Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Before Sunset: Beautiful Movie!

I usually go home from work at 5:30 pm. Once I get home, I change my clothes, turn the tv on and scan channels for interesting programs. There was a movie starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. The movie was 'Before Sunset'. What is interesting is that the entire movie was all conversations of these two characters yet it was not boring. It was engaging. I was just 2 minutes into it and I do not want to leave my seat to get water or snacks. I was glued. One can easily be drawn towards the characters, the spontaneity of the lines and fluidity of the scenes. With Paris as a backdrop, what could go wrong, right? Then, there is this subtle romantic ideas floating at the back of your mind because the actors are comfortable with each other. I was really watching Jesse and Celine, not the gorgeous Ethan Hawke and the charming Julie Delpy. This movie is a sequel to 'Before Sunrise'. You need not watch the previous movie to enjoy this one. What happened in the prequel was weaved into the conversations. But because the script was well-written and the movie was beautifully-made, this will make you want watch the prequel (of which I still haven't done so). This movie is on my "must-own-DVD" list.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Doing the laundry is one of the chores I cannot avoid. I have it on schedule: every Friday, after work. There were occassions where I got lazy. I thought Saturday morning is just fine for laundry time. I was wrong. The local water district had their pipe maintenance. What a luck, huh? Of all the Saturdays, they schedule it on the particular Saturday when I need to do laundry. And if it isn't the water company, the power company also has its brownout schedules. So, I learned a lot. Friday evening is really for laundry.

So, how do I do my laundry? Below are the steps:

1. Prepare the machine. Fill the machine with enough water. The machine usually has markers on how much water need to be filled. It is dependent how much laundry you are going to do.

2. Prepare the materials needed. I often use detergent, bleach and fabric softener. Detergent is for cleaning the clothes. Bleach is for the whites. Fabric softener will make clothes smell good, softer and smoother that ironing will not be necessary. Other materials would include basins and hangers. Yeah, in my part of the world, we hang our clothes to dry. So, hangers are pretty handy.

3. Separate clothes. Separate the whites, lights and darks.

4. Load them up in the machine. Pour detergent first. It would help if you dissolve it first in a dipper of water so that the detergent particles woul not settle at the bottom of the machine. The sequence would be whites first, then lights and lastly, darks. Load the whites first then set the timer to the appropriate duration of the wash cycle as instructed in the machine manual. Or do the estimate. The maximum setting would be when the machine is in its full load. If your dirty clothes are just half the full load, then set the timer to the median. When the cycle is up, unload the whites. Check on your water if it is still clean enough for the next cycle. Refill, if dirty. Add water when it is not enough for the next load. Assess also if you still need to add detergent. Adding too much detergent is bad for the clothes. The soap particles are difficult to rinse off and unnecessary. They don't make your clothes cleaner. Albeit, they will ruin them.

5. Rinse well. I do the rinsing manually. I unload the clothes to the basin and rinse them thoroughly. I save time by rinsing my first batch while the second batch of clothes are being washed by the machine. Note: When I am done with the whites, I rinse them thoroughly and soak them overnight in a basin of water mixed with detergent and bleach.

6. Use the fabric conditioner. After thoughly rinsing the clothes, I fill up a basin with clean water with a mixture fabric conditioner. Soak the clothes for a few seconds before hanging them to dry.

7. Hang to dry.

I do this every Friday so that by Sunday, I have newly washed clothes ready to be folded neatly in my cabinet. Neat, huh? Before I forget, clean the machine afterwards. It is nice to start to next Friday's (or whatever your schedule is) laundry time with a clean slate.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tattoos and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

I was watching "House, M.D." on tv. The episode was the one where Dr. House, played by Hugh Laurie, was working on a patient who is a death row inmate. The thing struck me was that this huge person was sent through an MRI screaming in pain because of the tattoos he had all over his body. So what's the deal with MRI and tattoos?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the process which doctors can view what is inside our bodies to diagnose whatever ailments we have. An MRI machine is like a powerful magnet that scans through every part of the body point by point thus providing images inside the body. The important component in the MRI is the magnet. The magnet is so powerful that even a small object like a paperclip in MRI room is projectiled all over if left during a scan. People with metal implants like braces and pacemakers are not allowed to undergo an MRI scan.

The ink used in the tattoos often contains metals. The powerful magnetic force would react with the metal pigments in the ink thus creating a burning sensation in the skin. Heavy tattoos also would distort images produced by the scan. There were some tattooed patients who did not feel any discomfort while having MRI scans. So, check with your doctor before undergoing a scan if you have a tattoo.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Scrambled Eggs with Ham and Green Tomatoes

I had this for breakfast this morning. This is a quick and easy recipe which I made up. There may be proper ways in cooking an egg but my way is "as long as it is cooked and I did not get sick".


1 slice cooked ham, cut into squares
1 egg
1 green tomato, chopped
1 tbsp. canola oil
salt and pepper, to taste

2 lettuce leaves
1 tsp vinegar

Heat oil in a small pan. Add ham. Crack open the egg over the pan then start scrambling until the egg is thoroughly cooked. Turn off the heat. Mix the tomato. Transfer the mixture to a bed of two lettuce leaves which are dashed with a teaspoon of vinegar. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

Notes on my recipe:
1. Scrambled eggs are supposed to be beaten first before placing it into the heat. I like how the egg whites pop out in the dish as added "color" so I chose to crack it open over the pan instead. This is also helpful for those in a hurry or too lazy to beat an egg.
2. Green tomatoes are just my preference. I like the crunch. Besides, I don't eat red tomatoes. Yeah, I am a picky eater.
3. Why did I cook my cooked ham? Because it was frozen. I just want to thaw it fast.
4. Lettuce leaves are optional. The vinegar was for "salad-y" taste to it. I added the lettuce for aesthetic purposes only. And yet, the lettuce and scrambled egg mixture are good, too. I was full by the end of the meal.

Happy cooking!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

How to Open a Durian

Durian is a fruit native to Southeast Asia. It has a very thorny outer shell. The fruit emits a very strong smell. It is either you love it or you hate it. Personally, I love it. Beneath the thorny cover is a very rich, velvety soft and fleshy edible part. The cream cheese texture and custard-like flavor is to die for. This fleshy part covers the seed. But before you get in to the luscious fruit, you need to crack open the thorny shell.

Here is how we open this:

1. Locate the bottom of fruit where all the lines dividing the sections of the fruit converge. Poke it with the kitchen knife to crack open the bottom. We need the initial crack for the next step.

2. Step on the fruit until the crack is slightly bigger. This looks funny and unsanitary but this works for us. Position your foot near the crack but not over it. You do not want the shoe dirt on the edible part. Make sure also that you have a clean floor. (Fancy slippers are optional. Hehehe!)

3. On the large crack, pry open the sections to reveal the fleshy fruit.

4. Scoop out the fruit.

Every single person in my family eats this fruit. When there is durian in the house, I cannot hoard it for myself. Its distinctive smell is like an alarm for everybody else. Besides, it is fun sharing it with everybody. Two or three seed parts are enough for one serving. The fruit is calorific. More than 3 helpings would get you drunk. When eaten in large amount, this generates body heat. Be careful. Don't say I did not warn you!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

New Sudoku Trick

I tried solving Friday's puzzle from here. It was classified as "diabolical". I used my excel helper. As I promised, this helper serves as a guide only. It will show possible answers to a particular grid but it will not show solution. The advantage of this is that you still get to exercise your brain power and enjoy sudoku. However, it will not help you avoid being stuck. While doing my post on how to use my excel file, I found out that it is easy to plan sudoku strategies by using MS Paint. All you have to do is hit PrintScreen button on your keyboard while viewing hints. Open Paint program then paste. Voila! You can use encircle and erase button on MS Paint to plan on you new sudoku move.

See also: Sudoku Excel Helper Explained

Monday, August 07, 2006

Oops, I slipped!

My father was talking to an architect. After a while, he called me. He wanted me to show them my sketchup project. I lead the way to my computer. Then, I slipped! I don't know what happened along to the computer. I think I lost 3 seconds of my life. I now understand when my mom said that she can't remember what happened when she had an accident. What I can remember was that I stepped on a smooth portion of our tiled floor. I had an initial slip which I was able to balance but when I stepped on the elevated area near the bathroom, before I realize it I was already on the floor. It was funny but nobody tried to laugh. I did not laugh. I immediately stood up and proceed to my computer like nothing happened. I suddenly felt a stinging sensation on my knee. There is a small scratch. I dabbed a little alcohol and continue to show them my 3D model of the house.

When they left, I started to narrate the incident to my aunt and cousin. I laughed. We laughed.

Lessons learned:

1. Once in a while, slow down. Not everything needs to be done fast.
2. When you fall, pick yourself up and move on.
3. Laugh at yourself.
4. Share a good story.
5. Body fats are good cushions when you fall.

More Sketchup!

I did enhancements on my first sketchup project. The house is now furnished! Thanks to the downloadable components from Google! I think I got too excited using Sketchup that I did not read the site thoroughly. In my first project, I painstakingly drew all the windows and doors when I can just use those preloaded components! After hours of experimentation, I now have these!

The wonderful thing about sketchup is I can let my imagination run wild. It makes my daydream a lot more real. Rearranging furniture is now a breeze. I need not sweat it out. It only requires a few simple clicks.

Link: I love Google Sketchup!