Monday, 9 July 2007

Cooking: Lemongrass Chicken

Lemongrass Chicken
(Serves 1-2)

1-2 lbsChicken Pieces (skin on, boneless optional)
2 stalkLemongrass (finely chopped and bruised)
2Green Onion, thinly sliced
1 tspSalt
1 cloveGarlic, finely minced
1 pinchChili Flakes
1/4 tspWhite Pepper
1 smallOnion, julienned
1/4 cupChicken Stock
2 tbspGranulated Sugar
2 tbspFish Sauce

Roasted Chopped Peanuts (Optional)

Chopped Cilantro (optional)

1. In a ziplock bag, mix lemongrass, green onions and garlic.

2. Marinate chicken pieces with salt and white pepper with a touch of toasted sesame oil

3. Add chicken to ziplock bag, and mix it about and let it marinate overnight or at least for 30 minutes. This is also the time if you want to split the portions and put some into the freezer.

4. Heat wok/pan in med-high heat, add oil. When oil is hot, add chili flakes and let it fry for 30 seconds. Add chicken pieces and brown both sides.

5. Add chicken stock and let it cook for a few minutes until some liquid has been evaporated, stir in onion and cook until chicken is cooked.

6. Sprinkle sugar and fish sauce. Cook for another 30 seconds to a minute. Dish up, garnish with chopped roasted peanuts and cilantro. Serve on a bed of steamed jasmine rice.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Art & Culture: Antony Gormley & Damien Hirst

(left) Antony Gormley // Blind Light // 17 May - 19 August 2007 @ Hayward Gallery
(Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London, SE1 8XX)

(right) Damien Hirst // Beyond Belief & For the Love of God // 1 June - 7 July 2007 @ White Cube
(25-26 Mason's Yard, London SW1Y 6BU)

Antony Gormley // Blind Light
Zoe and I went to see Antony Gormley's exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre. As we entered into the gallery, we saw this giantic metal sculpture on our left and the infamous Blind Light installation in front of us. We couldn't help it but to experience that first. "Blind Light" is a glass room filled with fog, where the audience will became part of the art itself. We couldn't see anything but mist when we were inside, we stayed close to each other. It was bizarre, you can hear people but you can't see them until they came up real close.

Next we went to see "Allotment" which is a room full of concrete blocks which was meant to look like urban landscape. Each is cut out with a cube you can look through them and walk through the concrete forest. Then we went back to the main area and looked at "Space Station". A breathtaking sculpture of metal cubes combining together to form space. The upstairs gallery features his wired matrices of himself. Loved it!

Canada Day in London
After the exhibition we walked to Trafalgar Square to attend the Canada Day in London celebration. It was lame. None of the food promised was there, there was no poutine, bison burger was £5. So we went to the Maple Leaf instead. Met up with Matt and Audrey, had a pint of Sleemans and poutine, we went back to the Square and met up with Niki and Paul. K'naan was alright and Sam Roberts was boring. Niki insisted to go back to Maple Leaf, I wanted to meet up with Zoe's mates and Jarvis at The Phoenix. I was so bored at the Maple Leaf, and it was a MISSION to get them outta there. The phoenix was fun, I met Greg, infamous Tommy and his girlfriend Laura, and another friend of theirs. A bit of mix bag of a night...

Damien Hirst // Beyond Belief // For the Love of God
The White Cube itself is quite an interesting venue as it is situated in a middle of a square with offices around. We had to queue about half an hour for the viewing of "For the Love of God". Once our group was let through upstairs, it was curated by a security guard with a long list of instructions to put our bags against the wall, and informed us we'll be entering a pitch black room but eyes will get used to it, no touching the glass and so forth. Zoe and I entered the room, everyone's focus was on the infamous diamond skull. It was magnificent! I love how the skull had a missing tooth, it was the imperfection in the perfection. After about 3 mins of viewing, the security thanked us for visiting and our time was up. Zoe and I went back to the front and see the rest of the exhibition. Damien Hirst explores the fundamental themes of human existence -- life, death, love, truth, immortality and art. We first face a series of "Birth Paintings" which was actually paintings of his son's birth, Cyrus, by Caesarean section. The series illustrates the brutality yet tender images of horror and beauty of a childbirth. Downstairs was the series of "Biopsy Paintings" which we found was a bit eerie since it was based on a series of biopsy images of cancer patients with the rich texture of broken glass, choice of redness "blood" and razor blades. We did enjoy walking through the Natural History series, the infamous half shark, half cows, sheep, fish, butterflies. His last piece "Nativity in The Adoration" was the most amazing, it was a knife through a heart with wings, it is where Hirst questions art, science, faith, pain and religion. Amazing!

After the exhibition, we met up with Gavin at Ed's Easy Diner on Great Newport street for some malt shake and Astro Fries. It was amazing! You can read my review here on TrustedPlaces. We were soooo full!! We went to See Woo for a quicky browse and picked up some rice noodles and said our byes. It was a good day.

Damien Hirst // White Cube Hoxton Square: Beyond Belief
On Saturday, 7th July, I went to the last day of the Damien Hirst exhibition at the Hoxton Square location. I am glad I went to this one after I've seen the one at Mason's Yard. The collection is a bit smaller. But this time the "Biopsy Paintings" has deeply affected me more, especially knowing they were biopsy images of dying cancer patients and lumps of hair in the paintings. The Hoxton Square collection continues questioning about faith. The first piece as you walked in was the stunning "Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain" which was representation of the Saint's martyrdom -- glass tank with a black calf with arrows through the body. "Nativity of The Adoration" showed a medical scenario with 3 dead sheep in kneeling position to a silver baby skeleton. "God Only Knows" featured another 3 sheep in crucified positions. Upstairs was a small collection of the post-birth painting series of Cyrus and his wife Maia.

After thoughts
Antony Gormley challenges the human body as a habitation and how the body form interacts with space, landscape and environment. Whilst Damien Hirst challenges the deeper meaning of the human form: faith, technology, love, life and death. Most Hirst's installations were cast in glass tanks where Gormley's were free structured. Although interestingly enough, Gormley's "Blind Light" was a basically a large glass tank and filled with fog, where people can see the silhouettes from the outside and became the subject of the art form. Are we the cut up shark and dead sheep in this case? I like both exhibition, but reckon I have more emotional reaction to Hirst's collection, I suppose it was more in your face and it questions the higher meaning of life and death. But both exhibitions were well curated and I highly recommended to anyone to see them both.

Life: Jobbing Frustration

I feel a bit calmer and decided to put my mind off things and focus on finding work. It was hard to motivate myself and he's right, i need to sort out my life first. Luckily I have a "Power Jobbing" buddy (as we coin the term) to support and motivate each other, and to go over each other's cover letters and such. It's been productive.

I give up on applying through agencies. Last week, I applied for a position immediately upon getting a notify email about the new job posting, 10 seconds after i pressed the send button, I got a rejection email! I was furious. Have they even looked at my CV? Hello???

This week, I have decided to cold call companies to send them my CV. I am going through the 2007 DesignWeek Top 100 Design Firms in the UK, and I am going to send each and every company listed on there my CV. I have send out my CV to the Top 10 Branding/Packaging Agencies, except for Pearlfisher coz i have inside scoop that they've just downsized a bunch of people. I immediately got one rejection by Springetts, they only recruit fresh graduates and to have their career grows in the company. What kind of company is that? That's just taking advantage of cheap labour because they were fresh off school!

On a side of a bit of good news, as I've already mentioned in my previous entry, I had an excellent interview last week with Octagon, I should hear back from them in the next few days should I made the 2nd round of the interview. Fingers crossed. At the meantime, I shall continue cold calling and sending my CV to those 100 agencies. I don't believe I won't get one response from any of them!! Seriously, I don't think my portfolio sucks that bad!?!?!?! ERRRRR!!!!!

ps. Also, i've received my TrustedPlaces card today in the mail. Ahoy for 2 for 1 or 50% off meals!!

Monday, 2 July 2007

Life: All Too Familiar!

It was difficult time for me to pull myself together two months ago. With encouragement from my friends, I've decided to stay and give London a go. Things were looking positive for a while, made some great new friends, Great Escape experience was excellent, a budding romance but it seems I'm back to square one again. Still struggling to find a job, and the littlest excitement i've had has gone down the drain as well...

I really thought things will finally start to look up again last week. After sending 90 job applications, I finally had an interview last Thursday, not only that, it was also the position I wanted the most. It was with an international PR/Marketing company called Octagon. The interview went pretty well, i was there for almost an hour. The girl at the interview shared the same background as me as she was on Holidaymaker initially from Australia. We had similar design background as well, hopefully she'll emphasised with me. I should hear back from them this week if i made the 2nd cut or not. Fingers crossed.

Been casually seeing someone as well, i was hesitant at first but thought to give it a chance. He's honest (too honest?) and he makes me laugh. I enjoyed spending time with him very much even though we don't see each other too often. I was very excited about it, even though we're nothing serious I've started to grown to know and care for him. Thought things were going well as we had discussed a week before but it took an unexpected turn this weekend. Ironically we went to the same places we've started on our one month. Okay, so it's not a very long time but it is for relationship phobes. I haven't been in any for a very, very, very long time even though i've dated people in between. I was fine with us being casual.. i didn't think we were rushing into anything nor have i forced us to be in a relationship, he just wanted us to be "friends" for now, so i dunno. I just dealt with the ordeal of the whole "just friends" bullshite for the past 2 years with another guy. One minute we're "just friends" the next we're "more than friends" to being "not friends". I'm not a light switch, i can't just flick my feelings back and forth, it's totally mind fucking! I really hate being dick around like that and the other guy was never honest with me. It's these fuckers that made me relationship phobe!

To be honest, i didn't expected to be this upset about it, but if i haven't any feelings for him, i wouldn't be upset right now would i? I'm not sure where we'll go from here... we're both not ready to take the next steps but can we go backwards? he said he doesn't want to add more complication to my life right now, having said that but being this upset doesn't do any good to it neither. I'm not sure what to do really...

Contemplating of going to Tack!Tack!Tack! tonight, a friend isn't feeling well so she backed out... but I'm not sure if i want to be home alone at this point, I'll just be crying my eyes out...

I'm going to be bad, i'm going downstairs and buy some Fanta..
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