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Thursday, May 26, 2011

AP in USA: Entrepreneur Teens

B: Can I mow your lawn for 10 Dollars?
A: OK, come and do it once every 2 weeks. Do you have your own mower?
B: No
A: Alright, you can use mine. Make sure to gather and get rid of the grass and clean the mower after use.

Over the phone...
A: Have you got time tomorrow morning at 11am?
C: Yes, what's up?
A: I'm having my house painted and I need my furniture relocated to the basement. Can you come over to help me out? Bring your brother with you.
C: OK.

Over the phone...
A:  I have a new bed delivered tomorrow at 3pm. Will you be home from school?
C: Yes. What can I help?
A: Can you please set the bed up for me? I also have new window blinds I'd need your help to install.
C: OK.

One evening as A was moving some old furnitures out from the house, D came over from the house across the street.
D: Hey A, you need any help?
A: It's OK.
D: You're painting your house, eh? That's quite a bit of a job. Would you like me to do it for you? I'd do a great job!

Some descriptions about the characters above:-
A: a woman in her 40's 
B: a 4th grader boy at 10 years old
C: a high school boy at 16 years old
D: an elementary school boy at 13 years old
and they all lived in the same neighbourhood

An additional note...
In fact, D distributed flyers around offering his service around the neighbourhood as a do-it-all serviceman.
One could even see his flyers posted up on the mall's community board as well as at the community club house down at the beach of Lake Washington.

This is not the first post AkiraSabine shares her observations on the USA. Click here to read more...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Alaska: A Visit One Can Never Forget

Going back to these pics now makes A.S reminisce this unforgettable trip to Alaska

AkiraSabine(A.S) is still strucked with awe by what she saw a year back(June 2010). Although she was only there for a week and only been to 2 cities in Alaska. she did not do Denali and many other places which she believes she missed out a lot but "Oh well! She'd rather travel deep than wide"

It's a mistake to put up a slideshow instead of one by one pictures along with captions but anyways, you can always visit Akira's Flickr page to read up on the descriptions. A.S would like to apologize for the inconvenience caused.

Nevertheless, it was the summer of 2010 when she touched down at Anchorage, Alaska. It was somewhen 10pm when she checked in into the backpackers' hostel. She was lent a bike to explore the sleepy town at night. The miraculous thing was it was still as bright as day as she wandered on the bike. However, all the shops were closed and the streets were quiet.

The next day, A.S took a train which offered her one out of 2 most scenic train views( the other one was the train journey in Switzerland) she's ever seen. One side facing the cliff, the other the ocean and far beyond, the snowy peaks. As it went along, she was intimidated by deep gorge with gushing water right beside the rail and then going up some narrow valley in between snowy slopes arriving beside reflective lakes and she was told  she would be able to spot mountain goats/whales/dolphins on her lucky days.

Seward was a port town about 2 hours' drive from Anchorage. Over here, A.S felt she arrived at paradise! It's a place with lots of cruises bringing visitors out to the sea to enjoy the marine wildlife and glaciers. Over here at Seward too, A.S went hiking at Exit Glacier. Not feeling satisfied, the next day, she signed up to go ice climbing at Exit Glacier which means this time, she went on the ice and down into the narrow crevasse. Before the real climbing, she had to lug with her a backpack filled with water and energy bars, a pair of ice axe, boots equipped with crampons, helmet and hiking sticks . TOUGH, TOUGH but it was all worthwhile when at last she landed on the ice enjoying the breathtaking sights from a higher level. The climb in and out from the crevasse was killing her. It required a lot of arms and feet strength to carry the body weight up the 90 degrees ascent!

At the hostel, AkiraSabine managed to talk and listen to adventures of fellow travellers. "Wow, the whale just jumped right in front of our kayak and did a  flip!" Another would say, " We've been mostly camping and hitchhiking in most of our trips here in the USA." "There were a mother brown bear and her cub walking 10 metres in front of us when we were hiking at Exit Glacier just now!"

Last but not least, Akira thought she should also share the following pictures which she missed in her earlier selection. Too lazy to include it to the slideshow, so, here goes...

Exploring Anchorage on a bike at 10.30pm on a summer night. The sun did not set until 11.45pm and showed itself at 5.30am.

 Seward Town which basically has 2 main parallel streets running across it.

The first sight of these Recreation Vans (RVs) lining up the waterfront amazed A.S. She thought it was SO COOL and she wanted to try it. It's such great pleasure to BBQ in the evening and waking up to such breathtaking sights!

As she was looking out into the water, she caught something moving. SEA OTTER!!! This marine life was so conscious about it's appearance that it just GROOMED NON-STOP while floating on it's back in the water.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Baking Attempt: Cotton Sponge Cake

Given name: Cotton Sponge Cake

Source of recipe: From a blog A.S is a follower of

Attempt: First

Overall sponge cake attempts: countless 

Satisfactory level: 80%

Reason being: Layer separation with cotton egg white portion on top and dense yolk+flour portion sunk to the bottom


1. The yolk+flour portion shouldn't be mixed with mechanical mixer but instead gently by hand? However, having tried doing it by hand before, it wouldn't mix well with white flour lumps in the masterpiece. 

2. Or was it simply due to over-mixing of the yolk+flour portion that caused it to be dense and stiff?

3. Probably because the egg white was too light and thus stayed on top even after mixing into the yolk+flour portion. What about mixing the yolk+flour portion into the white portion, instead of the other way round, so that the yolk took a longer time to sink.

4. Oven temperature should be hot enough to immediately cook the batter before it has any chance to separate? However, she'd set it to the required temperature and this shouldn't be a factor.

Next attempt: Mother's Day (with frosting, perhaps, and pray hard it'd turn out PERFECT!)

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