Monday, June 08, 2009

Kent State U Climbing Gym

I have started a new hobby while I'm here. My new hobby is doing more sports, so that I can stay fit and happy. How is doing sports can possibly make one happy? Well, supposedly, more workout, produces more endorphins and endorphins suppose to make you happy[1]. So I have done a lot of running, swimming, trekking, bowling and the most recent one, rock climbing.

The thing with rock climbing is you need at least one friend to belay you as you climb the rock. Fortunately, recently, I managed to "racun" (coerced) my friend to start rock climbing. After much resistance, he eventually gave up and succumbed to my constant sales pitch about how cool rock climbing would be.

So we went to rock climbing gym in Kent State U, and started to register to take the examination for license to climb. We had a 30 minute safety instructions course, and the next day, we were ready to climb. The gym has a few nice beginner walls as well as some pretty challenging walls. Some are artificial holds (a point where you can hold on to, which could be a rock or a crack on a rock), and some are natural holds (not really natural, just meant to look like a real rock rather than something protuding out of the wall). Aside from the walls, they do have a nice bouldering rock with a nice overhang setup to test your upside down cliff hanger skills. Of course they provide cushions underneath the overhang just incase you fall. The picture above shows the boulder rock.

After about a few climbs, we decided to go check out some gears at a outdoor store. I have most of the rock climbing equipment, but I do not have a nice belaying device. I preferred using the figure of 8 before, but for some reason, using an ATC would be easier for my climbing buddy to start learning how to belay me. So I bought a sports ATC that would be easier to belay. A sports ATC is like any other ATC except that it is only for one rope. Hence, it can't be used for rappelling and it is mostly used only for sport climbs. However, because its small, and only for one rope, it seems to balance better while you are belaying. And it makes you perform better while you are belaying. Plus it gives you the needed friction, with the ridges at the opening. Of course, when it comes to climbing equipment, I prefer to use Black Diamond stuff. So previously I've bought a Black Diamond harness, Black Diamond Carabiner and a Black Diamond figure of 8, well now I got a Black Diamond, silver colored sports ATC[2]. I bought it at the Appalachian outfitters[3] which was about 20 minutes away from Kent.

Other than that, I also got myself a nice climbing/hiking pants. When choosing a climbing pants, its important that its light, and also flexible. So I got myself the North Face Meridian surplus convertible pants[4]. This long pants can be converted to shorts when you want it to by unzipping it at the knee. The nicest thing about it, is the material. It is superlight, and the material gives you freedom in movement. Plus, its also very breathable. It dries up superfast and makes your figure looks great. Okay, the last one is just an exaggeration. But, unfortunately, it was hard finding a size for me. Since the pants here are made for Americans. Minimum inseam is 32, and minimum waist is 30. So its hard for me, since my inseam is 30 and my waist is 28. I had to go to the boys section to find a pants that fit me. So in the US, I'm still a little boy.

I hope eventually, I will get to climb the rocks outdoors. There are some beautiful places around, but its been a while since I've climb, so I need to warm up first before I go out climbing and bouldering. However, in preparation, I need to drink a lot of water. And because I'm an outdoor lover nowadays, I support to keep the world a greener place. Hence, to show my support for a greener world, I bought the nalgene[5] water bottle and joined the pledge to reduce the number of water bottles in landfills. Nalgene water bottles are free from BPA, which makes it suitable to be recycled to create other water bottles, food containers and what not. This pledge is part of the filter for good program [6]. Why I choose the color green, well, I don't know, maybe its because of the greener world effort, or maybe, its just Islamic....:)

After much exercise, Paul and I went to Cheesecake factory to treat ourselves to some sweets. The strawberry cheesecake is the best here in Cheesecake factory. The environment is awesome, but the food is sinful. The cheesecake alone could be like 1000 calorie. But who cares, what's the point of playing hard if you can't enjoy the food. I play hard, I should be allowed to eat like a pig too. So here I am sinking my teeth into me delicious strawberry cheesecake.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Pinoy puki-puki masarap

Now, some of you might have reach my blog by accident, or you may actually know me--not necessarily mean that I would know you, but who cares. My ramblings are usually about nothing and it never seems important enough to read, and you may already know that about me. Since I'm such a showoff:). But I'm sure you are now reading it to this point, just because you saw the word "puki"[1] and that made you curious. If you are a guy, you're thinking that this entry must be something naughty and dirty, and you just have to find out, right?And if you are a girl, I'm sure you saw the word "puki" and though in a less imaginative state than guys would be, would be as curious and would just like to find out too. So read on....  

Recently, my mind often wonders back home--across the oceans, across the deep blue seas--to my humble home in Shah Alam. Don't know why, but I guess its true what the famous adage says, "there is no place like home", and that it is just normal to miss the place where you grew up. The familiar faces, the familiar decor, the familiar colors and smells that we take for granted from the time moment we were born.

I would like to talk about something delicious. "Pinoy puki-puki masarap" loosely translated means filipinos puki-puki is delicious. But I'm sorry to disappoint all of you, this entry has nothing to do with something dirty and naughty. This entry is about something delicious. Well, wait guys and gals, dont be dirty minded, not that kind of delicious. What I mean by delicious is that puki-puki[2] is a kind of signature dish from phillippines. Now, being half filipino, I was obviously brought up to eat puki-puki almost every week. In fact, puki-puki--sometimes spelled as pooky-pooky, or pookey-pookey--is my favorite dish, and I love it soo much. Whether you decide to eat it with rice, or just spread it on bread, it is still a delicious and healthy dish no matter how you decide to chew it down. Puki-puki can be classified as a vegetable dish, and hence it is good for those of you who wants to keep slim and healthy.

So since I miss home so much, i tried to cook myself puki-puki[2], and another dish called mince beef with potatos, which was also another pinoy cooking that my mom used to make for us.  I started with a recipe given by kak Shima[2] who was also interested in making some puki-puki.
I started by following exactly the recipe given at a website[2]. I started with two nice clean eggplants. And started to grill them on top of a stove. I used to remember mom doing this. She always told me, remember to make sure to burn it until it is charred. So here are some pictures of my silly attempt. 

After it is fully charred, you have to peel the charred eggplant's skin, and get the good tasting eggplant inside.

After that i followed the instructions given in the website[2] and added beaten eggs. I should have just put in one beaten egg, but silly me, I thought more is better, so the output was a bit different from what it should look like. However, it taste as good. 

After puki-puki, i tried the recipe my mom mailed me to make mince beef with potatos. The recipe is attached in the mail snippet below:
-----Mom's mail--------------------------
1.Garlic -  half clove
2.Onions -  half big
3.Tomatoes - four big
4.Fish sauce -  two laddles
5.Mince beef  -  half kilo 
6.Potatoes  -  three small
Saute garlic, onions and tomatoes till soft. Add mince beef and the fish sauce , till oil comes out and the beef fried dry. Add water , say four cups and boil . Slow down fire when the water boils and let the soup simmer for fifteen minutes. Add the chopped potatoes  and continue boiling till potatoes are cooked. Add a pince of salt to taste and pepper to taste. Can also add carrots or capsicon.
Enjoy cooking. Love Mom

Anyway, after all that cooking, I was ready to pinoy homecook was just delicious, you can really taste the charred eggplant taste, and the delightful potatos.:)

Footnote & References:
[1] Puki is a female body part in the Malay language