"The intel on this wasn't 100%."
 
Monday, January 16, 2017
Over the weekend, I made some chicken stock for soups. Basically, I used my new pressure cooker's slow cooker function to craft some chicken stock. It's a standard stock of whatever I had in my fridge: leeks, celery, carrots, onions, garlic. I just threw them into the slow cooker with 1 1/2 lbs. of chicken wings, set it to 10 hours on low, and let it cook overnight to its heart's content. Afterwards, I pulled out the chicken and shredded it, cooled the stock and removed the fat. That's it.

For the soup, I'm just going to sauté onions and carrots, because I still have some on hand. Then throw in the chicken. Now the chicken was shredded so the chunks aren't really chunks of chicken but small particles of chicken. Unfortunately, this doesn't look to appetizing, but it is the chicken I got from my stock. I added 2 quarts of the chicken stock and another quart of water.

For seasoning, besides a pinch of salt, I added 1 tsp of thyme and dried basil, 1/4 tsp of white pepper, and a 1/4 tsp of fish sauce (patis).

For noodles, I'm using whole wheat fusilli. I know I put too many in so that it turns into a mushy stew. Hopefully not. (Cross my fingers.)

I took this to a boil then dropped it to low to simmer for an hour. I'll let you know if it is any good. (Cross my fingers.)

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Sunday, January 15, 2017
Onigiri

Tried my hand at making onigiri, rice balls. It's a simple thing to make -- cooked rice, a savory filling, a piece of seaweed -- formed into a ball.

First the rice. It's a Japanese rice usually sold at the supermarket as sushi rice. You should use this style because it balls up really well. Somewhere I read that using another type of rice like jasmine or Chinese rice won't do, because those types don't ball up well.

Second the filling. Usually there is a filling, if you must know. You could make it without one, but then it won't be as satisfying. I used tuna. Just a scoop.

Finally the seaweed wrapper. It's nori! They come in a package of 10. I won't get anywhere close to using the entire package. It may take me years. I snipped a sheet into 2 small pieces then wrapped the rice balls.

How to shape them? I followed a trick that I read on the net. I used a tea cup and some plastic wrap. I put some plastic wrap on a tea cup then placed some rice on it. I put some filling in and enclosed the rice in my fist. Then shaped it. I shaped it into the traditional triangle. Or at least I thought I did.

One final thing, I used some furakake to add some flavor.

That's my onigiri. I hope you try it too one day.

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Friday, January 13, 2017
2016 Selfie

This was my big art project for last year -- a selfie a day. I'm not sure it worked out very well. Someone told me that it should've been in the same place every day. As you can see, I did it wherever and whenever. I missed days. I used cameras attached to computers from my iPhone to my iPad mini to my laptop. It was ridiculous.

You can see the whole thing on my Flickr album.

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Here we go again back at the bookstore. Maybe I should've had one of my resolutions to avoid it as much as possible, or better yet, the resolution should be to watch, read, or use whatever I buy from there within a week. I still haven't read a majority of what I hauled in last year. I think that I am addicted to spending money and accumulating junk. Sounds like a plan for another resolution for next year.

Fighting Elegy directed by Seijun Suzuki
Step-by-step Tai Chi with Tiffany Chen

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Thursday, January 12, 2017
I'll take some time to look over my 2017 resolutions to see how well I'm keeping them. I'll try to keep this to every fortnight. Perhaps it will be my new series for blogging this year -- one of my resolutions!

Health

  • Weight about 227.  This may be because of water loss from the start of the year.  It's in a good direction.  I doubt that this is actual.  Let's keep improving here.
  • I think I tweaked my groin doing workouts because it hurts when I raise my leg to put on my pants.  
Exercise
  • Walks: 3/120
  • Rowing: 1/5 for January.  This may not stay as I think I really fucked up my left elbow.  Perhaps I should see a doctor for that.
  • Started using Seven, the seven minute workout app.  I'm way out of shape as that I can't do this well.  Is a lazy workout better than no workout?
Professional Life
Nothing to see here so far.  Maybe this is a resolution too far?

Personal
  • Blogging slightly starting to pick up.  It's not just movie reviews or link of the days!
  • Cooking!  I've been making soups!  Keep this up, although I make my kitchen a mess.
  • Japan.  I bought a book about traveling Japan on rail.
  • Japanese.  I watch a lot of Nogizaka46 variety programs.  Does that count?  No.  I need to carve some time out to study.
It's a start.

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I had some Sun Noodle ramen in the freezer so I made some ramen this evening. It was some kind of shoyu ramen with chicken. I threw in a soft boiled egg. It was a cooking adventure!

Cooking. Me cooking. I am a mess, because I am an amateur. There's a lot to juggle to make dinner especially if you are hungry. You have to get everything to cook within minutes.

It was the first time I had 3 burners on the stove going. And I also had the pressure cooker going.

Let's start with the pressure cooking an egg. I usually steam my eggs after I found out how easy it is to get to the proper cooked state. Hard boiled is just about 6 minutes. Soft boiled? I put it in for 4 minutes, but I think it should be slightly longer. When I peeled it, it came apart. It wasn't a perfect egg, but it was perfectly soft boiled.

Next the chicken. I fried it. But I suck because I used a regular frying pan. I don't think I got the oil hot enough. After breading it, I dropped the chicken into the pan cooking it on each side about 5 minutes. When I took it out and sliced it, the chicken wasn't done. In it went again. I over cooked it. But it's okay. It's fried!

The noodles. These are great noodles. I bought the "kaedema" style which is just a smaller package of ramen. I think. The way to cook the noodles is to just get a pot of water boiling, drop the noodles in, and cook for about 5 minutes. Maybe more or maybe less. I got it done enough that I pulled it out of the water early and let sit for a bit in a strainer waiting to go into the broth.

The broth. It's a combination of store bought chicken broth and my very own mushroom vegetable broth. I made it in my pressure cooker! I just combined both in a pot and brought it to a boil. I added 1 tablespoon of shoyu (soy sauce), a dash of mirin, and a teaspoon of chili garlic sauce. Pepper to taste.

A word about the chili garlic sauce. Scrumptious! It's my favorite flavor to add to a soup, because it always seems to make the broth so better.

Mmm. Mmmm. Good.

I'm going to keep cooking ramen especially. I just need to use those fresh noodles from Sun Noodles. They are the best.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Natalie Portman portrays the widowed Jacqueline Kennedy in Jackie. It was a film about the first lady in the months after the assassination of the President, her husband, in Dallas. It is an account of the widow making her husband's legacy mythic. It is a story too sad a tragedy.

As I watched it, I felt for America. Not because of the Kennedy assassination, but because of Trump. The film portrays the institution of the White House and the Presidency with reverence. It builds it up as an American myth. It is ours as Americans because we can be so much better than our selves can be. That's what she said they strived for. Now we've got Trump and a First Lady that can not barely match the majesty of the past First Ladies. We are ridiculous for electing them.

3 of 5 stars.

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Sunday, January 01, 2017
I do this every year because I usually watch a lot of the movies that come out in the theatre. It's my list of best films watched where I ponied up money to see in a darkened auditorium. Once again, these are based on the 4 or 5 star film review. Now whether those stars hold up, it is left to myself to see sometime in the future. But more often they slip. There are only very few I still admire. Those would be the 5 stars films. I don't think I have any this year. O, well. Onto the show!

La La Land. 4 stars
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. 4 stars
The Handmaiden. 4 stars
Kubo and the Two Strings . 4 stars
Star Trek Beyond. 4 stars

That's it.

And if I would say it, The Handmaiden is my favorite. Most likely because of the eroticism in it. But it was really well made and it was a surprise when I saw it.

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New Year’s Resolutions are lame. You will break them by the January 2nd if not before. That being said I’m writing out my New Year’s Resolution in order to be transparent. How long will they last? It is up to me. I need to work on my perseverance.

Health
  • Target weight 210. Stretch goal of less than 205. Today I’m about 230 wet. 210 is 20 pounds away. I have 12 months. That’s about a little over a pound a month. It can happen. It must happen because my pants are getting too tight.
  • Lose 5 inches around the waist. What is it now? What constitutes the waist? I would like to lose my belly or decrease that by 5 inches. Anything to get me to fit in my pants.
  • Lower my resting heart rate by 4 BPM. What’s it now? I will say 84 BPM. If I can get it to average under 80 BPM success!
  • Lower my blood pressure targeting 120/85. What’s it now? I would say 125/92. Maybe it might be, but it needs to be less.
Exercise
In order to get healthy, I’m gonna have to get off my butt and do some exercise. I got an Apple Watch to help me track it, but I need better metrics.
  • 150 miles on a bike. I haven’t ridden faithfully for 5 years. I’ve always wanted to get back to the feeling of joy as I pedaled by bike. Two hundred may be a bit too far. My rides around the block were usually 10 to 13 miles. The ride at the NCR trail to Sparks is 12 miles. The airport loop is about 12 miles, too. There’s gonna be a lot of bike riding if I actually get on the bike.
  • 120 outdoor walks. That’s about 10 a month. I didn’t say the average, because it depends upon the weather. What is a walk? 15 minutes!
  • 5 sessions a month on the rower. I’ve got it in the house. I’ve got to use it. What’s a session? 15 minutes! Hopefully, I don’t hurt my elbow doing this.
Professional Life
  • Learn a new language and use it. Maybe use it to write an actual iOS app.
  • Maybe a new job. Not a new position, but somewhere else. Is it possible to even change jobs at this age in this particular field?
Personal
  • Blog more. Not just movie reviews or link of the days. Blog something meaningful. Start a series of posts on a topic. Blog about the bike rides. Something. Anything.  Target five meaningful posts a month.
  • Cook more. Don’t eat out too much. Lessen my snack spending (lattes, donuts, ice cream) by 25%. Lessen my dining out by 25%. Currently, Quicken tells me I spend a total of $6700 on dining out of which $1400 is snacks.
  • Read more books. Read literature a bit more. Maybe finish the novels on the nightstand. There are 3 or 4 I believe. Whatever needs to happen so I don’t stay on the computer all night.
  • Japan. I really want to go there. I will. Tokyo for maybe a week. Really want to go there. Tokyo would a start.
  • Study Japanese more. Maybe 30 minutes a night or an hour for 3 days a week.
Is this too much?  Can I do it.  Follow me and find out.  2017 here I come.

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Saturday, December 31, 2016
Last trip to the bookstore of 2016. I went just for coffee like I always do. This time I didn't get decaf; I went regular which I have done a couple times during this Christmas break. Maybe I won't get the jitters. Maybe I will, but at least I can sleep on my couch.

I bought movies. I doubt I finished the last set from the last time I bought movies at B&N. Maybe by the end of 2017 I would see these films.

High and Low directed by Akira Kurosawa. BluRay
The Mermaid directed by Stephen Chow. DVD
Love and Friendship directed by Whit Stillman. DVD

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