Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hong Kong: Egg Tarts

One of the major delights to be had in Hong Kong is egg tarts. Now there are two varieties, one being called just egg tarts, while the others are Portuguese egg tarts, as pictured above. While I like them both, my preference are the Portuguese egg tarts, which have a much richer, creamier custard. I can almost taste a hint of pineapple, which I am sure is only my imagination due to the fact that I think a pineapple version would be quite tasty. 

Good Sound Equipment

audio-technica QuietPoint ATH-ANC7b
Like most men, I have an appetite for great sound experiences. Even before I became a frequent traveler and any much of a need for noise-canceling headphones, I was very taken by the Bose QuietComfort headphones. I still am mind you, but for now I won't put down the kind of cash needed, even for used Bose headphones, which have an amazing resale value. So, I set out to find some noise-canceling headphones that were good enough at a more modest price point. Thus I found the audio-technica QuietPoint headphones on Amazon.

I took the risk of getting audio-technica QuietPoint ATH-ANC7b based on the online reviews, and have been quite pleased. They do look a little bulky, and you may feel kind of like the bald guy from Cloud City in the Empire Strikes Back. I know the QuietComfort did feel more comfortable, but I don;t remember how much more, and the audio-technica our comfortable enough. The sound is distant when the active noise-canceling is off, but the sound beats expectations when is it on. What I really like, is that the cable is separate, meaning you plug it into your device and the headphones. Headphones weak areas are almost always in the cable, as the wires break from getting bent back and forth. I can tell you I have stripped and spliced enough headphone cables to not want to do it anymore. These come with two cables, and you can easily buy new cables when the time comes.

In short, Bose will always be Rolex to me, but sometimes a Certina will do quite well enough. Now I am getting off on a watch tangent that I'll be sure to finish in the future.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy St. David's Day!

I am proud of my Welsh heritage and love celebrating holidays, so I celebrate St. David's Day. In the past I have made typical Welsh holiday dishes for dinner, but now while I am busy with MBA school, I at least wear my Daffodil. I made a red dragon badge for my sons to wear (still young enough that wearing a flower may yield undesired teasing from peers).

As I have mentioned before, I am a big fan of the Welsh Rugby team and was quite excited to see them beat the English to win the Triple Crown this past Saturday, thus making it a more memorable St. David's Day today. As part of the rugby experience, I always love seeing the Daffodil Heads (see picture) cheering the team on to victory. Looking forward to the last two matches of the Six Nations tournament, hoping for a Wales Grand Slam! Go Wales! Happy St. David's Day!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cardboard Costumes

Your child needs a costume for a party, so what do you do? Well, I go straight to the garage for cardboard boxes and poster paint. Recently, my son was invited to a Star Wars themed birthday party, where the party goers were asked to come as their favorite character from the movie series. My son settled on Jango Fett, as seen in the picture. I really enjoyed taking the time to cut out and paint the helmet and breastplate, punch some holes, and tie them off with ribbon. If you have the time and desire, consider some creative recycling of your cardboard boxes; it can be a lot of fun.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Gourmet Food

Caviar - I love fish eggs...I do. I have had excellent Salmon Roe that was a buttery, almost soy sauce flavor...I have enjoyed little bits of salty goodness from Lumpfish...However, I have yet to have the real stuff, meaning Sturgeon eggs. I just read in the Wall Street Journal about California fish farms that will add to the supply, so luckily the self-imposed trade restrictions Russia has on its caviar will not prevent me from partaking of this treat.

Truffles - As I mentioned before, I love chocolate truffles, but I also love the fungi variety. Black truffle over an omelet is awesome (adds an almost muted garlic and robust cheese flavor, at least to me). White truffle infused oil is divine over spaghetti noodles and salmon (available seasonally at Trader Joe's). That said, I would love to go on a hunt for and then enjoy a white truffle that is more expensive than the computer I am typing this from.

Balsamic Vinegar - I dream of enjoying a high quality balsamic vinegar that is so viscous it oozes like molasses. Of course, I would pour it over a nice sweet strawberry that is big as an apple.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

BYU Rugby

I went to my first rugby match today, to see BYU take on Navy in the first round of the playoffs. Unfortunately, I had to finish watching the second half at home streaming over the internet, as my youngest had his "I need a nap" meltdown.

BYU was undefeated going into this match and continued its perfect season by defeating Navy 64-12! BYU was the 2009 rugby national champions, and are well poised to be the 2011 champions. I can't wait to go to another match, and still dream of seeing Wales play at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Teambuilding Activities

In my HR class last semester, we were put in teams to develop a egg protection device with straws and tape.
As pictured, we had the smallest team of just two. We were given a budget, with each straw costing against that budget at differing prices based on the type of straw. We were given a limited time to design and build, before we exited the building to put our designs to the test.

When I dropped our protected egg about 12 feet down onto the pavement, our egg survived. It was one of three eggs to survive. The next challenge was to toss the egg up. I tossed ours too high, and our egg didn't survive. However, at the end, I discovered that our design was the only one under budget. The "winning" team was over budget according to several of their team members. Still bitter? A competitive guy like me? You betcha!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I experienced my first rafting trip today, and I am sold. The rapids were minimal, but I enjoyed paddling. That said, I do look forward to experiencing rougher water. Waiting to see how the arms feel tomorrow morning, but I do know that I am beat.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Six Nations Championship

As I have mentioned before, I like, no I love rugby! My love for the sport actually originated from an unlikely source. Several years ago, while researching my genealogy, I discovered my Welsh origins. At the same time I had discovered Aussie Rules Football on the local MHz station. I took the two data points, along with my years of disappointment in the Bengals performance in the NFL, and decided to look into rugby with the aim of cheering for my Celtic homeland of Wales.

So in 2005, I followed my first Six Nations Championship, listening to matches via online radio stations. Choosing to cheer for Wales was no disappointment, as they not only won the championship, they won a Grand Slam, meaning that they beat every single opponent.

I remember that I was particularly taken back by the singing of hymns before the matches. I soon became a fan of the William Williams hymn Cwm Rhondda, or as we here in the States know it, Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer. Cwm Rhondda is, of course, the battle hymn of Wales Rugby.

I have ever since been a huge fan of Wales Rugby and of the Six Nations Championship. I can't wait until 6 Feb 2010 to watch the Welsh take on the English in their Six Nations opener. The tune As Long As We Beat the English is going through my head as I type. Go Wales! Beat the English, and bring home another Grand Slam!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Another Thing I Don't Like

Going home from work I discover that the check engine light is on. Realizing that I had just filled up with gas, I figure that I must have not twisted the gas cap on well. However, I feel prompted to flip up the hood and give the engine a look over. I figured I could check the oil, because that is about my level of car knowledge. Popped the hood and discovered a pile of leaves behind the engine block. I thought it was odd, and almost thought it looked like a purposefully made nest or something. Surely not....After the removal of the leaves I was astonished to see missing and pieces of tubes and wiring. Could they have gotten sucked up to some spinning part of the engine? I called my wife and told her i was going to attempt to take the car to our trusted mechanic, who thankfully was close by. The car now began to lurch at every stop, just begging to shut itself down. Luckily, I made it to the mechanic, who upon hearing my story was quick to say that it sounded like mice. He looked and exclaimed that something much bigger than a mouse did that. At first I had images of a big-old-nasty rat, but after some research, we believe it to have been the work of one of the many squirrels in our neighborhood. Not so cute anymore!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I am not ashamed to admit that I like being competitive, which really means I like to win...don't get me wrong I am no sore loser (at least not most of the time), I just like to win. And if you win, there is no need to be sore about losing.

After arriving home today, I proudly, yea even boastfully, declared that I still had the ability to "Wow people with my physical showmanship," which of course my wife thought sounded like I was admitting to being a Chip-and-Dale dancer. But no, I was talking about triumph at the dizzy bat race, which was part of the carnival type festivities that followed a company meeting.

I watched others participating in the dizzy bat race, and was at first inclined to stay clear, but it took few seconds to change my mind. In this version of the game, you were required to spin around on a bat, as pictured, five times before running to another bat about 50 yards or so away and repeating the spinning, before attempting to run back past the starting line.

The record before my attempt was 1:58, and I was determined to take the record for my own. As I spun around at the start, the time keeper said that I was flying, which encouraged me to seek nothing less than total victory. I ran to the second bat with very little trouble and started the spins again. On my way back I ran as fast as I could, managing to stay on my feet, although the dizziness caused me to run diagonally, and I ended up at least 50 yards from the first bat, but I needed only to cross the line. I was the only one to stay standing, and my time was 1:02! Victory was sweet, especially since in recent time I have had very few physical fetes to boast of. So at least if I have to go to work tomorrow with a red end-of-bat mark on my forehead, I can wear it with pride.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tennis Lessons

The first day of tennis lessons was quite enjoyable, of course the beautiful weather helped. The session started with a warm up of the kids hitting bubbles with their rackets. I was one of the designated bubble blowers and had to make sure that the kids didn't swing their rackets at a bubble that veered towards another's head. They then were instructed to line up and do some exercises such as arms circles and stretches for the hamstrings. They were then instructed to do hopscotch, to help them further loosen up and so they could get used to jumping. This was followed by a follow-the-leader game of jogging and jumping while weaving in and out of cones. They also "walked the dog" using their rackets to direct a rolling ball through the cones and finally into the net. Another activity was to balance a ball on their rackets while walking to a basket to deposit the ball. The most popular activity by far was "Popcorn," where the tennis coach put lots of balls on her racket and tossed them into the air for the kids to catch. Another popular activity was making "ice cream cones," where parents tossed balls for the kids to catch in cones. Finally at the end, the parents got to toss balls to the children to try and hit. I'll have fun practicing these activities with my son during the week before next Saturday's lesson.