Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Another Baking Attempt

It has been a long time since I've baked anything. So I decided to try a recipe I found on Lizzy's blog. Lemon squares looked easy enough to make. Plus, I think Theresa is fond of lemon flavored things? So this would be possible to bake for her in the future.

Even if they'll never quite look as good as they do in the pictures that Lizzy posts.

This is probably what a cake baked by me would look like.

So first things first. Making the crust for the squares. This came to me as a bit of a surprise because from the pictures I couldn't really see the crust. Also, I haven't really made crusts so this was new to me.

And I don't think it turned out too badly, except it looked kind of weird. What with my finger imprints all over it as I tried to smooth things out.

It's all lumpy...

Yes, I did a rather odd job with the aluminum foil there. Kind of lopsided and sloppy. I probably should have grabbed a larger piece of it.

Next we have the actual lemon part. Nothing to special happened. I mean, you're just mixing lemon juice and sugar. Even I can do that without causing a fire. In that goes over the crust.

It's all bubbly...

Another thing I really liked about this recipe was how little mess there was and how fast I was done. So little clean-up and it's something quick you can do within an hour. Well, you can probably do it faster than me. I'm not exactly the greatest baker ever.

And when it finally came out. It looked ok. Again, not as good as Lizzy's but it's still edible. I opted out of putting powdered sugar on top because my Mom preferred it that way.

Still came out lumpy.

A few things to note. The center was kind of gummy. I'm not sure if that's because I didn't bake it for long enough or if it was supposed to be that way. It was more tart than sweet, possibly because again, no powdered sugar but Mom liked it that way so that's the way I served it.

Also, it went moldy within a few days. I actually don't know if it was mold or not but my Mom claimed it was and threw whatever remained away. This came as a surprise to me but this is my first time baking lemon anything.

Next, I'm going to try and see if I can make curry from scratch. We normally use those curry paste things and I'm certain it would be better with fresh ingredients.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Time for a new Laptop

I briefly mentioned it here but my laptop has been acting up. If you were wondering why I haven't been visiting your blogs that much this weekend, that's why.

Ok, time for another confession: It's not a real laptop. It's a Macbook. And I keep referring to it as a laptop because I'm kind of ashamed of using an Apple product.

I really dislike Apple.

Every single Apple product I own has been given to me by my parents. Like my iPod for when I graduated. My Macbook was a gift when my old laptop wasn't working so well. And I accepted because I didn't want to look like a spoiled brat for declining their generosity.

And I learned the hard way that you should always get the extended warranty with Apple products. A few months after the warranty expired, problems started happening.

Not quite, but close.

It started out when things got really laggy. I used to be able to run TF2 and Minecraft with minimal problems. Then suddenly I would have extreme lag when watching a Youtube video. It would hear the fan start up when I went onto Facebook. It didn't make sense. It usually never got this hot.

The next flag that suggested something was wrong was when the case started melting onto the Mac. I had a case for it and one day I took it off in hopes of helping the Mac cool down. And that's when I noticed the fried on splotches of plastic.

Needless to say I was concerned.

Don't want something like this to happen.

So I take it into the Mac store and get it checked out. The say it's going to be one of two problems, and they weren't going to be cheap because my warranty had expired. Maybe it was a fan problem which would cost $100 to fix. If not, it was a logic board problem, which would cost $500.

Either way, they needed to run some more in-depth tests to see what was wrong. They said they'd call when everything was figured out.

And I got that phonecall today. Turns out, I have a fan AND logic board problem.

It could be worse I guess.

So I've decided NOT to get the repairs done. Even though my fan is running at double the speed it's supposed to. Even though my logic board is derping harder than a Corgi. I think I'll just start looking into getting a new laptop. A real laptop this time.

Assuming I can find a job. I've sent more applications out but still no response. :(

Thursday, 24 May 2012

There has to be an Easier way.

I think I'm looking in all the wrong places. Because everyone else is getting employed this summer except me. My old fast food job doesn't count, though at the moment it's all I have.

I mean, my friend comes back from a 2 week long vacation from Japan, and within a week of him sending out applications he's already got interviews.

I still have nothing and it's really starting to irk me. University jobs haven't responded. Same with nearby campuses, government positions and the retail stores I've applied to. No one is responding. Really not sure what I'm doing wrong. Or if I'm even doing something wrong. For all I know my applications are being dumped into a junk folder.

Or a garbage can.

I suppose going away to China for a month isn't helping my case either. Who wants to hire someone to work for 2 months. Oh and it's two months split by a month long vacation in the middle. Yeah, unless I find a good temp job that'll let me do that, I'm not making my hunt any easier.

I guess I could keep working the fast food job. My boss is going to try and give me more hours. At least Theresa is in China so it's not like working more is taking away time potentially spent with her.

I smell like this after every shift regardless if I'm near the fryers or not.

But I think it's also time for a bit of a confession. Those who have read my very first blog post will recall that I started this blog in hopes of chronicling my attempts of figuring out what to do with my life. So far, I haven't been very successful.

But the secondary reason that I started a blog was to test its potential as a secondary source of income.

Allow me to explain. I know it sounds kind of silly, stupid or even like a scam. Making money off the internet always is suspicious. But there are tons of people who have managed to turn it into a living. At best, the amount of money earned can far exceeds the amount of work put in.

The problem is, how do you do that, efficiently.

And without potentially harming yourself.

This blog has earned me some money. More than I ever expected it to. However, it is far from optimal and if I were to make it more efficient, it would take away most of the fun I get out of doing this blog. I do enjoy blogging, don't get me wrong, but the way I'm doing it isn't going to pay for my tuition anytime soon.

Right now I'm doing some experimentation with other online things. I know that they can work but the goal is to get them to work for me. I might have to accept that this could be more only source of significant income this summer.

Give me money oh magical box!

And for regardless of it works or not, it'll make for a good series of blogposts in the future.

Monday, 21 May 2012

I Really Need to Gain Some Weight

I think I've talked enough about how I'm really tall and ridiculously thin. I mean, one of my New Years resolutions was to bulk up. I'm literally a sack of skin with some bones in it. People will lean on me or Theresa will try and rest her head on my shoulder and I can tell it's not a comfortable experience.

I do not make a good pillow.

Probably a similar experience.

It really doesn't look that bad when you see me in person. But that's because I try and cover it up by wearing baggy pants and dress shirts. It's like a pufferfish blowing itself up to make it look bigger than it really is.

And it works too. I always win at those Guess Your Weight games. The clothes add 10-20 points to my frame. So I guess that's always an advantage.

And then someone comes over to give me a hug and the facade is gone. My shirt squishes down to my body and it reveals my true nature.

Not so big are you now?

This point was further driven in the other day when I needed to buy a new suit. I've had this suit since about Junior High so it's about time. People will generally have to buy new dresses and suits as they grow older. Usually because of an expanding waistline or something to that effect.

My old suit doesn't fit because I've lost so much weight.

The thing is ridiculously baggy when I put it on. The coat looks too big, I need a belt to hold the pants up, the original vest doesn't even fit me anymore, etc.. I'm not saying skinny guys can't look good in suits, but when it's not nice and tight, you look kind of silly. Like a clown almost.

What really honed the point in was when the salesperson measured my waist. It was kind of comical the way she said my waist was 28 inches.

That bolt is 28 inches.

So, I need to stop looking like an anorexic Korean boyband member. Keep trying to gain muscle. I can do nearly 40 consecutive push-ups now but I'm thinking it may be time for me to start going to a gym.

I wouldn't look forward to that though. I haven't been to a gym in ages and I don't enjoy working out in the presence of others. It just feels weird when everyone else is really bulky. Yeah, I'm a touch self-conscious.

Yeah, kind of intimidating.

Ah well, maybe it's not such a bad thing being a skinny guy. I do get abs by default.

Who am I kidding. Time to find a way to hit the gym again as soon as possible.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Me not Healthy: Allergies (Part 2)

Usually, I'm a giant sneezing and itchy mess when spring/summer finally comes around. Red eyes, runny nose, itchy palette, I've experienced that garbage more times than I care to remember. However, this year was pretty good. Nothing in February, March or April. Which is very strange.

Maybe it had something to do with all the random bouts of snow we've been getting. You know, killing flowers, catching all the pollen or something.

See? Living in Canada has its benefits!

And I was looking forward to getting through May with no problems at all. But it always starts slowly.

First your eyes feel a bit itchy, along with the roof of your mouth. Maybe you ate something you were allergic to. Either way something doesn't feel right.

And then you sneeze and your face is just covered in a spray of liquid. And you'd wipe your face off except you're still sneezing and you're just making a huge mess all over the place.

Make it stop!

It could be due to the snow I guess. Maybe it trapped all the pollen and dust together and when it melted released it all at the same time. Like some kind of allergy bomb.

So right now I'm having the worst pollen allergies I've had in a long time. As in, if I don't have tissue paper with me when it hits, my nose is going to look like a disgusting waterfall in a minute. Really not fun when you're trying to brush your teeth or when you're eating lunch with your girlfriend.

Yes... This will make the food more appetizing...

I'm really considering changing anti-histamine brands. Normally I use Reactine, it has served me well over the years and acted quickly.

Right now, I'm questioning if it even works on some days. Sometimes I'll take 1 and hours later I'm still dribbling like some 12 year old who can't wipe his nose properly. And when it does work, it's certainly much later than the advertised 20 minutes.

At least it's cheaper from the other stuff I've seen. Guess you get what you pay for.

Yay drugs!

Maybe I'll do what my Aunt does and take the anti-histamine before she sleeps. Maybe I need to switch brands.

Maybe I need to stay in the basement and never leave the house again until all the plants are dead.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Congratulations Theresa

I know she isn't going to like this but I'm going to talk about it anyways.

Congratulations on getting into Medicine Dear, we're all proud of you.

There, I posted a picture of your favorite pony. We're even.

Yes, as I may have mentioned before, Theresa was in Pharmacy. For whatever reason she decided to resubmit her application to Medicine again. She had no intentions of accepting the invitation however.

Until after she experienced her pharmacy hospital rotation.

Yeah, apparently it was so boring that she realized that Pharmacy wasn't for her.

Funny, not many people would use Medicine as a back-up.

Another reason to love her, she's different.

So as expected, I wanted to get her some sort of celebratory gift. In typical Theresa fashion, she declined. Seriously, just let me get you something nice now. You deserve it. Do you know how many people would kill for what you just got into?

Also typical Theresa she's acting like it was nothing. My other friends who got in are freaking out, posting crap all over Facebook and she basically had to be bullied into admitting she got in.

Not like you murdered a person.

I'm also putting more pressure on myself now. I'm dating a doctor, I have to make a good impression on her new doctor friends. I really don't want to be some slacker who somehow managed to mooch off his girlfriend's success. That's just not right.

Med school is going to be even more stressful than Pharmacy and I don't want her worrying about me and my inability to find a job and what not. I'm hoping that I can somehow get a Ph.D so I can call myself a "doctor" as well.

Totally not a spy.

Anyways, well done Dear. We're all happy for you. :)

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Gift Woes

So, after two long weeks Theresa is finally back from her Pharmacy rotation. From what she told me via Skype calls she was stuck in this dinky town with nothing to do. Also, her roommates were kind of idiots but you didn't hear that from either of us.

So that's great. Except she's leaving for China in a week. And while she's there we're not going to be able to celebrate our 4 year anniversary together. And while I'm disappointed by this, I'm more worried by the fact that my Anniversary gifts may not be ready.

This isn't good.

I figured it's better to get an early gift than a late one. Who's ever been upset at receiving an early present? And I don't mind giving her her gifts early it's just that they mostly haven't arrived yet.

See, I generally like to order things online. I've had a higher rate of success with online gifts for Theresa. And normally I account for late shipping and what not by ordering early. Ordering a month or two in advance means the gifts arrives just in time for Christmas or her birthday.

But the fact that she's leaving before our Anniversary means my ordering schedule has been completely thrown off. And I'm now I'm being forced to think of what I can get her in replacement with the one week I have left before she flies away.

All I need is a towel and I'm set.

I've discussed Theresa's present preferences in the past. See, most girls are easier to buy for. They just point out a designer bag, fancy dress, some jewelry that they want and bam, problem solved.

Theresa hates all of the above items. In fact, I'm certain she despises all of the stereotypical girlfriend gifts including perfume, beautification products, lingerie, etc. etc.. The only thing she doesn't mind receiving is adorable plush toys but I've gotten her way too many Squishables so I might want to stop with those for a while.

Thanks to me, there's barely any room left for her to sleep on.

So, any ideas of what to do? I'm thinking of baking something for her (not cupcakes, she hates cupcakes) if I can't figure out a decent lunch combination to cook. Maybe I'll find something on a date that'll catch her eye? 

That's the other thing that bugs me. She's the kind of person that looks at something that clearly interests her but refuses to let you buy it for her. It's infuriating. And she wonders why I resort to buying things online in the middle of the night.

I'm pretty picky, just like her.

So if anyone has any ideas to share with me that's great. I'm hoping Theresa is too busy packing to read this post. Sweetie, please just make my life easier and give me something decent to get you. I'm not taking "nothing" as an answer.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Bastion: This Game is Glorious

It's been ages since I've done a review of anything but I've finally had a moment to dip into my backlog of books/games and decided to play Bastion.

I reviewed LIMBO many months ago and you might start noticing a trend. I'm generally only going to be reviewing Indie or uncommon games. I don't want to be discussing something like Battlefield, Diablo, or anything else that gets enough attention as it is.

I think this makes me a hipster though.

Nevermind, I only have 2 Xs on this thing. I'm still safe.

Bastion is the story of a boy know only as "The Kid" who wakes up, finds his entire world destroyed, torn up, and spat out by an event known as The Calamity. Guided only by a Stranger's voice he sets off to explore what's left of his world and find a way to start-up a structure called the Bastion. In doing so, hopefully the events of the Calamity can be reversed.

It's a 2D Adventure Role-Playing Game (or ARPG) with an isometric viewpoint. In other words, you control a character and make him do things in a 2D world that's made to look 3D. If you're confused by my description of how the world looks, take a look at the picture below. The world is done in this beautiful hand-drawn style and is a mix of both Steampunk and Fantasy.

But the visual presentation isn't what makes this game so wonderful, it's how everything else is presented.

Everything looks so pretty!

First, the story. A lot of games have trouble weaving a story with gameplay. Some games present massive blocks of texts, others have unskippable cutscenes, or wordy and boring dialogue sessions. All of these interrupt gameplay. Bastion gets around this by simply having the Stranger narrate chunks of the story as you play along.

For example, let's say you enter a new area. As you walk around, the Stranger will give a little bit of information, just a few sentences as you're running around. And then that's it. And he won't say anything else until you've done something worth saying. With this, you get a rich and unique narrative that's not overwhelming or intrusive.

Anything and everything you do can get a line from the Stranger. Doing well in a fight can get him to comment on how you breezed through, whereas nearly dying will prompt him to say how it was a hard fight, but you still did it. And this extends to the weapons you chose, the tasks you complete, the way you die, so on and so forth.

I know this sounds odd. But imagine if you could have Morgan Freeman follow you around for a day and give random commentary on everything you do, where you go, and give justification for why you did that. That is exactly what the narration feels like.

Every word this man says is liquid gold.

But this is also an action game so how does combat fare? Combat is also excellent. You are given a wide variety of upgradable weapons and skills to use so there is a large variety of customization. Nothing is better than the other, it all comes down to personal preference which is good. The enemies encountered are also unique and present their own challenges.

But there will be a point where you feel ridiculously overpowered and the game becomes too easy. Some people are going to like this but others are going to want a challenge. However, instead of a difficulty setting you eventually get access to a Shrine.

In Bastion, praying to the Gods will benefit your enemies, not you. Depending on who you pray to your enemies may gain increased defense, health regeneration, dropping explosives on death and many more. In return, you get an experience bonus which will help you level up faster if you can survive.

Why do the Gods hate us so much?!

Any problems with the game? Some of the challenges I found were very challenging unless certain upgrades were purchases which can be frustrating, but I guess that's what makes it a challenge. Another feature of the game is that the world pieces itself together as you explore it. A path will literally form in from empty space in front of you. This can be disorientating at times, running around, trying to find the trigger to activate the next chunk of world to form.

Other than that, I can't think of any other complaints.

The music is lovely, the art is lovely, the story could be considered cliched but the way it's presented should be applauded, and combat works great. The game is only $15 on Steam for PCs or 1200 Microsoft Points in the Xbox Live Arcade. You're looking at anywhere from 8 to 15 hours of gameplay depending on whether you do the challenges and/or the Story+ mode upon beating the game.

I highly recommend this game, one of the best I've played as of late. Trailer is down below:

And that's the voice of The Stranger in case you were wondering.

And I know this post is a few hours late. Still going to try and stick with my every third day posting schedule. Next post will be on Saturday.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Me not Healthy: Intestintal Adventures (Part 2)

Alright, it's been a while since I've talked about my health conditions. Not sure if anyone still remembers when I went and got the ultrasound and fluoroscopy but the results have been in for a while and I think it's about time I shared them.

Basically, it boils down to the picture below:

I'm serious. There is nothing wrong with my gastrointestinal track so far as the tests show. The fluoroscopy showed nothing. The ultrasound revealed microscopic kidney stones but my doctor assures me that if you search hard enough, you can find these in just about anyone.

Still, I probably should keep drinking copious amounts of water. I've heard enough horror stories of people passing these things.

I can only imagine the pain.

So, what's the cause behind my intestinal issues then? Doctor's not sure, he thinks that maybe my fibre intake isn't enough. And that's quite possible, I mean, my favorite food group is meat. So he suggests that I get some Metamucil and try that for a while.

Also, my frequent chest pains still haven't been explained. We thought it might be due to acid reflux but the antacid tablets did nothing for me. Though it could just due to stress. Who knows. None of the tests have revealed anything.

It really does feel like heartburn some days though.

But let's focus on the positives! I'm not as unhealthy as previously thought. Maybe this is just a few small things that are causing major problems with me. Though I guess it is kind of obvious that stress does all sorts of horrible things to your body.

It could also be due to lack of sleep as well I guess. I'm not going to think too deeply on that though. I'll talk about my sleep problems another day.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

A Summer of Possibilites

Awesome, my 4 month long summer break is finally here. Now I just need to figure out what to do with it. It always feels odd, not having the threat of an oncoming exam or paper breathing down your neck. Being able to sleep in, relax and goof off.

So much spare time.


Usually at the start of each month I do a recap of my progress on a list of goals I've set for myself. But let's be honest, how much progress was I going to make during finals month? But now that I have time, maybe I can get some work done.

I haven't gotten any proper exercise in weeks, I haven't practiced baking or cooking, done any book or game reviews, job hunting has gone poorly and who know what else has been neglected lately. But hopefully that can and will change in the coming weeks.

I've got a new pile of work for me now.

I've been sleeping better, so I have more time and more energy now so that means I can get back to trying to not be a scrawny twig. Oh, and that means I'm healthier or something too. Exercise is good for you, blah blah blah.

One of the things I want to do for Theresa before she heads of to China is cook her a proper meal. Usually the most I've been able to do is supplement her lunch with a simple soup or something to that nature. So it be nice to cook her something decent.

Any ideas? Some good steak recipes? I want to make a leek and potato soup, maybe a potato gratin. Thing is, I have no idea what works well together for a lunch. Sure I could just slap together random recipes together but if they compliment each other that be nice.

I don't want her eating some monstrosity like this.

The job hunt is not going well. Most research jobs are either already taken or I don't qualify for them. Same with a lot of the other jobs offered by the University. I've applied for what I can but from the looks of it the best I've got is working at FutureShop for 4 months.

And that's assuming I get an interview. I sent an application a while back, still nothing. Same with the other job I applied for. Getting a bit discouraged here because it's not like jobs are jumping at me, begging to be taken.

Very worried about this happening.

But all in all, I think I should try and relax a bit. My family has confirmed that we will be going to China again this summer. If you haven't read my first experience in China, you can see it here.

Which means that my blog posts will probably be reduced to about once every week. I won't be able to visit anyone else's blogs. Actually, there's a very good chance that I'll have no internet. I mean, I can get past the Great Firewall of China, that's no problem, but it will be a problem if I have no internet.

A nightmare come true.

But we'll see how things go. I've still got 4 months left. Let's see how things turn out.