My Thanksgiving weekend consisted of some shopping, a good amount of eating, and quite a lot of reading. SIX days til marathon and a lot of resting is in order.
I finished two books over the weekend. Both are well-known and somewhat new. I have a lot of thoughts on each book but will try to be as brief as possible.
1. The Martian
My rating: 5 stars
I didn’t know about the movie when I first heard about this book, and I have yet to see the movie. If you’re fascinated by astronomy and astronauts, this book is for you! The main character is likable and funny. There are a lot of technical details on spaceship, satellites, the orbit, chemical compounds, etc. and they’re all interesting and educational. The story sucked me in since the start and I couldn’t put it down after about 1/3 of the way.
When I finished the book, I literally said OMG out loud and looked up the trailer of the movie. I am looking forward to seeing the movie and it will help with my visualization of the MAVs, the Hab, the rovers, air locks, among many other things. And Matt Damon is quite fitting for the role 😏
2. The Girl in the Spider’s Web
My rating: 3.5 stars
I still feel torn about reading this book even after reading it. It’s a sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, but the original author Stieg Larsson died and the right to the new book was picked up by his estranged family who had no relationship with Stieg Larsson at all, but received all the proceeds from his successful trilogy. I don’t want to support the new author and the greedy family who gave nothing to Larsson’s long term partner who majorly contributed to the original story. But anywho… Now… about the book…
The plot is good and thrilling considering it’s written by a different author. But there were too many characters and was hard to keep track of, especially in Swedish names (book was translated from Swedish.) The first half was slow and character development was poor. Second half has a lot more actions and is a page turner. There will be a 5th book for sure. If you read the first three books, this book is definitely worth reading. But get it from the library so you don’t support the people who did the original author wrong.
A few days ago, I had a sudden inspiration to make my own jewelry. I wanted to make chokers since I’ve been having no luck finding chain-style chokers. I decided I might as well make my own. It’s such a simple design!
The thing was I had no idea where to start. So YouTube to the rescue, and I found a website that sells jewelry material as wholesale. After doing a little bit more research, I placed an order for some material and two pairs of pliers.
And my first creation…
They are just simple silver-plated chokers that can be stacked. They were very easy to put together and highly customizable to the length I want. Next up, I will play with other metals and Swarovski crystals.
I also made a bracelet to accessorize my otherwise pretty boring watch:
There’s room for improvement but I’m happy with my first attempt 😅
To be continued on this project.
Individual hotpot at The Flame in Richmond District. So perfect for a cold night!
Such a treat to see the Golden Gate Bridge from the bottom. This spot is the half-way turnaround point of my favorite half marathon (Giant Race) but I usually don’t pay attention to the surrounding and scenery when I race. This time I was running aimlessly and leisurely in the area and had to stop for photos.
Lagoon at Crissy Field.
Fun fact: I was a volunteer in 10th grade (year 2000) to clean up and pot new plants there before it was open to the public.
Fall in Oakland
Tried a new-to-me Vietnamese noodle soup called Bun Mam. So good!! Tastes a lot more complex than pho.
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Tragedy in Paris stays with me and I pray for peace in France and the world beyond.
On a lighter note…
I had one of the busiest weeks ever. Two weddings, lots of relatives visiting from out of country, and I had to peak in my marathon training with 55 miles of running for the week. I’m very, very relieved to say the week was over. I had a ton of fun and got a lot done.
Photos from my phone to summarize the Denver trip past weekend. It was coldddddd in Denver.Vesta Dipping Grill
Colorado Buffs vs Stanford game… We were lucky enough to get seats in the VIP lounge. Ate a catered burrito with countless number of cake pops and several plates of kettle chips.
All you can eat Korean bbq. There is such a thing as too much meat when you order 3 rounds of everything for 4 of us.
Someone claimed to eat more healthy and then ordered these. At Fooducopia.
My brunch plate. I wasn’t feeling the egg entrees so I ordered the pesto mushroom fontina sandwich with potatoes… I love these crispy potatoes!
Denver’s fall is quite pretty!
I felt the need to try all the holiday drinks at starbucks. I probably got through half the menu this weekend. (I dislike super sweet coffee so I ask for 3 pumps of syrup instead of 4 for a grande.)
I posted this pic on Facebook and tagged Rocky Mountains. I don’t think people understood this as a joke because 4 people so far asked me about my snowboarding/rockclimbing experience to the Rockies. This pic was, in fact, taken at Denver airport before we went home 🙂 Hence, DEN!
Goodbye, Denver, and this mystery astronaut.
We spent 4 days in Oahu in October after flying in from Maui. Maui is my favorite island of the two we visited, but Oahu has its own charm. We had more variety of food in Oahu than Maui, especially because we stayed in Waikiki area. There were so many places to eat, and not enough meal times and stomach room in 4 days. Nonetheless, we did our best to squeeze in as much food as possible 😛
We stayed half a block from this Hawaiian soul food place, called Rainbow Drive-in. It was recommended to us by our friend who grew up in Oahu. I got a fried chicken with gravy and macaroni salad and chili over rice. Comfort food at its finest. I could especially eat that chili over rice all day everyday.
One dozen Malasadas (hawaiian donuts) at Leonard’s Bakery. I ate only two, so who ate the rest? It’s still a mystery to me.
Then came dinner time and we HAD to check out the famous Marukame Udon. Almost all my friends on social media eat here whenever they come to Honolulu. So it got me very interested in this place even though I don’t like udon in general. It’s in Waikiki so it may as well be very touristy. We asked another friend with Japanese-Hawaiian roots about this place, and she’s never eaten here. Hmm. Pictures above shows freshly made noodle from the machine.
The way it works is you order the noodle base you want and add tempura as toppings. We opted for egg tempura, mushroom tempura, shrimp tempura, and a couple of musubi’s.
My bowl was the curry udon as shown above. It was a rich tasting broth and I liked it a lot.
BUT I had major food-envy on my BF’s choice of udon, which was Niku udon aka sweet beef udon. The broth has a lot of depth and complexity in flavor (excuse my lack of ability to describe the taste lol), I had to ask the BF midway of eating to swap our bowls so I could eat his udon. This had never happened before, I swear 😛 (I returned his bowl after a few bites and vowed to come back to try more.)
Exotic fruits at KCC Farmers Market. The place was swarming with Asian tourists (including us). They opened the gate to enter the market at exactly 7:30am, and it felt a LOT like a marathon starting line. Everyone was set and ready to go.
I need more passion fruits in my life!
Giant prawns on a stick at KCC Farmers Market (note the other tourists staring)
Vegan Banh Mi at KCC Farmers Market. It’s supposed to be french dip style and came with a sauce to dip.
Loco Moco with beef from a local ranch. This was really bland and beef was too dry. I need more gravy than this.
Macky’s versus Giovanni’s: Shrimp truck showdown
Macky’s Garlic Butter shrimps and Lemon Butter shrimps.
Forget the lemon butter shrimps, just get Garlic Butter shrimps. The rice was covered in buttery garlicky sauce and the entire plate was finger-licking good. Even the pineapple was good… it’s not acidic like the kind we get on the mainland. We are going to recreate this plate at home! MSG, garlic, and lots of butter!
So our tour director (a-hem, oh hiii) planned to make a stop at Giovanni’s right after Macky’s to compare the shrimps. This is another place that pretty much everyone in my social media circle goes to when they visit Oahu. Quite a lot more well-known than Macky’s as Giovanni’s has been around for much longer.
The Giovanni’s garlic butter shrimps pass the eye test with flying colors. In fact, they look even better than Macky’s, but the flavors were majorly lacking. It’s just bland in comparison to Macky’s. So glad we only got one plate. The garlic hot dog was okay… too salty for me.
Clear winner: Macky’s
We had some snacks at Polynesian Cultural Center. The white bun is called Pani Popo (Samoan coconut cream over fluffy bread.) The other bowl is sausage and gravy over rice.
Goma Tei Ramen is famous for their sesame-base broth. The sesame taste was a bit too strong for me.
Plus the noodles were too thin and reminded me of chinese egg noodles in wonton soup. I requested extra veggies and they gave me carrots. The texture did not mesh well with the ramen.
We wanted to have lunch with a view one afternoon and decided to eat at this super tourist trap place called Duke’s Waikiki. It’s literally on Waikiki beach, so gotta be touristy right? (Side note: they have an employee-only swimming pool at the restaurant– I saw the door to that! Was that a joke?)
But my kalua pork sandwich was soooo amazing, it’s hard for me to call this place a tourist trap any longer.
We still did not get enough of shrimps so we walked another half a block from our place to Hawaii’s Favorite Kitchen right next to Rainbow Drive-In. Their shrimp plate was baked versus fried. They were very generous with the amount of shrimps, I think there were about 20 shrimps in each plate. Different style from shrimp trucks but it’s got our stamp of approval still 🙂 The place also has shave ice which we really enjoyed! (not pictured)
We ran 3 miles in a humid Waikiki area and had to refuel at Zippy’s afterwards for breakfast. It’s a popular Hawaiian fast food joint. Some people would call it Denny’s of Hawaii. If it’s like Denny’s of Hawaii, then it’s gotta be good (I’m not even sarcastic right now.) We got two chicken plates with chili. Mine’s the mini plate above (obviously lol. No judgement against the owner of the other plate.) The chili was good but the chicken was just whatever. Zippy’s also sell donuts, so I got some donut holes to munch on (not pictured.)
My breakfast was pretty small (Zippy’s mini plate) so I got hungry again quickly and luckily we were at Costco! Got this shrimp poke to go. Not bad!
This was our LAST dinner at Honolulu. It was from Ono Seafood. We tried several places for poke on Maui and Oahu, and all the poke tasted good and so fresh, but this one was by far my favorite of them all. It was a nice ending to our trip! We literally ate it on our bed with a pile of clothes to pack.
A meal is not complete without some dessert. My choice for the night was, of course, SHAVE ICE, at Shimazu @ Hawaii’s Favorite Kitchen. Out of curiosity, we got durian as one of our flavors. We had to abide by their house rule and sat outside to eat because it’s so stinky (I think it smells good though.)
And this was our “meal” on Hawaiian Air flying back home (insert crying emoji here) with a little cup of red wine to drown our sorrows away.
Shoutout to Janet for finding this on BART and giving it to me 😇😁 since I will be in Singapore for a day in Janurary. This bill is good enough for 2-3 meals there! I’m thinking Laksa, mee goreng, savory carrot cake, nasi lemak, and uttapam! These were my favorite eats in Singapore.