My favourite stuff on facebook this week:

GV posted a Cyanide and Happiness comic:

And a photo of our ministers of state inspecting the combat engineers. Liangze used to be a combat engineer.

Awesome photo. I didn’t know she was nyonya.

I wonder if any research has been done in how many ailments for which people go to see doctors actually disappear naturally by themselves. I had an awful earache last week that lasted about 4 days and it was really painful and it affected by chewing and basically any movement on the right side of my face but it’s totally gone now. I didn’t see a doctor because
a) earaches don’t exactly justify a medical certificate
b) a regular GP probably would not be able to cure one and would refer me to a specialist

I think most of my common colds (rhinitis) etc. go away with time, but seeing the doctor only costs me something like $4 with my company’s health coverage so it’s no big deal and the only thing that would motivate me to go is if I run out of meds or if I would like some time off.

We got our I-20s in the mail and will proceed to apply for our visa after LZ has changed his passport after we get back from Italy. He’ll be leaving this Sunday (gosh! Time flies!) and I’ll be leaving 4 days after for some sun and sand and sea! Not that we can’t get those here but by sun I mean the non-sweltering kind that is embraceable even because it’s still spring. Will have to get some sun-block.

We spent last night cooking some of Maifen’s Italian groceries (salsa di noci) from her last trip. I translated a recipe for Spaghetti mixed with walnut sauce and prawns but used her lemon trofie instead, which is a strozzapreti shaped pasta:

It probably goes better with pesto but I was trying to use her walnut sauce.

It turned out really well, especially since the sauce wasn’t too salty and neither was the parmesan cheese I bought. The king prawns lost some of their color after deshelling, but the entire dish was really fragrant (I fried the prawn heads first). I could probably have used more parsley (prezzemolo, as indicated in the recipe), but parsley is crazy expensive here ($2 for a tiny box). Will post pictures when I get to it.

LM recently passed me a copy of Lightroom and I have yet to learn how to use it competently (don’t know all the shortcuts yet, which I use so often in photoshop) that auto-levels everything for me which explains the dearth of food photos and consequently, food blogging. I should probably learn the ropes before we go to Italy :P

LZ was a genius and managed to hack our GPS to install the European map for free. I shan’t say what brand we use but if anyone wants to learn how to do that you can just drop me a note. It isn’t that straightforward; you probably need to be not intimidated by code. The map otherwise cost $90 and we read online that our GPS (not the mainstream brand) lasts for about 3 years usually, and their maps are non-transferrable when you get a new model (?!?!) so each time you upgrade your GPS to a newer model within the same brand you would have to buy new maps. That didn’t sit well with me, so we decided not to buy the map at all and to torrent it instead. No point buying a map for just Italy, which is $60, when you can get the entire map of Europe INCLUDING the UK for $90. And no point paying $100 (with tax) for a 3 year lease of a map of Europe when you can get it for free since the GPS will probably spoil before that :S. We’ve never navigated Europe with a GPS anyway, we’ve always used our ipad/whatever tablet of the season it is. When we were in Budapest we bought an Asus Eeepad just for navigation because the android google maps app allows you to cache areas for later perusal. With the advent of such map apps you would think that GPS companies would learn to price their maps more reasonably. No idea what their marketing execs are doing.

Having a GPS in Italy is pretty important for us though because we will be driving for nearly a week going down small roads to farm stays. When we travelled Europe as college students it was usually backpacker-y style on the train to big cities (Milano, Bologna, Rimini) and not to excavate small villages inaccessible without a car.

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