head to IKEA!

Project 365: Day 133

I have really been enjoying P90x so far, but I was having trouble doing the Military style push-ups because of my wrists. I went looking for some nice push-up bars but the only kind that I could find were those "Perfect Push-up" kind that could swivel which were overly expensive for what I wanted. I was shopping at Walmart one day when I saw these for only $10! They worked perfectly and now I can do Military push-ups in good form and go even lower on the regular push-ups.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Project 365: Day 132

My grandfather is closing in on his 90th birthday. Since I can't make it back to China until October/November, I decided to give him a digital picture frame filled with my pictures from birth until now. It was a bit tedious putting it all together, but the finished slide show turned out very well. Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Project 365: Day 131

Went to a gala for the Chinese Civic Center on Sunday. This association has been in existence for 14 years and every year they hold such a gala for fund-raising purposes. However from what I hear, the organization is becoming more and more political and as a result, the quality is suffering greatly. They are always looking to recruit fresh faces, so they made PP one of the MCs for the event despite her objection because of her CFA exams. She did a wonderful job given the rather dry material and lackluster entertainment from performers.

One aspect that sucked greatly was an auction to try to raise money for the association. The first item was some random painting that got about $900, and only because the person who donated it had to buy it herself to save face. The second item was of all things, a hunting pass to go deer hunting. Now, I think they are catering to the wrong audience here. I hardly know of any 50 year old Chinese people who enjoy hunting, much less any who actually own a gun.

Perhaps with a nice presentation, they can convince some people it's a fun activity to participate in, but they presented it all wrong. First they showed this wonderful picture of some cute little deer with what looked to be its mother. Then they said, "if you want to KILL this deer, then this permit is for you!" This was immediately followed by, "if you don't have a gun, we will provide you with an AK-47!" (I am not making this up, those were the exact words). They then proceeded to start the bidding at $1,000. No one bid anything for this permit and only after about 15 minutes of awkward mumbling, did they lower the minimum bid to $100. Even then, only 1 person bid that amount and finally after spending almost 30 minutes on this stupid pass, they sold it for $100.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Project 365: Day 130

My pillows are so cool, they create rainbows...It's been raining for the past couple of days; so much so that we had to cancel the company softball game. The clouds finally lifted and low and behold, it bestowed miraculous powers to my pillow.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Project 365: Day 129

PP's favorite cookie. I always try to hide some little sweet snacks around the house just in case she gets the munchies!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Project 365: Day 128

Mmmm....Watermelon. One thing great about living in Houston is its close proximity to the watermelon fields near College Station. We always have the best watermelons during the summer time.

Project 365: Day 127

The problem with Chinese cooking is the use of oil and the resultant oily fumes. Normal kitchens around here are designed with the ventilation slots on the bottom, but since fumes rise, they don't catch all of it. To combat this, M developed her patented mobile cooking canopy. She just puts this thing on the stove and it blocks the vapors from coating the space above. She should patent this and sell it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Project 365: Day 126

While doing P90X, I usually have difficulties with the stretches where I am supposed to open my chest because I am not flexible enough to reach my hands all the way to the ground. The videos recommend a Yoga block but I kept forgetting to go buy one. Today, I finally went out and got one from the local Walmart. Just in time for Yoga X on Thursday.

Project 365: Day 125

Went and saw Ironman II today with a friend. The movie was pretty good, but I feel that it's just missing something that the first movie had. Perhaps it's that sense of earning one's powers and creating something from nothing or perhaps it's because the characters actually seemed plausible in the first movie. A couple of things bothered me a lot in the second movie.

First, Whiplash was either the most idiotically lucky or pathetically stupid villain ever. Why didn't anyone just shoot Whiplash in the head in Monte Carlo? Those stupid whips he used only had maybe a 5 feet reach. What's to prevent the security officers from just opening fire and hitting the parts that are completely unarmored like his arms/legs/head? Towards the end, why would he leave his head uncovered? Is the view just too restricting inside the helmet? Gee, let's cover all the rest of my body with impenetrable armor, but leave my most vital appendage completely uncovered because I want the IMAX experience.

Second, Ironman has these super duper red beam gundam sword of crazy awesomeness that cuts through anything..but he can only use them once. Then he discards them and they are revealed to be these tiny little pellets that attach to his hands. Why doesn't he just cover his entire arm with these little pellets and have his own little laser disco show every time he encounters enemies?

Despite these things, the movie was altogether enjoyable if in a semi mindless way.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Project 365: Day 124

Another weapon in the kitchen arsenal is the pressure cooker. This thing is excellent for making porridge or flash cooking meat. It's not as convenient for meat, but for porridge, it's basically the same as the slow cooker. Leave it on and forget it.

Project 365: Day 123

Mmmmm...Homemade Black pepper beef short ribs. PP says these are incredibly easy to make yet they are so delicious. I can use more adjectives, but the picture speaks for itself.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Project 365: Day 122

Sometimes....the craving is just too much to handle. Yes, it's probably not very good for me, but they taste oh so good!! It ain't easy being cheesy!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Project 365: Day 121

P90X is going well. I upgraded from 10lb to 15lb for the weight training sessions and still didn't feel quite as dead as last week. Yoga X is still a struggle though, especially the latter exercises where you continuously stand on one leg during the poses. CFA reading is progressing better than expected as PP may be a couple of days ahead on her schedule. This picture is to commemorate the opening of Iron Man 2 in theaters this weekend.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Project 365: Day 120

All this talk of a "recovery" drink from doing P90X got me curious about the various "protein" drinks out there. eLemonator swears by Silk chocolate milk but I wanted to try something with a bit more protein. I found this Muscle Milk at the local Walgreens on sale so this will be my recovery drink for the next week of P90X. Hopefully it doesn't taste like crap.

Project 365: Day 119

We use the slow cooker a lot at home. It's so simple to use and the food it makes is so delicious. We usually go with some beef shank, or chicken feet, or pig feet, or just about anything and it always turns out flavorful and very tender. The best part is the ease of use. Just put the meat in at night, leave it on over night and turn it to low the next morning. Come back from work and it's ready.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Project 365: Day 118

PP found out today that her request to have her CFA enrollment fee reimbursed was approved! Of course the reimbursement is dependent on her passing, but still, it's pretty nice to get that $1100 back. Maybe she can use it to buy something more practical like a new Gucci or LV or something....

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Project 365: Day 117-Connection

This is my entry for the "Connection" theme mentioned by jOrange. I actually took another picture today, but the lighting was pretty horrible so this picture was taken while at VO:VI.

Project 365: Day 116

I think the realization that the CFA exam is only a month away is finally dawning on PP. She's been seriously hitting the books for 2 weeks now and progress is good. If everything goes according to plan, she will finish with the reading in about 2 weeks and be able to devote another 2 weeks to practice tests. Here's her little study area in the computer room. It's right below a window so it's well lighted, plus the beanbag and shoulder/neck rest thingy is super comfortable.