Distractions from everyday life.


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I thought I would post about one of my current distractions – baking bread (which, irrelevantly but interestingly, is the total opposite of breaking bad).

I got interested in bread only because I thought that it was something I might enjoy, having had no prior experience with it. (Currently having the same thoughts about wood working…) So I picked up a book from the library and gave it a go. My first attempt wasn’t too bad – it was a 100% whole wheat loaf. But neither the process nor the outcome felt like something I would be addicted to.

And then a whole other set of circumstances got me sucked in entirely.

First, my dad started subscribing to Netflix, where I watched the documentary series “Cooked”. One of the episodes related to bread and specifically, baking using sourdough instead of commercial yeast. That reminded me of something Wan Ting had mentioned to me (about how she only used sourdough for bread baking, because it’s better) but which I had shelved in the back of my mind. And then, I went after the book on which the documentary was adapted. After reading material after material about sourdough (and also feeling entirely disgusted by today’s commercial practices) I couldn’t stop reading and watching various posts and videos on sourdough methods and recipes.

And so my first attempt at sourdough:


Total bread failure (TBF).

I could not figure out what was wrong at the time, but the dough did not rise, and neither did it rise when in the oven. I only figured out later that it must have been my sourdough starter that was the problem – it was emitting the most sickly smell for days on end, and there must have been an excess of bacteria and insufficient yeast in that colony.

After many days of frustration, somehow it all worked out. I can’t quite remember whether I decided to make a new starter afresh, or whether I chucked the old one in the fridge, or tried a new starter out of the old one, or a combination of all of the above. Long story short, I now have 3 tubs of yeast population in the fridge, probably too much for someone who bakes only 2-3 times a month.

Since the TBF, I have had many more successes (with a smattering of minor failures):

From left to right, top down: walnut bread (yeasted) (taking a break from sourdough attempts), my 2nd and successful sourdough loaf, a whole wheat sourdough loaf, a pumpkin and walnut sourdough loaf, another wholewheat sourdough loaf, a rather badly shaped but still delicious sourdough challah, a better shaped and delicious sourdough challah, mini pizzettes (yeasted), and whole wheat croissants (yeasted).

(I have a few other attempts recorded in my old phone, which I have yet to upload.)

I’m itching to try yet another new loaf soon.🙂

Written by dratn

October 11, 2016 at 12:33 am

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Waterlilies (WIP)

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A progress shot taken just yesterday on a painting I’ve been working on (still not finished after a 2nd session!):

Progress painting 21 Aug 2016

I’m not doing too well on this blog, am I? I will now make it up with more words than usual!

In my purported but not quite valid defence, I have quite a few more life distractions now. One big, unhealthy distraction is the new phone that I just got a few months ago… As my friends are well aware now, encouraging me to get a “smartphone” was not a great idea at all because the only things I use it for are (a) games and (b) reading ASOIAF metas. (What are metas? Let’s not get into that because I am already a big enough nerd as it is.)

I also have other, healthier obsessions though. For one thing, I got into bread baking. What really hooked me was when I started getting into sourdough. It was so difficult to get the hang on at first – my family had to deal with multiple tubs of growing yeast colonies – but once the first loaf succeeded I just couldn’t stop. I’m also growing a mini garden of indoor plants – we currently have little tomato, chilli and coriander saplings in little pots. We also have some onions, and the shoots went into garnishing some fried rice tonight (Mba said that we have real organic food now, haha).

I’m also excited now that guitar lessons are finally caught up to my current playing ability, so every lesson is much more challenging and interesting. (I hope we can sneak in some non-classical songs to learn.)

I suppose I’ve also been not entirely successful with healthily distracting myself from work sometimes (largely because I get into the unhealthy distractions, and then I don’t have time to finish my work, etc).

I guess since this blog is meant to celebrate life’s little distractions, I will post more pictures of my other exploits in future.

Written by dratn

August 22, 2016 at 2:05 pm

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Not-progress chart

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Something from 2009 which I just recently uncovered:

2009 sketch magician

2009 sketch assassin

So these were characters that I used to draw pretty often… One is a wizard, and the other is an assassin (because, Rurouni Kenshin ftw). I had a storyline going for the latter, though incomplete, and for a long time it was my dream to turn that story into a comic. Luckily I’m a fervent note-taker and hoarder. Ha.

Then, something from recently:

2016 sketch ted

2016 sketch jude

Ted and Jude, who else.

On a sidenote, it seems like I turn to drawing (only) when most of everything else sucks. Though in a way I’m grateful that I have at least that, the last bastion when everything else is, or seems to be, crumbling.

A “thing” that online artists do is to upload “progress charts” where they show something from several years ago compared to current work. Usually the difference is pretty astounding (otherwise there’s no point uploading it, really). So this is a not-progress chart, because not much has changed, even when it has.


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May 9, 2016 at 1:52 pm

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Winter is coming.

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wolf-2014-2015 sketch

Finally, something recent! \o/

Last week, in the midst of closing submissions hell, I decided to stick it to the man and use the office scanner to scan in my new-ish doodles. This one is from late 2014 / early this year… when I was still in the midst of my ASOIAF / GoT obsession. (I still like it of course, but I’m no longer walking around with my nose buried in the book.)

Decided to give it a little snazz too… pleasantly surprised that I still sort of knew how to use Photoshop!!

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October 3, 2015 at 5:49 am

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Almost forgotten things

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I have 2 favourite kinds of holidays.

One is where I jump out of bed every morning and get out and just keep walking on and on from one place to another, and crash when I come back at night (and repeat). This is why my trip to Japan last year is still one of my favouritest holidays to date. The other kind is where I just sit down in peace in front of the laptop, with a notebook etc and do whatever I want to do for hours on end.

I’m currently having the latter. I cannot describe in words, the sheer bliss of having a whole uninterrupted day in front of the computer. (I’m such a nerd…) I was looking at some of my old folders which was a treasure trove of nostalgia, with some hidden gems. Looking back at how much time and dedication I put into my online life, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at how bad I am at making real-life friends now. T_T

There is one thing that is disturbing my peace of mind slightly… I found out that one of my JC schoolmates, who was my guitar club conductor, is on the AirAsia flight that went missing this morning. So here is praying that the flight managed to land, and all passengers are safe.

From a longgg time ago (these used to be among my favourite drawings, and I still like them even now):

greyfaerie hardcore overdue4chrissi

shinjitelol unicorn

I have actually been drawing some new things recently… just have not scanned them yet! *defensive*

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December 28, 2014 at 2:35 pm

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Bear with me

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I really like bears, no matter how much you tell me they are not as funny in real life.

I promise I’ll draw something new for my next post! T_T Maybe I’ll use the office scanner. #minorrebel

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January 12, 2014 at 7:16 am

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Gangsters with big lips, and laundry

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I am quite determined to have at least ONE post in 2013, so here it is:



The top doodle is about my love of doing laundry. I mean, it is still a chore, but whenever I am travelling overseas, nothing quite beats the domestic joy of having freshly-laundered clothes that I washed myself. There is just a strange sense of satisfaction that comes with it. Also, I love the smell of freshly-laundered clothes. Also, I like the word “freshly-laundered”.

I also like the idea of this gangster biker chick with big lips and her whole attitude is just, whatever. I could imagine her smoking and flicking the ashes on any passerby with a douche-y face she doesn’t like. That’s who I want to be in my next life (the chick, not the passerby with douche-y face).

I need to start doodling again! Not the easiest thing with a full time job that tends to consume your whole life.:-/

Written by dratn

December 29, 2013 at 5:05 am