Friday, July 31, 2009

Icing Room

What's a fun way to pass a lazy afternoon? Decorate a cake in the middle of a crowded shopping mall.

An iced sponge cake PLUS

Some colored icing and biscuit flowers EQUAL

The Icing Room, another new venture by Breadtalk Group Pte Ltd, allows you to DIY decorate iced sponge cakes. Prices differ according to sizes, for example, 4" for S$11.80 (such as displayed).

Tasting was a relatively positive experience. One bite of the brick-like fruit cocktail layer, and a brain-frozen me could immediately tell how long the cake has been stored in the freezer. Yet the sponge itself remained a perfect light, crumbly mass. I refuse to grade the cream, because I am sure it was softened because it sweated for some time in the open while we arrayed its front with cute biscuit flowers, and equally colorful icing, and not because it was that excellent in the first place.

#B1 -105 Jurong Point

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Saizeriya サイゼリヤ [Family Restaurant]

Discovered quite a backload of photos in my Andy phone and forgot to take them out.

As a treat for helping him, Tight Pussy invited me to have dinner in this Italian-style Japanese family restaurant. May our Axis Powers combine, haha? Well the resultant force is a little weak for my taste, but it is certainly value for money as all good Japanese family restaurants go.

I find the food affordable, filling (because they have a free-flow drinks option. But remember they start closing down those machines at about 2130hrs, so if you go there late, too bad for you). My hamburger steak which I ordered out of sentimentality for Rosen Maiden (and my own terrible attempt some time back) was overwhelming salty. The corn soup, not pictured here, was a nasty sweet, tasted like powdered corn soup from Daiso. Didn't try the duck and Risotto, but I was told it was ok.

This place is suitable for families, tight pussies =D, and students. Though I do like the concept, but considering how terribly hungry I was by the time we reached there, the food was supposed to taste like ambrosia. But it didn't. So maybe that's why I am not waxing lyrically about the experience.

Saizeriya サイゼリヤ
Liang Court Shopping Centre
Tel: 6337 9001

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Flamboya Tree by Clara Olink Kelly

As a student, I used to love reading war stories, esp World War II ones. To me, they were inspiring, yet very human tales of bravery, kindness, love and wisdom. I was always awed by the people's ability to go any lengths to protect themselves and their own, during difficult times. My favourite reads included especially The Upstairs Room by Joanne Reiss, the House of Sixty Fathers (fictional read) by Meindert DeJong, etc. I was unfortunately traumatised by Anne Frank, perhaps because of all the war biographies I read, she was the only person who didn't survive.

I came across The Flamboya Tree one day while looking through the library book shelves. Reading it, I discovered that it was more of a tribute to a very brave, young mother of three (one a baby of six weeks) who managed to stick her kids through a Japanese concentration camp for nearly four years, without the support of her husband (who incidentally was later found to be cheating on her, and further prolonging her and the children's misery by not applying for their passes to return to Holland as soon as possible but chose to continue establishing trading connections around the British refugee camp in Bangkok. Indirectly causing his wife to nearly die of malaria, and the children, of monkey pox while keeping his wife in the dark about both situations. Selfish Miserable Bastard)

Claartje's (Clara) mother herself hobbled along, her legs infected and swollen from an advanced case of beri beri, exacerbated by imposed and self-inflicted starvation which she saved her own miserable portions of gray rice for her always hungry children. Claartje's (Clara) mother later told her children that they kept her going. The Flamboya Tree painting, which she bought as a young bride in Ceylon and brought along to her new home in Java with her husband and children, would later comfort her, "restored her soul when times got ugly" at the dingy garage in the concentration camp. Her children valued the painting as well, with the protagonist herself clutching the painting like a precious cargo when they finally returned home to Holland, to the disgust of her grandmother.

Ironically the most awesome anecdote of Clara's mother's bravery was when they were starving at the Margriet Kamp (refugee camp) after the war, trapped there by her arschloch husband's selfishness. The children had come down with monkey pox and were transported to another hospital some distance away. The two younger children, Clara and her younger brother Gijs, were so ill they couldn't eat (and their older brother ate their portions after cajoling them to eat in vain. I also didn't like the older brother much.) Their mother taken ill by Malaria before them, wasn't allowed to follow them and later after not receiving word after their condition since they left, visited them at the hospital with her errant husband. She was probably worried sick by her children's delirum and refusal to eat even their favourite sweets, that she came to rescue them the next day by herself.

"The next day our mother returned by herself. Having obtained a special pass to leave camp, she had made the long and arduous trek by bus. Starting early in the morning, she had waited in long lines for tickets, then had to transfer several times. The rickety old buses were uncomfortable and dirty. The broiling sun turned them into tin ovens, made worse by the many hot bodies pressed close against hers. She had crossed sluggish brown rivers teeming with mosquitoes and flies, and stopped in many kampongs, small villages, where more passengers crowded into the already overloaded vehicle. By the time she reached the hospital in the afternoon, she was so exhausted and dehydrated she almost collapsed. But she was on a mission and nothing was going to stop her. She had come to fetch us and take us home. She knew we were dying and nobody seemed to care.

...With her arms around our middles and our heads down, we dangled at her sides like limp rags as she plodded slowly back along the sandy path between the high grasses. The sun beat down, and our mother's arms were slippery with perspiration. A couple of times she sat us down in the shade of a tree and gave us all a drink from a bottle of water she had brought with her. She cooled our faces by wetting her hand and wiping it across our foreheads. Nobody spoke. The heat was too oppressive.

...It was night by the time we returned to camp. Our mother was so exhausted from having to carry us on and off buses all day long that she collapsed on the lawn in front of our barracks. "

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

This is how I know I watch too much South Park

This is why I use Android (which is based on Linux)... the Penguin rules!!! (Too bad I still use a PC, cos I am such a COH diehard.) And also, why I imagine canadians as this...Come on, let's sing the "Uncle Fucker" song!!!
[source: Image Shack]

Anyway I find the video below funnier.

Total Eclipse of my Heart. Not

Stupid rain and storm clouds all over Mushroom Land this morning has totally destroyed our chances of seeing the 6 minutes of solar eclipse. I don't even know if the darkness experienced this morning was due to the eclipse or due to the extraordinary turn of the weather (confession: was sleeping on the bus during said precious moment. I doubted that my bosses would appreciate the eclipse as much as I would have). After all that blistering heat of the last few weeks, now the stupid skies decided to open up?

To which I would like to say, Was zum Teufel???? Anyway to assuage our disapointment, here's a shot of a partially elipsed sun as taken from Manila's bay, Philippines. I think the source, National Geographic is a bit salah. The title said that the photo was taken in Indonesia, while the accompanying text said it was taken at Phillipines. Whatever. Especially since I saw from another source, that affirmed it was the latter. Congratulations, Phillipines, at least you got to see more than we did. =D

[source: National Geographic]

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Colbar - Nostalgic Colonial Bar

Had lunch at Colbar yesterday. Finally found it after its famous brick-by-brick move in 2003 (due to the new expressway) when my vendor and I got lost while looking for our destination.

We travelled down to the place after training with our trainers and my colleague. It was very peaceful, nostalgic, very still (with only the drone of the overhead fans). We sat outside, where everyone was. Because we were going back to work, we weren't able to order any of its beers with their intriguing labels.

Instead, my colleague and I ordered milkshakes (S$4), which came in very sad looking short glasses. My vendor and trainers fared better, because they ordered cans of soft drinks, which was accompanied by the same sad looking glasses. Anyway for the meal we ordered:

Chicken soup (S$3)
Mushroom soup (S$3)
Gammon steak, tomato, chips and eggs (~S$15)
Pork chop, mushrooms and chips (~S$10)

Considering how inaccessible the place is (191 is the only bus you can take and you have to walk up the slope), and supposedly famous it is, the food is pretty bad for the prices we were paying. The soups were watered down Campbells. The food portions were good, very big. I liked the chips, very British, but they were rather cold and my girl friend thought that they were hard. The ambience was not bad, I have to give to them. The aunties are pretty friendly and the waiters are very courteous.


Anyway if you want to experience a slice of the colonial life, its new address is:
9A Whitchurch Road, Wessex Estate, 138839 Singapore, Singapore
Tel Number: 6779 4859

You can turn off AYE into Portsdown Road exit. Go into Portsdown Road after going past Ayer Rajah camp, and turn right at the first bus stop. It is somewhere up a slope, hidden behind a restaurant.

PS: I have no idea why there is a weighing machine there. Could it be that they feed you according to your proportions? hahaha.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What Women Want... According to Daily Mail

This is a tight slap across the face for local women who complain that Mushroom Land men are boring. Seems the same goes for ang mo men in Britain, according to Daily Mail (I forgot to write down the date, it was some days ago).

In fact, this article would be a tight slap across the face for all women. Seems like what we need is a trendy man. Seriously only a trendy man can be this thoughtful.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monsoon Diary - Delicious South Indian Brahmin Specialities

I seldom blog about a book before finishing it. But I am finding Monsoon Diary by Shoba Narayan a terrific read. It contains my five essentials about an entertaining book, food, culture, graphic descriptions, childhood stories, and most important of all, humor without irony.

Shoba describes in the book, childhood memories of growing up in Adyar, Madras with her parents and Shyam, her younger brother. She spices it up with gorgeous bits of details about South Indian behavior and culture, her unique family members, legends together with her own (vegetarian) recipe inserts.

"The most important thing when traveling by train in India is not the location of your seat (first-class is more comfortable, second-class more congenial), whether you have confirmed tickets or even your destination. The crucial element is the size of your neighbor's tiffin carrier. If you're lucky, you will be seated near a generous Marwari matron whose method of marking your acquaintance is to hand you a hot roti stuffed with potato saag.

I was twelve when this happened to me, and I still remember biting into the soft, ghee-stained roti and feeling the explosion of spices in my mouth as I encountered cumin, coriander, ginger, green chilies, pungent onions, and finally - like a sigh - a comfortingly soft potato. It was dawn. The train whistled mournfully as it click-clacked its way through the misty countryside. A cool breeze wafted through the open window and teased the curls behind my ear. Fragrant turmeric-yellow saag dribbled down the corner of my mouth. A perfect symphony for the senses."

Of all the dishes described so far, I find Vada Pav the most fascinating. Shoba described it as "Bombay's version of a hamburger, a deep-fried potato pancake spiced with ginger, garlic, green chiles, and cumin and served on a sliced bun with spicy chutney on the side". I am inspired.

[source: Diary of a White Indian Housewife]

DDN: 641.5954 NAR - [COO]

I finished the book some time back but I forgot to mention this. While I can fully empathise with the author on the cruel disregard of the examiners to her aesthetic, I felt that the American years should be covered in another book, because it threw me off for a while, then suddenly we were back to Kerala for her wedding. Perhaps the author wanted to have a start and an end to her "diary", but it's quite a distraction.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag!

Thick-skinned Terrier sings to itself:

Heute kann es regnen,
stürmen oder schnei'n,
denn du strahlst ja selber
wie der Sonnenschein.
Heut ist dein Geburtstag,
darum feiern wir,
alle deine Freunde,
freuen sich mit dir.

Wie schön, dass du geboren bist,
wir hätten dich sonst sehr vermisst.
wie schön, dass wir beisammen sind,
wir gratulieren dir, Geburtstagskind!

Uns're guten Wünsche
haben ihren Grund:
Bitte bleib noch lange
glücklich und gesund.
Dich so froh zu sehen,
ist was uns gefällt,
Tränen gibt es schon
genug auf dieser Welt.

Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch,
das ist ganz egal,
dein Geburtstag kommt im Jahr
doch nur einmal.
Darum lass uns feiern,
dass die Schwarte kracht,
Heute wird getanzt,
gesungen und gelacht.

Wieder ein Jahr älter,
nimm es nicht so schwer,
denn am Älterwerden
änderst du nichts mehr.
Zähle deine Jahre
und denk' stets daran:
Sie sind wie ein Schatz,
den dir keiner nehmen kann.

ie6 go away

Webbers who are STILL using ie6, will encounter this "warning" image from Momentile.

A Good Reason why you should use WPA, not WEP

It's well known that WPA is a safer approach to encrypt a network than WEP, because the latter is hackable.

Lifehacker teaches us how easy it is to do so with Backtrack.

A Book after Our Hearts - Dirty Signs

You can buy this book at Borders. Here's a sample.

Sakuraya Fish Mart Sashimi

Guess what?

I am blogging in the library. Somehow I always end up in the library on my birthday. What the hell?

Just in case, you were wondering, I had no intentions to do so this year. But after finishing the most excellent Ice Age 3, we discovered it is raining.

So I am sulking here. I will now include the shots of the Sakuraya Fish Market I visited with the guys last Sunday during our bizarre attempt in cycling on a rainy day. We didn't and so we were at Parkway where saw some interesting shops.

The guys didn't want to eat sashimi and I was so intrigued by it that I went to its The Village Center branch to eat. Btw, I don't eat any old dead fish. I will only eat those that I think have stds, like the Izakaya at Cuppage Plaza.

Anyway Sakuraya's service was a hit and miss. 3 waitresses and at least 6 kitchen staff. 2 waitresses were atrocious, had to remind them 4 times to get me my gohan. The other waitress was ok, quite responsive and took the initiative.. to also turn me into ochazuke when she dashed away from the next table, tripped, tipped her tea pot on me.

Sashimi wise, think the prices are higher at Village Centre than Parkway Parade. The meat color is not bad, looks reasonably fresh. But they cut the meat thicker than the usual way, as thick as Wasabi Tei, thinner than Shokudo. You should request that they cut the meat slightly thinner.

Suspect the spicy salmon belly was tampered with MSG, my tongue swelled after dinner.

TGIF Specials 8: Everything is right today, cos it's my birthday!!!

Hyang To Gol - a Korean Experience Disaster

The team celebrated my birthday lunch at a Korean BBQ restaurant, Hyang To Gol, at Amara Hotel yesterday.

Don't go there, it sucks. On my list of fave Korean restaurants, it ranks the second lowest, just above the west branch of Ju Shin Jung Korean Charcoal (opp Haw Par Villa) ith the very crappy service. I don't care what other online reviews say about the latter. The service was atrocious, the waiters were vicious in a very polite way.

Anyway Hyang To Gol was terrible in its own unique way. The staff took shortcuts while cooking the meat. Who cooks short ribs (which needs more time to cook) with thin slices of spicy pork belly? One is going to end up, at best just cooked with no nice BBQ flavor, while the other, burnt to a crisp (see last photo). And if you want additional kimchi or veggies to accompany the meat? No free kimchi, and the veggies come in S$6 a basket.

Pathetic. Service was abysmal. They were much more on-the-ball to the table of pehpehs next to us, even though we spent equivalent amounts of $$ (perhaps lesser, now to think of it, because we didn't drink ourselves to death).

Kimchi, hit and miss. The jellyfish had too much vinegar,the Memil Muk-muchim (Buckwheat jelly) much too soft. Fishcake tasted like it came from a factory.

All in all. 2 out of 5, considering the price. They already lost me when I had to pay for additional kimchi. Considering that they set out 2 servings for 5 persons.

Home Brewing Mushroom Land style

I started borrowing books on brewing home beers. Perhaps in the vain hope someone would hire me as his beer brewer. IT pays badly.

So B1 is reading my books now as I am doing my mass 24 blogs, and he tells me that we need a licence from Mushroom Land Customs???? First of all, why Customs?

A visit to the website says that we don't need a licence to do home brews if:
n individual shall comply with the following conditions:

- The individual shall be 18 years old and above;

- The manufacture of liquor shall be by fermentation and not by distillation;

- The amount of liquor manufactured shall not exceed -

(i) in relation to beer, 30 litres per household of the person per month; and

(ii) in relation to any other fermented liquor, 30 litres in total of all such liquors per household of the person per month.

The liquor manufactured shall be for personal use and is not for sale; and

The manufacturing activities shall not create a nuisance to the public or degrade the environment.

The above conditions are specified in the Customs (Home-Brewing of Fermented Liquors)(Exemption) Order 2008 which was enacted to enable an individual to home brew beer and other fermented liquors without the need to apply for a license.

But if you want to start a microbrewery? Yes, you need a manufacturing licence.

I found this FAQ from the site very lame and very funny:
Q: Do I have to inform Singapore Customs each time I home-brew beer or other fermented liquors?
A: No.

My first Birthday cake of the year

Our Dear Teletuby went out and bought the July Babies a cake. So nice of him, esp since I heard he went alone to get this chocolate mousse cake from Bakerzin.

Thank you everyone for your kind donation to July Babies Trust fund!!!

I woke up to...

Isn't B1 sweet?

Fat People Bring Rain

I would be much appreciated by African tribes.

I just finished my birthday bento... and now it looks like it is going to rain. Crap.

B1 also made Orange Jelly yesterday.

A little help from your friends?

Now I add or It can tell you the fastest way, the smartest way and the cheapest way to get to your destination. Anywhere in Mushroom Land.

New Library Policy (w.e.f. 1 July 2009)

From 1 July 2009, basic library members will be able to borrow up to 6 items, inclusive of a maximum of 2 audio visual items. Library users may also sign up as Premium Plus members and borrow up to 16 items, inclusive of a maximum of 8 audio visual items - for just $42 a year.

Borrowing Privileges

  • As a basic member, you are entitled to borrow SIX library items inclusive of a maximum of TWO music scores/audio-visual items from the lending section of the libraries.
  • The loan period for books/music scores is 21 days, while loan period for magazines/audio-visual items is 14 days. No renewal is allowed for audio-visual items.
  • Any book or magazine with an accompanying CD-ROM, when borrowed, will be considered as two loaned items. They are to be borrowed and returned together on the same membership card.

Meiner Geburtstag viel Glück

I came across the twistee balloons when buying ingredients with Retriever for my birthday cake.

I have forgotten how to make a balloon dog. But a very anatomically correct twisted balloon?

B1 bakes a Birthday Cake

We were having dinner, B1 and I, when he asked me what I wanted for my birthday.

I mulled over it for a while.

"I'd like you to bake me a birthday cake."

So after watching way too much Hogan's Heroes, we strolled to the nearest supermarket on our way to return books at the library. Since it was already nine plus and B1 being a beginner in the kitchen, I decided a box mix would be best.

But it wouldn't be Terrier, if there wasn't at least one misadventure involved. I fell for dear old Betty's (Crocker) trick. Suckered by the beautiful picture of the chocolate fudge cake on the box, I didn't realise that the lovely frosting on the cake was not included. Guess I missed the words warning me from the bottom left side of the box...

B1 asked if I still wanted the frosting. I was sure the cake wouldn't be the same without the pretty chocolate frosting. So we walked back to the same supermarket again (not before hopping over to the petrol kiosk's mart in the vain hope of finding some frosting), while the cake was happily swelling in the oven. Trust me, it sure felt a lot longer the second time around.

Couldn't find Betty Crocker readymade frosting. Oh Cold Storage, how could you have closed down your branch and abandoned me to the tender mercies of your competitors? Ended up purchasing icing sugar and cocoa powder. We stole the frosting recipe off another box mix. B1 asked me if I had milk at home. I was sure Father had some in the fridge so nodded. Being very lazy people, we did not call home to check. After all, I confidently informed B1, we could create milk from evaporated milk + H2O.

I discovered to my horror that I only had chocolate milk at home. In my haste to simulate milk with water and the branded milk powder (haha, instead of evaporated milk) that my mother drinks to prevent osteroporosis, and mentally calculating how much milk powder would I need to make 30ml milk, I forgot the one and only measuring cup I had was 1/3 cup, 80ml...

In went 80ml, and the very confused us stared down at the mixing bowl, wondering if frosting was supposed to look more like chocolate sauce. I later realised my mistake. Out the window went the exact measurements, I just kept chucking icing sugar, butter, cocoa and milk powder to thicken the mixture.

It became a thicker chocolate sauce, but went fantastic with the cake all the same. Anyway the cake came out magnificently. Either B1 is a much better baker than me (my cakes and biscuits consistently come out as biscuits), or cake mixes is the right way to go.

After a hasty Happy Birthday song, I had my second birthday cake for the year, lovingly mixed by the exhausted B1 (he beat the crap out of the cake and frosting), and nicely accompanied by a chilled Innocent Bystander Moscato 2008.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wolverine is such a hornbird?

I came across this while reading Geekologie.

According to this chart, seems like Wolverine likes to taketh and giveth.

[Original source: uncannyxmen]

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Do not watch 絶対彼氏 ZETTAI KARESHI (Absolute Boyfriend) SPECIAL!!!

I am severely disillusioned by the Special.

The magic of the original ten episodes is that as usual the Japanese sucks you into their "weird Japanese logic" vortex. This was concluded by both Retriever and I after I made him watch infinite number of shows (esp during the slow US of A summers).

The beauty of the Absolute Boyfriend is that viewers, esp women, are suckered into the emotional scenes of the growing love between the robot and his human girlfriend. Plus the fact that the show has funny scenes are an especial boon. I love the parts where he keeps saving her, loving her, and supporting her. And then, he develops an ego, which enables him to really appreciate the love he has for her, as opposed to being programmed to do so.

Such beauty. It makes you feel like Night becomes human, and then when he "dies", it is so damn sad and melancholic. But lovely (see this is what I mean by the vortex. The actors and events explain the love between robot and human and make it seem possible).

And then there is that bloody Special.

Basically it is supposed to be a side plot about the "evil" (but pretty) scientist, Dr Kamiya and her boyfriend. But the writers and producers chose to restart the entire process of a blur cock Night introducing himself to his "new" girlfriend again because he cannot remember her, to actually remembering her. And then the stupid robots decided to explain that love between human and robot is IMPOSSIBLE, rendering the first ten episodes as redundant and slapping the viewer in the face for being stupid for watching them in the first place.

And then Night decides to kill himself. WHAT THE FUCK!!!!

Can't he like, ask Narikimi to wipe out his memory, and/or make him the waiter at the new Asamoto eatery or something? Instead of scrapping him?

We know the damn love between robot and human is impossible. We don't need some Japanese producer pointing out the obvious after duping us into believing in the impossible. The nearly 2 hour long movie's like a totally lame attempt at explaining the weird Japanese logic, which totally destroys the magic.


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