Saturday June 11, 2011
I decided to terminate the Great Vodka Gummi Bear experiment today, 25 days after it began. As I commented in my last post, they haven't really grown that much in the last two weeks or so; I estimate that most of the growth occurred in the first week actually.
Anyway, without further ado, here is the final result:
On the left, a yellow gummi bear showing the original size, and on the center and right, two of the vodka gummi bears from the original five in the experiment.
Verdict: There's no longer a gummi bear flavour present, it's pretty much vodka. Quite a sharp taste, and texture is more like hard jelly than chewy gummi. It's good but couldn't eat too many in one sitting (would probably get drunk).
Tuesday May 31, 2011
We're at the stage of the year where it's dark when I leave my house for work, and it's dark when I leave work for home. Thankfully, the days have been sunny and cheerful (kinda) but the nights are bitterly chilly since there's been no cloud over the day. Technically, it isn't even winter yet so the worst has yet to come.
I wrote a JSON Parser in C++. I should have probably paid more attention during the lecture on finite state machines, but thanks to these diagrams, JSON parsing is as easy as pushing and popping various states onto a state stack and then registering what you expect the next state to be. JSON parsing is much easier than XML and the language itself is lightweight and readable, so it's ideal for web applications where size of data should be minimised so it can be quickly transferred over the Internets.
My vodka gummi bear experiment continues to grow. It's been two weeks since I put them in there and I don't think they're growing much more. I brought one to work last week and it mysteriously vanished during my lunch break, only for me to return home and find out that it had actually melted and resolidified at home. Either the molecular structure of the gummi bear becomes unstable due to the alcohol replacing certain vital structural compounds, or my office is just too damn hot. The wonders of Science!
Also I'm on Facebook. I won't be abandoning this blog though.
Wednesday May 11, 2011
Jimmy and I went trekking to BevMo's at lunch, a huge alcohol store. I needed my final ingredient for gummi bears in vodka - vodka. So I bought a bottle of Swedish mango vodka for dirt cheap and I'll begin my grand experiment when I'm back in New Zealand. I'll keep you updated.
We went for dinner at this Hong Kong-style Chinese restaurant. I ordered the "Special Chicken" and it was cold steamed chicken, which was unusual but not terrible. What made the meal bad was the Hong Kong milk tea - I had forgotten how terrible that was.
Not long to go :(
Sunday May 8, 2011
We hit town again, this time going from the Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building down by the Embarcadero to Pier 33, where the Alcatraz tours depart. Stepping into the Ferry Building felt like stepping into the Annual Food Show at the Caketin - specialty food stores offering some free samples and bustling with people. It was great, but not really for me - it's not like I'm actually cooking while I'm over here!
The Alcatraz tours had sold out for today so we bought tickets for tomorrow and continued our trek. We made our way further around, returning to Pier 39 where I bought $10 worth of taffy <3 and we got some better photos of the sea lions (since last time it was dusk). Further on, I got some seafood chowder in a bread bowl for lunch and we continued around to see these old ships that had been restored at Hyde Pier.
From the ships, we walked to the famous section of Lombard Street which has been named the crookedest street in the world. Then from there, we walked all the way down to the Presidio area to see the Golden Gate Bridge. It was an amazing sight, though the tips of the supporting structures were shrouded in fog (or fawg, as the Americans say). We also visited the Palace of Fine Arts, which has an amazing building decorated with columns and a huge dome with statues of muses adorning the outer rim.
Tired from all the walking, we bussed back to Powell Street. We saw a whole bunch of yellow go-karts that you can hire for touring the city, but they had balloons attached to them and people in Mario-themed costumes driving them - it was Mario Kart IRL!
We took the BART to 16th Street Mission to meet Tobias at the Monk's Kettle - also a favourite of Mike's. It was great to catch up with him and hear how he's settled in to San Francisco and how his new job is going. We spent some time at Amnesia around the corner before he left - Jimmy and I stayed a while listening to the live bands playing there, drinking soju (HAHAHAHA) and beer before heading home.
Monday May 2, 2011
Our second day started off slowly, since most of us were still rather jetlagged. It wasn't until the afternoon that we actually got on the BART to town. We wandered around San Francisco Westfield for a bit to get some supplies, namely a drink bottle, although the chocolate-covered bacon piqued my curiosity. Jimmy said "do it!!!" so I did and it was disgusting.
We walked uphill for a bit to the Grace Cathedral and then down to Chinatown. Apparently the last time I was in San Fran, approximately 15 years ago, we went to Chinatown for dinner, but I have absolutely no recollection of that at all. There's lots of interesting little shops - although, I was a bit thirsty and decided to try some "tapioca drink", which I thought would be pearl milk tea, it ended up being taro water with pearls.
We made our way back to Powell Street and took the famous cable car to Fisherman's Wharf where we found road side stalls selling bread bowls of chowder. I tried a bit of Jimmy's since I didn't want a full one - it was rich and creamy, and very tasty. We also visited Musee Mechanique, a museum of old-fashioned coin-operated arcade machines (with a few new arcades too). Awesome stuff!
A quick check of the map later and we found Pier 39, bustling with heaps of people and plenty of shops to visit. Of course, I was mostly interested in the chocolate shop and the candy shop, but we also went to various others that piqued Tony's and Jimmy's interests. And yes, we saw and heard the seals too, although it was getting a bit dark by that stage. It was amusing to see them jostle and wrestle for a spot on the pier. We ended up at the Pier Market restaurant, where we each enjoy a root beer, grilled salmon, grilled swordfish and grilled shrimp. Additionally, I also got a white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake. Delicious!
On the way back to downtown, we saw a Segway gang. It was hilarious.
Jimmy wanted to find a bar to get some drinks at, but it looked like a lot of them closed or were too busy, so we ended up heading back to the apartments and calling it a night. Successful day was successful - I have a bag of Sour Patch Kids, four packs of Haribo gummies, two packs of Skittles and one large bag of peanut butter M&Ms. Yeah!
Sunday May 1, 2011
We took a look around the area we're staying and we visited the supermarket and the local Walgreens. Oh man, the confectionary aisle is full of magic like the Haribo gummi bears (I still have yet to find a kilogram bag of those) and peanut butter M&Ms and other delicious things that are hard to find in New Zealand. You've got such a huge brand selection here in the US, it can be a bit overwhelming.
For lunch, we went to the pancake house (not IHOP) across the road. I loved the food. I had two pancakes with grilled bacon and two "over-easy" eggs (I hadn't heard that expression before). Jimmy ordered this gigantic vegetarian omelette that he struggled to finish, so I ended up taking one of his pancakes too. Omg it's soooo goood.
We took a Caltrain to Burlingame and successfully located the offices where we will be working (the real purpose of this trip) and met with some of the people there, just as they were heading out for Happy Hour at this Brazilian steak restaurant a few minutes away, so we joined them for that. As my lead programmer had warned us, the drinks here are much, much stronger than what we are served in New Zealand, so that means I had to be careful and pace myself to prevent becoming completely hammered off my face.
We didn't stay for too long because the four of us were a bit tired from the long day, so we ended up back at the restaurant by the apartments, just chilling and drinking. I got some spicy chicken wings which were actually decently spicy (the food here is really impressing me) and it wasn't until midnight that I passed out on my bed.
Whoohoo! Day two, here I come.
Friday January 4, 2008