Monday, August 28, 2006

Day 226 - Around the City

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Day 2 of Charmaine's arrival and I brought her around the city(both center and old). This time it was to get several essentials and to get her orientated with the area in general. This time charmaine prepared a list of things to do and get to prevent the similar incident from yesterday (back...forth...back...forth)

We started the day trying to get her a prepaid card for local calls, but turns out she forgotten to bring her handphone and we could not do anything at all(I am not headed back just to get a hp) but lucky for us there is a T mobile shop near our place so its ok.

As we walked around, charmaine would just stop in the middle of the road, stare and then take a picture of an old looking building. "Its so Pwretty!" she says. Yes the occupational hazard is at it again.

The pwretty buildings

Besides just staring at old buildings she also spent quite alot of time laughing and trying to correct my already poor knowledge of architecture and buildings and the fact i never read any dan brown books. Apparantly there was this cool clan of rich and powerful dudes called the free masons who tried to team up with another cool clan called the illumanti.... well that is Adrian's summary of the da vinci code.

The 2 of us trying to make sure this domino doesn't fall

We also visited the newly opened Macy's in center city. It had bought over the old deparmental store called strawbridge. The coolest thing about Macy's is not the fact that it is a very very very big departmental store with lots of expensive brands that i can only fathom about affording. (although in theory if i just use my entire month's wage it might get me something) The coolest thing was the 3 story pipe organ!!! Its the famous Wanamaker Organ, brought back to life!!!

Wanamaker organ

This is probably why they call the NFL team the Philadelphia eagles

After Macy's we headed to Kmart to get Charmaine her quilt, but for some reason we could not even find 1! In the end we bought a comforter which is suppose to be similar to a quilt. Lunch was at this very nice place in chinatown called Tian Wong, famed for its roasted duck and pork. Dinner was at the extremely famous Morimotos, owned by the IRON CHEF, Masaharu Morimoto!!!



Just kidding.... like we could afford eating at Morimotos :p Dinner was a home cooked meal by cat.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Day 225 - Back and Forth, Back and Forth

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Ok.... Charmaine(the new SEP girl... go read the previous post!!) requested I blogged about this soooooo here it goes:

Today she needed a bank account, so I brought her to the bank. There we were told we needed a UPenn ID (which she did not have yet), so we headed back home to get details on where she was suppose to get her Penn Card. After that we headed down to UPenn Office of International Relations and we were told its the wrong place! Eventually we were able to make her Penn Card at Franklin building.

Now thinking all is fine, we started to walk to the bank....... only to realise She had FORGOTTEN her wallet this time!!!! Cos when we were back home she took out her wallet and forgotten she left it on the table... so it was BACK home.... then BACK to the bank.

Well lunch after that was nice, we had Middle Eastern food from the food truck and enjoyed it like UPenn students out doors under the trees on a bench outside Van Pelt Library (its the central lib).

As quoted from Charmaine:

"I am a Singaporean Chinese girl, eating Middle Eastern Food, in an American University!!! How cool!!!!!"

After that it was a tour around UPenn, where Charmaine just stopped and stared at buildings suddenly. Occupational hazard for someone in real estate i guess. I mean I would probably stand and stare if i saw a huge distillation plant right? NAH...

Then another back forth incident occured when we went to get her some toiletries where we kept walking back and forth between Fresh Grocers and the Dollar store ><

ok back forth back forth... time to cook dinner!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Day 224 - And We are back to 6

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Yup, the Chestnut house is back to 6 again! Charmaine(our SEP gal) arrived last night. Cat was so happy to see another female presence in the house once more :D

Guess the house will be even more crowded, lively, fun and happening! Time to celebrate!!!

Welcome CHARMAINE!!!!! *fireworks* (yea like there are any real ones :p)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Jill Carroll Story

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My early morning office ritual is usually like this:

1) Turn on PC
2) Go toilet
3) Check office email, gmail, nus email and hotmail.
5) My WOW guild forums

All done within the span of say......30mins?

Recently I have been following up on the Jill Carroll Story. For those who don't know, she was a reported who was taken hostage in iraq and held for ransom in exchange for the release of female iraqi prisoners. She was eventually released.

Now, I am not gonna say whether the war on iraq was wrong or not, but i think it could have been better executed.

What is special about this story is not the facts. How she got kidnapped, where she was held or how she was rescued. This multi part article is from a human perspective, mainly Jill's, but there are portions where its from her family, her friends and her fellow reporters in Iraq.

It is this human perspective that keeps me reading on and on. It talks about the fear that Jill goes through on a dialy basis while being help captive, the views that the insurgents have about Americans etc .. etc .. I get to understand their perspective on religion, the war and daily life. It was pretty shocking to me to learn how a mother was willing to become a suicide bomber although she has her children to look after, or the kindness they showed Jill despite their willingness to fight and kill.

Definitely very engaging.

ok back to reading it :p

I decided to remain Jobless

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Again, from mr brown's site, i found a link to this Quite alot of interesting articles, the first one i read was 10 reasons why you should not get a job.

Very interesting, and I do agree with most points that he mentioned, especially on Freedom. Being your own boss gives you the freedom to do what you want, when you want. Although his views seem to be influenced mainly by the fact that he is a professional blogger. If i were to be running a business it might be a bit different.

A quickie excert + preview:

1. Income for dummies.

Getting a job and trading your time for money may seem like a good idea. There’s only one problem with it. It’s stupid! It’s the stupidest way you can possibly generate income! This is truly income for dummies.

Why is getting a job so dumb? Because you only get paid when you’re working. Don’t you see a problem with that, or have you been so thoroughly brainwashed into thinking it’s reasonable and intelligent to only earn income when you’re working? Have you never considered that it might be better to be paid even when you’re not working? Who taught you that you could only earn income while working? Some other brainwashed employee perhaps?

Don’t you think your life would be much easier if you got paid while you were eating, sleeping, and playing with the kids too? Why not get paid 24/7? Get paid whether you work or not. Don’t your plants grow even when you aren’t tending to them? Why not your bank account?

Gundam Power!!!

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Found this on Mr. Brown's site


The rest are found here

Monday, August 21, 2006

Ocean City and My brand new......

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LAPTOP!!! Woot!

Yup i got myself a brand new IBM t60. Anyone interested in buying my dead and dying old laptop? Its cheap, and i will throw in the "BANG YOUR HEAD HERE" Design.

Well for my new laptop, I am having some problems with my video card/driver, it would crash on occassion and i would be told to a) Update drivers b) Reduce video acceleration. Anyone can enlighten me on this?

Ok, just a backdated event and recipe.

Ocean City..

Me, deliang and pacey were invited by estee to head down to ocean city, NJ with some of her friends. It was a day at the beach. Well having nothing to do, and knowing Jersey beaches are rather popular, we went. Now the interesting part was this, no one knew, including ESTEE that IT WAS A GIRLS ONLY outing. And estee decided to bring along 3 guys. Blur isn't she. Well at least no one really mind. Well, estee's friend eunice decided to call up everyone she knew and tell them about this story. I guess word does spread around fast.

The beaches at Ocean City were amazing just stretches of people, water and sand. There were several popular games people play there:
1) American Football, just throwing it around
2) Frisbee
3) Horseshoe throwing
4) Some version of badminton called beach ball.

1 problem is that there is not toilets or changing room easily avaliable, I had to walk around and finally decided to sneak into some house's external toilet(meaning it was outside, kindda like an outdoor bathroom) and change there. At least the owners were not around :p

The 3 odd guys out decided to spend our time exploring the beach, soaking in the sea and playing a round of american foot ball, its like 1 person carries the ball and the other 2 will tackle him.

Playing american football

There was one girl among estee's friends who really knew how to throw a football, i think she can be a quarterback if there is ever some women's professional league! Strong and accurate throws i might add. I just had to ask her to be my shifu and teach me, but even after practising it for a while, i still have problems throwing correct.

3 guys and estee

just the 3 odd guys out

Now for the recipe...

PEANUT Butter Cupcakes

I decided to make these for the ocean city trip since we were told that it was in a form of a pot luck.

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 tbs baking powder(if you use self rising flour, DO NOT ADD THIS)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter
2-5 spoonfuls of peanut butter (its personal preference)
1 to 2 cups of peanut butter chips

Step 0: Pre-heat oven to 350F

Step 1: Mix the sugar and butter(remember to defrost before hand). After that add in the eggs 1 at a time, stir well. Add the vanilla.

Step 2: Mix the flour and baking powder then sift that into the sugar/butter/egg mixture. Alternate between milk and the flour/baking powder mixture. Stir very well.

Step 3: Place paper baking cups into the muffin/cup cake pans.

Step 4: To the batter, add peanut butter and chips(how much is up to you). Stir

Step 5: Fill the cupcake cups to about half or 3/4 full. (The mixture will rise so do not over do it)

Step 6: Bake for 20- 30 min at 350F. When the top of the cupcake is golden brown, do a skewer test, it should come out clean.

Step 7: Let the Cup Cakes cool

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Day 219 - Majula Singapura

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Date: 9th Aug
Occassion: Singapore's National Day

NCBV had a post- NDP party on the 10th of Aug at a bar near my place, 39th and Samson. 30 cents bufflo wings and $1 miller light beer, pretty cheap by regular standards.

Well since it was National Day, I though I would post some fireworks video that wayne and some of us took when we watched the 4th of July fireworks at the Philly Art museum. Kindda apt, I hope.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


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This was inspired by what I read off Mrbrown some time ago. Its a IamSingaporean post inspired by the I am Canadian commercial(youtube linky).

So on the eve of National Day, I thought it would be pretty apt if i also did my part :p

I grew up near Holland V, the moved to Clementi.

I used to play soccer on the void decks and ran when ever I saw Police.

I remembered when the MRT west line ended at Clementi
and there were only 4 lines, N, S, E, W

CC activities used to be fun when i was young, now it seems boring.

I went the usual education route of studying really hard, getting the good grades going from Primary, Secondary, JC then Uni. I made lots of friends along the way, I got to try out lots of things too.

I served the National Police Cadet Corps for 6 yrs up till JC and almost continued in Uni.

I really suck at bowling despite 2 years of training in the HCJC bowling team, I never broke 189.

I did my National Service for the full 2.5 years before they reduced the required time and I actually had a good time during my NS term.

BMT was Taurus Company Platoon 2 Section 3! Tough Training!

OCS was Tango Wing Platoon 3 Section 3 ---> 47/02 SOCC!

I was a Signals Officer at 8SAB, and I made lots of good friends while I was there. Congrats to Seow Soon Teck on getting married! And Edwin, you better study harder :p

I love Singapore Food, especially Chicken Rice, Char Kuey Teow, Hokkien Mee, that is my holy trinity of food.

I miss Kaya toast, Kopi and half boiled egg for breakfast.

I always believe that everyone should have the freedom to speak out and I love the internet for giving us this chance, which was so evident in the last elections

Clementi used to be a single seat ward, Bukit Timah and I would have had to vote, but the incumbant retired and we got absorbed into Holland-Bukit Timah and there was a walkover. At least my Parents had a half the day off.

I am now overseas in Philadelphia on the NUS Overseas College program, experiencing life away from Singapore.

I never missed a Singapore National Day Parade and I do not intend to tomorrow.

I have a Singapore Flag hung up right on the wall of my room, and I shall take it down after National Day just like the law in Singapore.

I miss my parents.

I miss HOME

My Name is Adrian Zhou and I am Singaporean

So Say We All.

Tag: Singapore, IamSingaporean

Poconos Reloaded

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I remembered my NCBV orientation, it was a fantastic trip to Poconos for a skiing/snowboarding session.

That was then....

Now is Summer

I was going through my photo collection when i realised I forgot to blog about the summer poconos trip that Phebe and jessica organised (THANKS!!! Phebe was an amazing organiser)

It was a whitewater rafting trip, all I can say was, whitewater rafting ROCKS.

The Whitewater gang

Recipe: Coconut Cake

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For Shamir's bday I decided to try a more fruity cake outside my usual repertoire of chocolate and cheesecakes (no cupcakes are not another type, they are just smaller)


1/2 Cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk ( I used coconut milk instead)

2 packs of grated coconuts
Store bought frosting (I screwed up my own frosting so had to get some)

Step 0: Preheat oven to 350F

Step 1: Mix butter and sugar and vanilla. Add in eggs 1 at a time.

Step 2: Sift the dry ingrediants, flour, baking soda and salt. Alternate this with the coconut milk.

Step 3: Add in a small amt of the grated coconuts, about 1 handful is nice

Step 4: Into the 9 in pan ---> Into the Oven for approx 1 hr, use skewer test.

Step 4.5: Roast the coconut shreds in the oven until nice and brown. About 10 - 20 mins, stir it consistently to prevent the outer layer to burn.

Step 5: Once the cake is done, let it cool for 10 mins then take it out of the pan. let it cool to RTP

Step 6: Coat the cake with the frosting then liberally sprinkle the roasted coconut all over.

Unfortunately PacEvolution studio photo database crashed and any pictorial evidence of this coconut cake was lost, but lots of ppl can attest to the fact it existed. Just ask Alicia who helped me write "Happy Bday Shamir" on the cake ^_^ or everyone who ate it :p

Monday, August 07, 2006

Wy-en's Arrival + Another Day in NY

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Wy-en happens to be one of my very good friends, we've known each other since our sec 3 day. We happened to be in the same class and both took the same bus (156) back home from TCHS. He left to study in the US when most of us would be in JC. Well, he decided to take a nice holiday before starting his new job at the MAS(Monetary authority of Sg)... what a civil service slave, you sell out :p (kidding!)

Me and Wy-en

Since I happened to be in Philadelphia and he planned on visiting NYU(in New York) his alma matta, it was perfect chance to meet up and have an ex new yorker show me around the Big Apple.

Most of the "tour" was around the Greenwich area and NYU (near washington square). Surprisingly UPenn has a partnership with NYU so being a UPenn student (only for a yr though) I got access to several of NYU's buildings. NYU is very much a city campus, compared to UPenn which is more "ivy league" with its older looking buildings. I gotta admit the NYU main library is really cool, 11 stories up, with its glass look and AMAZING view overlooking the New York Skyline... WOW.

View from the library study room

Exploring the city will make anyone hungry so Wy-en showed me where he ate as an undergrad at NYU. It was this belgium cafe where they served 2lbs mussels in a huge pot, for desert it was the famous coldstone ice cream.


After that it was back to walking around so here are more photos!

The Strand a 2nd hand book shop with an amazing collection, its supposed to be VERY big

The day ended with us attending this fashion launch of this brand "melting pot". A friend of wy-en's friend got us in. It was pretty cool to see how such an event was like, although i was pretty bored just standing there sipping my gin and tonic while the industry insiders were busy networking. But still, it was a very interesting experience.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Day 212- CUTE

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If i ever get a dog, I want THIS dog:

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Day 209 - Day at the Orchards

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No its NOT orchard road. Its a real orchard, with berries and fruits and veggies.

The sign says it all

Estee's friend, Jessica knew of this place 30 mins outside Philadelphia, so a bunch of us decided what better way to spend a lazy sunday then to go plucking fruits.

We started of with blackberries and blueberries, then moved on to peaches and plums. For the berries section, it took a while to figure out which are the ripe blackberries. This website gives the right way, in my case after plucking and tasting, i realised that the ripe and sweet ones are those hidden deep in the bush, soft and can be plucked with little or no effort at all (it just falls into your hands with barely a tug). After some effort and getting dirty, I got 1 entire box full.

Blueberries were just yummy, i just ate and ate and ate.


Peaches took quite a while to find a tree that had nice, ripe and sweet ones. We literally had to taste test our way though. But eventually we managed to get quite a haul as well, about 10 peaches. :p

Plumes were not in season, so quite a pity.

After all that hard work at plucking we headed down to the farmers' market and bought stuff. Me, deliang and pacey bought 2 gallons of apple cider on jessica's recommandation, and I must say it is GOOD stuff. Heck I am drinking it now!

Hay Rides

Now with a nice haul of fruits, I wonder what is the best way to store them, in the fridge? Germany style? (ie: in honey) or should i do some Jamming (ya ya bad pun).

Good haul!

Recipe - Kai An's Bday and the messed up cake

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It was Kai An's Bday and I planning on baking a multi layered chocolate cake as requested by Alicia.


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

2 packs of semi sweet chocolates
1 pack of white chocolate

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 Allow the Cake to cool down

Step 6 Slice the cake in half.... at least that was the intention, but the cake broke apart while cutting it in half, so i melted the semi sweet chocolate and just "glued" it back again.

Step 7 Since things were going so badly, I just melted the remaining white chocolate, added some icing sugar and milk. Then i just poured and spread it all over the cake, or what remained of the cake.

How to melt chocolate using water bath:

  1. Boil a pot of water.
  2. Turn off the heat, place a metal bowl on top
  3. Add in the broken chocolate pieces and stir well
Never allow a single drop of water to touch the chocolate as it will mess it up. If water comes into contact, add a bit of veg oil and stir well. It will fix the problem, but the taste will be affected.

If you must add liquid of some sorts, add it at the start before the melting process. (Research on the internet told me this info)

The Cake and the Bday Boy

Grp Shot

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