Kev (abr. Kevin)
Irish, Gaelic orgin. Caoimhin.
1. adorable. 2. gentle one

Walkabout (walk-a-bout)
1 (in Oz) - a walk in the Outback by Aborigines that lasts for an indefinite amount of time. 2 (chiefly British) - an informal stroll among a crowd conducted by an important visitor e.g. a monarch. 3 a walking trip.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Sydney tower & Wildlife world walkabout

Over the weekend, my uncle came over to Sydney on a business trip again, and so I went over to meet up with him yesterday. Together with his colleague, we went over to the Sydney Tower +Oz Trek, as well as the Wildlife World. Well, the view in Sydney tower is breathtaking, but still, I must say that I'm a bit disappointed. 'Cos probably I expected much more, and seeing that I can take just 5 minutes to walk round the tower, I'm like: what? that's all!?? I mean, yeah, the view is great, but hey, I don't see myself looking at the view for like half an hour.

Well, the Oz trek is much more fun I think. We were seated in this chamber, and there are scenery of Oz e.g. rainforest, barrier reefs etc over at the screen. The scenery are real stuffs, not just a flat screen i.e. there's really a miniaturized jetty etc. The characters however, are being projected onto the miniaturized scenery, much like a hologram. The characters move on to introduce some of the common scenery in Oz. After that, we were led to another bigger room, where the real fun began. We were seat onto this movable chairs, and as the show starts to bring us through different landscape of Oz, our seats move with it, much like a 3D show. Cool. Haha.. don't know why, I somehow miss the Everland Theme Park in South Korea..haha.. That was fun in the theme Park..

Later on, after the Sydney tower tour, we went off to the Wildlife World in Darling Harbour. Well, after going to the Taronga Zoo, the Wildlife world is disappointing, and lacking. In the zoo, we can get up close and personal with the animals, and they have a big section devoted to Australia native species as well. In Wildlife World, I think the 'world' is slightly smaller than that of the native section in the zoo. In addition, the animals are being held inside a glass tank (though the overhead isn't seal up), it makes it them looks so out of place. And abit bored as well.. haha.. Anyway, btw the zoo and wildlife world, go for the zoo! forget about the wildlife world!!!

After the trip, we went for dinner.. as usual, we were looking for a chinese resturnant.. haha.. the first one we went to, their card swiping device is spoilt, so have to pay by cash! Duh.. we left for a second one.. We went for this "Neptune Chinese Resturant" and was told the resturant was book by a tour.. oh well.. as we left, we saw this group of tourist from China coming in.. well, yah.. should have guessed.. only the chinese want to eat chinese food even when they are overseas, touring..So, we were wondering ard at the Circular Quay, when I spotted some red leon light up along the Loftus street.. and so I suggested to go up.. and true enough, another chinese resturant.. Well.. the food is good in general, except their veg, and the service is good too.. they will pour tea, scoop rice for u, and serve you fruits after the meal. All these for just over AUD$60 for the 3 of us.. much better than the previous resturant around Martin place..

Thereafter, we went back to the Marriot hotel, get my stuffs from my uncle, and bid him farewell.. and off I go, back to Randwick once again...
Here are some of the pictures that I took while the walkabout.. You can see the full album from here:
The souvenirs that I bought from the Sydney Tower..

The view of Opera house from the Sydney Harbour Bridge Marriot

Me on top of the Sydney Tower

A scene where the whole sky is cloud, except for a hole in the sky. The sunlight managed to pass through the hole, and only the area underneath it is lighted up..

Me in Darling harbour

A couple of insects matingg.. My guess is the large one is the female.. Quite normal to have big female in the insect world.

A snake..hiss..hiss..

A monster on the prowl...

Well, the all lovable kangaroo!

The good and the bad...

The weekend is pretty good for me generally, except one stupid glitch to my mobile phone! Argh! Let's start off with a good subject first... Well, I got my MobTV! yeah!!! That means that I can watch the singapore production drama, news and variety shows! Yeah!!! In terms of local production, those in singapore are much better than the Ozzies local production...haha.. Well, MobTV is having this free trial for global users (in the past, global users has no access to MobTV) for two weeks. So I sent them an email, stating that I'm interested to participate, and the rest is history. I'm really enjoying the productions from Singapore. It's good. I mean, it's like a connection with your home country even though you are overseas. I'll still know what is going on in my home country. Yup. I'm very happy with that.. =)

My weekend is thoroughly spolit my the fragging mobile reception/network. The reception down here in Randwick is like going on and off, one moment I have a full bar of reception, the next moment, there is no reception at all! Worst still, when someone calls me, they will hear a message saying I'm unavailable, but in fact I'm available all these while!! Moreover, when I intend to make a call, the first call always gave me a "call failed" message. Argh.. Fragged. Whats even stranger, when I went over to the city, I have totally no problem at all. So, it must have been the fragging optus network here in Randwick. But then, it seems that only I have this problem!! Argh!! Called up the optus technical ppl, which are quite friendly, and they can't troubleshoot it on the spot as well. So they lodged a report for me, and will investigate into the matter, and get back to me in 24-48hrs time.. haiz.. fragging network!

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Maiden attempt at Chicken rice's rice...

Phew.. *sweating*... my first attempt at cooking chicken rice's rice. I miss the food in singapore alot, especially chicken rice, 'ba chou mee', fried hokkien noodles...yum yum yum.. Judgement time.. washed the rice, added in chicken stock, put in pandan leaf, and let them cook in the rice cooker. The fragrance wasn't really as strong.. but has a lingering familiar chicken rice's rice smell. Now for the ultimate test: Taste! Put a scoop of rice into my mouth.

My heart sunk.

The rice wasn't smooth, and was plain just like normal rice. There goes my first maiden attempt. My failed chicken rice's rice. Pronounced dead on the spot. Gone. 失败. 'Gagal'. So much for my chicken rice's rice! Any tips??!

My next target: Green bean soup! yum yum... haha.. have a feeling that it will fail again! haha..

Saw this recipe for beef & tofu stir-fry, and it's picture.. wow.. looks so delicious.. yum yum.. I might try that too.. Gosh.. gluttony.. my sin..

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Random ratterings..

Well, I like Apr in Australia.. Not really because of the weather. If fact, it's been raining on and off this month thus far. Rather, there are lotsa holidays in April! haha.. They will the long easter weekend break, from a friday to the subsequent monday, as well as the ANZAC day which falls on today! Yup, so today is a holiday! yeah! Best of all, my birthday falls within April as well! So, on average, it's like haveing a break every 3-4 days rather than a standard 5 days week! The lacking thing is that there is nobody to celebrate my birthday with. My beloved is back in Singapore, and I do not get to eat my swensen's ice cream cake.. =( Ah well, that's the price to pay for studying overseas, alone.

It's been like slightly more than 2 months since I arrived in Australia. By far, the longest amount of time that I left home overseas. The last time I left home for Australia was like 8 years ago, in 1999 for my overseas vacation training as part of my polytechnic requirements. Even so, I was in Australia, Adelaide for slightly less than two months. Well, so how does Adelaide compare with Sydney?? Well, Adelaide is a bit laid-back.. relatively slow, and a small city. Sydney is on the other extreme, many places to go, to explore.. probably I will retire in Adelaide haha.. buy a farm or something..haha..

I think better not.. Australia is very prone to drought. It's a risk to have a farm here..haha.. Australia is facing a water crisis right now, so hopefully with all these rainfalls these couple of days, the situation will get better!

I have been missing the food in singapore since i got here..haha.. not the country, not the people, but the food! haha.. Heartless some might say, but if that's how they see it, then so be it. Anyway, I'm thinking of cooking chicken rice's rice.. as well as green bean soup.. Haha.. it's going to be my first attempt .. will do so probably this weekend or next. Oh, and my uncle is coming over to Sydney again this weekend.. so will be meeting up with him too! Hopefully, it wouldn't rain on that day!

Oh, this few days I think I will be drinking lotsa milk! haha.. cos JM bought like 4-5L of milk sometime back for his visiting fren (his fren is staying over for like a week). But apparently, his fren doesn't drink much milk.. and the milk is gonna expire on 27th Apr 07. So, it's a bit wasteful to waste so much milk, so will help him drink some of them.. I love milk!

Some random pics...

My new plate that I bought from the zoo.. i like the elephant on my plate..
My noodle dinner! I like the noodle a lot.. the sauage is nice too..
My dinner today... braised chicken nibbles with mushrooms

Monday, 23 April 2007

Waiting for my gel..

I'm now waiting for my gel to finish running, and have other much to do.. well, I could read my journals! After all, I have downloaded and printed out quite a number of them. They are just sitting inside the read ring folder.. but I'm just too plain lazy to read through them now..haha.. I just finished running my PCR with a fluorescence primer this morning, and so am now running gel to see if I can get the right amplicon size. Hmm.. hopefully, my fluorescent will not be too weaken after my gel run, and subsequent gel extraction step.. cos, I need the amplicon to be fluorescent.

Anyway, in the past weekend, I was pretty much rotting and slacking at home..haha.. enjoying life I think. Just sleeping till like 1-2pm and just relax at home. Save money too, as compared to going out. After since my housemate intro me to a free online show link, I have been hooked to watching dramas from the webby. Previously, it was heroes, and now it is battlestar galactica. Speaking of heroes, Heroes is supposed to return, after a short break, today in US! Hopefully, they will upload the episode soon!

A little bit about Battlestar Galactica: it's a sci-fi drama, with it's backdrop at this planet call Caprica. On Capria, the humans built and used artifical intelligence to do their bidding. One day, these roborts, call Cylons, rebelled against their masters and wage war on the human race. After decades of war, both side come to an armstice and the human race is finally able to enjoy some peace, or so it seems. However, over the next 50 years, Cylons have 'evolved' to be human-like, the humanoid cylons, and infilltrated the humans. Then came the day, where the cylons managed to wipe out the defence systems on Caprica, and took everyone by suprise. Caprica is gone. What is left of the human race, must now run, hide, and find a new home, Earth, before they are destroyed by the Cylons...

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Pics and videos of my Taronga zoo walkabout on my birthday

Well, finally managed to uploaded all the 134 photos online.. phew! took quite a while to upload it as each photo is like 4Mb in size! Anyway, here is the link to my yahoo photo album.. Enjoy!

Kev's Taronga zoo walkabout in celebration of his birthday

I have attached some short video clips that I took from the zoo as well.. so enjoy the video clips!

Street performer in Circular Quay

Views from the ferry

Tortoise in the zoo

This devil sure like to run around

Cute little creature

Spiky Echidna walking about..

Ah.. so cute.. just like a soft toy wallaby

Gentle giraffes

Inquistive Meerkats

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

My 27th Birthday cum Taronga zoo walkabout

27 years ago, on this faithful day (18th Apr), I was born!! Wow, 27 years on this earth, that will be like slightly more than a quarter of a century old, and approaching 3-tenth of a century soon. Damn. It's always a mixed emotion when it comes to my birthday. I mean, yeah, it's a time to celebrate, an excuse to have fun, gluttony etc.. but hey, I'm one step closer into my grave as well! And come to think of it, what has this 27 years been for me?? Seriously, no money, no career, a miserable student in debt. But who to blame?? I chose this route for myself. I mean, after my university or even polytechnic education, I can venture into the work force, and like what the then EDB director Phillip Yeo guy said: wash test tube! Yeah right!

So, I don't want to wash test tubes all my life, borrowed some money, and got a god-sent scholarship to go overseas to pursue my dream to be a scientist, starting off with being a PhD student first. Sometimes I feel like I'm like an artist. Artist draws but might not be recognised, ending up generally being poor in their lifetime. Well, their only consolation is that they are able to do what they like during their lifetime - drawing! For me to pursue my dream, I have to give up having a stable income early in life, forming a family with my beloved, bread and butter issue, and rely on aids eg. financial etc be it from those that cared about me, or institution. I can only hope that my future wouldn't be like an artist. An artist's value only increases tremendously when he pass away. He can never see his true worthiness.

Ok, enough of this pessimistic talk on my bday.. I can't just help it sometimes.. Anyway, I took the day off from my lab, and went to the Taronga Zoo in Sydney. It's really nice. I took a bus from my place to Circular Quay, where the ferries are. Took a ferry from circular quay to the Taronga zoo wharf. As the wharf is located at the bottom entrance of the zoo and that the bottom entrance is only for those with skyride access, I took the free connecting bus all the way to the top entrance of the zoo. Well, something really nice happened to me while I was queuing up for the ticket.

Foremost, since today is my birthday, and in conjunction with the 90th anniversay for the zoo, I can get into the zoo for a mere 90cents! Ok, but guess what, I gotta into the zoo for free!! haha.. Well, the connecting bus let us alight at this gate 2 & 3 at the top entrance. So the whole load of people just crowd themselves at these two gates to purchase tickets etc. Then I spot that a couple of people went to another direction, heading towards gate 4. Apparently the crowd is so engrossed in what's in front of them at gate 2 & 3, that they didn't realised that there are other gates as well! So, I quickly headed to gate 4 and started queuing up. Then, a surprise came!!

The man in front of me turned and asked me, and a mother and her kid behind me if we had bought our tickets. So we said no. Then, when it was his turn, he just flashed out this 'gold pass' and told the ticket seller that we are together, and wolah! We got in for free!! Somehow, his 'gold pass' allow him and accompanying people to enter for free!! hahaa.. It's really a godsend! I expected to pay 90 cents, and ended up nothing at all. But, the mother and her kid behind me got the best deal. Cos, an adult ticket would cost like $32 and a child $17.50! So, they really saved up a big deal of money. Thank you kind Samaritan! =)

I took like 100 over pictures as well as videos, and so can't possible include all of them here.. so here are just the teasers to what is to come. I will be putting up the link later on... so meanwhile, enjoy the pictures below!!

Me, getting ready to go to the zoo! I'm gog to the zoo zoo zoo, lets all go to the zoo zoo zoo.... lalala

People boarding the ferry, to go to the Taronga zoo.

View of the Opera house, and harbour bridge on the ferry.

The main top entrance of the Taronga zoo

This bird... I think it's a cookabara? (think my spelling is wrong)...

The tasmania devil.

The famous Australia koala bear

Cute little cute..!!!!


Me with the giraffe

Colourful birds...

The Meekarts! Cute little creature

Well, on my way back from Taronga zoo.. and that concludes my bday !!!

Sunday, 15 April 2007

A dim sum Sunday!

Attack of the dim sum dollies! or rather, dim sum goodies! Went to Maroubra for a dim sum brunch with Sabine, Cat, Huifen and Martin. Yup.. generally speaking, the food is nice, esp the egg tart and 'siew mai'. Yum yum.. But this HK dim sum resturant really has alot of variety for dim sum! There's even crabs, prawns, vegetables, and even squid (calamari)! Wow.. I seriously don't think authentic dim sum has all these seafood haha.. must be tailoring the food to the taste of the ozzies. however, I find some of the dim sums to be a bit lacking.. such as the steam prawn dumpling.. the prawn filling is nice, but the dumpling 'skin' is a bit too thick. Also, their lotus glutinious rice is a little bit bitter.... arising from the lotus leaf I suspect. Prob it's just me, cos my frens don't really find it bitter. Anyway, the resturant is supposed to be very popular I think, cos there are actually people queuing up at the entrance as all the seats are full!! Gosh. Anyway, spent about $20 on the dim sum session.

After the brunch, we walked ard maroubra, and went to Eastgarden as well. Eastgarden is a big shopping complex, kinda like the size of jurong point in Singapore. Seems to sell alot of shoes, clothes, and have lotsa supermart as well! But I must say, some of the stuffs like shoes etc, are nice. But no money to buy! hahaha.. Eastgarden also has lotsa cheap goodies as well, such as the big loaf of bread that I bought for only $1! And, one of this stalls that sells milkshake and prezelts is like having this milkshake promotion, where milkshakes are sold for $1 btw 2-3pm! haha.. how can I miss such an opportunity?! Normal price is like $3.20 I think! Well, must thanks Cat for bring us ard and intro all these cheap goodies to me...

Well, there's this pet shop in Eastgarden.. the puppies are so cute!! Can I exchange bubbles for them??

Well, saw this nice female luggage bag that they sell for only $70! I think it's pretty cheap!! Liminy, you interested?? but even if u interested, how to buy and send to u? haha

Saturday, 14 April 2007

It's the weekend again!

It's been a week since I last blogged. Seems as though an eternity! This week past pretty quickly though, 'cos of the previous long weekend. Therefore I only go back to the lab on tuesday.. and now is the wee morning of Saturday!! Now, what did I do in this week?? Hmm... pretty much nothing I think.. let's see,...

Went back on Tuesday, but since it's a lab meeting day, the whole afternoon's spent on the meeting.. so no work done. Wedesday, what did I do?? I think pretty much nothing as well. Spent the day in the lab, surfing ard the net. Now thursday, went there pretty early, ard 9+ in the morning, thinking that Dom will be teaching us how to make the media for culturing M.burtonii, but didn't go through with it 'cos Huifen was late I think. Again, spent the day stoning away. So finally, friday, friday the 13th, I manage to see some action. Like I said, I only 'see' action, didn't actually do it! haha.. 'cos the media that I need to make is the MFM media, while Dom was showing us another type of media. Nonetheless, it's good to learn how the media is made, and get acquitanted to the equipments etc.

Anyway, back then, I had contemplated on running a TUG-PAGE (essentially urea gradient gel) to see if my protein lysate is in its native state or not. But then, Davide was advising against it, with valid reasons of cos. Foremost, TUG-PAGE is normally used to analyse a single protein, and it need like 20ug of protein. Imagine now I'm using lysate, I will actually need to load in a lot more lysate to view it at the end. Secondly, he asked me to trust the sonication protocol that it will generate proteins in the denature state. He cont'd saying that if the sonicaiton protocol is doubtful in generating non-denatured proteins, then years of hard work by others in the scientific commuinty that uses sonication will go into the drain! Well, this is quite true as well. I mean, I checked some references, they used sonication to get their protein lysate and use it for gel shift assay as well.. so, am I just being paranoid!!?? Then again, I also found a good article that shows that sonication can increase the beta-sheets level within protein. Argh.. headache..

In addition, using TUG-PAGE to look at the nativity state in a heterogenous protein lysate is novel! How do I even begin to interpret the data to determine how many percent is in its native state? So much effort, and yet so much uncertainty, is it worth the effort? But, my primers ain't arrived yet, and I can't do work as well. Use this opportunity to try it out and see how it goes?? hmm.. questions after questions.. Are there any easier options?? Or just a leap of faith?! Any advise??

Everytime I think abt work, headache.. anyway, spent alot of time online watching this US drama called 'Heroes', when I come back home..haha.. it's a very interesting show, and dare I say, even better than 'Lost'! It's a bit similar to 'X-men', but much better. Haha.. I have attached a fan-made trailer here, so enjoy!

Anyway, I tried cooking the braised chicken wings again.. (my second attempt), and this time, it's much better, much more delicious! Just that I added abit too much olive oil! haha.. but overall, it's very nice.. Yum yum..

My second attempt in cooking the braised chicken wings,.. looks more professional now..haha

The product of my cooking...

Well, bought banana cake as well.. yummy. However, i find cakes esp. chocolates ones in Sydney is very sweet!! Too sweet for my liking.

Other dinner menus... Fried seafood eggplant...

Fried rice..

And, Calamari!! My favourite.. yum yum..

Saturday, 7 April 2007

A rainy Saturday...

It sure is a rainy Easter weekend.. it has been raining on and off since yesterday, and really sucks the life outta ppl, at least for me! LOL.. don't feel like doing anything, just slacking away at home, watching shows, playing online chess etc.. at this rate, think I'm gonna be fat after the weekend! haha.. doing nothing, but sit in front of my labtop and have dinner when it's dinner time. Haha..

Anyway, I went over to the Sydney Fish Market with Jim yesterday. Well, probably its a wrong choice of time to go over on a Good Friday, cos it's loaded with people! Argh.. had a hard time finding seats for a meal.. and so many people! We walked all the way from circular quay, across the pyrmont bridge, and further down to the Fish market.. it's a case of the blind leading the blind, as Jim has never been to the Fish market before. I, though have been to the Fish market like 7-8 yrs ago, can't remember how to get there! haha.. So I just rely on my memory of a satellite map of the Fish market which I downloaded the day before, and navigate our way through! Anyway, enough talk, and here are the pictures

Waited at the St. James station for Jim. Since he's late, wonder to the Hyde park which is just behind St James. Saw these guys playing this hug chess! Cool.

Walkway leading from St James to the Hyde Park (north side)

No idea what this building is, but the architecture looks like victorian times.

Who can resist the call of ice cream?? yum!

Autumn is definitely in the air.. leaves are turning yellow!

Past by this Martin place, and saw these performers there.. wonder what they are up to. Trying to ask ppl to go in and shop? Oh, Martin place is a hotel retail.

Architecture of Martin Place

Along the Pyrmont bridge

Yup, that's me, with the Sydney aquarium at the backdrop

Battleship and submarine docked at the darling harbour.. obviously it's just for a show. Ppl can actually go into the ship and submarine.. but that will be another day for me..

Finally, Sydney Fish Market

Seafood Cafe and Oyster Bar. The cafe where we had our luncheons, where I lost my hp pouch.. sob sob.

Seafood platter for 2, at AUD$25! Ex, but I love the oyster and scallop with melted cheese on them! The fish is fresh too, and the squids are soft.

In the fish market.. loads of people..

What a big fish for sale! And I saw big crabs etc as well! Should have come on weekdays, where it ain't so much people! Then can see more stuffs!

Some of the seafood stalls.. Wanted to try their sashimi.. it look really fresh, but its ex.. so ended up didn't getting any. Well, next time perhaps.

That's me again, outside the fish market. It's drizzling when this picture was taken.

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