29 June 2013

Update on my Sak Yant - Khao Yord

Due to the popularity of my Sak Yant posts, I figure I give you guys a quick update on my Khao Yord tattoo.

First go here (if you haven't yet):

http://on-baoy.blogspot.ca/2010/06/getting-sak-yant-tattoo-from-ajarn-thoy.html

It has been 3 years since I got my tattoo and so far so good. 

- i haven't gotten ill or anything yet so they probably did a good job sanitizing that needle
- the color hasn't worn off despite constantly exposing it to the sun
- the blessing of the Khao Yord has been working as I have not been injured or notably hurt since the day I got it! :)

Here is an updated photo of it:



Now go get one.

22 June 2013

Determining (my-your) Core Values Exercise


Hello again!  I arrived in CFB (Canadian Force Base) Borden a few weeks ago on a Thursday at 6:30am.  Man, the drive only took a little over an hour! lol...This is a good thing because I'll be able to visit friends and family more often since it's not so far from them.  In the next while, expect me to write some informative articles on the Canadian Forces, particularly relating to CFB Borden. 

The last few days in Borden have been quite a contrast to  the city life of downtown Toronto.  In a good way though.  On the weekdays I have a lot of time to myself for some deep introspection.  Exactly what I like.  The other night I was just writing out a list of the moments in my life when I felt "completely whole and fulfilled" (inspired by the artical below):

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2009/05/31/30-days-to-a-better-man-day-1-define-your-core-values/


I would like to share these with you.  Due to privacy issues, I kept the people involved anonymous.

r u ready?

Mentor/Friend and I
-a time living at my Kickboxing Coach's house  when I had this  completely warm feeling and realization that I am doing exactly what I want to do and if I was to die tomorrow, I would still continue with my current activities.

-living at my godmother's house in Chiang Mai, Thailand and again feeling content with the path that I am  on (which at the moment was kickboxing).

-the intense sparring sessions with my Coach/mentor/friend. 

-sitting in the living room in front of the TV and just chatting away about randomness with my family and cousins.

-Goofing around with my cousin, niece, brothers on my cousin's bed at her condo.  This was where my brother performed a choke hold on my niece.

-a confidence boosting intimate session with a girl after some time apart ;)

Chiang Mai Family
-the countless hours spent playing World of Warcraft and Starcraft with my friends Bru and Sharoh.  Includes the numerous sessions where we get together to watch and talk about all that is nerdy.

-the moments I shared with my godmother and her friends in a small town in Chiang Mai.

-the deep connection I felt with someone from my past during a bittersweet intimate session.  I have never felt this level of connection with anyone.

-the love, attention, and gifts that I received on my 29th Bday. 

-ballin' at the club with bottles along side my boys.  Bringing back hotties to the booth :)

-guys night out at a nightclub.  Getting drunk and hollering at girls. Crazy times.

-the realization that I have leadership qualities after earning the Top Canidate Award on one of my Military courses.

-the weekly sessions eating Pho with my Coach after a hard day's training at the gym.

-Sitting in front of the TV and watching the TV Series Spartacus with someone from my past.

-role playing kungfu movies by myself in the basement.

-playing house with my cousins and siblings when we were young.

-long conversations on the phone with an old friend during high school.

-sitting in my room in Chiang Mai (above my godmother's convenience store) and reading books after books.  Away from all the noise.

-the third round against an opponent that was more experiance than me and realizing that I am proud of myself for stepping up to the challenge. 

-cleaning my house, awaiting for my mom to come home from work at 11:00pm and giving me a pat on the back

-collecting things like pogs, marbles, cards, comic books while growing up.

-when a close friend of mine told me that I was one of her favorite people

-when another close friend of mine messaged me with a  "friends forever" text.  Granted she was drunk but meh.

-camping and fishing trips with my immediate and extended family.  I can still remember when my grandma caught that eel.

-just sitting around while poking fun and wrestling with my youngest sib.  He's too big now.

-that moment in the Kitchen when I was able to just shut the fuck up and listen without judgement to my sibling and cousin.

-at a chinese restaurant and having an honest, open, and non-ego driven conversation with a person from my past.  We talked about everything good and bad.  I took it like a man.

-a kickboxing fight that I completely dominated.  I was 100% "there" mentally and physically that day.
This wasn't that fight.  But a nice photo taken by Rob Cox.


Still following me?  I then wrote down the values that were associated to each point.  For instance:


Point: The moments I shared with my godmother and her friends in a small town in Chiang Mai.
Associated Values: Family,  Love, Friendship

Once finished compiling my list, I compared them.  Here is the the top 5 of the most reoccurring values in order of importance:


Brother and Niece
FAMILY

The center of all my values.  It is my family who I fall back to during the tides. Love, care, and provide for my family in everyway that I can.








PEACE OF MIND

Winning, losing, abundance, excess power, meaningless relationships and total control may be for others, but it is not for me.  Simplicity is key.  Constantly striving to unclutter my physical workspace.



     
    CREATIVITY

    Involves the desire to be free and express myself in the ways that I envision as well as allowing others the freedom to live their lives the way they please






    DISCIPLINE/STRUCTURE

    Daily involvement in the things that hold meaning and of value to my life.  Not wasting a minute with non-productive activities, voicing meaningless comments, and over thinking.






    GROWTH/CONFIDENCE

    To challenge myself by overcoming deserving challenges with emphasis on character development and gaining experience (negative or positive) rather than end results. Self-confidence in my career, public speaking, hobbies, relationships, and sex life. Success defined by the level of comfort with myself financially, mentally, physically,and spiritually.


    FRIENDSHIP/RELATIONSHIPS/FUN

    True friendship that is built one step at a time and over time.  Based on trust, communication, freedom, and the shared moments that make us :).





    Here is the link again if you like to go over the "how to" of discovering your values:

    http://www.artofmanliness.com/2009/05/31/30-days-to-a-better-man-day-1-define-your-core-values/


    -Baoy


    21 May 2013

    Crossing Paths

    Have you ever thought about why you prefer some music artists over others?  Someone once told me it is because you can relate to that artist...whether it's his lyrics, beats, dancing...in someways there is a connection between you and the artist at that particular moment and time in your life.  But then as time goes by you may not find the  music as enjoyable as you once did.  You have changed as a person and can no longer relate to his music, or simply the artist has changed and what he sings about now has little meaning to you.

    A great example would be Eminem.  During his journey to fame, his music was very inspirational (in the "striving to the top" sense) and that of a very "angry" nature.  This was reflected in his first couple music albums.  But as his career progressed, so did his music.  He had a kid, won countless music awards, and made peace with his mom.  His music started to reflect these changes in his life.  It was less about struggling to "make it" and became more "happy." What he started to sing about  is what is important to him now.  Sadly his new found ways did not align with the "ways" of his original fans. Many of his fans stop listening to his music as a result of these changes in his music as a mere reflection of the changes in his life and personality.  His new music however did started to attract new types of fans that did not use to listen to him prior.

    Real life relationships I find are very similar. A shared hobby may bring 2 complete strangers together or reacquaint 2 old friends.  It's not so uncommon that people come and go into your life.  Everyone has their own paths and when those paths meet at the center of that X (refer to diagram below), learn to cherish that moment because in time those paths will inevitably deviate.

    Excuse the rushed job.

     I always find it funny how some people (especially in intimate relationship) feel like they are obligated to remain in a relationship that may not make sense anymore.  Of course I understand that there's a little more to it.  What if you guys have a kid, are financially tied, or born into a society that frowns on separation?   It can get complicated.

    Anyways, some food for thought.

    I'll be moving out soon to the Army for the next while.  Will miss you all. 

    -Baoy

    View from my condo last week! YIKES

    Ready to rock n roll


    A friend linked this to me.

     

    08 May 2013

    George Brown continues...


    George Brown continues?  Actually it just ended.  Finished the 1 year Culinary Skills Program at George Brown and feeling good.  I remember being so intimidated of cooking.  I didn't think I could do it because cooking required something that I felt I lacked...patience.  My university roommate, lets call him Mr. Jamaican (inside joke), use to do a lot of home cooking.  He was calm, collected, patient...the qualities I felt would make a good chef.  I use to "always" under cook food because I was too impatient to wait for it to finish!

    After 8 months of practice, I proved myself wrong. 

    2nd Term...

    I have to say 2nd Term of Culinary Skills kinda sucked.  Lots of theory work and not enough hands on shit.  There were only 2 labs: culinary skills and banquet/productions lab.  Banquet class only went half way through the 2nd term, after which Career Studies took over.  I seriously don't need to learn how to write a resume or cover letter. 

    Although the mock interview was pretty cool.


    Culinary Skills II

    This was probably the best class in the 2nd half of the program.  Essentially it is the contnuation of the first Culinary Skills Class so I won't go into too much detail.  I am going to say that we defnitely worked on some more unique recipes this time around:
    • Braised Mediterranean Style Rabbit Legs
    • Sweetbreads and Chicken Quenelles in a Mushroom Cream Sauce Served in a Pastry Shell
    • Woodland Mushroom Terrine on Aspic Mirror with Inlaid garnish.







    CoOl huh? 

    Banquet / Productions Lab


    Again, a sequal to the one in the first term.  Except this one was less eventful.  Each group of 4 were to prepare a single dish to present.  Doesn't seem like too much work does it?  Well because it wasn't! 


    Wine Tasting

    The name explains it all.  In this class you learn about the production, use, and taste of all different types of wine as well as how to read lables and what food pairs well with which wine.  Did I mention that you get to taste various wines too?  Well I am now.  My class was at 8am so you could imagine what it felt like to drink wine this early?  A+ class!  By the end you will be able to tell the difference between Pinot Noir, Carbonet Sauvagnon, Chardonnay and many more!  Cast your intimidation aside and order a bottle of wine for your date at your next dinner.

    You faNcy huh?.

    Bartending 101

    Bartending 101 not mandatory for the program but I thought it would be interesteding.  Although a little laid back (mostly due to our instructor) I still really enjoyed this class.  I connected with the classmates and instructor, that probably had something to do with my extra fondness for this class.  Your typical class starts off with a mini lecture follow by all hands on work at the bar.  You will learn how to make over 40 different types of drinks including:
    • Daquiri
    • Caesars
    • Martinis
    • Manhattens
    • Liqueur based drinks
    • and more 
     




    There is plenty of practice time ( at least an hour each class) so you really get a chance to master your mixing.


    ...


    Overall I really enjoyed my year at George Brown.  I actually ended up getting a brief job here:

    http://www.barvespa.ca/http://www.barvespa.ca/

    And to my suprise my studies actually helped a lot.  Of course it was more stressful and faster pace at a real restaurant but I definitely felt that George Brown prepared me for the industry.

    If you have not read the first part of the review you can go here:

    http://on-baoy.blogspot.ca/2013/03/culinary-skills-at-george-brown-college.html



    Email me if you have any questions!

    Thanks,

    -Baoy
    dennis_luu@hotmail.com

    22 April 2013

    Reminder that...

    It's my BURFDAY!

    Also, updated the About on-Baoy section.

    Check it out:

    http://on-baoy.blogspot.ca/2007/11/about-baoy.html

    19 April 2013

    Update on my Bday Bash

    So if I recall correctly, the last time I celebrated my birthday was like when I was 10 years old.  And I just made up that age because I don't even really remember!  This year you can say a hell yeah to me throwing a big party for my 29th bday.

    I told my friend last year that my goal upon moving into my new condo was to throw a massive party.  I wanted to take this opportunity to not only get piss-ass drunk, but to practice on my event coordinating and party promoting skills as one day I would like to get into the "night-life" entertainment industry.  

    The entire planning process for my birthday was definitely bittersweet as I went through lots of doubts.  At points I was very excited, and at other times very discouraged.  Did I want a big party where I can invite freely?  Who should I invite?  Should I book out a club? Or just do a house party?  Or maybe keep it real low key and just do a dinner get-together.  I was a mess, and my poor baby Nga was on the receiving end of this.

    I ended up booking out 4 booths at Cinema Nightclub.  The night started with dinner hosted at my condo and joined by my dearests cousins and in-laws.  By 9-10pm the dinner transformed into a huge party with 30+ people squeezed in a measly 750sq ft condo.  We all headed to the club around 11:30 where we were joined by more friends and family.  The night was epic!  There were Dougie battles, Vodka/Rum waterfalls, chin-up competitions, and other memories that will last me a lifetime. 



    Special thanks to:

    Baby Nga for baking the wonderful cake, helping organize the event from start to finish, and for putting up with my emo-ness throughout.

    Amanda Tran for helping coordinate the event and bringing so many spring rolls.

    Joanne Tran for sharing her birthday with me and for making me look dumb by taking Hennessy shots while I just sipped away.

    Dan for hyping up the event, collecting money, and bringing many familiar faces to the party.

    Phil for taking care of the little things during the pre-party.

    Charlene for the Justin Bieber tattoos and back stage passes.

    Dianne Tran and Andrew for the patron and bringing Dylan.

    Jen, Warrick, and Dan for the Burberry shirt.

    Jen again for the priceless Dougie battle.

    Linh for the balloons and bday boy pin.

    Trip for helping out and being a good friend.

    Roman for the speech and being crazy for walking all the way to Bathurst.

    And to those who brought drinks and food to the party and/or who chipped in for bottle service!  
    Thanks!


    I had no idea what to expect prior to the party.  I must say, partying when it's a celebration for you is mad fun.  I think I'll make this an annual thing. :)   Enjoy the slideshow.





    06 April 2013

    The Why/When/How of Bottle Service at a Nightclub



    Whatever your reason  is for ordering bottle service at a club, this post is going to show you the why/when/how to order bottle service.

    WHY
    •     you like to get ripped off
    •     you have money to throw away
    •     you want to impress your friends and girls
    •     you want your own space at the club
    •     you want to be treated like VIP
    WHEN
    •     when you feel like getting ripped off
    •     when you have money to throw away
    •     when you want to impress your friends and girls
    •     when you want your own space at the club
    •     when you feel like being treated like VIP

    HOW

    1.    Confirm the people that are pitchin' for bottles

    There's nothing worst than booking 3 bottles at $300 each and having to pay for most of it yourself.  Tis the life of hosts.  My friend and I usually are the ones hosting and guess who pays the difference if we don't collect enough from our friends!?  Yes, us.  So make sure that you get a confirmation of those wanting in on the bottles.  Regardless, if you are the one booking and hosting, expect to chip in a little more.

    2.    Decide on a Venue

    Each venue has there own list of prices.  Usually (not always), venues with a younger crowd will charge a lot less than a venue for a more mature crowd.  This is due to the financial disparity between the different age groups.  However, before being cheap please consider that if your group are all in their late mid-late 20s, don't just go to a Club with a young 20s crowd only because of the bottle prices.  Lets face it, older guys have no problem with younger chicks, but your girlfriends sure won't appreciate a bunch of young'uns drooling all over them and using lame pick-up lines.

    3.     Call the promoter or Club organizer and negotiate the booking


    This is where networking comes in. Different venues will have different requirements for the booth.  More popular clubs (Musik, Cinema, Uniun) will require a minimum of 3 bottles in order to get a booth. Each bottle will allow for a negotiable number of free admission (aka comps).  This is why it's a good idea to build some contacts with promoters and bouncers because they are able to give you more comps per bottle if they know you. However, usually it's 2-4 free admission for each bottle.  Promoters are usually from a 3rd company hired by the venue to bring people into the club.  They often have a set number of "free tickets" to give out on any particular night.  I have gotten in numerous times even without bottles because I am connected to some promoters. Ask for more comps, or at least see if they can reduce ticket prices.  You can also contact the venue itself and book with their staff.  They usually just give you a standard rate that may or may not be higher than a promoter.  It all depends on who you know, who you bring, and how often you go.

    4.    Arrive at da club
    It is always a good idea to arrive at a club early and with the person who booked the club.  Some clubs will charge you for admission if you don't arrive with the "main group."  Others may distribute hard tickets and you can have your friends hold it for you until you arrive.  Every club works differently so be sure to confirm with the promoter. 

    CONSIDER THESE POINTS

    What bottles...
    Absolute, Greygoose, Smirnoff....doesn't mater which ones.  Just get the minimum number required for booth and you're set.  Of course, you look more G if you get the premium bottles ;)

    Book in advance...
    Enough said.  For big events like halloween and xmas parties, look to book a good couple weeks in advances.  For regular days, book 1 week before and you should be fine.

    Gratuity...
    Always confirm with the promoter or the server whether or not the bill includes tips.  You don't want to be paying another 15% on a $1000 bill.  Trust me. 

    Location of booth...
    Another reason to book well in advance, you want to secure a good location.  I like booths that are overlooking the dance floor and is semi-open to everyone.  That way I can check out hot girls.  Just joking.  But I'm not.

    1 Bottle booths nigga...

    If you are lucky, you may get away with only ordering 1 or 2 bottles.  Arrive at da club around 12am and ask if there's any booths left.  Usually by this time if a club still has some left, they will give some discount in order to book it all out before the night-end.  This method however is very risky and can result in a boothless night.

    Dress code adherence...
    Let me tell you a story.  I arrive at the club and had booked bottle service.  I got to the front of the line relatively fast and the bouncer said he could not let me in because I was wearing a tee!  OK, no problem...I'll just drop a 20. So I did and he let me through, but then his boss (the manager) walked out at the same time as I was walking in and stopped me.  "You're no getting in," he tells me.  "And you're also wearing white shoes!"  I was thinking wtf!  I thought to myself, by Diesel shoes and Hugo Boss tee isn't good enough for your club!?  Unfortunately it was not.  You see, some clubs have a particular image they want to uphold. This place was very happening at the time and they wanted to keep it classy.  I had to cab home, change my goddamn outfit, and cab back.  Hassle much?  Make sure to dress accordingly.

    Tipping the bouncer...

    There's a number for everything. Keep this in mind.


    ------
    Well that's all from me!  3 booths ready to go at Cinema Nightclub next Sat for my Bday!  Feeling hype.  Party hard...Train hard!

    -Baoy  



    19 March 2013

    Don't want to leave this behind!

    Just when I am starting to find my groove here in downtown Toronto, I'll most likely be off for Military Service within the next few months...I'll be gone for at least a year and a half this time! BOO!  Don't get me wrong, I love the army, but I also love my friends and family and I'll sure miss them once gone.

    I had an amazing last year.  I have made some great new friends, further strengthened some old bonds, went back to school, worked at some challenging jobs, started a power lifting regime, and reacquainted with my baby girl of 7.5 years. A new beginning is about to start once duty calls so I better get my shit together and be ready!  My biggest fear is not being able to leave this great last year behind me, as well as moving away from the people I care so much for.  It's going to be a challenge for sure!  

    13 March 2013

    At Your Own Pace

    Johnny didn't have a girlfriend until he was 20.    His first job was as a deli clerk at Sobeys, and this didn't happen until he was 22!  He was financially dependent on his parents until 25. He didn't drive nor did he own a drivers licence until the age 28.

    Relative to his peers, Johnny was a late bloomer!  If everyone worked their first job at the age of 30 then Johnny would  be ahead of the game in that regards right?  Who is it that determines what should be done and at what age.  Our progression and rate of progression in life is determined by many factors such as upbringing, experiences, thought process etc.

    My girlfriend and I since 20-11-2004
    ...I'll let you in on a little secret
    Johnny is really me.  Or rather,  I am Johnny.  I met my babe at 20, my first job was at 22, I was financially dependent on my parents until age 25, and I didn't drive or have my licence until 28.  I was ashamed of my progress for most of my twenties until I started to realize that it's OK to be a little behind.  Life is not always a race, and just because it took me longer than the next person to accomplish the same tasks does not mean I am worth any less.  It just so happens that circumstances led me to achieve those milestones later on in life.  And that's OK too.  Once I came to terms with this, I was able to use all that built up energy and passion, not toward moping and pitying myself, but towards building the future that I wanted.

    ...take off some plates
    My first car at age 28
    What happens when you attempt to bench press 200 lbs when you struggle to bench 170lbs?  The answer is risk of overexertion, half-ass performance, discouragement, and possible injury that can set you back for months!   The same holds true when you try to rush through stages in life.  Part of being true to yourself is accepting where you are and working from there.

    ...so how did I get there?
    I started to slow down further and went at my own pace.  I told myself that it's OK to be "behind."  I didn't focus on where I was or where I was heading.  I focused on the things I must do in order to get to where I wanted to be, and I did them.

    Take it one step at a time, challenge yourself a little bit at each step, and remember that progress is progress no matter how slow!

    We all take different paths but eventually end up at the same spot.

    Train hard!

    -Baoy

    04 March 2013

    Culinary Skills at George Brown College Review

    For those aspiring chefs or just regular peeps thinking of acquiring a new skill, why not try the Culinary Skills program at George Brown!?  No, you do not need to do all 3 years unless you want a diploma.  You can do a simple 1 year and get a training program certificate at the end.  So you interested?  Keep reading.

    COST

    First term (Sept-Dec) - $2,159.55
    Second term (Jan-April) - $2,275.45

    Total - $4435

    Add another:

    $20 for locker rental for the year
    $1200 for academic equipment and books for the year (this is for a good knife set, small wares set, books, and uniform*2)

    You are looking at approximately $5655 in total.  You can save a few hundred dollars if you opt for a cheap kitchen tools set and buy only 1 pair of uniform.  Just make sure your uniform on a regular basis before the labs.



    TIME COMMITMENT


    Next to the financial issue, time commitment may be a problem for you folks.  I’m sorry but there is no distance-ed or fast tracking options available.  You will have to attend labs and classes in order to pass.  That’s 27 hours of classes in the first semester, and 19 hours in the 2nd.    Of course this doesn’t include an extra 2-4 hours’ worth of homework each week.  Class start as early as 7am and ends as late as 5pm.  On average you have around 5-6 hours of classes per day.  But who goes to all of them right?  There are about 6 lab courses for the year and the attendance policy for those is very strict.  Skip more than 2 labs and see yourself repeating that course.  With that said, there are a handful of theory courses (math, English, food theory, nutrition etc.) that are much more lenient with attendance.  As long as you pass the tests and finish the assignments, you’re good to go.  Even with 27 hours of schooling in my first semester, I was able to manage 28 hours at my part-time job.    


    COURSES/LABS

    Baking
    I swear I’m not suppose to like this class.  I do not particularly enjoy sweets, too much emphasis on measurements, and baking is are for girls right?  Well, funny how having an awesome chef and seeing progression in my baking skills changed my initial thoughts of this class!  I love it!  The best part of this class is you get to bring home the sweets and also get to share it with family and friends! 



    Culinary Skills
    Have you ever watched one of those cooking competitions on the food network?  You know where you have a set time to prepare several dishes and then have to present it to the judge for an evaluation.  Well I feel like I am on one of these shows every time in this class.  The intensity is really high as everyone is trying to making their timings, and sometimes things can get really hectic.  It’s priceless to see someone burn their food as their presentation time is coming up!  In this class you really learn how to work on time management, multi-tasking between recipes, controlling heat, and decorating your plate.





    Banquet/Productions
    In productions class, the emphasis is on quantity!  The food you cook here is sold at the school and there are always leftovers to take home!  Take home meals, free groceries, and eating while working J what’s there not to like!


    Butchery
    A competent instructor, few dishes to wash, and free steaks to take home made this course my favorite.  We learned how to butcher lamb, veal, pork, and fish, as well as learned how to make and stuff sausages from scratch.




     

    FINAL OPINION



    It’s worth every penny!  At times I feel like I’m on one of those cooking shows on the food network.  You are not going to be a master chef after this 1 year program.  Experience is what you need for mastery of any skill.  However you will overcome the fear of the kitchen and realize that cooking and baking is actually pretty fun and easier than it seems.  I have never baked any cakes or create sauces from scratch because of the intimidation factor.  But after just a few hands on experiences, everything just fell into place.




    For more info visit:


    http://www.georgebrown.ca/H112-2012-2013/


    Or email me and I’ll be happy to answer any of your questions:

    Dennis_luu@hotmail.com