Wednesday, December 26, 2007

English Ivy (Hedera Helix)

An indoor houseplant that requires very little sun.  It is normally a ground cover plant, so it will require trimming from time to time.  It only needs to be watered when the soil is dry.  Be sure to have drainage for the plant, less you drown it when you water it.  It can be divided after it reaches certain size.
It is also among 17 indoor houseplants noted by NASA to help improve indoor air quality. It is also good at removing the following specific chemicals formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide.  Two plants per 100 square feet is recommended to keep the air pure and healthy.

Monday, December 24, 2007


I'm not so good at it.  I realized this a while ago when I was typing on my computer while having a DVD running in the background.  I found I wasn't able to focus on what I was typing, and at the same time, I wasn't enjoying the movie as much as I could.
As of recent, I've found much more enjoyment in doing one task at a time. Putting my attention towards a single task allows me to consider it, focus, and take more enjoyment out of it.

Goal Setting

While cleaning up my room, I've found a valuable tool in setting goals.  Originally I started out by going through my room discarding random effects that had little value to me anymore.  I also put aside objects that I wasn't sure what to do with at that point in time.  I thought to myself, I'll know what to do with it in the future.  The problem is, I've done that countless times before, set things aside for my future self to take care of. Thanks a lot Past-Nathan.  No longer though.
I then opened Pages (Mac's Word Processor) and typed myself out a few goals. I then went back through my stacks of junk and successfully sorted it. I know I was successful because I had sorted it according to my goals. They allowed me to know when I was done. Closure is a fantastic feeling.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

How To Leave A Voicemail

1. Move the Conversation Forward
2. Be Brief (try for under 1 minute)
3. Leave Your Number
4. Speak Clearly

The rest of this post is backstory to those rules. I've started listening to another Podcast on iTunes, Manager Tools. The hosts (Mark and Rich) talk a little too much, drowning key points in between banter. They acknowledged the fact that they talk a lot, and it is just their presentation style for the podcast. To their credit, there is a level of authenticity in the conversational aspect of the podcast. They do have very good points in the podcasts, worth listening to. There are few other places where one can find the information they share.

That being said, the basic concept of "moving the conversation forward" is lost on a lot of people (myself before they noted it in the podcast).  Voicemail is a way of continuing a dialogue with a person, even when they are not available.  To say "Hey, it's [name], call me back" doesn't move the dialogue forward. Respect who you're calling, leave a message that actually says something. I've found it helps to know what I'm going to say on a voicemail before I call someone. It is good planning in case you have to leave a voicemail, and helps the other times when you get through, leading to smooth conversation.

Other episodes of this podcast I recommend:

image courtesy gene

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


First week back in the LA area, and not having a car isn't so bad.  Having a phone and friends to call helps.  It can be a bit limiting at times, though while on break from work and school I have all the time in the world.  The need for a driver means that I have had company at almost all times while back in LA.

Visiting my parents in Orange County is a different story all together.  I attempted to look up bookstores in the area.  The google results follow:

Orange County is highly un-walkable and has poor access to diverse literature.  (Sure, there's Amazon or Barnes & Noble online, I want to buy local though) With a bike still in transit from Oregon, its a long walk to any of these destinations.  It is hard to imagine someone living in this area without a car.  With the suburban sprawl, even someone who does try walking my not get very far. It's a good thing that I'm going back Los Angeles, what can be done for the OC though?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Deconstructing Dinner a new (to me) Podcast that I've come to enjoy over the past few days.  The host has interviewed a variety of people relative to the subject of the show.  He's done a fine job of editing his conversations with them to keep each show well paced and informative. 

All of the episodes are archived on iTunes.  I'd recommend starting out with the first episode from the series which explains what to expect in the rest of the show.  And since they do such of fine job of explaining, I won't, just go download the first episode and see if its something you're interested in.  

Here is a link to the website.

Monday, December 3, 2007


There is so much information available in the form of free Podcasts.  This is both a blessing and curse.  It's fantastic that the information is free, it can be tough to sort through all of them for the gems of entertainment combined with education.

I can currently recommend the following Podcasts:

Apple Quick Tip of the Week - it's short, to the point, and highlights features I didn't know existed.

NPR: Environment - is a collection of stories on the environment from various NPR shows throughout the week.  Essentially, they've done the sifting for you on the specific subject matter.

NPR: Science Friday - is a wonderful show with various topics with a basis in science.  Though, they don't speak over my head.  Its actually quite day to day on average.  I highlight a recent podcast about stress and the holiday season that might help many people out there.

Science Elements - is less everyday science compared to NPR: Science Friday.  Interesting concepts and ideas that I might never come across in my day to day experiences though.

This American Life - podcasts of the radio show hosted by Ira Glass, stories of fact and fiction. Often engaging and insightful into various aspects of being human.

Those are currently my top five podcasts.  I've been downloading and trying out other podcasts.  Will definitely comeback with opinions on other podcasts as time goes by. Will also get back to experimenting with food soon as well.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


A week and a half left here in Portland. There have been a numerous amount of firsts here, both good and bad. First internship, first mugging, first snow fall, and on and on. I've experienced and learned more than I anticipated, and am still left with a long to-list for the city and its surrounding area. Of course I'll miss it, and I definitely plan to return.

There are a lot of things I have planned for when I return to the Los Angeles area. Chopping down a dead tree and starting a mushroom garden in it. Restarting my compost pile and fixing up a better garden setup. Not buying a car and bicycling everywhere.

That's the end of this post. Turned into a laundry list, which isn't to fun for readers. First mobile post though! Interested to see how it turns out. I'll end up editing it later.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Watermelon Steak

The most amazing thing I have eaten. EVER. It's like a rainbow arching down from the sky and landing on my taste buds. The fantasticallity of this dish comes from the surprise and unexpectedness of it. I would not have thought to bake watermelon, and more so, I would not have anticipated such an outcome.

Its easy to make too. Here's a link to the recipe. I recommend a side of baked potato to balance out the sweetness of using cream sherry on a watermelon.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Potatoes + Oranges

Two things that don't go together right? Think again. This was the best week ever for experimenting with two foods. First of all, nothing came to mind at first when the two ingredients were put forth. Then, like a Singaporean rainstorm, they came out of nowhere flooding my mind. So I still have some other ideas I want to try out after this. It was quite successful and really really REALLY sweet. Less sugar next time.

What's in it? Mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, butter, vanilla, one egg, orange juice, and orange rind mixed together and baked in a orange peel topped with pecans and brown sugar, baked in a casserole dish at 350 degrees. Sadly, I didn't come up with the exact recipe. I found it online by accident after I had thought of something quite similar, though not as elaborate. Having the side of Mashed Carol Potatoes was fortunate as it helped to counter the sweetness of the sweet potatoes.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Eggs & Bell Peppers

... served inside the egg shells. A fancy little trick that makes an ordinary omelet seem, a little extra ordinary. There's nothing to this other than taking the extra time to plate the dish. It does have an interesting effect on how you eat the eggs and bell peppers though. It forces small portions, and the with the small whole basil leaves, enhances the act of tasting the flavor in the items present. Additionally, having the eggs extra runny contributes to the plating of the dish, in which I don't think my eggs were as runny as they could have been. I was attempting to make the bell peppers look like the yolk of the egg. I think I might want to consider just cooking the egg whites next time to enhance this even more.

Looking at my photos, I realize I need to learn how to photograph food to make it look appetizing. Every little bit helps, and I feel like I'm falling a bit short. I was thinking a little moisture on the basil leaf. A bit more shine on the entire dish actually.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Saturday Market

I went to the Portland Saturday Market today, for the first time. A sad fact considering I've been here for almost three months now (I've been to the Thursday market numerous times though). I was in search of some red and orange bell peppers in preparation for tomorrows meal. Luckily they are in season, though were found fewer and far between compared to other items. I ended up buying a one pound bell pepper, which is pretty massive compared to anything I could get at the grocery store.

I still ended up going to the grocery store afterwards, they don't sell milk at the farmer's market (not this one at least). I actually went twice in fact, something not to uncommon of me, especially on the weekends. It's not that I forgot anything, there's just not enough space in my messenger bag, and I have yet to go back to the bicycle store and get a rack so that I might use my panniers to carry goods to and fro. Milk, eggs (always an adventure when packed in a messenger bag) yogurt, cottage cheese, sugar and flour. I only wish I needed more vegetables so that I might have made use of my trip to the Saturday Market. Eggs and Bell Peppers tomorrow, I'm excited.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tomatoes and Tofu (+ Rosemary Focaccia)

Today I made tomatoes and tofu. Trying to keep it simple by pairing two food elements and letting them interact with each other. Seeing as tofu doesn't have much flavor of its own, I felt it best to highlight the textural differences of the two items. The tofu was sliced thin and seared in a pan of oil and garlic. The (organic heirloom) tomatoes on the other hand were broiled in the oven, drizzled with some oil, and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and some chopped basil. They paired quite well, and I'm proud of my creation.

I also made some Rosemary Focaccia bread for the first time. It really wasn't that different from pizza dough, though the end result was a pleasant surprise. The crust is browned and crispy, while the center is light and airy. I look forward to trying more breads. (Kneaded and mixed by hand, its quite relaxing for me)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Green Tea Cookies

I attempted to make some green tea cookies the other day. I modified a snickerdoodle cookie recipe, which was originally a modification on a sugar cookie recipe. The cookies were good as sugar cookies, though there wasn't that much green tea flavor to it. I had used the powder from Trader Joe's Matcha Latte Tea as my green tea ingredient, mistake number one. After tasting the cookies, I made the Matche Latte, and realized for the first time that it didn't have much taste to begin with. In fact, I don't think I like the Matche Latte enough anymore to finish the container I bought.

Now I'm left with a ball of dough (I don't bake all the dough when I make cookies, I normally make them in batches of 6 or 12 over the course of a few days) in the fridge that I'm not to excited about. I'm considering making it into snickerdoodle cookies. Seeing as the flavor isn't too strong, there's not much to loose from furthering the experiment... by taking a step back.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I miss running. I've been running since I got to Oregon, it wasn't the same feeling as I remembered it once being though. In trying to maintain a common routine, I've realized I was also holding myself back. Doing things like pacing myself and negative splitting workouts like I learned in high school. It's all well and good in trying to accomplish specific time goals and competitive stuff like that. That's not really why I've been running though.

So, I let myself go the other day and ended up running for... a long time and distance. I probably should have had water and a snack with me for as long as I was out. I probably should've stopped in one of the coffee shops I passed by and asked for water. I'm still alive though. And it felt great. I didn't intend to go for as long as I did, it just sort of happened. I probably couldn't have ran for as long as I did with a specific goal in mind. It felt good to just get out there and go. That's all I've been trying to say right now. Sometimes it just feels good to get out and go.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Perfect Pancakes

... near perfect pancakes actually. It's 10:30pm, and I haven't eaten dinner, and I don't feel like making the few options I have from my pantry stocks. So I decide to make pancakes instead, only at first, I forget the recipe. The recipe I've been making for the past three or four years suddenly eludes my mind. Well, I remember all of it, except how much butter to use. Was it two tablespoons or four? How much is two table spoons out of this block of Plugra I have in front of me? My continues to draw a blank, and I google "buttermilk pancakes," and then it hits me. At one point in time I used one stick of the four sticks that normally come out of the butter box which weighs in at one pound. Then I switched over to the unmarked, Plugra blocks a few years ago because the European butter has more butterfat and is therefore fatter and tastier. That was it, I use one fourth of the block because that's how much of the one pound I used from the butter box.

After solving this dilemma, things start to go much smoother. I mix the wet into the dry ingredients, and let it sit and rise while I wash the dishes I used to mix everything up. I turn on the stove to preheat the Cast Iron skillet, and throw in some butter to grease up the pan. Finally, I lay down my first three ice-cream scoops (I've been using an ice-cream scoop because I still have yet to buy a ladle, and may not because the scoop has been working so well) of the batter onto the pan. After a while I realize that it may not be cooking as fast as I want it to, so I turn up the heat a little. I flip the pancake, only a small corner of the batter splatters out to one side, not far enough to detach from the pancake or over the skillets side walls though. And the top of the pancake is so perfectly golden brown. It slowly rises in the pan as the side walls of the pancake expand, forcing the golden brown roof to rise in dome shape as the ingredients react to the heat forming the light airy caverns inside the pancake. The sides remain white as the original batter because they don't color from direct contact with heat, and gently puff out. I pull the pancake off the skillet and examine the bottom to make sure its a good color. Beautiful. I place it on the plate, and lather it up with some butter and pour some grade A dark amber over the center, watching it slowly spread over the pancake. I then proceed back to the skillet and put down three more scoops of batter for the next pancake.

Meanwhile I take my time eating the first pancake, its tastes as beautiful as it looks. The outer texture slightly crispy as it hits my mouth, only to be complimented by the fluffy interior. Even with all its weight, the pancake almost melts in my mouth as if it were cotton candy, without the graininess. I watch the second pancake as I did the first, and it turns out equally as well. Instead of eating this one, I place it in the tupperware for tomorrow or the following day's breakfast, it fits perfectly into the tupperware. Each successive pancake turns out just as wonderful as the first. Wonderful brown exterior, puffy cloud-like sides, with one small area of crispiness from the flip. They all fit snuggly in the tupperware containers. The air starts to fill with a sweet butter flavor, and I can taste the pancakes in my mouth without having actually putting a fork to it now.

By the end of it, I had two tupperware containers each with three golden brown light and airy pancakes that fit perfectly in them. Every drop of batter had gone into the pancakes themselves, and there was no extra drip before they reached the center of the skillet. Overall, this late night pancake session turned out to be the best series of pancakes I've ever made. What a night. And now I can't wait to get up and have three for breakfast.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Volunteer Work

Today (yesterday by the time I actually post this), I volunteered for The Nature Conservancy (or TNC as they like to say). It started off with me biking down to TNC on 14th between Belmont and Morrison, getting up much earlier than I would have on this particular Saturday. Met up with the group, then we carpooled out to the Diack Preserve. There we hiked around for a bit, before we got to the part of the trail that we were to clear the paths of overgrowth. It felt a odd at first, I wanted to be planting trees, not uprooting them.

After redefining the trail, we headed further down the trail to the Sandy River and pulled out some Scott's Brush. Scott's Brush is an invasive species from Scotland that spews out hundreds of seeds if allowed to mature, and it would soon overtake the riverbank. All we had to do was pull it out by the roots, then leave it out to dry and die out. I stacked some orange cream marbled rocks while on the riverbank. None of the fellow hikers saw me do it, and when they came upon them one them thought they were mushrooms at first.

After that, we bushwacked back through the forest and a deer trail. We actually came across some deer bones, skull, vertebrae and some ribs. It was the first time I'd ever seen anything like it in the wild. They were pearly white too, nature was doing a good job of returning that deer to the earth.

Finally we had some lunch, and then removed some blackberry and thistle bushes from a field. Did I mention it was raining the entire time, because it was. Wasn't too bad though. Especially walking through the Oregon forests, the while under the trees we were able to keep pretty dry. It was a good experience overall, and I'd do it again. And now I know some people outside of work, a real estate agent, a conservationist, a Guatamalen and a roller durby competitor to name a few.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Cast Iron German Apple Pancake

Today began with work right away. I woke up at about 7am and started right away by turning off the alarm and opening up a web browser to start doing research. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say what though. It was great though, working at home, in a warm bed at that. Sadly, I was out of oatmeal, and I was out of milk. So I had limited options for breakfast. And ended up having some eggs, rice, lentils and cheese in a bowl, so that close enough to cereal as I could get given my resources.

When work slowed down, I just saved up all my info, got dressed, got on my bike, and headed over to the studio to continue working after the break from the change of scenery. Don, was at the studio when I got there, and after conversing for a while I got back to research, staring to make notes on ideas that were coming to my mind. By about two or three o'clock I was slowing down again, so I opened up Unreal Tournament to take a break. Don joined in for two rounds before he headed off. I stayed around for a while doing some more research, then headed off to the grocery store, bank and library.

When I got home, I read for a while and then accidently took a nap. Got up, did some more research. When I got hungry, I figured I'd continue with the bizarro day, and had some cereal, yogurt with blueberries. Took a shower, and when I got out made myself a German Apple Pancake. Since I didn't have my usual cookware, I decided to use my Cast Iron Skillet as the baking dish. And now its almost ten o'clock and I'm eating a monster sized Apple Pancake.

It has been a great day.

Saturday, June 2, 2007


I'm in Portland for the summer. I've been here for a almost a month now, and fell in love with the place the first day I was here. Beautiful weather, wonderful atmosphere, bike friendly streets (with the exception of one cellphone distracted mini-van driver) and fantastic architecture.

I'm working at ID Workshop, and since day one its been a fantastic. I have been known to say the following things since work started: "Why do I want to go back to school?", "I can't believe they're paying me for this", and "Yes, I'm having fun." Of course, I will go back to school, I'm so close, I should finish up and get the degree.

Work aside, its wonderful being here. I bike to work and everywhere else, only using a car when someone else drives. I'm running and cooking everyday. I've started reading books and newspapers. And I have a list of things to do and places to explore while here in Portland.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Trepidations End

In the past month or so I have journeyed to Borneo, Malaysia and Vietnam. They were amazing trips to some of the most beautiful places I've seen. The jungles of Borneo were full of all kinds of varieties of plant and animal life. Vietnam had some of the friendliest people and most charming streets, full of vitality and history, that I have encountered anywhere. There is so much to say about all these places; they were full of moments that would take chapters of words to describe. And so, while I slowly and surely start to compose my novel, I leave you with the an introduction in photographic form. Somewhere along the lines of seventy thousand words, less than modest, and certainly not enough to do these places justice.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Two More Days...

We had our final presentation for our Strategic Product and Services Development class yesterday. Marty and Karen (our Deptarment Chair and CMTEL Lab Director from Art Center) came by to see it. They seemed to respond very well to it our presentation, which went over without so much a problem considering the hell the twenty-four before was. Group work is a painful learning experience encapsulated in a shell of miscommunication, clashing minds and horrible time inefficiency. Of course, if you have the proper tools of process, respect and a twenty inch nutcraker, the learning experience might be revealed without the pain, suffering or frustration. I plan on doing a much more detailed write up to present to our resident advisor Todd Belle and possibly Marty and Karen as well about the entire experience so far. Until then, I have two more days of school left in the first period here at INSEAD. Then I have to figure out where I am going to go for the break, because its two grand for a round trip to Nepal, and there are no available hotels in India. Next stop, Laos or Brunei, we'll see...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Medical Response

I was eating lunch by myself at the Hawker Stand across the street from school. I was minding my own business, eating roti prata, when a crowd started to gather around a man. He was sitting in a chair, sort of slouched to one side, his chin to his chest. A woman was standing next to him, slapping his cheek to wake him up, but he just sat there, non-reactive with his eyes shut. A critical mass started to come around, so someone finally called the Defense Force (I guess they act as the medics over here, not a bad idea I think). Before the clean cut guys in uniforms showed up, a woman with a stethoscope was over the man, taking his heart rate (where'd she come from?!). Some of the guys standing around took the man from his seat, and laid him down on the ground. The woman then started to do a chest massage to the guy (the pushing part of the CPR process). No reaction still.

I couldn't really understand exactly what was going on because they weren't speaking English. Four people from the defense force showed up and started getting to work. They pricked his finger to get some blood. Put a pulse reader on one of his fingers. After a while, they put a oxygen mask over his face, and even decided to insert an IV into his arm. The whole process by them seemed to be somewhat disorganized. After about ten minutes of all this, some police officers showed up, and they collectively decided to lift him up onto a stretcher. Which again, wasn't a seamless process. They sort of paused when he was half way on the stretcher to take a break, before moving him entirely on there. Maybe his condition didn't merit it, but they didn't seem to be in any rush.

After this was all over, I asked the people at the Hawker Stand where I got my prata if they were going to do anything with the burlap sac they had sitting on some vegetable oil cans. They said they were just going to throw it away. So I asked if I could have it, and now I have another souvenir. I must note, I didn't take any pictures of the incident, I had left my camera at school. It might be for the better, because it forced me to write and interpret the incident myself, rather than passively accept digital capture of the moment.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Business Model

Today was a good day in classes, because they made sense and I was able to follow along quite well. I could see the value in understanding a business model, and why it is important to look at past models. To learn from their successes and failures at the very least. Another value is to use them as analogies for the creative application of a plan from one area (say internet book selling) to another (say online groceries). Well, it doesn't always make a successful transfer (online groceries failed for the most part), but that is part of the value of looking at business models. Now I feel that I have a stronger tool to justify concepts that I come up with in design. "X may work because of reasons A, B, and C. Here are some business models D and E which are quite similar. Further more, here is the roadmap for this plan, with milestones at points F, G, and H. I could use these as markers of success. Finally, there is further value by connecting this consumer to this producer in this way. All we need is this cool speedform which I'm about to design to tie it all together" My future presentations may go something like that. Prepare to be completely baffled. INSEAD was actually able to cram a lot of information into my head in a short amount of time, AND! I've managed to retain it. Score on multiple levels. I actually finding myself wishing I had taken some of their core classes, because it would help me to digest some of the information being presented to me now.

I had some freetime this weekend, and went to some Wetlands and Orchid Gardens. It was a enjoyable half day of an adventure. Pictures are up on my flickr account. The biggest take away from that trip would have to be the relaxing ability to explore at my own pace. Groups are great, but sometimes you get lost keeping up or waiting around. A take away about Singapore maybe... this is small island. It took less than 2o minutes to go from my apartment to the wetlands on the opposite side (north side) of the island. And then I could look out from the Wetlands and see Malaysia. It would have been a good bike ride.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Settling Dust

So, things are finally really settling down to a certain state of normality and everyday drudgery. Classes have become less exciting, and have slowly moved to a level of tediousness. More so because I've realized I want to travel, rather than anything of the classes particular own doing. The courses are all teaching me wonderous facts of knowledge that I would not have had access to back at Art Center. My vocabulary is slowly adjusting to this business lingo, and its getting hard for me to sort what I knew before and what I have learned now as it becomes part of my everyday speak. I particularly enjoy condensing down titles and phrases down to their letter abbreviations (you don't call the class Venture Opportunities in Business Management, you call it VOBM). And with that, it is almost over, sixth week begins next week, and periods here are only seven weeks long. Oh, I'll still get to go through all this again after a good long week break (in Nepal). It still seems like there was barely anytime to start this before it ended though. Starting a whole new period is going to drain me so much.

Just as things got to get normal though, I found this amazing little Organic Food Shop in the market area near our house. Literally a five minute walk from my door to their door. On top of that, I went in with a recipe for a Singaporean desert, and owner (?) noticed and was more than happy to help me out. He even said to bring him future recipes days in advanced so he could get all the ingredients together for me. The store was barely the size of my living room at home. I was blown away by his dedication to customer service. I'll definitely be going back there on a frequent basis.

I also had one of the three greatest dishes I've eaten while in Singapore today (well, one of the was in Cambodia, so I am merely referring to the trip in general). It was Seaweed with Ginger. I don't know what else was in there, but the combination blew me away. It was in this odd little place that called themselves "Vegetarian" but served numerous dishes with fish, and possibly some with chicken. I won't complain too much, because the Seaweed with Ginger was amazing. Now what I really need to find is an amazing dessert place here. Or maybe that will be up to me in combination with my new friendly neighborhood shopkeep.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I was fortunate enough to spend last Friday to Monday in Cambodia. It started off by flying to Siem Reap from Singapore at about 6am in the morning, with a portion of the Art Center group here at INSEAD. We spent two amazing days there, then on Sunday morning took a bus ride down to the capital, Phnom Penh. Explored that for the afternoon to evening, and finally left early Monday morning. Once again, it was fantastic, and I took as many photos as I could to document it (the total came in just under a thousand, I'll do better next time though). I managed to narrow it down to about sixty or so photos, which can be seen here.

If I had to pick out one moment from the trip, it would have to be a $5 tuk tuk ride late Saturday afternoon around Siem Reap to see the real city. The equivalent of a Cambodian Home Depot, in the form of a series of shops with minimally processed lumber (large staffs of wood with the branches chopped off, and not much else). Seeing all the people on their motorcycles and scooters. Driving by an outdoor market that had not one tourist inside. The best part was getting out of the city, and driving on an unpaved back road through lushly green fields. Lush and green to not do them adequate justice though. This is one thing that must truly be believed to be seen.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Double Happiness

Had a wonderfully relaxing weekend. Was able to sit back and relax, take a few moments to myself. Go out and explore Singapore a bit. Saw the Chinese and Japanese gardens that are fairly close to the apartment. While walking there I also came across some Chinese people burning a pile of symbolic money for a loved one in the afterlife. I enjoyed watching this ritual very much. The gardens themselves were somewhat lackluster. Luckily, inside the gardens was a turtle museum. There are pros and cons to this museum. It is amazing to see all the turtles that they had there. The con is that the turtles are almost in a prison. It was just tanks with no sort of decoration, stacked upon each other. This place was in desperate cry of design, if nothing else, just to make the turtles feel better. A very unique aspect to this museum was the two headed turtle named "double happiness" that they had. I only took about four photos of double happiness, and looking at them makes me wish I had taken more. I may actually go back to grab more.

The other fun event of the weekend was the Night Safari. I am slightly surprised that I'm saying it was great. There was low light (go figure, its at night right?), the animals weren't that active, and some of them seemed depressed (the turtle museum has got me questioning viewing animals in captivity). It was still amazing though. I got to see hyenas, which I've never seen before in person. They're quite grotesque in fascinating way. There was also a tiger, which looked larger than I remember them being. Sadly, there were elephants, but they seemed so sad, because they're social animals, and there was only about 3 of them. I enjoyed it all, but as I noted before, I'm questioning viewing animals in captivity, between the turtles and the elephants, it was a bit depressing.

Earlier in the weekend, there was also the Aquarium. Which while small, was densely packed with interesting creatures and activities. There was a fish petting area, where you could pet um... well fish. It's actually kind of the reverse, because you leave your hand in the water, then they slowly gain the courage to come up and rub the side of their body against your arm. The entire courting process was entertaining, and I could sit there all day with my arm partially submerged, waiting for them to come touch me. The most interesting creature there was the seadragon. These thing are like seahorse, but bigger, more colorful, and amazingly captivating. I didn't even see two of them at first because they look sort of like seaweed, which is part of their disguise. They're an awesome sight to see.

And finally, some pictures from all of this. turtles

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Clear Skies

Finally, the second week of INSEAD is done. It's been raining on and off for the past week, but luckily the skies are clearing up for the weekend (though this can change at any moment). School on the other hand is finally starting to make sense. The seemingly complete disorganization of class schedules compiled with numerous group projects is slowly sorting itself out.

We have finally started to get into "it" for our design class that we have over here. The actual lectures are somewhat academic, but we've finally got our projects assigned, so we can start the front end of the design process. It will be interesting to see how the MBA's take to this. There has already been some noteworthy reactions by them to our concepts and processes. Of course, I'm sure our take on business has been equally entertaining/frustrating to them.

The humidity becomes more and more bearable everyday. In fact, I hardly notice except for when I run. It still makes it difficult to hang dry clothes, I just hope the dryer doesn't do any major shrinkage damage to my clothes.

Hopefully more to say this weekend after I get a moment to digest it all a bit more.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

End of the Week

The first week at INSEAD is done, and I am beat. Between everything that has been done, and has to get done, it feels as though I will never have a free moment. I believe this to be a result of having to get settled in though, and getting used to the swing of things over here.

I did finally manage to find time to upload some photos onto the flickr account I started. I hope this link works:

With that, my break from homework must come to an end. But, hopefully, as I settle in more, I will be able to find the time to post more, with more energy as well.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

You Don't Look Like an MBA Student...

is what I keep hearing from the INSEAD students. I attribute it to my hair, which is fantastic by me. Don't get me wrong, these people are amazingly kind, open and approachable. I would hate for them to have to go to Art Center and deal with the constant sea of eyes to the ground. I'm sure with their positive attitude they could easily turn the situation around though.

Our first real day, with a class (Venture Opportunities in Business Management) was great. The class and teacher are wonderful, and the structure of the presentation of information was concise, understandable and to the point. I have a good idea of what I'm going to learn, and even how it applies to me as a designer. This is going to be an invaluable experience that I can't endorse enough, and its only just begun!!!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Day Two

First full day in Singapore was great. Started it off with a run around the local park which resulted in me dripping with sweat right as I met my next door neighbors. After which I went for a swim in the pool for about half an hour. The pool was then followed by an hour walk with Audrey which landed us at Anchor Point. Luckily, Anchor Point had places to eat, across the street had a cellphone dealer, and across the street from that was an IKEA.

Lunch at the food court was great. For my first lunch I had a Lo Mien with Tomato and Egg (I think thats what it was called). For my second lunch (I was hungry) I had a Thostas. I'm butchering the pronunciation and spelling of this dish, but however you spell or say it, it was good. It looks like a pancake, but has a completely different texture. I have a picture, which of course, will eventually be posted, just have to get settled more so that finding the time is easier.

The ordeal of buying a cellphone when you really don't want one can be quite tiresome. The dealer seemed to be quite helpful and intent on getting us the best deal. Just, the entire process of setting up such a permanent feature of residence was draining. After which, as a group, the Art Center group headed over to IKEA to supplement our apartments with things that should have been provided for us. I couldn't take it after a while, so instead of waiting around with everyone to go shopping, I ended up walking back home (did I mention it took Audrey and myself about an hour plus to get to Anchor Point?).

I decided to take a different path than the one that had landed us in Anchor Point, which pretty much me getting lost with the hope that I would eventually find something I recognized. I ended up in a National Park, and then on a mountain biking trail, without a mountain bike. Eventually I did find my way back to a street, and not so long after that, back to a familiar intersection. The whole experience of getting lost and finding myself was a decidedly enjoyable break from the humdrum day to day of consumerism.

Later on that night the eight of us from Art Center along with our instructor, Todd Belle, met up at the Crazy Elephant. We then walked around this river side area, "something Quay" and found an Indian restaurant, the Ivory, to dine at. It was great for me because a majority of the food was vegetarian. Not so great was biting into a seed in the potato dish that lit my mouth on fire or nodding off towards the end of dinner because of the long day I had.

My "Singaporian" observation for the day... really cool dining areas, with outdoor setups that look like hospital rooms, and a bar called Gold that has corpse doors in the front.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Taipei Layover

It is about 6am in Taipei, and I am now on a five hour layover until our one-ish flight over to Singapore. The fifteen + hour flight over wasn't so bad, except for the screaming baby behind us. I ended up not reading any of the books that I bought, and slept most of the way.

Chris, Sal and I are now waiting around. Trying to see if we can get out of the airport and cause some trouble in Taipei, just to say we were out on the ground. Also to breathe some of that overcast Taipei air. The airport mall is quite extravagant and amazing, with high end boutiques and loads of electronics.

Pictures and more later...