Sunday, February 26, 2006

Day 51 - Its NOT my bday - Black Magic Choc Cake

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Went for some Vietnamese food for lunch with the Chestnut gang. Was pretty interesting to see Pacey order in vietnamese to see if the ppl at the Vietnamese restaurant is really Vietnamese. Pacey's (He is vietnamese for those who dunno) knowledge about Vietnamese food is extensive, not just what the food is, but how it is made.

Some of you might have though it was my Bday cos Pacey went around saying it. Why? Cos I baked a cake today. Its called Black Magic Choc Cake.

This blog is in a way a recipe archive too, I will be blogging in what I have done with relative success. (That is why i did not log down the oreo cheese cake I made, that one is mada mada dana)

Ingrediants (serves on 1 9 IN pan)

7/8 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3/8 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup kopi gao(strong coffee)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 veggie oil

Step 0 Pre heat oven to 350 F
Step 1 Mix the flour, sugar, powder,soda and cocoa.
Step 2 add in the remaining ingrediants, mix damn well
Step 3 Grease the 9 in baking pan
Step 4 Bake for 30+ mins, use standard brownie test to see if it is done
Step 5 Add frosting on top

Tada, its done

p.s: recipe was taken from

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Day 50 - The Day After research

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Yesterday (thursday) I went to the UPenn Chemistry library to do research for my boss. I was suppose to look up various wholesalers of a certain chemical. Overall I had a hard time finding the info, and had limited.............ok... little success.

What made my experience a very pleasant one despite all that failure was the service of the library. It was amazingly good.

Then Chem lib was really cozy, nothing fancy, like your old fashion musty library, filled with books books and books. There were barely any computers, save for 3 of them. Compared to the Van Pelt (main) library or even the NUS central lib, it was really small. Yet it was a nice place. I went to ask for help searching for a particular reference book, Chem Sources. Back in NUS, if you needed a reference book, you had to go to the counter, show your matric card then the person will get it for you from the rows of shelves in the back. At the Chem Lib at Penn, there were no rows and rows of reference books, just a cozy pile under the desk of the Librarian. And I did not even have to show my UPenn card. The librarian(an old lady) in a nice grandmotherly tone said, "I can remember your face, you take that book out of the library and you are going to the library jail" ^^ /ROFL

Ok so I got my reference book, but well.... the info was not enough, so i got refered to the other Librarian, the CHEMISTRY Librarian. It was this nice lady call Judith. She listened to what I wanted to find, which was Bulk manufacturers of a certain chemical and other stuff. Then she guided me step by step through the entire process. She showed me various library resources, and online resources I can use, I was amazed by her knowledge of Chemistry, its like 10 times more then mine. To top it off, she even printed her search results and told me to email her if I ever needed help. Such wonderful service at a personal level. I could never imagine the library staff going out of their way to help a poor, hapless and lost student (one with a blur blur look as well) to do their research!

What can I say, I am amazed by the vast resources avaliable to UPenn students. Certainly NUS might have such stuff, but I never really bothered to use them. I only go to the NUS library to sleep >.<

Then again I always sleep anyway anytime in NUS......

Friday, February 24, 2006

Day 45 to 49 - Far far away in a foreign land...

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Far far away in a foreign land its good to see a familar sight......

Not only is it a familar sight, its a familar taste. It brings back memories of studying late into the night for the exams. So nostalgic, although right now I have no exams, just a bunch of quizzes and assignments. At least now I can enjoy late night snacks of instant noodles again ^^

Several things happened this week:

Sunday, we went for a nice buffet lunch at this place called New Delhi, no prizes for what kind of food they serve.........yup, Indian. Anyway Andy was suppose to meet us there. Ok Andy(the final addition to the 7th batch) lives 1 street away from us, and New Delhi is just opposite from my place. Sounds very simple right? I mean just walk down 1 street and cross the road. Even the navigationally challenged should be able to find the place. But poor Andy, for some reason still got lost...... >.< I guess him being a water polo player, a National player at that(how cool is that), he is a fish out of water (pun seriously intended) when he is not in the pool.

Anyway my EAS prof introduced a very cool website:

Basically they place a new item up every day for sale and take it down after 24 hrs. The product is usually at dirt cheap prices or very competitive prices. The catch is that you only have 24hrs to buy it and you have NO idea how much stock is left. So if it is something VERY cool and VERY cheap, you have to buy in fast before it is sold out. Interesting business model right? It taps onto people's panic buying or in Singaporean's case, being kiasu. Its like if it is a good deal you cannot dwell on it too much have to just buy. This really creates impule buying. I must admit I was almost tempted to get a 20gb MP3 player at USD187. But I realised that the MP3 player the ppl of CN3B gave me was more then sufficient. So thanks guys/gals.

Made my Penn ID today, finally my collection of ID is complete.

The process to make that ID was terrible, the person insisted on so many documents and kept checking them as if I was some kind of criminal. Surely I am not forging any identity.... comeon.... I have a Passport, Social, bank account..... but i cannont blame them, they are just doing their job. Finally after a long wait, I got my ID. As usual with EVERY SINGLE photo ID, the photo looks terrible.

Penn ID(state ID) and Penn Card(access to UPenn)

Several people had asked me about that Johari's window that I had a link to, its kind of interesting isn't it? Although I do know that it is not entirely accurate but it is interesting. I like to see how people who knew me at different point in my life and different context (eg: NS vs HCJC vs NUS) see me. For those who have taken this module in NUS, GEK1006, dynamics of interpersonal relations, it is a familar sight. That module is highly recommanded, easy to study for, only 1 tutorial every 2 weeks, and all you do at tutorials is CHAT! ^^ okok we practise our interpersonal skills.

Ok that's this week in review, let's hope something fun occurs during the weekend. No Woodbury this time /cry
I gotta apologise for the lack of humour or crap this time round, just lacking any inspiration.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Bandwagon time

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Since everyone is doing this and bugging me to do the same thing, might as well join up on the bandwagon yar?

Can't beat em, join em

Day 44 - Shopping trip... shopping trip... I love Woodbury Commons

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The first official Road Trip for the Chestnut household. We rented a car and headed down to a very popular shopping area called Woodbury Commons. Its a place pretty close to NY, about 3-4hrs drive from Philly.

Its a place filled with factory outlets of many nice brands, like AX, Levis, Gap, Banana Republic etc.. etc Can go mad just shopping.


So we shopped and shopped and shopped and shopped. Then shopped even more. Basically all you do there is shop. Did I say we shopped? Yeah we shopped. Well me and lawrence decided to be funny, we went to Giorgio Armani and tried on their $1000USD suits. It felt REALLY GOOD, very CEO like. Our egos were pretty good, until Weijia told us she tried a $3000USD Versace dress......... there goes our egos ><

Ok so after the entire shopping trip its obviously time to head back. Now getting to Woodbury was no problem, Deliang drove, I navigated. The return trip was at nite and I was still navigator. Unfortunately if my OCS(Officer Cadet Sch) results are any indication, my Night Navi has an 80% chance of getting lost. Well, murphy's law rang true, we made a wrong turn just out of Woodbury going North and not south, so that was like 10 miles of pointless driving till we could U-turn. All seemed well........ then somehow or another we mysteriously went onto the wrong highway, neither me, deliang or lawrence noticed anything at all. We drove on for about 1hr before realising something was wrong. All the time we were trying to reassure ourselves that we were on the right path. Finally we realise that something was wrong.... after that I got a taste of the Amazing Race. We kept stopping at petrol stations to ask for directions... finally with some like and directions for a bunch of nice fellas, we found our way back to Philly.

After sorting out all the stuff I bought:

I love Woodbury!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Day 39 to 43 - Reflections of the week

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What a week, nothing really significant really happened. Yup not even on Vday, just another day at the office... err lab. But actually what is Vday all about? Is it some significant day? Its definitely significant to people who sell rose and flowers and all other cards that's for sure. In a way I miss Vday, I make money charging ppl high prices for stuff. Call it mecenary, I believe I am just doing what any capitalist would do. Charge people at the max of what they are willing to pay, no wastage of utility there.

Well, crapping aside, somehow, Vday makes it seem like we can put a value to love and friendship, I mean do we really NEED a day to pay 5 times more for gifts? Don't we show love, friendship to each other on a daily basis? Or are we such people that we need a day on the calander to do it. It seems like humans like to quantify stuff.

Guess what started the above ramblings was what a classmate said during class. I remember he was saying that "how can we put a value on life? Then again insurance companies are pretty good at doing that"

Then there I was, stoning at the 30th street station, no free newspaper, nothing to read. So my mind starting thinking.... and thinking. It was 14th Feb btw, then i thought about what that classmate said, and started wondering.... about humans, us needing to put a value on almost anything, or everything for that matter. Then since it was 14th Feb I had to think on the real significance of Vday.

Eventually the train arrived, LATE as usual. Thank you SEPTA you never fail to dissappoint me almost on a daily basis. Thanks for being 40 mins late this morning(17th) causing me to miss my usual R5 ride. I found some leftover newspaper as usual, and my brain went back to normal, brainless zombie worker mode. No more deep thinking for a while.

RIP Dear Snowman

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Chesty the Chestnut snowman has finally succumbed to the Sun and melted away like a fleeting snowflake. How emphemeral his life was, just a few days. There is always next winter I guess.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Day 38 - The Morning after the Storm

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After that snowstorm last night, I woke up to a beautiful sight. (damn that rhymes) The entire street, trees, cars, walkways, rooftops were blanketed in a pristine white sheet of snow. It was lovely.

Pic of street 1

Pic of street 2

Pic of home

Headed to the roof to take more pictures, this time the snow was much thicker, according to weather reports, Philadelphia had 8-14 inches of snow. Not only was it thick, the snow was soft and fluffy, so I could not stand firmly, I sank into the snow up till ankle height. Since I was wearing only slippers, my feet were on the verge of hyperthermia, so a quick photo was taken and i ran back to change in to proper gear.

Me on the roof on day time, its totally different then the night shot

Me and Pacey went around focing everyone to wake up so we can go out for some snow fun. The first task we decided to embark on upon leaving the house..... SNOWMAN! Its a good thing we have 3 engineers (Me, Deliang and Lawrence) so building a snowman with structural integrity was no problem.

Building in progress


Pic with Chesty

We decided to name him Chesty or Chestnut Ice Kachang

After building Chesty the Chestnut snowman, we headed towards UPenn for more photo taking.

Don't these 2 look so alike?

Nice shot of me by Pacey, got that kind of Drama feel to it.

Another version of my old pose(Day 2 post i believe)

Now when there is snow and there is a grp of friends there will be SNOWBALL FIGHTS.

Army training helps, must always have good cover and concealment

Adrian vs Cat 1

Adrian vs Cat 2

Adrian vs Cat 3, it may looked like I lost but actually it was a draw

Royal Rumble 1

Royal Rumble 2, notice how lawrence is smart to act as cameraman to avoid being whacked

Now the hard truth about snowball fights, while snow is nice and white and fluffy and soft, its COLD. Getting some into your ear or eyes or clothes in a snowball fight can be a handicap. Wearing glasses is bad, one unlucky shot into the face can take you out of a fight cos you cannot see a damn thing after that. I was a victim after Weijia hit me square in the face with a snowball.

We definitely had a very fun time, its just great to hang out and play with friends on a nice Sunday morning in the snow. Its just nice to be like kids and just throw snow at each other ^^

Attempt at snow angels

Grp Photo 1

Grp Photo 2

In the afternoon I headed down to Parktowne to help setup for the combined Bday celebrations, we decided to celebrate all the Jan and Feb ppl bday in 1 go. This time round i tried to bake Oreo Cheesecake. Rex helped out alot in the baking process. Anyway Happy Bday to the following ppl:
5th Jan - Rex
6th Jan - Lawrence
5th Feb - Pacey
10th Feb - Tim
14th Feb - Cat (so nice right? Vday and Bday on the same day)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Day 35 to 37 - First normal weekend... NOT

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Day 37(Sat)

No travelling around this weekend, just a nice happy weekend back at Chestnut. We finally got around to spring cleaning, the house really never felt so clean!

Dining Area


Next we decided to go visit Old City, that is a tourist spot. We visited quite a few places, like the house of Ben Franklin (guy who invented the lightning rod and founded UPenn), Liberty Bell which is like USA's symbol of independence. The security around that Bell is AMAZING, they insisted that i take off ALL metal parts, that includes my belt etc etc.... and the stupid detector still went off.... why? Cos my ZIPPER of my jeans is METAL! At least I did not have to strip or something. Cannot blame them, the Bell is a national artifact, basically it was used for summon the State Assembly or something like that. It had seen many things, including the declaration of independence, the fight against slavery, JFK's cold war era and much more. We also visited the room where the Declaration of Independence was first drafted and agreed upon, cool huh. I never knew that Penn was so important.

We had to walk thru THE tunnel

They signed the declaration here

Me and the Dalai Lama and the Bell

Grp Photo at the bell, notice the nice long crack?

Chestnut Boys minus Pacey

Group Photo

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Me and Lawrence wanted to go to the famous steps that Rocky ran up in his first movie. Yes, the orginal Rocky was filmed right here in Philly! Unfortunately it was not at Old City, it is nearer 22nd. But we found out that they are filming Rocky VI right here in Philly, up until maybe march! OMG must go find them! *Plays the classic Eye of the Tiger

Its a pity Pacey could not join us due to his work, he had a project to be done and he and his grp mate worked until 11pm!!!

Anyway it started snowing heavily again! Yay. Me and Weijia decided to head to Penn to take night photos of the place, the rest did not wanna go out into the cold, and it was seriously cold. So it was just 2 of us braving the snow storm to get VERY NICE pics. We managed to make a mini snow man, and I experimented with a snow angel. It was pretty happening around Penn, ppl were having snowball fights and just having fun. I just kept throwing snowballs at Weijia ^^ who was trying to be peaceful, in the end she also retaliated.

The 2 who decided to brave the FREAKING cold

Sitting down enjoying life

Familar? Its the same as the LOVE at the Fish and co. Glass house

Night scene at UPenn


And another

Poor statue in the cold




Weijia presenting the bush in front of the Chestnut house

Guess which footstep is whose

Another random shot

A snow angel, judging from the size, it probably was me who created it

Update@2am: Decided to check the level of snow... very thick. From our 3rd floor place, we got access the the roof of the second floor via our kitchen. Not really a roof but a nice big ledge. So I took a photo (cameraman is Deliang) out in the cold on our roof!

Trust me, its cold

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