Saturday, December 30, 2006

Kbox Sakae & Kukris

I’m not exactly the singer, but I went to KBox.. hah. Not too bad. It’s $9+++ per pax for 3 hours. And the best part, lunch is provided. =) woke really early to get down to Jurong East by 1100 and then went to kbox with dar. For lunch there was a choice of some Chicken or Fish thing.. they both were equally good. I think it’s much nicer now, the last time we were given a choice and it was 7,8 or 9 bucks +++. And accordingly, they’ll give you different ‘grades’ of lunch, from pies to noodles to curry & rice which was packed from outside.. So the spread of they’re in-house meals were quite a welcome and it’s pretty good nonetheless. Fanciful too.. Something (and dar) tells me that I should be working on my mandarin. Then I’ll be able to sing along with her.. won’t have to sit there for the bulk of the time.. ok not that it’s bad but still.. it’ll be a skill to be able to sing as kbox with dar. pink hairband = pink voice.. heh..

that's how the chicken thing looks like. The fish one looks similar just that it's got fish (duh?). it kinda reminds me of airplane food.. looks quite alike..

Wednesday’s dinner was spent at Sakae Sushi with my mum =) at Wheelock Place.. the place’s seem to have changed quite abit with new interior design since the first time I’ve been there.. quite a nice feeling tho.. to sit down amidst all the rush of a weekday.. great place, great sushi.. all the more cos I spent it with mum. Must have been such a loooong time since the last time I went out for a meal with her..

it looks quite posh now.. and more roomy too. More table seats as compared to the beginning where there were alot more counter seat..

Oh and YES, I have to say a BIG thank-you to Si Wei. This is one man who went out of the way to try to get me a full-sized Kukri. That’s the signature knife that the Gurkhas in Singapore use. And they are the ppl who wear the distinctive blue uniform with the tilted brown hat and stand guard at respectable places from the IMF meetings to the Istana to the watch towers ontop of Bukit Timah. Native Nepalese, these troopers are handpicked and trained and have been known throughout the world for their bravery and extraordinary fitness. Soldiers during wars have been known to surrender upon hearing that Gurkhas were sent to face them.. these are one bunch of ppl you don’t wanna mess around with.

Beeps got me a few mini Kukris the last times she went to Nepal (thanks beepo!). This time, SiWei (affectionately known as Psy or Sai, pronounced like ‘sigh’) tried to bring back one full-sized one, the same ones that these Gurkhas here and all over the world use. I’ve seen it in the army and it’s really quite impressive. Think big parang. Very big parang that has been handcrafted. Quite unfortunately, it got stopped at the customs but thank God that he didn’t meet into much trouble with the authorities. *phew* still.. really. I must say a very very big thank you and a sorry for all the trouble caused.. For those who aren’t aware, I’ve got a thing with knives.. weird. Uh-huh. Ya. I know. Everyone has a weird side. Maybe Great-Grandpa Yap was a swordsman in china. Who knows..

Meet half of my collection. i counted a total of 15. The above 8 are the more 'special' ones.. Clockwise from top-right: Muela fixed blade, M Nieto fixed blade with mini replica, SOG Pentago Elite foldable, Victorinox Swiss Champ 70+ items with carrying pouch, Victorinox Compact 14 items, Kukri medium sized, Kukri with engravements, Kukri small sized. The CD at the top is a reference for the sizes.

These are the Kukris beeps got for me. All from Nepal. The middle one is nicely engraved, even the sheath's got decoration.

The top one was bought with my first pay. It's one of the few that i bear to use cos i bought it. The rest are mostly gifts so i can't bear to use them. I got this one with Jon, who has a similar one, and affectionately named it 'kick-ass'. The middle one was from Ben, the first fixed blade knife i owned. It's got a miniature looking replica and has a camouflage sheath. The bottom one is an SOG Pentagon Elite. Bought it when i turned operational in the army and went on to thailand with it. One of the best foldable knives to me, the blade can be opened easily single-handed.

The red one is the first knife amongst all that i got. My folks got it for me from europe when i was 12 years old. It's got a total of 14 different tools/uses. The whole knife thing started from there.. the blue-black one was a gift from Jon. It's the biggest and fullest pocket knife in the Victorinox series with 70+ tools/uses, it's got a carrying pouch containing matches, sharpening stone, compass and a whole load of cool stuff. i still don't bear to use it.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Grumpy Alvin

*grumble* there goes ten bucks. All cos google won’t be nice enough to help me switch my adsense account ID. They were supposed to allow users to switch user ids but somehow my application didn’t get thru. And now they tell me that if I were to change my login ID I’ll have to forfeit the ten bucks I have. Darn..

"Hi Alvin,

Thanks for your emails. I'm unfortunately unable to process your login
change request. The best that I can offer is to help you close your
current account associated with and approve your
recent application associated with

However, please understand that if you choose this option, you'll need to
replace any existing AdSense code on your site with new code generated
from your new account. Also, any earnings from your current account will
not be transferred to your new account. If you wish to continue with this
process, please reply to this email indicating your wish to close the
account associated with"

alright, so much for lamenting over adsense. You all could do me a favour and pay the google sponspors a visit.. so anyway, I got my results today.. not too fantastic but I’m happy I didn’t bring forward any modules to the next semester. *phew* after 2.5 years away from the books, I’m thankful I made it thru.. with one C. stupid C. stupid stupid stupid C..

Ugly Ugly C.. Signals and Systems.. stupid boy.

this is the first time I’m using the school’s time-table planner.. and I have to declare out loud that it is so NOT user-friendly. I’d bet it’s design by someone sitting at home without ever having to use this program himself.. it defines how you can waste a whole load of time over something so trivial.. alright, so here I am at the end of a few hours, with a really ugly looking time table.. 3-hour breaks here and there.. I’d just die if I don’t stay in hall.. anyone have any idea how this elective thing works? I’m totally confused abt it. And my academic advisor’s not really helping with the advising part.. there are prescribed electives right? So can we graduate with those or must we choose more electives to graduate.. goodness me. Any suggestions for the electives?

oh and did I also mention that my connection’s REALLY slow.. add the Taiwan earthquake slowdownthewholeofasia thing to the fact that I’m still on 56K at home.. and you get a really really really slow connection.. I have to try to connect > 5 times to get hooked up with msn.. *sigh*

I think I’m in a really grumpy mood today.. i need more cookies..

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas

It’s Christmas! Merry christmas everyone! It’s my favourite season of the year. Fridays are my favourite days and Christmas’ are my favourite seasons. Haha.. it’s always so nice to see the lights.. did I ever mention that I have a thing with lights? Dar always said I was a housefly.. =P ANYWAY.. this year is no exception. I guess the big difference is that this year, I’m spending both my birthday and Christmas out of the army. Free man! Heh.. so this Christmas is a little more exciting and happier than last year’s which of course, for the fellow comrades, we spent it in a rather noble manner. That’s another story for another time..

spent christmas morning in G1.. had breakfast at burger king. that's a cup of coffee.. the cup's getting nicer and nicer.. maybe that's why the price of fast food is getting higher and higher too.. the balloons are from some CA thing my folks went for, brightens up the whole place doesn't it?

we went to walk around orchard, isetan and wheelock place and i took a few pictures. Did i mentioned i figured how to optimise the ISO and aperture settings on my camera. i'm so happy.. it's a amazing what another one night spent reading the user-manual can do.. i esp like the golden thing, thot the picture turned out quite well..

Ok, back to Christmas, this year we had a nice dinner at my granny’s place.. I think we were supposed to bring deserts and stuff for the after-meal thing.. so my dad had this idea to make a fruit platter.. it’s quite nice actually.. the platter came out much nicer than I had expected. =) and we bought more fruits than we could use. Ended up having to keep the longans to ourselves.. oh and they all loved my cookies.. *head-swells*

Before and After of the fruits we got. we spent about 20 bucks and an hour. it turned out much better than i expected.. nice and colourful.. =)
alvin yap and granny yap. =) i love my grandma..
that's granny openining her christmas prezzie; she got a nice massaging thing.. you sit on it and it massages your back. i tried it, it's really quite good.. *stretch*. the candy-train was made by the friends of my younger cousins.. really creative..

That was on Christmas eve, Christmas dinner was spent at Ronald and Jean’s place.. we had burgers! I didn’t manage to get a picture of the food at the dinner, but it was really good. I like the beef patty jean made esp. =) then we had the babies opening up their presents.. how nostalgic.. looking at them, I feel like I’d give anything to be a kid all over again. And I got to watch x-men III too.
the kids opening their presents. annabel would tear and shred the paper.. carissa would diligently peel and open it neatly.. 2 babies, same parents, same family, characters' worlds apart. =)
uhh.. meet Carissa (left) and Annabel (right).. angels on the outside.. #CENSORED# on the inside.. heh.. still ever lovely.
kodak moments of the kids with their new toys..
meet amanda. my princess.. *wink*

more evidence of my joy in figuring out the ISO and aperture thing.. got this shot from their flat.. heh. and yes, i'm intrigued by the lights.. shush.

Oh and I had a really irritating Christmas countdown.. we went down to orchard road (madness I know) to ‘support’ pastor Oh’s event. I’m not too sure what kinda event it was, but we were there.. at abt 11:30pm. That’s where I managed to get some pictures of the lights. Didn’t turn out all too well, but well, it’s a first.. so anyway, we started trying to make our way to taka and then take the underpass over to the lucky plaza area, but see, we never made it to taka. Think mosh pit, think stampede. Think human sized ants crawling all over orchard.. it was so crowded u didn’t need to move. You get pushed along the way.. I don’t think I’ve ever been to somewhere that crowded before.. and add the fact that u get ppl spraying foam and what-nots into ur hair.. oh the terror.. *faints* but well, that’s not my point for this portion of the post.. my point is that.. there was this cafĂ©/bar kinda area. I’m not all too sure what its name is. It’s the alfresco one just outside of wisma, along the pavement the one with the railings filled with water.. While we were getting mashed up in the crowd, there was a few ppl (who I think worked at the bar), who were standing around near the railing, the boundary of the bar. At first glance, I thot they were there to ensure ppl don’t try anything funny and enter the bar without permission by climbing over the railing, but then as the crowd got squeezier, I realized that they were there to help little kids/babies. They would lift the kid over the railing and keep them occupied in the nice spacious environment of the bar they seem to have this table filled with happy aunties and ladies who were happily entertaining and taking pictures of the kids.. and then the parents (who weren’t allowed over the railings) would then collect the kids after they have successfully navigated thru the mosh pit.. although I thought it would be even better if they had allowed just one of the parents to be with the kid, I thot that what they were doing was pretty impressive. They were running a business there, with a band playing carols and top-ten hits in the background and ppl enjoying the night, oblivious to the suffering that was taking place outside of the bar.. they could have simply chosen not to bother, but there they were, helping out and making those families eternally grateful.. there u go.. another example of helpful and nice Singaporeans..

managed to get these shots before i hit the mosh pit and after i left the mosh pit.. ridiculous. can you see the crowd..? it'll just take one terror attack here and singapore's population will probably be down by 1/4. merry christmas to the cisco officers on duty and a big thank you. =)

So well, anyway, we never made it to the place to support pastor oh’s countdown.. but well.. it was one experience.. and I’m pretty sure I dun wanna go thru that again.. never. I am so gonna steer clear of orchard or any of these party place for the new year. No.. alvin’s not a party animal, I’ll probably stick to my cookies.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups semi sweet choc chip

-Thoroughly cream sugars, margarine/butter, oil, egg, milk and vanilla
-Add dry ingredients, nuts, and chocolate chips.
-Drop by teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 175 Celcius for 12-15 min (till light brown)

End result:
hurhur, really crumbly cookies. somehow it didn't turn out the way i'd expected. it's kinda crumbly and light, very light and fluffy kinda thing. anyone have any ideas how to sort it out? i ended up making a really amount. 2 batches.. 18 cookies. on the old-faithful oven. nice and small, that's why it takes 2 batches to only make 18 cookies. left the rest in the fridge..

think i'll carry on the rest tmr..
this was how the batter turned out after following the exact instructions..
this was how it turned out.. the first batch. it's really crumbly.. the whole thing falls apart when you bite into it.. not nice. not nice at all.. and it spreads quite abit too.. looking at the picture on the right, you can see how much it had spread. leaving the 'island of choc chip on the top'.

=====Next Day=====
ok, haha, so i'm back. let's see.. the 3rd batch came out exactly the same after defrosting it. that's good and bad. good = it's not spoilt, still works. bad = it's all crumbly and what not..

so i resorted to adding more ingredients. i remember reading somewhere that i could try adding more flour.. so i added one more cup. =) and while i was at it, i added me 2 packets of milo mix. ooh.. haha. for wateva it was worth, i didn't have cocoa powder, so just try loh.
the result? not that bad actually.. it's looking less crumbly and i manged to squeeze more cookies onto the sheet. so i get 13 instead of 9 at a batch.. the bake time has to some how increase drastically too though.. i'm now letting it run at 30 min. but i think there's something not right. it's too long.. maybe should up the temperature.. i'll figure that out in a while..
i read somewhere that it helps to 'stand the cookies tall' if they spread too much.. so i tried it. it looks abit ugly.. but i guess it works..
it's a little better as you can see. the cookies are less flat (also probably cos now there's more flour and other stuff in the batter) but well.. bottom line is that making it stand works. =) although i have to say that the inside of the cookie didn't turn out as well.. it's a little soft. chewy on the inside..

next step. i used one of those measuring spoons thingy.. and popped the batter onto the sheet.. the result. wonderful looking cookies. finally.. I GOT IT! that's how they do it.. what was i thinking.. the above steps were all done letting the batter stand 'tall'. this article i once read said that if the cookies spread too much, u should stand them tall. it works la.. bottom line is that it works, you just kinda get really odd-looking shaped cookies. then i remember seeing them at famous amos, they used a smaller version of those ice-cream scoops. so i tried it..

this is how it looks like using the measuring spoon thingy. you get these really round cute shapes of cookie batter. looks really really cute.. i should have thought of this much earlier. it turns out that it cooks more evenly when it's in this shape. giving rise to a more crunchy cookie. nice. i like it crunchy. =)

and the result? heh.. much nicer looking cookies. can sell them now.. anyone wants? =)
see? much nicer right? i think it turned out really really well.. i like it so much. compared to all the other times that i've made cookies, even with the betty crocker pre-mix.. this is nothing compared to those. =)

ok, another update. i think there's quite a big difference baking in the top and bottom rack. wrong. top and middle rack. this batch is currently in the middle rack and something tells me it looks much puffier than the previous which was in the upper rack.. hmm.. the science of cookies.. alright, so my guess is that once i sort this part out.. i'll have completed my own cookie recipe. woohoo! so far, 2 batches have turned out great and i've resorted to putting them in a different container. haha.. the 'good enough to sell/give away' ones and the just eat them urselves at home ones.. if this batch turns out well, in the middle rack, then i can have 2 batches at a go.. =) nice. that's uhh.. 26 at a time. good.. very good. =)
alright. as expected, the middle rack is a little less crunchy. verdict? leave it in longer.. so i'm gonna try 35 min. that's DISGUSTINGLY long. but hey man. the price for good cookies? heh.. priceless.. so the new trial batch is currently in the oven. both the top and middle racks are used. i'm gonna leaveit in there for 35 min this time and let's see the result at the end. =) i don't really think they'll burn.. cos even when i thought i smelled the cookies (usually by the time i'm sitting here at the computer and can smell the cookies, they're usually charcoal), they didn't turn out burnt. just more brown and crispy. that's good isn't it? so i'll leave it as that. 35 min or more it shall be.. now.. let's just wait for the verdict.. *cross fingers..*

the previous batches were done on the top rack of my oven.. these were done in the middle rack. it's a little 'chubbier' and less crispy. but well, it isn't that bad. so i figure if i just leave it in the oven long enough, it'll work out to be the same crispy texture as those above.

IT WORKS! haha.. good good. 2 sheets can be done at the same time.. nice.. the middle rack turns out slightly softer than the top. less crispy. so the next batch, i left i longer and tadaa! nice cookies.. all 26 of them.. oh, and i just did the math.. on average, following this recipe, i'll end up with approx 250+ cookies. POWER right? that's like enough cookies to last till next semester. haha.. good. means can sell.. so again i'll ask.
the before and after picture of the cookies made together in the same batch. turned out pretty well. all 26 came out nice after approx 35 min in the oven. that's ridiculously long i know but hey! it's worth it. =)
i guess if you're gonna follow these instructions here, you'd really wanna see how long to put it in. don't take my word for it. the oven i'm using's probably older than me. so just set it to 175 celsius and watch the timing for the first batch.

*ahem* any body wants to buy cookies? they're REALLY nice.. and yes, you've got the pictures here and the entire account of what i did.. unless u wanna do it urself. =P
next up, i'm trying to save some time inbetween.. since it takes so long to do one batch, i thot if i could prepare the batter into the nice round shapes, that should save some time in between.. heh.. what do you know. cookies on parade. 63 of them.. haha.. looks pretty impressive.. now i can just transfer the batter one by one over to the sheets instead of having to prepare them only when the sheets are cooled.. silly me, should have thought of this earlier..
Cookies, Kekanan Lurus! heh. cookies on parade. trust me, if you're gonna use a really tiny oven and take as long as i do. this is really a good idea. so that in between the batches, all u gotta do is just remove the cookies and let the sheet cool before transferring the shaped batter onto the sheet. saves alot of time.. i would know.
now all i need is just to get more containers.. much much more containers.. sigh. where to find so many.. *growl*

alright, so that's it. just remember to add the extra flour and milo powder. then use the measuring spoon to drop the cookie batter onto the sheet. it should work. =)

Happy Holidays and Happy Cookie-ing.. =)


Cost of Raw Materials:

Baking Soda : $1.02
Cream of TarTar: $2.84
Vanilla Essence: $1.12
Plain Flour (1 kg/8 cups): $1.25
Hersheys semi sweet choc chips: $5.25
Brown Sugar (1kg): $2.65
Fresh Eggs (10): $1.60

Total: $15.73

it's about 3 times more expensive than buying the pre-mix from the supermarkets.. but well, if you think about it, you get to keep the baking soda, cream of tartar, vanilla essense, eggs and sugar. you basically just need to get more choc chip and flour next time.. so it's probably more worth it. and don't forget, you get to have 250+ bite-sized cookies.. that's a monster amount, much more than Betty Crocker will provide.. and of course, the satisfaction that u baked this from scratch.. =)