Monday, July 23, 2007

a baker's nightmare...

is to not have a working oven.

:-(

when i first moved into this apartment, i was sooo excited about the "new oven with a window". it was later that i found out that the new oven was also the cheapest oven in the market. at first i thought, oh well it's ok as long as it works. but guess what? it doesn't!!!

argh... such a frustration. however, i do learn a lot about gas oven and how to check an oven temperature properly....

so, unlike an electric oven, the temperature at a gas oven is not steady. it fluctuates a lot because the heat source is not on all the time. the gas burner will go on only until it reaches the desired heat, and then it'll automatically go off. it'll turn back on once it reaches a low point (i don't know what determines the low point). this fluctuation makes it really difficult to determine the correctness of the oven temperature.

and on top of that, it's also very important to make sure that the thermometer is accurate. and how to test it? here's the trick. a thermometer should show 212 F on a pot of boiling water. if it doesn't, then it needs to be calibrated. luckily, my thermometer was only 1-2 F off. so i didn't bother to calibrate it.

on top of the temperature fluctuations, another problem with a conventional gas oven is that heat rises and not distributed evenly. so when i baked cookies, the ones on the top rack got burned faster than the one on the bottom.

there's also what's called the "biscuit test". GE's troubleshooting site suggest doing this test to check the oven temperature. it says that if a can of premade biscuit dough can be baked within the suggested time period, that means the oven temperature is okay. i've done this test and the result was very vague. the biscuit was cooked. however, it was partially burned and partially not dark enough. and i think they are smaller than what they're supposed to be. and what does this indicate?? who knows?

i've tried baking three times, all failed. and the stuff i baked were foolproof recipes. i kept telling myself that maybe i'm just not familiar with this oven yet. but it's a dreadful thought that this oven might not be able to bake any cakes or cookies or pastries.

so i've been checking on craigslist, per my co-worker suggestion, for a used oven to purchase. trouble is, i need to somehow get rid of the one i have right now. and, there's also the transportation issue. this is, after all, a full size oven. how the heck are we gonna carry it all the way to this apartment (second floor with no elevator)? and, what if there's no electric connection in the kitchen?

garh... so many things to think about, so little time.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

run across iowa

my coworker just ran across iowa. i think that's truly amazing. he ran 306.9 miles and it took him 11 days to complete.

this proofs that you can truly accomplish what you set your mind to.

he was also interviewed by the local news: http://www.kimt.com/
(scroll down to "video on demand", click the drop down menu and choose "sport", "marathon man")

google reader

one of my friends suggested that i send weekly/monthly newsletter to people so they can read my posts without having to go to blogspot. unfortunately, i don't think blogspot come with that option and i actually don't want to bombard my friends' inbox with my constant update notification ^_^.

anyway, i then decided to try out the subscription options that blogspot offers. if you scroll down to the bottom of this page, there's an option to subscribe to this blog. and then you will get several subscription options. the first one, which is the simplest one, is to add a live bookmark using rss feeds. i didn't like it so much; it's a matter of personal preferences i guess. the one i like the most is actually google reader. it allows you to subscribe to various blogs/sites, and it retrieves new content as the blogs/sites get updated. it's really cool. if you already have a gmail account, you will immediately feel like home as the interface looks just the same.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

moved again

we just moved to a new place. the old place (mission peaks a.k.a red hawk ranch) jacked up their rent and we're not willing to pay $1,431 for a one bedroom unit. so we decided to move to another apartment in the north side of fremont.

moving is not my favorite thing to do. but it was truly a reality check. it made me see how much JUNK we really have. when we're done packing everything and piled all the boxes together, the whole dining & living rooms were full. thankfully we didn't have to move all those junks ourselves. we decided to hire movers this time, and it was definitely the best way to spend $250! i am so thankful that we hired those movers. those two guys finished moving all of our stuff in three hours. it's very impressive especially since we're moving from a second floor unit to another second floor unit. no elevators! it would've taken us probably the whole day or maybe more, and a bunch of unhappy friends (hehehe).

we then spent the rest of sunday and monday cleaning up and transporting some stuff that the movers didn't take. there weren't a lot of stuff, but it took us way longer than the movers. that's the difference between professional movers and us... hehhehe.

anyway, we're done now. well not really.. .we still have to unpacked and arrange the new place. unlike the old place, the new place is really COLD! i can't imagine what it'll be like during winter :-(.