Gabriel's shared items

Monday, January 30, 2006

CNY away from home, Sweden Trip, and lotsa work to do!!!

Chinese New Year!
My first Chinese New Year away from home, spent the weekend at a number of Cookouts, 3 to be exact, from chu xi to chu er:
  • Friday - Cell Steamboat
  • Saturday - Kenny's Steamboat
  • Sunday - A little cookout at my place.

Steamboat at cell was out of a rice cooker! Held it at Daryl's place. He made wanton and muah chi! Helped Daryl to get the groceries from Cho Mee's, met Singaporeans from every corner of Cambridge in the shop! Think I'll try making muah chi one day myself. Saw how Daryl made it by heating Glutenous Rice floor in sesame oil and water, think it's quite straight forward once you get the chewy stuff right...

Kenny's steamboat was superb too! Really delicious, had it Seoul Gardens style. But dont know why the food cooked much better than in Seoul Gardens... somehow the meat wasn't stuck to the pan as much as the barbaques I've had in Singapore... And finally got to sample his pineapple tarts :P Very good, even without taking into account that he made it himself!

Ripped this photo off Kenny's blog:

Then attempted to hold my own Reunion dinner... Actually it's just a normal cookout, but invited a few more people so that I could use my Prima Deli Singapore Curry on this special occassion. Cooking that has become routine... Tried making agar agar this time round. Realised it's simply tons of sugar mixed in a little gelatin. Really unhealthy if you ask me. Might as well drink syrup! Anyway, tried using some of the coconut milk for the curry to make the white coconut milk layer of agar agar. Didn't know you have to wait for the original layer of agar agar to solidify before pouring it in. This resulted in cloudy agar agar. Tasted quite nice actually, mmm... coconut milk... It just wasn't very presentable.

Choon Howe, Jack and Shagnik were present. Choon Howe brought roast pork - that was very nice too! All he did was marinated a piece of pork, about 7cm x 7cm x 15cm of it, wrapped it in aluminium foil, and roasted it in the oven at 190 degrees for around 2 hours. Jack was responsible for the rice, and Shagnik did the dishes after.

So much for CNY. No Ang Baos this year :S Jack was suggested inviting this PhD student who was married and had children, just so that we can get Ang Baos, but because of the fact his wife and children were somewhere else, he couldn't join us for the cookout. Tough.

Sweden Trip
Just discussing with Serene about the Sweden trip. Now got to look out for the plane tickets there. Ah! So many components, so much uncertainties!
  1. Cambridge to Stanstead by National Express;
  2. Stanstead to Skavsta Airport in Stockholm by air - Ryan Air or Easy Jet;
  3. Skavsta Airport to Stockholm City by Flybussarna;
  4. then from the bus station to the youth hostel and meeting Serene - dont know how :S.
  5. And from Arlanda Airport in Stockholm to Kiruna by plane, and the rest will be Serene's problem :P

Sigh, gotta book the plane tickets in the next few days. It's going for under a pound!

Yeah, and my work's starting to pile up. Just calculated: We have 2 Example Sheets and around 6 days a week. That means I'll have to complete a third of an Example Sheet everyday. But from the looks of it, I dont think I'm pacing very well.

Nevertheless still enjoying it, but getting kinda stressful, cos now I know that I am able to change things with the effort I'm putting in, unlike last term when I felt like whether I spent time doing work or not wouldn't make a difference. And Ling came to CCCF today! Really incredible! He just decided to come after reading the CCCF email, and he isn't even a Christian! Hm... gotta pray for him to come more regularly, then I'll get a good mathmo buddy in CCCF, a legendary one at that!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Settling into a comfortable routine.

Pass few days have been busy, but i'm quite happy with it. I'm more busy now cos I've been finding work much more enjoyable this term, and I'm trying to do as much of it as possible.

A look at my calander for the week:
Sunday 220106
Had Dinner with Choon Howe;
Followed the Portuguese Mathmos to Trinity to watch Macbeth. (Totally couldn't understand what was happening in the show!)

Monday 230106
Met Probability Supervisor at Trinity;
Attended talk by Career Services;
Trinity Maths Society Talk

Tuesday 240106
N&S Supervision;
Focus at StAG.

Wednessday 250106
DEq Supervision;
History of Math lecture;
Tried Cooking beef stew.

Thursday 260106
Blue Chips Fair held by Career Services;
Now stewing the beef in the thermal pot for dinner...

Friday 270106
Having steamboat at for Cell, CNY Celebration!

Saturday 280106
CNY Celebration at Kenny's place, with the steamboat I brought over! Hope Kenny makes pineapple tarts :P

A log of my experiments in the kitchen

1) Carbonara
- Debone Chicken,
- Fry Chicken, Mushroom
- Add in premade Carbonara Sauce
- Pour Sauce over Pasta

That easy!
And the chicken was very very tasty, and frying it produced very a fragrant aroma in the kitchen.
But felt that the pasta was quite plain as there wasnt enough sauce... Maybe I should fry the pasta in with the muchroom and chicken, then mix in the sauce, the way I cook my spghetti.

2) Chicken Soup
- Chop Potato, Onion, Carrot, Mushroom
- Boil Water in thermal pot
- Throw in the above mentioned Vegetables, and Chicken
- Add a little Sauce
- Leave to boil in thermal pot.

The chicken turned out quite dry. Guess chicken isn't a good meat to boil in the thermal pot for prolonged periods of time...
The best way I cooked chicken so far was in the curry made with Prima Deli Packets, and I boiled it for around half an hour.... Think that's the optimum time for cooking chicken.
Also heard that cooking chicken soup is not as easy as throwing chicken in water and boiling it... So what else is there to chicken soup if not the chicken and the soup??? :O

3) Beef Stew
- Dice Potato, Onion, Carrot, Mushroom
- Chop up beef
- Marinate Beef in Soy Sauce
- Boil Water in thermal pot
- Throw in Potato, Onion, Carrot, Mushroom, Beef
- Leave to stew...

Sampled the beef at intervals after stewing it in the thermal pot... Didn't seem to vary very much. Perhaps cos I only cooked it for 2 hours. Trying again now, intend to leave it stewing for 6 hours. Will report if there's any difference. But the potato was certainly softer after leaving it to stew for 1 hour. So if anything, the thermal pot is good for boiling potatoes!
Also marinated the chicken in too much pepper the last time, leaving the pepper out this time round.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Cooking Carbonara

Yup, just did that yesterday and today:

Button Mushrooms - 0.57
Chicken Drumsticks - 2.69
Canned Cream Sauce - 0.98
Pasta - 0.50

Total cost - 4.74

Served 4...

Actually wasn't very filling, so next time I'll cook it for 3 meals.

Deboning is quite a hassle, but getting better at it.

Next dish: Beef Stew!

Just found the kinda beef I'll need, and the oxtail soup at Sainsbury.
Also will use potatoes, carrots, and onions, and the thermal pot.

And a rice cooker will make things much more convinient.

Looking for many things now... I'll jot these down til i make a more complete list...
Boxes to keep my onions and potatoes,
A shelf,
A rice cooker.

Newton's Laws of Motion as found in Principia Mathematica

Lex I: Corpus omne perseverare in statu suo quiescendi vel movendi uniformiter in directum, nisi quatenus a viribus impressis cogitur statum illum mutare.

Lex II: Mutationem motus proportionalem esse vi motrici impressae et fieri secundum lineam rectam qua vis illa imprimitur.

Lex III: Actioni contrariam semper et aequalem esse reactionem: sive corporum duorum actiones is se mutuo semper esse aequales et in partes contrarias dirigi.

Law 1: Every body continues in it's state of rest or of uniform motion in a right line, unless it is compelled to change that state by a force impressed on it.

Law 2: The rate of change of motion is proportiona to the motive force impressed; and it is made in the direction of the right line in which that force is impressed.

Law 3: The mutual actions of two bodies are always equal and dircted to contrary paths.

Cambridge adds that extra tinge of authenticity to studying physics :P

Saturday, January 21, 2006

First week of lectures

Think this is going quite well... I'm actually beginning to enjoy and look forward to lectures!

Did Sterling's formula today in lectures, gotta learn to derive that.

Have been crashing ther Physics lecture before my math lectures, it's very interesting!!! They're doing Lagrange Principle of Least Action now.

Learnt that it is simply a consequence of Newton's Second Law. Just that it's is replacing the Cartesian Coordinate system with any arbitary coordinate.

And things like Energy and Momentum are not real physical quantities at all. They only arise out of integrating F=ma wrt time and distance!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

FINALLY! Internet Connection Thru a Proper Laptop!!!

Yeah, finally got this to work! Now I'm very comfortable in my room, and I think I'm going to enjoy the next 6 months here very much!

With my bed made infinitely more comfortable by the blanket I brought over; and the laptop through which I can organise my life, and conviniently access infomation; and a guitar to strum away whenever I'm stressed, or need something mindless to do when trying to solve a maths problem; and I found a place to watch TV, did it this morning at 5 am, and totally enjoying the programs! And a thermal pot to cook delicious meals in; and all the other miscellaneous things I brought over with me this time round, I now feel like I can fly! Take on anything the new term throws at me!

Just started lectures today. It's much better now that I'm mentally prepared for what to expect. Attended the physics lecture before my maths lecture, they're doing classical mechanics - Lagrangians and Hamiltonians! Think I'll frequent that lecture too!

Also just met my DOS today. Assigned me my supervisors for the term. Will have a supervision with a greek guy from Trinity! That will make a good excuse: if I cannot understand what is happening, I can always pass it off that he was speaking greek ;P

But really looking forward to having this supervision - it should allow me to know more mathmos. Trinity accounts for more than 20% of the mathmo cohort, and they are usually the best of the lot!

Shall blog about my first few days here after I've sorted it out. Also the plans for my meals... Just recceed Sains for the ingredients today, think I'll execute the meal over the weekend. Lets see.. I'll get chicken, and cook pasta and chicken soup. Also will be looking for containers to hold my fresh produce.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Here we go again.

Ok, leaving in a few hours time. This is beginning to feel routine... Grossly underestimated the amount of things I'm bringing back. After packing most stuff, my luggages are weighing at around 35 kg. Hope to get through the gates without too much hassle. Going to be carrying lotsa bags this time round... A big luggage, a haversack, a smaller pull along luggage, a laptop, and a guitar.

Schedule for Tuesday 170106 - Arrival
Will be busy from the word 'go', once i reach Cambridge this time round. Lets see... My plane's eta at Heathrow at 0830. Get to bus station, buy National Express tickets, bus ride to Cambridge, will prob reach by noon. Make my way back to my room, unpack, look for lunch, wash up, then have A&G supervision scheduled at 1430 at Peterhouse. Wonder if my college card has enough credits for my meals today... Then will have to look for dinner after supervision. Also need to go see the computer guy to configure my laptop, and go grocery shopping for breakfast and snacks. That should be about all for Tuesday.

Schedule for Wednessday 180106 - EXAM!
Will have breakfast with the focus group guys around 0800 at Ben's house. Looking forward to meeting them after a month. After, gotta look for lunch, and will be having an exam at 1330! Just received the email yesterday! Going to die! but wattahack, it's just a mock paper... I'll try to read up before that... It'll be ending at 1630. Go back, and unpack, and prepare for school the next day, and try to finish my up example sheets!

Schedule for Thursday 190106 - School Starts!
Lecture begins. Starting with Vector Calculus and Probability. Need to look for lunch, maybe I'll try cooking soup. Meeting DOS at CMS at 1400. And that marks the beginning of another 8 week marathon! But at least I'm better prepared to take it on! (At least I hope)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Random Thoughts, Visiting SAJC and SAS, and bumping into lotsa people!

Had several theraputic conversations the past few days, mainly with different groups of friends from secondary school, with CK gugu, and with Alvin.

Been confiding in them about how tough the experience of my first term in Cambridge had been, how difficult it is to have no one doing the same course to casually hang out with. How beginning the term without an idea of what to expect, without really knowing the system, or anybody there, had contributed to my feeling like I've been dragged along during the term through the lectures, not anticipating anything, and returning back everyday to a deserted room to fight a hopeless fire of example sheets and lecture notes, and having no one to turn to for help.

On top of that, having to worry about daily things like food, laundry, banking matters, library books expiring.

Basically related how I dread returning to the same situation next term, but at the same time optimism that this term would be better.

Better because I know what I'll be returning to, I'll know my way around Cambridge better, because I know who I'll be meeting, I know what lectures will be like, I know where to find resources for the topics I'm doing, because I'll have a better computer through which I can stay connected with the world, better because I know what I want to achieve, and because I should be able to provide for my meals affordably, regularly, healthily.

So much for returning to Cambridge...


Yesterday was CCA display day at SAS. Went to Potong Pasir Mac for breakfast, bumped into Boon Hao. Met Alvin, visited SAJC with him, spoke with DP, had a look around the new compound. Went to Sim Lim Square and to Bugis with Alvin for lunch.

Met Jonathan after at PS, made our way back to SAS. Met some teachers. Bumped into Daniel and Sam Chong helping the BB with their flying fox act. Loitered round the school, bumped into Maowei with the NCC. Learnt later from Daniel that Derrick was hosting a BBQ for dinner, two of us decided to go, so followed Daniel to SAJC to meet his mother, also met Mr Lim in the staff room. Followed Daniel back home to wait til dinner time.
While we were there, Daniel took out our Sec 1 class photo and JC yearbook. Started chatting about the days gone by, about our paths, and that of our peers. It wasn't too long ago when we were all together in that class and it was all we knew of, when being 21 years old and having completed army and beginning university, was a far fetched prospect hardly anyone could concieve, but here we are now!

Then went to Derrick's place for dinner, met more guys - Jeffery, Gerald, and a few of Derrick's JC classmates. Hanged around for a while then left with Jonathan. Took a cab back together, discussed with him along the way about the friendships made in our lives, through Sec Sch, JC, and NS, compared the differences, and expressed hopes that good friendship is not something consigned to the past.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Here's a Llama, There's a Llama...

Llama, Llama, DUCK!

More Websites.

Found a few sites today...

This site with a very comprehensive guide to the topics covered in the Mathematics tripos. For some reason, it is hosted on a server located on the other side.

Dr K├Ârner's Home Page

Also, Alvin just msn'ed me about the End of the World. Go check it out! It's Damn Funny :P

Pictures of the CMS
And here are a few pictures of the Center for Mathematical Sciences, a place I've become so familiar with...

This is where I leave my bike.

I enter the facility to this view.

And hang out in this pavallion.

An aerial view of the entire compound.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Complex Numbers

Playing around with complex numbers this morning...

deduced this interesting relation:

i ^ i = 0.2078796 ; where i = sqrt(-1)

i.e. the imaginary number raised to the power of the imaginary number is a real number!


e^(-pi/2) = 0.2078796 .

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

More Websites

Some websites I found while trying to figure out what my Differential Equations notes:
Paul's Online Math Notes
MIT OpenCourseWare

DAMTP Webpages with Maths Lecture Notes:
Part I and Part II Notes
Part IA Vector Calculus - Lent Term 2005
Student Representative Site

Quantum Computing Links:
New Scientist Quantum Machanics Articles
Quantum World
Found these sites on Quantum Computing through Google Desktop. Looks like there's been lots of activity in this field of research in the past couple of years.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Google dropped by?

Saw this in my webpage stats hours after my entry about google pack...

Visitor DetailUnique Visitors
Visitor IP Address
Date 09 Jan, Mon, 12:48:18 Net Speed Corporate/T1
Organization GOOGLE Browser Firefox 1.5
Continent North America Operating System Windows XP
Country United States Screen Resolution 1280x1024
State / Region California Screen Color 32 Bit (16.7M)
City Mountain View Javascript Enabled
Referrer None
Search Engine None
Keywords None

Googling Mountain View, CA... Learnt from Wikipedia that that...

Mountain View is a city located in Santa Clara County, in the U.S. state of California, USA. The city gets its name from the views of the Santa Cruz Mountains. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 70,708. It is one of the major cities that make up Silicon Valley. Googleheadquarters (the Googleplex), the Mozilla Foundation, Microsoft’s MSN/Hotmail/Xbox/MSNTV divisions, Intuit, Silicon Graphics and NASA Ames Research Center are just a few of the high tech institutions that are located in Mountain View. Mountain View is the first city in the USA which is going to be entirely blanketed by a free wireless internet access provided by Google.

I'm so honoured.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

More Pics from Cambridge

Just browsing round the web tonight, visited the Cumsa website cos i was looking for the name of the place which sells all sorts of items off the counter, ah, what is it called? Had hoped to find some clues on the Cumsa webpage, but found some pics of the Formal Hall instead...

Here's the trackback to that entry...
Ta-da-a!!! My first blog!: CUMSA Formal Hall at Churchill

The guys itching to penny me:
Kenny on the right, who successfully did so once,
Chun Gee, Nicholas and Royce.

The above mentioned plus Kaiting and Dexter...

Ahh!! still cant recall the name of that shop! :S

Google - I'm Lovin It!


just installed the newly released


and already I'l loving this fantastic application called Google Desktop! A culmination of all the google applications neatly tugged away in a sidebar which politely hides itself unless it is summoned.

It has everything I've been looking for at my finger tips -
  • RSS Blog and News Feeds,
  • Weather and Maps,
  • A convinient location to add notes, and a to-do list... Just what I needed!
  • Gmail and Google Talk windows. The least useful applications for the moment...

Google automatically searched my computer to determine which are my favourite websites! And I was pleasently astonished at what appeared!

And it's incredibly smart too! For the maps and weather reports, you no longer have to search for a location, and then select the correct result, google automatically delivers the right result!

One thing it doesn't have is an exchange rate monitor, but I can live with the one on my online headquarters for the moment...

And another thing that can be added is a system which manages your favourite websites... Or perhaps they intended for the blog and news rss feed to automatically perform this function.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Geek Inside

Your Score Summary

Overall, you scored as follows:

8% scored higher (more nerdy), and
92% scored lower (less nerdy).

What does this mean? Your nerdiness is:

Supreme Nerd. Apply for a professorship at MIT now!!!.

Before this, I was a self professed nerd. Now I'm fully qualified ;)

Try it yourself here:

I am nerdier than 92% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Crucial Links

Last term I had felt very isolated from the world, like a frog in the well, the well that was Cambridge. With no access to TV, limited access to newspapers, no mother to tell me the latest gossips in the news, and a painful internet connection. What a quite a deep, dark well it was...

Well, I'd be bringing a laptop there this time, so I'd be better connected to the internet. But connection to the internet is useless if there's nothing to surf. So here are some important links to make full use of the internet access I'd be having.

Some Websites

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year's Resolution?

Nah, more like new year's aims... Just the regular 'to-do' list, except it happens to be the beginnnig of the year...

Look for ways to learn about and get involved with quantum computing. (I need a goal in life.)
Get settled in to life in Cambridge, learn to make affordable meals regularly, now with the thermal pot and rice cooker I'm bringing, it should help facilitate this... Going to try making beef stew and chicken soup. Recipies when I actually do it...
Gotta get comfortable in my bed: bringing a blanket... the kind I use at home...
Get comfortable access to the internet: bringing a laptop...
Need a mindless activity to engage in between studying: bringing my guitar...
Mix around with other groups of people besides the Christians and the Singaporeans. Perhaps at Maths Society meetings, or maybe joining the MUN...
Find out about career opportunities, and what I can begin to work towards... also find out about internship opportunities... Just submitted an online application to RollsRoyce.

More immidiate matters:
Packing up for Cambridge.
packing, packing, more packing...