Sunday, March 23, 2008

I am the Computer, the Computer is Me

Ok, this is ever-so-slightly, really quite too much. I have been working on my computer since Friday afternoon and it's Sunday night and I've just realised it's Easter Sunday and haven't seen my parents or wished them Happy Easter and I've barely spoken to anyone all weekend and eaten really junky fast food and have not drunk enough water and haven't left the house all weekend! I could really be quite close to burning out, how much work is a human brain physically capable of before it collapses on itself and implodes?

I have this really tight, knotted feeling in my solar plexus. Do you know how it feels when you're choking back tears and the tightness in your throat has travelled all the way down your chest and settled in a constricted knot right at the top of your rib cage? I have this really strong urge to hyperventilate until I pass out.

On the positive side, I have achieved quite a lot over this weekend. Let's see, I have:
- Learnt how to build an HTML microsite and make it autorun when someone inserts the CD (this is for my press kit)
- Designed the cd label for abovementioned press kit cd-rom
- Created a whole new section in Mother for children (called Whippersnapper), including creating all the graphics
- Added 2 new recipes to the main section, and 4 recipes to Whippersnapper
- Learnt how to manipulate the .php.html on my website backend, and revised all the recipe listing pages (big accomplishment, in my eyes!).
- Trouble-shooted and fixed broken links on the website (related to aforementioned php fiddling)
- Completed my accounting "homework" for the bookeeper
- Relocated Robot to Kaki Isles in Second Life

..and listened to this song about 50 times (I'm really not exaggerating) to keep my spirits up.

I'm also thinking of my dear friend V who is also going through a very tough time right now, so this is also dedicated to her.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Why do my food images change colour when they're uploaded to web?? I must be doing something wrong with my colour management!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I'm reading Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and in one of the chapters, a group of friends gather around on Thanksgiving to celebrate a birthday. They end the evening with the American custom of joining hands and saying what they're most grateful for, and as they each articulated their blessings I was moved to tears. That took me by surprise because I haven't had much time to be sentimental this past few months...but I wanted my turn too. So here it goes:

I am grateful to the Universe who has always given me everything I have asked for, and never more than I can bear.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Our First Christmas

I have never worked so hard in my life! All my friends are out partying for the holidays and here I am on Christmas Day at the office slaving away. I didn't have time to buy a Christmas pressie for the Dolphin, haven't sent any fact, I haven't even had time to reply to Christmas greetings! I suck!

Am I complaining? No.
Do I look back to the days when I had bags of money and this time of the year would be about buying the best presents and going on fabulous holidays on bizclass with my Krisflyer upgrades? Yes.
But do I regret my decision? Most definitely not.

I was talking to little Kaapi on MSN the other day, and he was asking what I was doing for Christmas to which I replied "working". His response was just one word "Passion."

Yes, it is Passion that fuels this engine. But it's Ambition in the driver's seat. Oh yes, without a doubt.

Merry Christmas, friends.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


New ideas take some getting used to. Your potential customer first needs to understand the premise, then be convinced it's relevant to his/her life, and then try it. It's a process that takes time and during this crucial period of acceptance, it can discouraging because growth isn't as quick as you would hope. Sometimes, I even ask myself if I was wrong and maybe the idea is just fabulous to ME, and no-one else.

So how wonderfully encouraging to wake up one morning to an email from, the sister site to - saying that they would like to feature the NewBiz! I am absolutely thrilled, especially since the NewBiz was randomly spotted and not PR'd. At this vulnerable stage of the business, feedback (both positive and negative) is soooo important and the article on Springwise has given me an extra-large burst of enthusiasm! Now to translate this opportunity into sales....

A big thank you to Lesley-Anne John and Katherine Noyes, whoever you are, for spotting us and taking the time to write about us!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Newton's Laws

When I first started writing this blog, what I wanted to do was to chart my progress from idea to start-up because I had such a hard time finding any resource that gave me insight. I read so many books but they made so many presumptions. You either had bags of money, or a brilliant mentor, or a VC behind you, or loads of experience, or established supplier relationships, or someone to take that journey with.

I haven't spent much time on this blog lately because it's been so incredibly busy, but I haven't forgotten my desire to share and encourage, so here's a little note on a Saturday afternoon.

I: Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it

Have u heard of the saying "a rolling stone gathers no moss"? I never understood it. I mean, I get it but I don't get why that's a pearl of a wisdom. If you sit still you don't get anywhere. So give yourself a kick in the ass and just start because one thing always leads to another. Doors may close behind you, or even in your face, but they will also open. And when you walk through, you find another one.

II: Force = Mass x Acceleration

Don't be kiasu and afraid to share your ideas. You don't have to give away ALL your secrets, but initiate genuine dialogues. You call everyone, bore people to death with your idea. Watch eyes glaze over but you will meet someone who will say "HEY! That's freaking fantastic, I know this guy and that guy who would love to help".

Always follow up.

I used to think that when I rang suppliers they would be falling at their feet for my business, hey I'm the customer here! Forget that. Not everyone has the time (or inclination) to hold your hand. Suppliers will open their doors to you when they see an authentic prospect. Some random chick on the phone with a vague idea is not a real prospect. Someone with concrete answers, a PLAN is worth considering.

You keep that force constant to gain momentum. You will only go as far as you're willing to work. So yeah, you have to be pretty passionate.

III: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

Don't lie awake at night worrying about problems. If you're going to sacrifice your precious sleep, then use it to figure out solutions. Every problem has a solution.

Look at the problem from every angle. Look at your assumptions. Look at the situation. Look at yourself.

There is always an answer waiting in the wings. Even if the answer is to cut your losses and move on.

It's physics. Isaac Newton said so :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Gratitude & Appreciation

Yesterday was a lucky day in my Chinese astrology and with the newbiz website being almost done, I took advantage of my lucky stars to invite close friends & associates to register.

It was a rollercoaster of a day. Adrenaline in the morning, springing out of bed trying to get a million things done. Frantic energy as the hour drew closer. Uncertainty before pressing the SEND button because my friends' opinions mean so much to me. Euphoria when I received postitive feedback. So much gratitude for the support of friends. Anxiety about whether I can really pull this off. Exhaustion as the day drew to a close. Regret that my special someone wasn't here to share it with.

I read countless books about making a business happen, succeeding, autobiogs of famous entrepreneurs. How you need money, or a team, or a mentor, or a great idea. Yes, you do need all of those things, passion, commitment, a certain character....

But at the beginning, what you need most of all is someone who believes in you. Who knows with a fervor that you could do it.

There are many, many times during the process you think "I just can't do it, it's too hard, I'm not good enough, smart enough, strong enough..." Having someone to look you in the eye and tell you "YOU CAN DO IT" and know they really mean it is immense.

So here are my heartfelt thankyous.

My parents for doubting enough to make me dig my heels in.
The Dolphin for never wavering and his unshakeable faith in me.
The MooMoo for dreaming with me.
Jee, Juliet & Shermie for convincing me it was a great idea worth doing.
The Fruitcake for being the most unlikely of mentors and whom I've grown to love dearly.
James & Mark for always being there even when I'm not.
Choko for helping the duckling learn to swim.

Ok, this is not a freaking Oscar acceptance speech.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Don't mind me, I'm just uploading a picture here to link to another site :P

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sauteed Scallops with a Garlic Parsley Butter

Mmmmmmm they are as yummy as they look!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Short Note After A Long Absence

It's been so long since my last post - busy, busy, busy!!! I finally finished setting the office up and, well, basically:
- I can't wait to get to work in the mornings
- Sunday sleeps are brilliant because I know I'm going to the office the next day
- I can't BELIEVE that homework is doing stuff like reading food magazines or checking out a great restaurant
- Everyday is filled with new, exciting adventures. Meeting new people, sampling new tastes, learning new techniques.
- I get to take as much time cooking and eating and not feel guilty about it cos it's work!
- I'm sleeping better than I have in ages

I'm as happy as a pig in ****... and I don't know what took me so long to take this leap!!

All the niggledy-piggledy obstacles I encountered on the way were SO WORTH IT!!!

Till the next time here are pix of the office. I promise to update more often!!

Thank you thank you thank you everyone who helped make this happen!!!!! YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Courgette & Almond Tangle

Just a quick post before heading out for brunch with one my favourite friends, M*. He's a real sweetie, everyone needs a friend like him. Gentle, a great listener, critical enough to be able to have a great bitch with, and always there. It's much more than I can say for myself!!

Anyway, a quick recipe before I go. I was reading Smitten Kitchen's blog and came across a post for Deb's favourite side-dish: zucchini & almonds. Well - I LOVE courgettes (zucchini) and I LOVE almonds. They're so good for you, so crunchy...they're like pseudo-crisps! So of course I tried the recipe and it was so-so-SO delish that I had to re-create it into a complete meal.

Just adapt it to your own quantities (I'll get round to proper measurements at some point!). Like Deb says, like more almonds? Chuck more in! I reckon you need 1/2 courgette per person. And it shouldn't be swimming in cream - when you plate there are no puddles! Just a milky moistness...oo-err that sounds a bit rude!

Enough for 1
30 mins prep to mouth
Handful of almond flakes
1/2 courgette, cut into matchsticks
Grated Parmesan
Salt & Pepper

- Put pasta on boil
- Chop your courgette into matchsticks. If you like crunch, then big matchsticks. If you like your courgettes more cooked, little matchsticks.
- Toast almonds in olive oil until golden brown and remove from pan. You can skip this step and just continue with the other ingredients, but I like to preserve the crunch for as long as I can.
- Toss courgettes in and fry for 1 minute.
- Season with salt/pepper and remove from heat while you....
- Drain pasta
- Put frying pan back on heat, stir in the pasta with courgettes and then push to side of the pan
- Add cream and slide pan to the side of the hob so only side with cream is hot. Bubble away till cream is reduced.
- Stir almonds, courgettes & tagliolini back through the sauce and toss.
- Sprinkle with grated parmesan.
Inspired by Smitten Kitchen

I might try it with a little lemon juice/zest the next time....

*M is actually, really Aidan from SATC. I'm not kidding!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Days that Just Are

Do you ever spend so much time thinking about stuff, that you literally think yourself out? The MooMoo and I had another one of out 12 hour marathon brain drain sessions the other night, and it wrung every neuron out of my head. The next day, I just could not think anymore. Didn't want to! Wandering around Kinokuniya, I rejected any and every book that was more complicated than Nancy Drew or Enid Blyton.

Ugh, just mentally exhausted.

And the day after there is a weird flatline hum in my head. I don't know what I want to do, what I want to eat, what I want to read and most of all, I don't want to see anyone. It's like I'm open for most of the year, but when I'm closed, don't even think about ringing that bell damnit!

Weird. I think at this point, someone in a white coat might recommend I take a pill.

So there I was, lolling around on my bed wondering what I could do so as to not completely waste the weekend, but that wouldn't require climbing out of my pajamas and into people clothes.

Ok, I'll try to figure the Dolphin's camera out. I've been pretty pleased with the pictures I've been taking but they're all random snaps. I don't actually know what I'm doing. I just point the camera, fiddle around with the dials and keep on going until the laws of probability convince me I must have something in the can.

However my bleh state of mind rejected any notion of reading an instruction manual so I did something else I'm very good at - I sponged off someone's else knowledge.

If you go to Flickr, there's a drop down menu called Explore and from that you can pick Camera Finder. From there, you can find your fancy-schmancy camera and search for all the pictures on Flickr that have been taken with that camera. In my case, I was looking for macro shots.

When you've found a great photo you'd like to learn from, scroll down and you'll see on the right a little link under the tags that says Additional Information, and from there More Properties takes you to the EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) data.

From there, I kind of worked backwards until I figured a few things out. I think.

In any case, it motivated me get out of my pajamas to go outside and take some pictures so that's one way to do it!

Truth be told, I think I just want the Dolphin home. It's all well and good being independant and keeping busy, but there's always an empty space where it's hard to smile when he's away.

Jedi blooming. The Desert Rose that was planted on Jedi's ashes. EXIF data here.

I don't know the name of the plant but it's purdy! EXIF data here.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Pattern Recognition

I like swimming.

It's infinitely better than running and the splish-splash-splish-splash is strangely soothing. I do alot of thinking when I swim so I try to do it as often as I can.

The thing is, no-one taight me how to swim and it's odd because I can't swim more than 3 laps without choking & gasping for breath and needing to take a break. I just accepted it as yet another lame limitation of my inert body.

I usually swim at my parent's pool, and I always start on the same end. I have funny habits like that. Always start on the same end, 2 laps freestyle then 2 laps breaststroke, repeat until I'm choking for air and my heart feels like exploding.

Then yesterday I was paddling around when I decided it was time to do a proper swim. But this time, I started at the other end. I just happened to be closer.

And because I started from that end, my first stroke led with my left hand instead of my right.

And because my I started on my left hand, it meant I took a breath of the third stroke, rather than on the 4th stroke.

And I discovered that.......if I take a breath on the 3rd stroke instead of the 4th, I don't get out of breath so quickly! OMFG!!!!!! I'd been holding my breath for far too along ALL THESE YEARS!!!!

Needless to say I managed to swim for twice as long as I normally do and felt mighty pleased with myself!

So I guess sometimes it's good to do things backwards, the wrong way around, at a different time or in a different way. It changes your perspective and makes you do things differently, sometimes for the better! It's my WHILT for the weekend!

Adding Audio

Morning! I've had a few requests about how I add audio to my posts so I thought I'd share the Tutorial for Flash MP3 Player. It's eazy-peazy-lemon-squeezy!

And in honour of this post, I'm also going to share one of my favourite songs of all time, Air's All I Need.

All I Need - Air (Moon Safari, 1998)

Huge thanks to Torley Linden who first taught me how to do this and Daytime James for the push to finally post this!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Leftovers: Peanut Butter & Banana Muffins

*Update: Ok, they're not bananery enough to be called "& Banana" muffins so they're just peanut butter!

Mmmmm leftovers. I really love leftovers! Nothing better than feeling a bit peckish and finding a little tupperware with a smidgen of curry to eat with that last crusty end slice of bread.

However, a fridge full of leftovers is tiresome because there's no more room for the new leftovers. Since I was relatively free today (the renovation guys are on a break of some sort...) I thought I'd clear some room up in the fridge. I had some overripe, spotty brown bananas from the ChocoNanaNut Sarnies, Bisquick leftover from Jack Russell Mania's 5th Annual Party, brown sugar leftover from the Red Onion Jam, some Philadelphia light that was about to go off....hmmm what to make, what to make?


This is quite a mish-mash recipe. I didn't have enough Philly so topped up the balance with butter. Didn't have enough banana so topped it up with peanut umm...let's have an open mind when it comes to the measurements.

Makes 10 muffins
1 hr prep to mouth
250g cream cheese and/or butter (I used roughly half of each)
1 cup soft brown sugar
1 cup mashed butter and/or peanut butter (I used abt 80% banana 20% crunchy peanut butter)
2 eggs
2 cups Bisquick
1/2 tspn vanilla essence

- Preheat oven to 220 190 degrees Celsius *Thanks Mrs Chavez for the feedback on the temperature!!
- Cream the cream cheese/butter and sugar together until it looks like soft mocha icing.
- Blend in the eggs and banana/peanut butter
- Add the flour and vanilla essence and mix it all together. It doesn't matter if it's lumpy but try to break up the big lumps of flour!

- Spoon into muffin tins and bake for about 20-25 mins until the tops are nicely browned and when you stick a toothpick into the middle, it comes out clean.

Ooohh they're so moist and soft and crumbly...I had one, Higgy had one and I'm gonna give the rest to my mum & dad so they don't have to go and queue at that RIDICULOUS Chocolate & Spice muffin stall where people queue up to buy for their entire neighbourhood so a 8-person queue is actually a 25-person queue AND they want each of their 600 orders packaged in seperate boxes in different permutations!!!!!! Oooohhh people like that make me so mad!!!!!!!