Fresh baked “Fong Bao” from the oven – 方包出爐

Random musings & meditations straight from the oven. Hopefully some food for thought as well…

Archive for August, 2009

Too close for comfort.

Today we held a complex-wide garage sale for about 6 hours. While it was a fun day to be out in the sun, everyone who came out couldn’t stop talking about the stabbing incident that happened the night before, at the McDonalds literally just steps away from our home.

Last night I was somewhat irritated by the sound of multiple sirens coming from all directions. I figured there was an incident. I just didn’t realize how serious it was. And I could only imagine the horror on the faces of those eyewitnesses.

Do I feel safe? By and large, yes. I suppose it is a byproduct of growth and progress of the community. But I’m starting to be concerned about the safety of my neighborhood.

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Turn back the clock, just for a day.

Every year on this day, it’s been a habit of mine to reminisce about my childhood. Life was certainly a lot simpler then but nowhere as interesting as what I’ve experienced in the past 16 years.

As I look towards the future, I just want to make sure I don’t forget about the past and how much it means to me.

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Canada Line. It’s about time.

Canada LineSince the Canada Line opened 5 days ago, I’ve already ridden on it 3 times and will likely do so again in the next 7 days. Am I obsessed? I’ll leave it up for you to decide. I just think it’s about time we have rapid transit linking Richmond, Vancouver and the airport.

Opening day Monday was, understandably, a bit crazy. The mood was festive and most people, especially kids, were genuinely excited about riding the new train. The 3 hour excursion was all about excitement. Like many, I brought my camera with me and took a few shots. Here are some highlights.

(*=Lingo alert)

Opening Day PassportWhat prompted me to ride on Wednesday were the Opening Day Passport stamps. 11 of the 16 Canada Line stations offered a stamp for riders to collect. It was never my intention to acquire the full set even though I had my passport stamped at three of the stations back on opening day. But I had to run an errand around the Oakridge area and with 4 stations along the route back to the bakery*, I made the decision to get the passport stamped. Suddenly I was only 4 away from completing the collection. So that evening I made stops at Yaletown, Vancouver Centre, Bridgeport & YVR. Two hours and $2.50 later, it was mission accomplished. Even though the trip had a purpose, it was relaxing and I did get to enjoy the scenery a bit more with fewer people on the train.

Then on Friday, out of curiosity, I rode the Canada Line to work. Normally it takes about 40 to 45 minutes for me to drive. This trip was slightly over an hour with a train transfer and about 20 minutes of walking time factored in. It was an interesting ride but I’m not sure whether it was the fact that I baked* part of this loaf* while riding or the group of half naked yahoos, guys AND gals, who were standing and making noise a section behind me. (Seriously)

Old MTR TrainAt the end, it was about recapturing a feeling I haven’t experienced since commuting across Victoria harbour, between home and school, on the MTR in Hong Kong back in the mid 80’s: That I was part of the fabric of everyday life in the city as suppose to someone venturing out from suburbia to the city simply to get to work. It’s amazing how much you can miss while driving because you have to focus on the road. It is equally amazing how much you get to observe and to be able to feel the pulse of city while riding the train.

One Canada Line. Three distinct experiences. I think I’m liking this. A lot.

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The time was around 3 in the morning

Crescent MoonIt was a warm and quiet night in Lotus Land and Fong Bao had trouble falling asleep because of the heat. So he moved to another room – with windows all wide opened – hoping to get some much needed rest. The plan, for the most part, worked.

But then, it happened.

The sound of running foot steps. A heated conversation.

“…you better (bleeping) get outta here!!!!”

That’s all it took to jolt Fong Bao out of bed. Startled and frightened, his immediate reaction was that something serious has happened. So he quickly went downstairs to check and was relieved his home was not the target. Before he went back to bed, Fong Bao took one last look through the window and saw a police cruiser u-turning just outside his home. It was taken as a sign that whatever took place has been settled.

The time was around 3 in the morning.

*******

Just when Fong Bao was about to lose interest during the latest Strata council meeting, Mr. J began to tell the story of “that night”. Apparently a few other people in our complex had a much better handle of what took place. The following is the reader’s digest version.

*******

McD Take outTwo juveniles were loitering with no intention of going home any time soon. As the night went on, they stumbled upon the Mickey Dee’s in the neighborhood. Illuminated by the bright lights of the Golden Arches, the 2 fellows got a bit peckish. A thorough examination of their jeans pockets yield not a single coin nor any legal tender. Desperate to fill their empty stomachs, our two juvenile friends came up with a rather brilliant idea.

Why not steal someone’s drive thru order?

The time was around 3 in the morning.

*******

Wanted: HamburglarNot that anyone knows exactly how they managed to complete the heist – our 2 “hamburglars” secured a bag of Mickey Dee’s takeout and proceeded to run towards Fong Bao’s townhouse complex. Just when they were about to eat on the run, they realized, to their horror, there was only enough food for one person. They stopped running and an argument ensued over who gets to eat what. In the meantime, the police, after being alerted by Mickey Dee’s, found the arguing hamburglars. After a quick game of hide and seek, Lotus Land’s finest made the arrest.

The time was around 3 in the morning.

It’s a true story. No joke!

Item du jour

How the Hamburglar got his stripes?

Of Olympics, food and Twitter

The long awaited email arrived in my in-box today. I’ve been offered a position as a Vancouver 2010 Olympics volunteer: the load zone attendant. I have no idea what the mandate is but it’s confirmed that  I’ll be working at the Richmond Olympic Oval. More information should be forthcoming in the fall as well as feedback on my application for the Paralympic games.

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I came across this link the other day on Twitter and it got me thinking about food. Honestly, I would not hesitate in trying some of the items on the site but after looking at pages upon pages of artery-clogging-goodness, I got a bit sick. Too much of a good thing, I suppose. Or was it too much of a bad thing?

It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve gained a better understanding and appreciation for the food I eat. Certain things are meant to be enjoyed as is and if you remove certain elements, it loses its flavour and character. Roast pork is not the same without the skin and/or the fat. That being said, be mindful of the quantity. Have just enough so you can savour the taste.

While I’m not sure I’m discipline enough to adhere to a strict diet or cut out certain foods, my goal moving forward is to be balanced and to control the portions as much as possible. (Not to mention getting myself back on an excercise program, pronto!)

Eat what I enjoy and enjoy what I eat, but in moderation.

*******

TwitterTomorrow will be exactly 2 months since I started to “Twitt”. While I’m still trying to figure out how to respond and forward “tweets”, I think Twitter has found a niche in my social networking universe. It’s a new way of getting information (since I mostly follow reporters and columnists) as well as a means to be entertained. I’ve laughed out loud on numerous occasions after reading some rather witty “tweets.”

I don’t think I’ll ever become a hardcore “Twitter” but it fits well with “The Oven” in its current form and hopefully I’ll have more interesting things to “twitt” about in the future.

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Little Mountain

Social housing has been a hot button topic in Vancouver for quite some time. While most people in the know agreed it is a serious problem, none of them could devise a long term solution that best address the need.

I don’t claim to be an expert nor do I pretend to know a lot about the subject. But having worked in 2 of the lowest income neighborhoods in Vancouver, I do see it first hand.

*******

Little Mountain was an old social housing project that I’ve driven by many times but had no idea what it was until a few months ago when, by chance, I came across reports of its demise.

These were taken one afternoon in April while on my way home from work. Since then long time residents have vacated and chain-linked fences have surrounded the complex. Demolition seems inevitable.

Just another day in paradise?!

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