Happy Pi Day 2015

A once-in-a-lifetime event: March 14, ’15 9.26.53

I ought to be congratulated because this is the first time EVER I remembered to do something for Pi Day!

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie


Chocolate Cream Pie for dessert

Chocolate Cream Pie for dessert


Happy Chinese New Year 2015

Today is the eve of the Lunar New Year and that means it is time for the Big Family Reunion Dinner. Mark and Jeremy were scheduled to go to a Little Athletics meeting tonight. Tomorrow night there is going to be a Twilight for Little Aths. Friday night the children have Youth Group and I have choir practice. It was beginning to look like our Reunion Dinner wasn’t going to happen.

Last year, Chinese New Year Eve fell on Thursday which also happened to coincide with a Twilight as well. I managed to whip up something last year.

On Monday, the guys learned that the committee meeting had to be rescheduled. This meant that CNY Dinner could go ahead!


Clockwise from top: Chinese Broccoli (kailan) with oyster sauce; Asparagus with Prawns; Prawn Crackers; Cabbage, Carrots, Glass Vermicelli Stir-Fry; BBQ Pork (Char Siew); Roast Pork (Siew Yoke); Roast Duck; Szechuan Eggplant and Tofu.

Centre: Fish with Cheong Cheng Sauce

The Problem with Compounds

A couple years ago, Allie from Hyperbole and a Half wrote about the Alot, an imaginary creature she created to help her cope whenever she encounters the “word” alot and she has to resist the urge to correct people. If you have not read that post, I suggest you stop here and go read it now. If you have read it before, it’s worthwhile reading it again.

In case you haven’t noticed, alot happens a lot. I’m not sure why.

Maybe people don’t have spell-check turned on. Maybe they think they know better than spell-check. For example, until a couple of weeks ago, I truly and honestly thought that desiccated was spelled with two ‘s’ and one ‘c’ – dessicated. Yes, I had my spell-check turned on and a red squiggly line appeared under it alerting me about the misspelling. What did I do about it? To my shame, I scoffed and thought I knew better. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I looked at the suggested spelling and was mortified to learn I had been spelling this word incorrectly for years! Had to find all previous posts with that word and correct them!

Maybe they think alot is an alternative spelling. It isn’t.

Maybe they think alot is different from a lot, where alot is used to describe “a large amount” and a lot is used when talking about “a piece of land”. It isn’t

Maybe they are too set in their ways to change.

Maybe they’re like me and the word desiccated, ie, not being able to see the correct spelling even when it is right in front of them.

Or maybe —  it pains me to say this — they just don’t care.

 Alot is not a word; it is two words: a lot. It is always two words.

Still, it must be comforting to be able to create an imaginary creature as a coping mechanism.

Sadly, there is one particular grammar mistake for which I have yet to find a coping mechanism, and that is when compound subject and compound object pronouns are used incorrectly.

First World Problems Meme | WHY CAN'T PEOPLE USE PROPER COMPOUND PRONOUNS? | image tagged in memes,first world problems | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

My First World Problem

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Movie Review: Philomena (2013)

Philomena (2013) PosterPhilomena tells the true story of Philomena Lee who, as an unwed teen in the 1950s, fell pregnant and whose widowed father sent her to spend the rest of her pregnancy in a Catholic convent. After giving birth to a baby boy, Philomena was forced to work for the convent to repay the costs of her stay. During this time, her son was adopted out. Fifty years later, with the help of journalist Martin Sixsmith, Philomena goes on a search for the son she was forced to give up. This movie is about that search.

The nuns at the abbey are apologetic and claim that all adoption records were destroyed in a fire. Curiously, however, they are able to present her with a document which she signed promising never to attempt to seek contact with her son. Martin and Philomena learn from the locals that the convent adopted out children to American couples and they go to the US to learn more.

First off, anything with Dame Judi Dench in it has to be good. Her portrayal of a Philomena, a simple woman from small town in Ireland, has the right amount of innocence and naivete and delight when experiencing the Greater World, and the compassion and sophistication when dealing with Real World Issues.

I’ve only seen Steve Coogan in comedic roles (Around the World in Eighty Days and the Night at the Museum movies), so to see him in a dramatic role was a change.

When Philomena learns of the career her son (Michael) had in the US, she realises that she could never have given him that kind of life and perhaps things were better off that way. Still, she wonders whether he ever thought about her. Martin and Philomena track down her son’s partner and learn that he did indeed try to look for her by going to the convent where he was born but was turned away from the nuns.

The search for Philomena’s son started at the convent where he was born, and ends at the same convent where he chose to be buried.

Although some things could be said about the Catholic Church and Michael’s lifestyle choices, the film does not focus on that. Instead, the film is more about the search for a ‘lost’ son and finding closure to a sad chapter in one’s life.

Rating: 4.5/5

Foodful Friday: Ginger Garlic Baked Chicken

Got the recipe from here. I tweaked it a bit.


  • 2 kgs chicken drumsticks
  • 2 Tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 3 heavy dashes white pepper (or to taste)
  • Pinch of Chinese five-spice powder (optional)


  1. Place chicken in baking dish. Gently rub the ginger-garlic paste onto the chicken. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, stir to combine evenly. Pour over chicken drumsticks  and stir until the drumsticks are nicely coated with all the ingredients.
    Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
  2.  Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Place baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the surface turn golden brown and charred. Serve warm.

What I was aiming for (pic from here):

What I got:

2015-01-09 18.23.50

Nailed it? Close enough? Missing sesame seeds and coriander leaf garnish, I know.


Book Review: Dream Bouncing

I couldn’t finish the book in time to do a Wordful Wednesday post, so here it is one day late.

I know the co-author, Tony Sharp, personally, and he gave me a copy to read.

This book falls under the sci-fi genre, and since that is not really my cup of tea, that would explain why I took a while to finish it. I kept at it because of my association with the author.

Edward Newman is a doctor who opens up a clinic in England specialising in sleep disorders. His business picks up when several people come to him explaining that they have been experiencing shared lucid dreams. The dreams take place in the past during WWII. Ed is intrigued and in setting out to discover the meaning of all this, he gets involved in dream bouncing himself and alters the course of history.

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Movie Review: Penguins of Madagascar

Penguins of Madagascar

Listen out for puns
Using famous actors’ names.
Stay for end credits!

Rating: 3/5

This appeared when I clicked the “Publish” button:

No writing errors

Summary Saturday

Interesting articles around the web this week:

Lucid dreams and metacognition: Awareness of thinking; awareness of dreaming

I am a lucid dreamer. Many times, while dreaming, I have become aware of being in a dream. Sometimes I do things I wouldn’t normally do in real life. Sometimes I wake up. Mostly, I get really interested and step back from the action and see what unfolds.

Countering False Claims … Again

In which Ken Ham falsely claims that there are two different kinds of science … again.

Newsboys’ Co-Founder is now an atheist

Before watching God’s Not Dead, Newsboys was only a very small blip on my radar. After watching God’s Not Dead, they became a bigger blip.

Foodful Friday: Madras Beef Curry

Got the idea from here. Tweaked it a bit.


  • 2 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 3 tsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 kg chuck steak, cut into 2.5 cm cubes
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef stock


  1. Combine coriander, cumin, turmeric, pepper, chilli powder, ginger-garlic paste, and lemon juice in a bowl to form a paste. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add half the beef. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until browned. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining oil and beef.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add spice paste. Cook for 1 minute. Return beef to saucepan. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute, or until meat is coated with paste. Add tomato paste and stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover. Cook for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until beef is tender.
  4. Remove lid. Cook, uncovered, for a further 15 minutes, or until sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Serve with rice and salad.
Madras Beef Curry

Madras Beef Curry

Picture from recipe site:

What I got:

Serve with rice.

No fork, no raita, no mint leaves.


Salad: Spinach leaves, carrots, pineapple pieces, cucumber, tomatoes, and red onions

Salad: Spinach leaves, carrots, pineapple pieces, cucumber, tomatoes, and red onions

The meat, if cooked properly, should be so tender it breaks apart when you pierce it with a fork.


Dear YEC Friend – #11 Just Say “Maybe”

Dear Friend,

Today, I came across an article from the BioLogos website about a former young-Earth Creationist.

The following reminded me a lot of several conversations between you and me:

I remember arguing with a well-meaning guy in High School youth group because he thought that accepting evolution could be a potential option for a Christian. I was so sure in what I believed I couldn’t even attempt to hear him out, which makes it hard to respectfully engage with anyone –especially another believer. Saying God could have created with evolution was denying a part of the Bible, I told him, and if you believe in evolution you may as well toss out the rest of the Bible along the way! After all, scientists endorsing evolution all have ulterior motives, and science and Christianity are surely in conflict (or so I thought). Biblical truth is to be elevated above observations of the natural world in the end, I believed, so the Bible gets the final say.

Does this resonate with you? Well, except for the part where it says, “…science and Christianity are surely in conflict…”, because I think YECs would say that science and Christianity are in perfect harmony with each other. If there are any perceived conflicts, it is our interpretation of the scientific evidence that must be reevaluated. We know our interpretation is correct when it matches what the Bible says. Right?

If the truth of the natural world is no less true than the truth we see in the Bible, the way to deal with apparent discrepancies is not to throw one out or elevate one above the other. The error must be on our part; the interpretation is flawed, missing a piece. For me this meant just a brief moment of “maybe.” Maybe God could have used evolution to create the world if there truly is evidence for it extrapolated by good science. Just maybe. In the context of my story, “maybe” was a big thing to finally say.

I know for people like Ken Ham, there is no “maybe” about it. For such people, entertaining such thoughts puts one on a slippery slope to rejecting the Creation message and ultimately the Good News. The Institute for Creation Research lists as one of the Tenets of Biblical Creationism, “The creation record is factual, historical and perspicuous; thus all theories of origins or development which involve evolution in any form are false.”

How about you? Is there room for “maybe”?



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