elb's hovel of thoughts

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Extreme vodka

Many of you might have heard of mezcal, the quintessence Mexican drink with a worm at the bottom. Taking inspiration from this, I present:

Taken at Selfridges & Co, London.

Gone are the worms and fermented agave. Instead, clear vodka is available. And yes, for extra zing, they even put something chewier than the boring worm; instead you can enjoy the addition of a scorpion or snake, which no doubt imparts some rather unique taste to the vodka. Might just be the perfect accompaniment to the murtabak/ Morrocan pancake/ a couple of posts down.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Anal retentivity at its best

Sheesh. What the heck is wrong with him? Why does he need to pick a fight over a pot which was not placed back into the cupboard? Why is he so anal retentive? Its not as if I cooked something and didn't clean up - all I did was to place some water inside so that I could speed up the defrosting of my meat (which was in a plastic bag). And I poured it out and left it on the kitchen counter, forgetting to put it back. And when he sees me, he goes ballistic, beckoning me to the kitchen (I thought it was over his bowl), points out his pan (if i knew it was his bloody pan I wouldn't even have touched it to begin with), and went:

'Why haven't you put it back?'
'Oh, I forgot'
'Did you wash it? I saw you put your meat inside'
'Of course I did. Here (takes pan and proceeds to put it back as he turns around and storms off)'

Now, what the fuck? (pardon my language, but I am highly annoyed). If I had used the pot for cooking and did not clean up after that, fair enough. But in this instance I had only forgotten to place his pot into the cupboard below. And he has to get all anal retentive over it. Ass. No wonder no one here wants to even consider borrowing his stuff.

But maybe he wanted to get back at me because I had told him off before. In that instance, he didn't seem to know where the kitchen bag was, and his sauces and noodles and what not were dripping and smeared on the outside of the bag. Extremely disgusting, especially when it comes to throwing out the waste. The feel of oil on your palms as you try to tie the kitchen bag is absolutely DISGUSTING. But he doesn't care. No amount of telling off and polite reminders in the form of signs seem to work. In fact, he seems to throw all his waste into the kitchen bag.

For goodness sake, the kitchen bag should be limited to organic waste and food wrappings. But no, he has to throw in his letters and empty bottles as well. And he doesn't even care if the bag is almost full; just the other day he threw in a pizza box and 2 empty 1.5 litre bottles of pepsi when the bag was so obviously full. What the hell.... deal with your own personal waste yourself and keep it in a corner of the room, or if it can't wait, toss your (packaged) waste into the rubbish collection site outside. Not the stupid kitchen bag, asshole.

As if that were not indicative of his anal retentivity, let me give one incident that would hopefully convince you otherwise. How many of you have actually boiled an egg before? If you have, you would know that a bowl of hot boiling water would do the trick in 5 minutes. Well, he boils his chicken egg in a huge pot of boiling water on the stove for 40 bloody minutes. But thats not all. If you so much as dare to move the pot a centimetre so that your pan can fit onto the adjacent hob, he lashes out 'Wait your turn, I was here first man.' Okay, fair enough. But its only a pot of boiling water with an egg.

Then he continues, 'I want my egg to be perfectly cooked and not uneven'. WHAT THE FUCK??!?! DO YOU NEED TO BOIL A STUPID CHICKEN EGG IN A POT OF BOILING WATER FOR 40 MINUTES??? AND WHAT IS THIS BULLSHIT ABOUT 'UNEVEN COOKING'???? THE STUPID EGG CAN ONLY REACH TEMPERATURES AS HIGH AS THE SURROUNDINGS (which happens to be around 100 centigrade, and the water is being heated by tongues of flame at over 200 centigrade, go figure). SO WHY THE HELL SHOULD IT MATTER IF I MOVE YOUR WORTHLESS POT AND EGG BY A CENTIMETRE???? and the fucker is doing engineering. We're doomed if we have engineers who know bullshit about thermodynamics. Hell, its not even thermodynamics, its common sense!!! But of course, we all know that common sense is not that common after all. He needs a bloody good knock on his head, I say. With his useless pot.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Food puzzle

Does this look familiar to anyone?

Taken at Selfridges & Co Food Hall, London.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

London :D

After a 6 month hiatus from one of THE places to be at, I finally returned. I shall enter in diary mode.

7.45am: Woke up, got ready.
8:30am: Finished preparations. Was mucking around trying to decide between my small bag and my big touristy looking haversack. A check of the weather said it was fine, but after looking outside (I know I know, London is 1 1/2 hours away, but I had a nagging feeling), I decided to go with the haversack, and stuck my GoreTex jacket inside (the small bag is too small), a book, and a bottle of water. Eventhough my fashionable bit screamed murder at the thought of me entering Versace and Prada and the kings of haute couture with the ugly bag. Bleh.
8:45am: Got held up at a traffic light which never seemed to want to turn green (for either me or the cars). Made a sort of run to the train station. A car honked at me, and the driver beckoned at me and opened the door. 'Going to the train station? I saw you running and thought you might need some help'. Gladly climbed in and he drove me down the remaining 500 metres or so
8:52am: Got onto train.
10:30am: Arrived at London Paddington. Proceeded to buy a Tube day pass.
11.00am: Arrived at Hamleys. It was closed. Bah. Only opened at 12. Walked across the road to see if Clarks was open. Closed again. Sheesh. Walked down Regent Street and popped into a couple of stores and came out with a watermelon gelatin. Superb stuff. Took tube to Oxford Circus
11.45am: Reached Selfridges. Long queues for people wanting to buy Gucci. AAAAAAAAaaaahhhhhhhh. :D Spent an hour browsing through the men clothing, and got bored. Weird. Nothing seemed to stir my shopping instinct. Went to the foodhalls to grab some Jelly Belly(-ies) and a carton of coffee soy milk.
1.00pm: Went to grab some sandwiches from Pret. They make the best ever sandwiches, I kid you not. Got myself a crayfish and rocket sandwich.
1.15pm: Back to Selfridges, immersed myself in the technology department and got fascinated with the mirror cum plasma display. Whoa.
1.40pm: Left for Harrods to meet my friend.
2.00pm: Reached Harrods. It was closed!!!!! Aaaarrghhheoifhceowhwejhoifcoiweaufchweio. They were preparing for their sale which begins tomorrow. No Krispy Kremes! Crud. God must be punishing my desire to put on weight with those fried rings of goodness. :'(
Went to Zara. Am impressed with their men's collection. Made mental note to return. But didn't.
2:20pm: We went to Burberry Knightsbridge to take a look. Nothing interesting. Yawn.
2.40pm: Walked down Sloan Street. Entered LV and Versace. Nothing interesting in either. Prada and Hermes were closed. Gucci looked tantalizing but we didn't bother.
3.30pm: Back at Selfridges. Went to technology department. Again.
4.00pm: Friend left to get something. Made way to Clarks Bond St, but was too crowded, so I went to the one at Regent St. Boring designs, and they didn't have the shoes I wanted. One of the assistants even cheekily offered his Nike shoes "which make me fly like Superman, you can have it for only 100 quid" (to quote him anyway). Heh. Quite funny actually :P
4.20pm: Back to Hamleys which was open.
5.30pm: Done at Hamleys. It was raining! :O My intuition paid off :o) Which the masses stayed back unwilling to venture out, I gave a silent laugh and walked out back to Regent St to meet my friend
6.00pm: Off to Chinatown for dinner
6.20pm: Bought some mochi and yam mooncakes. Yes, they're available in June. Only in London.
6.40pm: Had dinner at the 'Crispy Duck' Resturant. Had deep fried sotong (which was a delight, it was crispy outside and utterly soft in the inside. MMMmmmmmm....), duck with lemon sauce, and vegetables with scallops.
8.30pm: Caught the train back.

Overall, it was disappointing I suppose. I guess Swindon took too much out of my pocket. Bleh. Also did not see too many exotic cars as I had hoped. :( Oh well, at least my desktop is running again :P

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Computers don't like me

I spent a good chunk of yesterday trying to fix my desktop. This is how it looked before i took it apart.

This is how the new mobo looks like.

OOooooooooooooooohhhhhhhh shiny!!

Down to the routine. Remove power supply & cables, remove extension cards, RAM, IDE cables from mobo side, switch cables, then the mobo, then the heatsink and cpu (both of which were given the alcohol treatment to remove the thermal paste).

Did the reverse onto the new mobo. Forgot the thermal paste, but thankfully remembered :P Then had difficulties fitting the mobo onto the insulation platform; after which I realized that was because the back panel didn't fit that well, so I had to hammer it in. Only then did the mobo align perfectly and I screwed it in. After attaching the parts back, I booted it.

Woot!! It worked!!! But I had to install the new mobo, so I borrowed an XP Pro disk. After repairing windows it ran as usual. Then joy oh joy, my CDRW and DVDROM weren't detected in XP. Great. Someone told me it was the atapi.sys that was giving problems. -_- I think I need to do a clean fresh format of my main drive; but I can only do that after I transfer some files out. Bah.

Friday, June 25, 2004


:O Who would have believed it if I told them I watched a football match? Me, who am not usually associated with watching the spherical stitched leather ball getting kicked and headed and handled around a field of grass more suited as a prime green lung spot by 22 people? But yes, I watched the England- Portugal match, although from around the 60th minute onwards (more or less thanks to my friend) because I was busy cooking dinner for us and all that.

I thought it was pretty cool overall; the extra time looked extremely exciting, and during the penalties I could feel the disbelief when Beckham missed again, the humour when Cristiano jumped up and down on the penalty spot while trying to flatten it, the ending with Ricardo's save and scoring. Whoah. If more matches get as exciting and tense as this, then just maybe, I may end up watching more. My only major complaint: the ball appears in only two dimensions, so I can't see the ball curve etc :( Although they can't really do anything since tv screens can't deliver depth.

Anyhoo, I've got a firm penalty spot for sale.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Marvellous Weather

Finally, after a week of gloom and almost persistant rain, the weather outlook has started to get better; the first time I have seen the sun shine in a few days. It wasn't terribly hot when it was out though, I could wear my spring jacket and I didn't feel stuffy. This is how the weather should be everywhere. Didn't feel like summer at all, felt more like mid-spring. Aaaahhhhhh :)

Passed by a milk van earlier. It was clad in faux grass and had tiny cow figurines here and there. Awesome stuff, but it was moving quick and I didn't have time to take a picture :( Also I'm starting to dislike my new shoes. They make me tired after a few minutes. Not good for a day out. Urgh. Am considering returning them :<

On the other hand, one of my mobiles is out. I attempted to unlock it from the pathetic Vodafone network in preparation for my journey home, but it seems to be giving me problems (i.e. no network detected). The stupid idiots who I paid to help me unlock have yet to reply to me. Bastards.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Delicious II


A bit lacking on colour though :(


Sole fillet
Salt and pepper


Season some flour with salt and pepper
Coat fillet in flour and shake off excess
Heat a pan big enough to take in the fillet
Melt 3-4 tablespoons of butter
Fry fillet for 3-4 minutes on each side or until brown
Remove fillet
With the remaining butter add the juice of 1/2 a lemon and some chives (can be added fresh at the end though)
Heat for half a minute, and pour over fillet
Serve with steamed/ roasted vegetables
Garnish with parsley

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Shopping! :D

For the first time in over two months I have been able to push my feet and stamina, with a shopping trip to the second nearest city, Swindon. It was almost the perfect start, with wonderful weather not usually found during summer.

Nevertheless, we still ended up missing the train by 3 minutes, due to me being a little bit slow in getting ready and due to the long queue for tickets. Hence we went to pass the half hour till the next train by grabbing a takeaway lunch from KFC. I had a Zinger Tower Burger set. The 'Hot n' Spicy' label lies :( We then reached the city, and proceeded to walk to the outlet centre where we would spend the next five or six hours walking around and buying stuff.

The outlet used to be part of the railway network that was set up by Isambard Brunel in the mid 19th century; its now been converted into 100 stores of shopping haven! The shops at the outlet are arranged in a sort of square, so we did what we usually do at that place; walking around the square and popping into practically every store, check the prey (ahem, goods) out, and only after one round did we start to attack :)

After completing the circling of the prey, I had several items in mind. I shall spare you the boring details; at the end of the day I purchased the following: a new pencil case from Lakeland; a pair of shoes from Clarks; a cardigan for my grandma from Marks&Spencers; cabin luggage from Samsonite; and a 'learn French' CD to kill time. I wanted to grab a Sigg bottle too, but my finances have unexpectedly become tight after my desktop crash :( Also tried to get my mobile unlocked but the lady couldn't because of technical problems on her part.

I wish to take the opportunity to spread the gospel of joy about teas though. At one point I was feeling rather thirsty, and I saw those drink machines at the shop of coffee and tea specialist Whittard. Thinking it was for sale or something, I went in, only to find it was free samples for the instant flavoured teas they were selling. Joy! They had 11 varieties for sale; Malibu (non alcoholic though), blackcurrant & elderflower, and another variety (consisting of a melange of fruits) were available for sampling. Pretty good stuff; I ended up purchasing the lime & lemon and raspberry & cranberry teas while my friend got a blackcurrant & elderflower. I wanted to grab some of the Tia Maria infused coffee beans, but I don't exactly have a grinder and filter.

We then had to leave as the outlet was closing; and had to walk 15 minutes to the train station in the rain :( Upon reaching back after a 20 minute train delay, I got myself a mouth watering chicken kebab from a Turkish shop, then caught the bus home.

This is just the appetizer though ;) London looms in the not-so-distant future *cackles*

Centenary milestone

Sorry, but I just have to be a little bit jakun here, and I hereforth officially announce that after 80 hours or so of setting up my blog, I have achieved over 100 hits (109 to be exact), and 28 visitors. Not bad not bad. I wasn't even expecting more than 20 hits and 10 visitors :P

Hopefully my visitors and hits won't drop as the novelty of looking at someone's new blog eventually wears off :P I even promise that I'll try not to be boring :o) Thanks and keep on supporting me! :D

Monday, June 21, 2004

Concussion prevention

Perhaps the civil engineers in Iraq and the UAE could pick up a few tips and build lamp posts like this:

Ingenious. Now, if a bomb goes off (as it does plenty in Gaza, where the picture is supposedly taken), you don't have to worry anymore about the lamp post crashing down across the street onto your car or onto your cranium.

Instead, the lamp post shouldn't move as it is restrained by the concrete. Unless its not really concrete but a paper mache-look alike (sue the developers for using cheap hollow construction materials!). All you have to worry about is whether the bomb is powerful enough to topple the entire structure in the same manner as the unrestrained lamp post. Other than that, it should give the local residents (US 'infidels' especially!) some peace of mind as they walk along the roads of Baghdad and Riyadh.


This has to be one of the best stuff ever:

Fresh salmon. Yes, its raw, in case you're wondering. Dip it into Japanese soy sauce (normal soy sauce is just too salty) and wasabi (that green paste thingy; be liberal with it at your own risk :p) and pick it up with chopsticks.

Close your eyes and relish as it enters your mouth, the saltiness of the soy sauce immediately apparent, followed by the melt-in-you-mouth jellyish texture of the salmon, and thereafter by the burn-inducing wasabi (its horseradish, those of you who enjoy a good Sunday roast should know how that tastes like) that you can even feel in your nostrils. Savour every bite. Classic. Just don't put too much wasabi, or you'll regret it.

P.S. I apologize for the lack of garnishing. I couldn't find any :P

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Poochie Sushi

Man, this is so unfair. Man's best friend are entering a golden age, an era of unprecendented prosperity in the history of furry canines. They are getting pampered with fur coats during winter, and clothes during summer, and are getting fed grilled corn-fed premium marbled steak. In addition, the upper class breed get to stay in hotels if their owner is away, and they get a butler to serve them. They inherit millions from their owners. Life is good. As if that wasn't over the top enough, I introduce to you: sushi for your dear dogs. Poochie sushi.

Item Description: Don't feel like you've spoiled your pet quite enough? Well we have just what a good pet needs after a long hard day of napping ?sushi! Features rolled and nigri style treats that almost look good enough for us, but we recommend you let your pet enjoy these special treats. (Picture and item description taken from Amen Wardy (http://www.amenwardy.com/))Thanks to Petra for pointing out to me the item :P

Yes, now wealthy folk (or rather, people who love their doggies more than other humans) can pamper their dogs with slivers of raw sake (salmon), maguro (tuna), tamago (sugared steamed egg) or ebi (shrimp) and what not on top of balls of vinegared sushi rice. Wonder if the canine chumps would appreciate the sushi dipped into a concoction of wasabi-drenched Japanese sauce. On the other hand, we might as well give our homes to them and live in kennels :|

Want to be a dog, anyone?

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Unsupportive support

When I signed up yesterday, for some reason I couldn't log in (obviously the problem has already solved itself, somehow). No matter how many times I tried signing in, I would get redirected to the 'Please sign in' page. On to the support pages. Useless information like cookies and activate Java script nonsense, of which I had already done ages ago. Thus I decided to e-mail the support team, in search of something to soothe my wounds, telling them that I had enabled the cookies and what not.

What they claimed:

(Right after sending the problem)We've received your message and we read and reply to all of them. Some issues can take longer than others, so thanks in advance for your patience. - Blogger Support

(In the email) We wanted to let you know that we've received your support request. We make every effort to respond quickly to all our users problems and questions.

The reply:

Hi there,

If you're having trouble logging in to Blogger you may need to check
your browser settings. Please see our Blogger Help article on this
for more information: (cue: gibberish link)

My infuriated response:


Not to be rude or anything, but I think that whoever has responded to
my problem has obviously not read my problem at all. I have stated
that I had enabled cookies for blogger.com and have the scripts
activated; yet I still have difficulties logging into blogger.com. As
I have mentioned earlier, I seem to only be able to log in after
trying over 20 times; I get the 'Blogger sign in' screen, at which i
enter my username and password correctly; yet I still get directed to
the 'Please sign in before continuing screen' instead.

And yes, I have another problem. The people in the help support
obviously do not 'read every message' as claimed. Hope that I would
get help for both my problems, cheers.

It took them 15 minutes to send the reply to my initial post, which was the useless gibberish they sent. I've been waiting for over 12 hours for the reply to my second mail however, and still have not gotten no reply... who wants to bet that my blog might get pulled off because of this? :P


Allow me to ahem, take full advantage of the spare time that I have right now while waiting for my friend to pop by, by ranting a little about the annoyances I've had for the past few days

1) Exams. Everlasting bane of my existance, which is finally over. Wooot! Papers were easier than I had anticipated though, even the hardest one, particle technology. Not only do we need to memorize or derive over 50 equations, but the paper was the last one. I mean, who ever bothers to study for the last paper when you have 4 months worth of holiday tantalizing your senses and mental capacity right after that? Add that to the ungodly timetable, which ran something like Thursday, Thursday, Thursday, Friday (the day after), and with the two easier papers in front and the two hardest papers back to back, and its a sure-fire recipe for disaster.

2) Desktop. I was looking forward to having some romps with my desktop after my exams finished, but it just had to fail on me on the penultimate day. arghhh!!! After a few hours of painful diagnostics, me and my friend have almost come to the conclusion that the motherboard has fried itself. There goes £50 to buy a new one *sigh* Not to mention the boredom when I could spend a few hours a day sneaking around in Thief 3 or wrecking cars with my lovely Logitech Momo Wheel in Need For Speed: Underground or rallying as Colin McRae in the 4th installment of the game bearing his name, or killing commies in Battlefield Vietnam. Oh well, London, thy art my salvation.

3) Blogspot. Or more specifically, the support team at blogspot. More on this shortly.....

Freshie post

Ouch, I can't believe I'm actually blogging x_x But I suppose I'll have too much free time on my hands for the next few months ahead, so I'll blog to pass the time.... maybe I'll be too bored of blogging by then even, so who knows :p

Anyway, sorry to disappoint most of you, but I do not intend to blog anything about my personal life. Not that its anything to shout about to begin with, so it's something we could do without with in general :P Also don't expect anything fancy since I'm a HTML and coding dingbat in general, with the exception of FORTRAN, of which I am slightly better. Maybe during my relative lots of free space in the next few months I'll *gasp* actually learn how to design my own web page from scratch. Doubt I would get moments of inspiration though.