Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Autumn Is Around The Corner

Yesterday was the moon festival so I ate too many moon cakes as usual. Since it is also called "mid-autumn" festival, it just means the autumn is around the corner. As you can see, the trees have started to lose the leaves or the leaves start to change color even though it is still pretty warm around 70F.

So far, it is quite an uneventful week. Will have to work late tonight the first time for this new job. Got to head down to a local hospital to do some experiments on the radiology department there.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Moon Festival And Moon Cake

It is the time of Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival (or Moon Festival) again. It happens on the August 15th using the lunar calendar, in other words, it is usually about the end of September. It is also called the mid-fall festival since it usually happens in the fall. This year, the moon festival is on Sept. 25 (this coming Tuesday).

The Moon festival is one of the three most important Chinese holidays besides the Chinese New Year and the Dragon Boat Festival. It has been celebrated since early 1300 before the Ming dynasty. It is also the time of the family reunion and the traffic is usually getting very busy. There are lots of legendary stories about the Moon Festival. The most famous one is about a queen who stole and ate the eternal life medicine from her cruel king husband and flew into the moon.

Besides the family reunion, moon cakes are the star of the holiday. Every store and bakery will put out boxes and boxes of moon cakes for sell. There are so many different kinds of flavors and crusts of the moon cakes to choose nowadays that even the most experienced food critics will have a hard time to choose.

Usually, I don't really like the sweet stuffs. However, I always have a sweet tooth of all the different kinds of moon cakes. My favorite is the pineapple flavor. The second is the red bean paste flavor. My least favorite ones are the moon cakes with salty egg yolk inside the fillings. It is really dry and not healthy anyway.

I always mail order the moon cakes from the Shengkee bakery in California. It was originally founded in Taiwan in 1964 and then opened up multiple chain stores in California around 1980. They only ship the fresh made moon cakes around the Moon festival. This year, I order 3 boxes of the moon cakes the Shengkee bakery again: one box of pineapple flavor, two boxes of assorted flavors (lotus, red bean, dates, plum, tea, walnut). They taste the best with a cup of hot tea. And that will my breakfast for the next 2 weeks!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dragon Wars

It is quite a nice weekend so far. I went to the see the movie, "Dragon Wars" today.

I have seen the production photos and some teasers through years of this movie. It was always marked as a Korean so I was really surprised when I started to see the movie trailer of it on TV and Internet last month.
I think it is a quite good movie. The special effects and the CGI monsters are much better than the US Godzilla movie several years ago. Considering the low budget/cost of this movie, I really think that the Korean director of this movie just opens up another door for Hollywood to make some great movies without paying that much for the CGI process.

The story of the movie is very simple (or silly). As the legend, a dragon cannot fly to heaven unless it gets the life energy from a special woman born every 500 years. The woman will have to sacrifice her life to the snake form of the dragon when she turns 20 so the dragon can gain the true power and transforms to the powerful form and fly to the heaven. At the same time, there are 2 snake form of dragon wanting for this life energy, one good and one evil. To avoid the evil one gets the woman first, a warrior was born at the same time to protect the woman. As the story goes, 500 years ago in Korea, the warrior fell in love with the woman so he could see the woman killed for the dragon. They decided to jump off the cliff to kill themselves before the evil snake could get to them. Fast forward to nowadays, 500 years later, both warrior and the woman are re-born in LA. So, as you can imagine, the evil snake and the army have to invade LA to get them and at the end some dragon/snakes war to finish the story.

Forget about all the bad reviews you read about this movie. It is purely an entertaining monster movie, not an Oscar award candidate. If you like the old-fashion monster movie, I think you will like this one too.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Free Tooth Brush From Work!

Finally, it is the end of my first week in the new job. So far, I like the new environment and the co-workers. Everybody seems to be much friendly and relaxed, sometimes, a little bit less efficient compared to the big "G". Also, the HR and IT departments seem to be a little bit chaos. It has been a week and I still haven't got all the software required for my work installed on my temporary computer My manager has been traveled all over the place and I only got to see him once in my first week there.

However, at least, everybody at work got free "Sonicare" tooth brush! Wow, what a generous gift! It is worth at least $120! In the past 10 years in big "G", I have not ever got something like that. Guess the new company wants us to keep our teeth white and clean so we can smile more and show off the white teeth to the customers!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

2nd Day At New Job

Today is the 2nd day at the new job. As expected, not everything is set up properly. My new computer will not be delivered until almost one and a half later so I am now stuck with the old Window 2000 desktop. And most of the software I need does not work. The HR department also does not have all the paperwork required for me to fill out. Phone is not working properly as well.

The working atmosphere is much more relaxed here compared to the big "G". Most of the people wear jeans and T-shirts to work. Of course, I still maintain my business casual dress code since I don't feel comfortable to dress too causal at work. In addition, I don't like to deal with the customers who are all medical doctors with the T-shirt look.

It is quite different to work in a small company I suppose. The lack of the office supply is really one thing that I cannot get used to so far. But the more friendly working environment and less meetings are definitely positive!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Plum Berry Crumble

As promised, here is the picture of the plum berry crumble. There are plums, strawberries and raspberries topped with the streusel made of sugar, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon. and flour. Bake until the fruits are bubbling and the topping are brown. Not too sweet and very tasty.

By the way, I finally accept a new job offer and tomorrow (Monday) will be my first day at the new job. Hope that everything will go well there.

Tree Fell

Guess how I spent my Saturday? To be a lumberjack! The long raining days last week finally took the toll on one of the trees in the garden. Even though it has been sunny for a couple of days recently, the dirt was still very wet. A big chunk of the tree fell on the ground sometime on Saturday early morning and I did not find out until the breakfast yesterday.

After checking the root of the tree closely, it seemed that the tree trunk just bent for no obvious reason. And the mosquitoes were really really bad. I got almost 10 bites all over my body when I just tried to take the pictures. Anyway, after applying some mosquito fog spray, we were able to use chain saw to cut down the falling part of the tree to pieces so we could put them in a pile to wait for the yard waste collection on Monday. Let me tell you, it was not a fun task to do in the temperature of 90F and 70% humidity for 3 hours.

Made some delicious plum berry crumble last night. I will try to post some pictures of it later.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Blog Rating

Look like my blog here is a little bit too clean/boring and need some spicy post!


Got up this morning and found out that the wasp are back again. There were at least 10 of them going in and out of the side of the roof. They have been trying to build a nest there for the whole summer and I have spayed the wasp killing stuff there. But they just keep coming back!

The roof is actually quite high that I cannot reach it without a ladder. Guess I will have to spray it again today after dark then.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Labor Day Weekend

The long Labor Day weekend was over too soon! It was a very long relaxed long weekend for me. Got a family friend came in town to visit. So we just hanged out a bit. We finally got around to see the "Bourne Ultimatum". It is a very good movie. Fast pace, great fighting, incredible car chasing and amazingly, almost no dialog for Mat Damon's Jason character in the first 15-minute of the movie! And they took the scenes all over the world without using CGI. Really cool stuff. As a matter of the fact, we watched the first two Bourne movies on DVD again at home after that movie since we forgot quite a lot of clues/details mentioned in those two previous ones.

The weather was actually quite nice: sunny and around 85F. However, the mosquitoes were just terrible. Everywhere we went in the garden or the park, a swarm of them just attacked. I am a nature-born mosquito magnet so I get almost 10 bites every single time when all other people around absolutely bite-free. And my skin is sensitive to the mosquito bite so the bite area usually will swell into a nickel size. Really itchy and annoyed. We ended of not going to the Highland Game in Wisconsin due to that. So we stayed home and fixed some ceiling lights, etc.

I made several dishes such as "Apple Maple Turkey Burgers with Maple-Dijon Sauce", which is the turkey burger with maple syrup and applesauce, grilled and topped with maple syrup/Dijon mustard sauce. In addition, "Roasted Shrimp and Orzo", which has shrimp mixed cucumber, red onion, dill and orzo with lemon juice sauce; and a potato salad with two kinds of mustard, red onion, celery, mayonnaise, and dill. Of course, the dessert, a flour less chocolate cake. Quite a lot of chopping, cooking and dish washing for sure. Basically, just a quite relaxed long weekend.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Super Villain Personality Test

Okay, I am just a little bored. But it is still fun to do it.

Your results:
You are Venom
Strength, disguise and adrenaline are your greatest weapons.

Click here to take the Super Villain Personality Test