Aug 30, 2010

China Day 1: British Pavilion

Day 1 in China was day 1 at the world expo. I took pictures, but the camera card broke. I will try to recover them, but no guarantees.

Anyway, one of the main reasons I wanted to go the world expo so badly is the Seed Cathedral at the UK Pavilion. It's a building made from acrylic tubes with seeds embedded in them. Conceptually, it sounded amazing, but I wanted to see it in real life. One of those "great concept, but will it execute properly?" sort of thing.

I went to see it and it was amazing! It actually exceeded my expectations! (the pictures are from day 2, but I also went day 1, so I'm posting as day 1)

First, here's a closeup of the tubes:

quick comment

got home safely. i brought back so much random awesome stuff. :D and the expo was amazing. i'll start posting china related stuff once i get my act together. it'll be probably 2 weeks worth of expo and china posts. mmmm food. hehe.

P.S. not having twitter and facebook sucks. I used a VPN for a bit, but then it failed on me and my wireless has been confused ever since. FML.

Aug 29, 2010

Getting to China and Day 0

Getting to China was stressful. I did make it safely and not too late. However, I was supposed to fly United Airlines then AA from Chicago. My UA flight was delayed enough such that I knew I would miss my AA flight. I ended up flying Delta to Detroit and then to Shanghai. Unfortunately, UA was incompetent and did not get my luggage to Delta and my check in luggage ended up in Chicago and not Detroit. :(

When I arrived, it was already 7. My cousin, his wife, and I went to a little place to eat. It was only reasonably tasty, but I took pictures anyway.

The first thing we got was soup. I got quail and longyan soup. When I say quail, I mean quail. I had an entire little bird in the bowl -- including the beak! You can see the thighs in the picture fairly clearly.

Aug 28, 2010

Salt and Ink

I've been told salt does interesting things for textures of watercolor painting. I kept on meaning to experiment with them. When I did earlier in the summer, I think I went overboard on the salt. I make some pretty backgrounds (which I will paint over and post when I get around to it) and also had a lot of salty ink water.

Two weeks went by and I didn't get around to cleaning my rinse bowl for my brushes. One day, I decided to look at it and was pleasantly surprised:

Aug 26, 2010

Drunken Jenga

I love games. Last summer, when I visited one of my best friends in DC, we went to a bar (I think it's called Rock and Roll Hotel) to play drunken jenga. It was super fun!

Recently, I decided to do just that in my apartment. Me, a Caucasian female friend, and a Japanese male friend were playing. The boy can't hold his liquor at all and was determined to not drink too me. My female friend and I were determined to not drink too much either. Thus, we ended up with a Jenga tower like this:

I think we ended up playing a few more rounds before things actually toppled. I think it's rather impressive, don't you?


Aug 25, 2010

Cupcakes I have Made (part 2)

This July, one of my friends turned 24. Since this is the Tiger year, and he's a Tiger, it was somewhat special. I decided to make him cupcakes.

I wanted to make little tigers because tigers are that awesome.

Aug 24, 2010

Flight vs Invisibility?

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts today. It's called This American Life and was introduced to me by one of my best friends junior year of undergrad. The podcast posed a question: Flight vs Invisibility, which will you choose if you can only choose one and why?

One thing I found interesting was the questions people asked about their powers. How fast? (for fliers) & Do I need to be naked? (for invisible choosers) I think it's interesting how these little things from life and science fiction/comic books become so ingrained. I think the question of do we need to be naked to be invisible -- or can we affect our clothing -- is very amusing.

I also wondered if the question is a sort of personality litmus test. The podcasters/radioshow people thought flight denotes freedom and invisibility implies a desire to hide. One person interviewed was even convinced that all normal people would choose invisibility because no one is able to be fully open about everything.

That's a sad thought and I'm not sure if I believe it. I'd like to believe in humans. I really would.

I think I would want to fly. This would let me combat my fear of heights (it's really more a fear of whatever supports me disappearing and me falling to my death) and allow me to do cool nifty super hero type things. I could also disappear if I want into the sky. I can run away from things and get to school on time. Flying also allows for wind in my face. I don't have to pay to go to China or anywhere else. I can bypass customs. It would be AMAZING!

I think it's my adventurous side speaking. :)

What would you choose and why?


Aug 23, 2010

Cupcakes I have Made (part 1)

Last October, came out with a grey tshirt that had really nifty cupcakes on them. I decided it would be really cool to make cupcakes like Halloween characters.

Aug 21, 2010

Heading to China

So I'm going to China for a week! YAY!

Which means I won't be at home to do exciting things. Which also means you get to see pictures of things I've done in the past.


Aug 20, 2010

Thinking about the Smell of Fall

I love fall. I also love the smell of fall. The line of perfume my roommate and I tend to follow recently came out with their fall line. I'm getting samples of some of them!

I'm really excited about them because some of my favorite scents are from that line. I like the apple ones the most. There's one that makes me think of apple cider in the chilling fall weather. Another actually makes me smell like orange glazed cake. I get cake batter and orange and even some floral notes toward the end as the perfume fades. I also love the ones that are earthy. Somehow it evokes the most wonderful aspects of fall.

I love the way the air gets really crisp when the weather starts to cool. The leaves fall and after raining, they start to decay a bit. It's a moldy smell, mixed with earth and water. There's something very natural about it that I associate with the harvest season. I like the way ginko trees have golden fan shaped leaves. I like the color maple leaves turn, the way university campuses and residential areas become littered with acorns, the pumpkin picking, the apple picking. I like running around outside in the cold trying to catch my metro holding a steaming mug of hot tea with milk and fake sugar.

I think once when I was in undergrad, we had a mud fight in the fall. It was raining and my friends and I decided to go sliding in the mud. I also forced leaf fights onto some people before. New England had a very nice fall and a few years ago, before my cousin was engaged, we drove through Connecticut and I took pictures of the leaves.  I took pictures of my cousin-in-law and a little community with a lake and lots of ducks.

Anyway, it's over human body temperature where I live and the only reason I'll be asleep is because I have a fan pointed at me tonight.

I can't wait for fall.


Aug 18, 2010

Garlic Soup

I like garlic. I like garlic so much that my friends and I don't really talk about how many CLOVES we eat. We eat garlic by the BULB!

Anyway, I made a LOT of roasted garlic for my bread. What should I do with so much garlic? Make roasted garlic soup! I've been drooling over this recipe for a while now and finally got around to buying some brie from Trader Joe's. YAY!

Aug 17, 2010

Bread with Roasted Garlic and Lentil Patties

Last night, I made tasty dinner! It was bread with roasted garlic and butter and lentil patties. I wanted roasted garlic because last week, I had gone with some friends to a pizza place and got the garlic bread appetizer. It was SO TASTY and SO SIMPLE, so I had to make it. I also got some free chutney at an Indian event my Indian friends dragged me to, so I wanted to use that for something tasty. Thus, I found a lentil cake recipe that sounded doable and tried it.

Aug 16, 2010

Candied Pecans

I just realized I post a lot about food. I guess that makes sense mostly because food is part of everyday life. I can go days without sewing or painting, but I can't spend more than 5 hours without eating and stay happy.

Actually, today has been a great day for food! I had a mango, two bananas and lots of celery and hummus. More excitingly, I got to eat some Indian food (samosas and little lentil filled spicy pastries with delicious chutney. I may have to cook some potatoes and get some rice krispies to eat with the rest of the chutney I have) and had DELICIOUS beef that my friend Joe brought back from Atlanta. nom nom nom!

But today's culinary kitchen thing for me was making candied pecans. My roommate got some rosemary pecans from Trader Joe's that I LOVED so I decided to make my own. This is the second time I've made them and I love them so much.

The TJ's ones only have rosemary and sugar. Mine are an upgrade because they have rosemary, nutmeg, cinnamon, and CAYENNE along with brown sugar and honey to candy the pecans. :D

Aug 14, 2010

Word Confusion

I sometimes wonder about my brain. This is mostly due to my strange word confusions. There are some words that I spent years getting confused.

The first word set is gazpacho and gestapo. I know they sound different and look really different, but the s and the z sounds are related and the ap and the pa are similar. Add that to how they both start with g and end in o and you get my subconscious refusing to accept the difference.

The second word set is dirigible and didgeridoo. Unfortunately for these fun sounding words, their multi syllable repetition of i and e vowels with similar consonants in between wrecked havoc on my brain. I think I've called the poor didgeridoo a dirigible at least 5 times in my life. It's not bad until you realize I found out what a didgeridoo is only 3 years ago. And it doesn't REALLY come up in conversation all that often unless you're talking about firespinning or Australian aboriginal instruments. :D

My adviser told me she went to Australia once for a research conference. The Australians kept on asking her if she had a didgeridoo inside her poster tubes. I decided then that Australian conferences should sell didgeridoos that doubles as a poster tube and hold didgeridoo jam sessions at night. :D It would be cool, cultural, and kooky!

Hope you enjoyed your bit of mad-Hao-disease for today.


Aug 13, 2010

Watermelon Rind

Recently, my friend and I went to the farmer's market and bought a watermelon for $5. It was at least 17 inches long and 12 inches in diameter. Instead of the stereotypical striped dark and pale lines, it had pale green and paler green stripes. When we cut it open, it was YELLOW on the inside.

My friend and I split it up one day. I did all the knife work with my asian meat cleaver from the chinese store back in undergrad. Growing up, my family only owned two knives: a giant meat cleaver for chopping EVERYTHING and a small paring knife for peeling fruits. I've come to realize there are other knives: bread knives, chef's knives, steak knives, butter knives; but I still have a fondness for the giant meat cleaver that's so good for cutting everything.

Anyway, I digress (as usual). Staring at the leftover watermelon rind, I realized how much we waste. In the back of my mind, I vaguely remember my mom using it to make soup (well, the white part) and I also remember people saying it's good pickled. Since pickling was out of the question (I did not want to risk contaminating my precious pickle jar), I decided to boil the rind and make a chilled watermelon rind dish.

Aug 12, 2010

Cookies Galore!

I am a graduate student. One of the things a graduate student needs to do is prove we are qualified to be a graduate student. What does that mean? The terrifying QUALIFYING EXAMS!

My qualifying exam has passed, but my friends' have not.  What do I do? I realize cookies are an always food for friends who still need to take qualifying exam and bake cookies!

Aug 11, 2010

Attempting to be Verbally Normal

One of the things that make me crazy seeming is I like making bizarre jibberish noises. These noises are usually communicated with flamboyant hand gestures and, within context, completely understandable. One of my friends in lab has described why he understands them by saying my intonations are very modern English language like. I think it's because he's known me for a year now and has gotten used to it. Sometimes my noises sound like a butchered version of the Despicable Me minion speak. I actually wish they spoke a "language" that was well defined so I could learn it too! That's going off topic, however.

Another bit of abnormality I have is I like making up random songs and singing them. For example, my spectrophotometer song (set to the tune of Shirley Temple's Animal Crackers in My Soup song):

Spectrophotometer in my shoe
Colors and wavelengths within view
OMG! What values I see!
Measuring proteins oh so wee!

For every sole of shoe I own,
Cuvette and wellplate values known.
Measuring samples in a queue!
That spectrophotometer in my shoe!

Anyway, a bet was made in lab that activates today. I must attempt to be verbally normal. I can make funny gestures and bounce up and down as long as I'm soundless. Anything that comes out of my mouth, however, has to be within reasonable context and/or be in coherent English (ideally with complete sentences). I have three strikes or I lose. My punishment is I must attempt this task everyday (from 9am-5pm) until I succeed. Once I succeed my friend will make me these wonderfully delicious puffy pastries filled with yummy ground chicken (yay!).

So hopefully I can survive today's trial of verbal normalcy.

Wish me luck!

Aug 10, 2010

Tasting the Rumbow!

I like ethanol. I think it's great fun and brings much happiness. However, I don't drink bad beer. I also refuse to get inebriated unless no one around needs to be driven home, there are others to get drunk with me, and I feel completely at ease. Since all those prerequisites have not been met since last July, I have not been getting drunk.

BUT! (Yes, I know, it's an excited exclamation.) That does not stop me from experimenting.

Recently, Skittles went on sale for 2.50 a pound at my local grocery store. I bought 2 bags and realized I have no earthly clue what I wanted to do with them. I also had a mostly full bottle of Bicardi Rum that I found rather intimidating. Add that to the fact that I discovered the joys of owning mason jars, the only thing I could do was make a Rumbow (yes, yes, bad pun. I happen to love them. Also, most people tend to do this with vodka. I used what I had/owned).

Aug 9, 2010

Welcome to My Happy World


As you can probably tell, my name is Hao. I am, like all other life forms on this planet, carbon based. I enjoy cooking, baking, drawing, making things, and contemplating the universe. Sometimes people think I'm crazy.

Anyway, I've been meaning to start a blog. My roommate has a blog. Some of my friends have blogs. I stalk artists I like by following their blogs. I like this as a form of communication. So here I am.  Hopefully this will be a place I can share my happy projects and random antics. :)