Friday, September 30, 2005

one more cup

If I buy coffee everyday at work, well not everyday since Spins dont open on Sundays, it'll cost me $2.50 x 4 = $10 a week, $40 a month, $480 a year. And that's provided I stick to a small Americano and nothing more.

If I buy coffee twice a week, which is what I'm doing now, it's costing me $2.50 x 2 = $5, $20 a month, $240 a year.

Could this money be better spent elsewhere?


But then, how can I resist a cup of coffee? How could I ever drink the crap that flows out of a vending machine? How could I drink kopitiam kopi? Yeah I know, very atas huh. But I can't help it! I'm a Spinelli's afficionado.

Sometimes it's the little things that matter. Even the little cups of coffee that help me make it through the night.

(help I can't do mental sums)

Listening to The Smiths - Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

Everybody Loves Ramen

I've always been a fan of Hiyashi Chuka or cold ramen. A nice summer dish of cold noodles, with julienned cucumber, crabstick, ham, egg and bamboo shoot. It's a cool yet filling dish and I suppose, somewhat healthy?

But yesterday was the first time I had spicy cold ramen, at Beppu Menkan at Far East Square. It's known for its five levels of spiciness - one-, two-, four-, six- and eight-chilli!

It was such a hot day, made worse by the fact we had to sit outside, so four out of the five of us had the Hiyashi Chuka - three spicy, one not.

The noodles came with a gigantic mound of spring onions, which put me off and which I had to scrape to one side of the bowl, but otherwise was pretty tasty and with a decent amount of spiciness to it - spicy yet not overpowering. Not bad indeed. They could've been a bit more generous with the bamboo shoots, which I love. And unfortunately chose not to put the slices of omelette. So there was carrots, crabmeat, seaweed and cucumber. Oh and sprinkles of fried garlic - an interesting accompaniment.

Place was packed with the area's office crowd, which made me glad I don't work in the area, yet at the same time, wouldn't mind working in the area cos at least there's a better variety of food than the kopitiams around here. (ok so there's TP central and J8 but it's really not that interesting - all shopping malls are quite the same - Sakae Sushi, fast food, Delifrance.... boring lousy food).

Beppu Menkan
134 Amoy Street, Far East Square
Tel: 6438-0328

Thursday, September 29, 2005

office culture

Interesting how some people who have worked at this company for longer than I have don't know.....

- There is a resource centre where you can borrow magazines like Vanity Fair and Her World (if you really wanna) but more importantly, where you can just hide out for a while, since it's on a floor above

- You can play pool and watch TV on the floor where the gym is. And the gym, for an office one, isn't too bad, with a decent number of treadmills and various other machines. The treadmills face out so you get a somewhat view of er.... lovely HDB flats.

- Staff get corporate rates for cellphone plans, with all of the telcos (I think so lah) and yes, that both M1 and SingTel have a free incoming calls plan, which is very useful for people who need to be called at anytime of the day, even at night. So catch up with the times already, get a new phone plan.

Listening to Teenage Fanclub - Empty Space

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

music matters, always

A Malaysian indie music junkie makes some noise about indie music and Death Cab's deal with Atlantic.

And the wait begins for the CDs to be sent over from the hallowed caverns of DeepDiscountCd. Can't wait. Of course ended up with more than I originally intended to get... can smell my pocket starting to burn...

was listening to Pedro The Lion - Bands With Managers

something to do this weekend

Make cupcakes! (well I'm enthusiastic now, we'll see how it goes when Saturday arrives)

Cupcake links galore

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

chip off the old block

My chocolate chip cookies have made an impact!

"u should think about making this a business's better than the choc chip from spinelli's."

then isn't that called downdate rather than update?

Funny how:

The computer at work was given a 'software upgrade' by the IT guys but ends up with an older version of Quicktime than the one already on it before they touched it.

Eski Bar at Circular Road was packed with people, sitting al fresco.

With two hours to kill:

"Americans!" I mutter inwardly. "Subjugating me."

Nobody does the sexy, beachy restaurant better.

you can almost see a character like Humphrey Bogart in a white linen suit and a Fedora hat strolling into Samar and perching there, nursing a drink in his hand

how badly can one go wrong stirring some greens around?

The words on the right side of the comma just about nullifies everything that was written on the left side is playing Hot Hot Heat's Goodnight Goodnight

Monday, September 26, 2005

Dining Out - Ember

Haven't been to Ember since earlier this year so it was nice to be treated to a dinner at this lovely restaurant last night.

Started out with some gorgeously plump seared scallops wrapped with bacon and paired with a salad which had a light citrus-y dressing.

The main was the rack of lamb, which the waitstaff warned "the chef serves pink". I would be truly disappointed if it weren't.

Unfortunately it was served with leeks, which I'm not too fond of, but the lamb was just right - tender and juicy. Although somehow it made me think fondly of Oso's eight-hour oven-baked lamb rack, which I really would love to feast on one day - I'd only sampled some morsels off my friend's plate the last time.

The only dessert that called out to me was the Valrhona chocolate cake. Not terribly exciting I know, but it was, as always, a delight with its warm chocolate oozing forth, paired with vanilla ice-cream and a glass of dessert wine.

Monday blues
? Not when you get the day off, do some shopping and end the day with some good food and good company.

Restaurant Ember at Hotel 1929
50 Keong Saik Road
Tel: 6347-1928


snail mail call

It's so nice to go home and find a letter for me, waiting to be opened and read!


listening to: The Clash - 1977

Sunday, September 25, 2005

sunday night at random

Park Chan Wook, who directed the bloody Old Boy, talks to the Globe and Mail about his latest vengeance flick Sympathy for Lady Vengeance - out in Singapore soon!

Read Reading Lolita in Tehran? Well some publishers are hoping to capitalise on the success of that book
Reading Look at the Harlequins! in Beautiful Boca Raton anyone?

This one made me snigger, and then have to look around to make sure no one heard that.
The Morning News' Non-Expert solves this reader's conundrum: How do I fall asleep?

Here's the best tip:
Scotch & Henry James
Alcohol is a depressant, and so is Henry James. Scotch at four in the morning is a perfect remedy, but I happen to really like scotch, so it’s tough for me to enjoy a glass and want to fall asleep right after—why sleep when someone, somewhere in New York City, is out partying? So match your liquor with the one author everyone recommends even after you’ve informed them you find said author snorable, overrated, just cotton-penned bad. Fifteen minutes later, you’re deep in a self-satisfied coma.

Listening to The Observatory - Queen of Fate

hold your mistake up

After not having run in two weeks, it was good to hop on the treadmill and stare out the glass windows onto the HDB flats opposite the office, earphones filtering only the good stuff into my ears, as bad music (re radio) plays on the gym's stereo system for everyone else. Being a Sunday, usually only a couple of people around anyway.

(funny how a few years back, I would never have thought I'd look forward to a run. I'd always detested jogging, prefering the repetitive laps of a pool. But I like how a run challenges me, and it's far more convenient than the near but not that near pool. Speaking of which, it's been ages since I last swam. Not as if I run a lot though, unlike hucks who did 17km today in training for the Stanchart marathon! Jia you!)

The office is quiet, the office is freezing.
I'll just go make myself a cup of tea now. Meanwhile, have a listen to this.

Arcade Fire and David Bowie - Wake Up

Dining out - Chico's and Charlie's

This used to be my family's favourite Tex-Mex place.

We'd drop by the restaurant - Singapore's first Mexican restaurant - located at the er, the building which is next to Wheelock Place. Dunno what it's called but long time ago it used to house Gallerie Lafayette - that I remember!

Anyway, Chico's and Charlie's was a great place for Tex-Mex - burritos, enchiladas, nachos, salsa...

The place was filled with Mexican paraphernalia - hats, paintings, pinatas, those plastic-looking dried chilis all in a bunch. Waitstaff dressed in the colours of the Mexican flag and I believe there occasionally was a wandering band singing, you guessed it, songs in Spanish.

But now, C&C seems to be part of the Harry's group.

They recently opened at the Orchard Parade Hotel, all nicely done up. Very festive, great colours but what's with the huge bar? It takes up most of the restaurant, leaving the place with only a few tables and some high tables with bar stools, which people tend to hate eating at.

Service was a bit shoddy, with the waitress - having not written down any orders - coming back twice to check on the order my mum made. And not having told us that it was happy hour and that drinks were one-for-one, although I'm not fond of tequila so it didn't really matter to me, just that my mum had a virgin margarita and was later told she could get another. But on asking what the other flavours were, the waitress rattled them off but had to check with the manager if we could get it in apricot instead of lime - it wasn't like we were asking for a shot of tequila to go with the apricot flavouring! And lately, when the table was cleared and we were about to get the bill, one of the waitresses (who had earlier served us as well) plonked a serving of nachos and salsa, meant obviously for another table, on ours.

Food-wise, not too bad. I had enchiladas with sea bass and green mole (not the animal, but a type of rich sauce, supposedly more spicy than salsa verde). It came with rice and black beans. But the sauce didn't have any kick to it, so I had to add some chili to it. Then it was good and spicy.

But also pricey!

The enchiladas cost $22 and the burritos were also about that price range. Desserts were $9 but werent enticing. The fajitas, with a choice of prawns, chicken or steak, were about $25 and up. But the portions were generous. My dad ordered the steak version, which came with about 3 or 4 tortillas and what looked like really a whole piece of steak, sliced up and sauteed with onions and other vegetables.

Listening to Juanes - Volverte a Ver

Saturday, September 24, 2005

baking therapy

I finally made my chocolate chip cookies, using a new recipe and no chocolate chips - I cut up some chocolate buttons and threw in some bits of dark chocolate we had in the fridge.

And ta dah!

A batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Get the recipe here.

This kitchen nazi managed to commandeer her sister to help with making lunch - penne with a spicy tomato-based vegetable sauce.

I only realised how much a kitchen nazi I can be when staying at the PSA chalet on Bintan a couple of months ago, and sorta ordered my friends around when cooking dinner/breakfast/lunch....

After lunch, we headed out to catch the Korean movie A Bittersweet Life.

Always thought Koreans were a bit weird, after watching Old Boy (and loving it. btw, Sympathy For Lady Vengeance is opening here soon).

Bittersweet Life
was a bit draggy but essentially pretty good. An action-noir flick with an insane amount of violence, it's the story of a bodyguard, an 'enforcer' in the semi-underworld whose boss tasks him to keep tabs on the boss' girlfriend while he's away and 'take them out' if she's cheating on him. She is. But he's a softie at heart and lets them off. But the boss finds out and then the violence begins. Like hammering of hands, people's brains being blown apart, being buried alive.... you know, ordinary, everyday stuff in the underworld.

It's all about revenge, much like in Old Boy.

We watched it at Lido, where fellow movie-goers enthusiastically chatted about what might be going on during the movie - at one tense moment, one of them whispered hoarsely, "she's inside! she's behind!" wtf? this wasn't some Japanese thriller flick. The girl was nowhere in sight, the lead was not looking at anything in particular and really, he was staring out the glass window of the building!

A pager went off several times, suspiciously seeming to come from the direction of the loudmouths... A pager!!

Lido somehow always attracts weird people - the last time I was there, there was a potato chip bag rustler, who just couldn't stop, despite being shushed several times.

One guy even dragged in one of those ah peh ushers who walked up and down the aisle a couple of times to establish his menacing presence.

The rustling began again the moment he left the theatre.

Back to the movie, I was thorougly fascinated by the bar the movie is set in. Gorgeous hues of red and black with intricate doors and walls. The lighting's great and the look is amazing. And I kept wondering, where in Singapore would you find such a gorgeous-looking club? Couldn't think of any. Yet, everytime I flip through Wallpaper, there are these amazingly cool bars and clubs from all over the world. Why not here?

Tags: ,

Friday, September 23, 2005

yes i did

i hate that i get too caught up in things

i hate that i need alcohol to loosen up

i hate that i slouch

i hate that i say yes when i mean no

i hate that i've been leading people on

i hate that i've been led on

i hate waking up after 10

i hate that you're still on my MSN list

i hate to blog yet i can't help it

i hate that blogging sometimes is my cry for help

i hate that you you and you read my blog

i hate when people cancel on me at the last minute

i hate not knowing

i hate knowing

i hate blogging something and saving it as a draft cos i'm paranoid that people will think i'm insane

i hate that phone conversation last week

i hate watching Before Sunrise

i hate

i hate the word hate

book it

Halfway through Aimee Bender's An Invisible Sign Of My Own and just loving the quirkiness of the characters.

Here's the publisher's synopsis:
Mona Gray was ten when her father contracted a mysterious illness and she became a quitter, abandoning each of her talents just as pleasure became intense. The only thing she can’t stop doing is math: She knocks on wood, adds her steps, and multiplies people in the park against one another. When Mona begins teaching math to second-graders, she finds a ready audience. But the difficult and wonderful facts of life keep intruding. She finds herself drawn to the new science teacher, who has an unnerving way of seeing through her intricately built fa├žade.

Read the first chapter here.

Unfortunately, the genius that is our national library, has only two copies of the book on this island.

And what's more, they're both at Sengkang.

Unwilling to make the agonising trip down to get my hands on the book, I used the library's great reservation service and picked up the copy resting in front of me now, from the Queenstown library, where I also got them to send Nigel Slater's Toast. Now that is an excellent easy-reading food book. Highly recommended, especially for readers of The Observer's Food Monthly.
He's got a new cookbook out Oct 3, The Kitchen Diaries: A Year In The Kitchen

Ah the Queenstown Library, with its screaming children downstairs running around from the kids section to the neighbouring adult's fiction section....
The aroma of brewing coffee wafts into the library from the always full cafe at the corner.
The magazine racks always devoid of magazines.
Climb the flight of stairs to the second floor where things are a little more hushed, except for the man standing at the entrance to the toilets talking on his mobile phone, probably thinking: See I'm not exactly at the library itself now, I'm at the toilets....
The library users who park their cars illegally outside the library, when there's free parking on Sundays at the covered carpark just a hop, skip and jump opposite the road.
Queenstown Library, where as a kid, I would make regular pilgrimmages with my mum and sister, borrowing stacks of books, making sure they're flipped to the front page to be stamped by the librarian and the card filled out. I always wanted to be able to do the stamping.
Then when secondary school came around, the library visits died.
And were only revived again a few years ago, when my love for reading was brought back to life, by my literature teacher in JC, who made me hear the music in words and stories.
Began buying books, only to realise I couldn't afford to buy everything I wanted to read.
So the library visits began again.

Queenstown library.
Despite everything, it still beats them all, even, or maybe especially, the spanking new glass monstrosity of a Central Library (where they stick the borrowers in the basement, where the sun don't shine).

Listening to Radiohead - Killer Cars

Thursday, September 22, 2005

did i say

waking up to the sound of rain falling outside the window, and realising that I don't have to get to work until 4, so I can guiltlessly lie in bed a little longer. the smell of freshly baked bread. receiving a letter in the mail which is not a bill or junk mail. cracking an egg. turning my face towards the sun to feel its warmth. a cup of hot coffee, a slice of cake and a good book. beaches. sunsets. going to work when no one else is so there aren't any traffic jams. staring out the window of a bus, watching the people in their cars drive by. gazing up at bookshelves in bookstores, with all the many books yet to read. driving with the windows down and the music loud. getting hold of new CDs and ripping open the plastic cover. looking at old photos. being outside when the weather's good. swimming laps. sipping hot green tea. warm buttered scones with a giant dollop of strawberry jam. trying on shoes. watching MTV. sifting flour. the botanical gardens, before they upgraded it. earrings. going to gigs. my family and friends. doing things i've never done before. taking walks. packing for a trip. baking. typing. words. lyrics. music. song. running. the click-clack of shoes on a wooden floor. hugs and kisses. karaoke. subbing readers' letters for sunday and turning what is absolute shite English into something readable. cats. sugar cubes. looking at the moon. watching CSI. cheering on the underdog. people-watching. indie music - loud. taking photos. a good party. indian food. discovering a great new restaurant. wandering a foreign city, but not in a touristy way. instant messaging. champagne. warm chocolate cake with fudge. handing out namecards. the photos around my cubicle at work. to laugh. romantic comedies. tim burton movies. reading foreign magazines. SNL's Celebrity Jeopardy. A tall cold glass of beer. Steak with a pink juicy centre. Being out on a boat. Letting my hairdresser do whatever she thinks best with my hair and liking the result. reading blogs. pasta. watching rugby. playing tennis. the white border around photographs. sofas. my ipod (except when it hangs). the soundtrack of my life. old movies. movies about the mafia. tearing paper. the way my grandfather used to take my hand in his and pat it as he talked to me. my grandmother's kongbah. putting on make up. grilled chicken wings. buying a dress that i have no occasion for but i just can't resist. getting my monthly statement from the bank and realising that i've spent less than the previous month. getting my monthly phone bill and realising that it's under $28 so the company will pay for it all. hanging out the clothes. watching the insane poodle next door run around, yap and irritate the hell out of its owners. clamshell phones. cake displays. red wine. being moved by a song. watching Arrested Development. cookbooks. baos and dumplings. mindblowing sashimi. when my ipod's shuffle mode seems to read my mind and plays the song i've been wanting to hear the whole day. writing a blog entry. internet radio. buying stationery. infinity pools. listening in to people's phone conversations. a bacon cheese burger and fries with ketchup and mustard, and a glass of coke. finding the perfect thing to wear. freshly brewed coffee with biscotti. Neuhaus chocolates. caller ID. reading. my red chair from Ikea. bloglines. firefox. hearing poetry read out loud. glass elevators. fresh flowers. non-conveyor belt sushi. paper bags. rollercoaster rides. walking barefoot. good service. pizza with parma ham and cheese. gin and tonic. typewriters. sugar peas. fresh air. a room with a view. winter clothing. the first gust of a cold wind that makes you gasp. the ocean so clear you can see the bottom. supporting local films and music. cheese. hearing French being spoken. smoked fish. nutty and grainy bread. Mont Blancs and other petit fours. watching the real stars of will and grace - karen and jack. delectable-looking photos of food on people's blogs. reading a restaurant review, going to try it out myself and agreeing with the reviewer for a change. steamboat with chicken rice. lighting a match. meeting new people. snuggling under a quilt. reading before going to sleep. watching cooking shows especially Nigella, A Cook's Tour and Made To Order. movies with Johnny Depp in them. London Times' Giles Coren's restaurant reviews. munching on salty popcorn during a movie. carrot and apple/orange juice. avocados. chocolate chip cookies. brownies. peanut butter and banana sandwiches. scrambled eggs and bacon, pancakes, waffles, cereal for breakfast.
(to be continued....)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Rock on

Caught localbarboy at hideout last night.

Local music, karaoke-style! Excellent!
Was good to hear favourites by the Stoned Revivals, the Oddfellows, oh and the Padres, played live as well as songs from Serenaide (Girl From Katong!) and Astreal (Wallflower!).

Place was packed.

And then I get home and manage to catch the season finale of . Have managed to see only bits and pieces of this show, cos I never remember when it's on.

So it was nice to see Mig given the boot. Broadway star yes, Rock Star hell no.

While I always thought JD was an arrogant prick, he was a far better perfomer than Marty.

And it was good to see INXS performing, although their new single Easy Easy wasn't exactly good.

But bravo, it was fun to watch.

Oh and before localbarboy, met Eps at Mortinis, where holybloodycow, we had to stand!!! It was so damn crowded, there were no seats, even in the bar area of the restaurant...

So when the nice waiter came along with the steak sandwiches and asked how we were doing, I said, "would be better if we were sitting!" and he went and dragged us a couple of chairs! so nice...!

Anyway, I was quite appalled to find that my drinking tastes are changing. I couldn't even finish half of the appletini. For some reason, the taste and smell of the apple plus the cinammon (damn that cinammon and whoever thought it goes well with everything apple) just ended up making me sick to the stomach. Insane.

Dinner was at Waraku - the Marina Sq branch is in some obscure corner on the ground floor outside the building. Place could use better music - it was elevator music ie instrumental, chime-like crap.
BUT their tempura udon was to die for! Crispy well-battered, huge prawns and vegetables, even pumpkin - which was q a nice change. And the udon was just perfectly cooked - with a nice bite to it. Yummy. Too bad the damn drink fucked up my stomach a little bit!

It's amazing the number of food outlets at Marina Square really.... where are all the shops?

Monday, September 19, 2005

party of seven

eh not too fond of being tagged but well, i'm a bit bored right now so here goes:

7 things that scare me:
1. Having nothing to do
2. Lizards
3. Growing senile
4. Being all alone in this world
5. Having to think about my future
6. Commitment
7. And yet, being left on the shelf (ironic isnt it)

7 things that I like most:

1. Chocolate
2. Indie music
3. Reading a good book
4. Driving with the windows down
5. Being properly kissed
6. A good dinner (and drinks) with friends that last for hours
7. The noise of the departure board at Changi Airport, signalling that my flight's on time and my trip's (to wherever) going to be just perfect

7 important things in my room:
1. my iPod
2. my bed
3. a poster of the Annapurna mountain range that I got in Nepal
4. a magnetic board from ikea where I stick photos
5. the three bookshelves of books and CDs
6. a basketful of matchboxes and lighters on my bookshelf
7. this weird commemorative plate that my uncle (i think) had made for my birth. it's kinda peeling a bit, but it's got my er... original name on it (see random fact number 4)

7 random facts about me:
(facts one to three were previously blogged)
4. My parents first spelt my name with a C
5. I'm very fond of mascara
6. I'm slightly claustrophobic
7. I don't really like cinammon

7 things I plan to do before I die:
1. Go to Central and South America
2. Skydive
3. Go to a music festival like Lollapalooza
4. Do a roadtrip
5. Have kids
6. Climb a mountain
7. Fall madly in love

7 things I can do:
1. Rollerblade
2. Bake a cake from scratch
3. Set up a tent
4. how to react when the car goes into a skid
5. Sub a story
6. Change a lightbulb
7. A plie

7 things I can’t do:
1. A cartwheel
2. Knit
3. Speak my own dialect (or any dialect for that matter)
4. Draw
5. Use liquid eyeliner
6. Be patient
7. Become a vegetarian

7 things I say the most:
1. I dunno
2. Okok
3. Why not
4. what the fuck (altho it's usually mumbled to myself)
(ah who tf am I kidding, I never say anything very much)

7 celebrity crushes:
1. Johnny Depp
2. Ewan Macgregor
3. Gavin Rossdale
4. Ryan Reynolds
5. Tony Leung Chiu Wai
6. Jason Lee
7 Gael Garcia Bernal

7 people who could do this:
eh i'm not going to bother. let's just say, if you're reading this, and you've got a blog, you've been tagged.

Listening to The Shins - Those To Come


some posts ago, while remarking on what I'd like my funeral to be like (re: Hunter S Thompson's explosive finale) I somehow missed out on the music part.

Mr Tambourine Man played as the cannon fired his ashes into the air (hopefully not on the food).

I can't really figure out what song I'd like.
(I'm not expecting to be fired up into the air, I suppose a song could be played while my ashes are being scattered.... somewhere, hmm... another thing to think about.....maybe the sea.)

But the playlist during the funeral should include the following:
Radiohead (nice dreary funeral-ish music)
Pearl Jam (just cos they're the best)
Rilo Kiley and Hot Hot Heat (to insert in between other songs, for something happy and upbeat)
Ben Folds (the genius piano man)
The Dears (for the drama of it)
Cake (for the irony in John McCrea's voice)
Flaming Lips (because they're just too cool)
Ryan Adams, especially my two favourite songs (re post below)
Teenage Fanclub and Nirvana (cos its a 90s thing)
Iron & Wine, Kings of Convenience (for something a little more downtempo)
The Observatory (my favourite local band and one of my favourite bands local or otherwise)
Elbow (because Guy Garvey has a bit of a haunting voice)
Nicolai Dunger (because he just sounds melancholy)

But as for that one song, I dont know.

Although I was recently asked what song changed my life.

For me, it was the whole grunge movement. I was a teen in the 90s and that was just perfect - you know, angsty shit.
Loud music. Hating your parents. Hating school. Trying to figure yourself out - still am.

While most people would name Jeremy as their favourite Pearl Jam song, I've always had a fondness for Alive.

But I think that might be a bit of a wrong song to play while my ashes are being scattered....

Oh i, oh, I’m still alive
Hey, i, i, oh, I’m still alive
Hey i, oh, I’m still alive

(not very much of a chorus is it, lyrics-wise... but i could never resist how Eddie Vedder sings these few words)

Back to the drawing board.

iTunes is playing Butch Walker - Thank You Note

Saturday, September 17, 2005

they don't watch you walk away

I've been listening to Ryan Adams' Gold quite a bit lately, whether it's on the iPod, at home or earlier today, when driving.

So here are my two favourite songs off that album. Actually I think these are my favourite Ryan Adams songs, and Gold my favourite album.

When The Stars Go Blue

Nobody Girl

may this week be a good one.

(Waiting for the light to turn green, I watched five milipedes worm around on the pavement, liberated by the earlier downpour.
I watched a van drive past, a child jumping up and down in the passenger seat.
The driver in the black BMW behind has a scowl on his face.
An old man limps across the road, turning his face towards the oncoming traffic every now and then, to make sure we know he exists.
The light goes green.
He's still not reached the other side.
I wait.
His right foot touches the pavement.
I take off.
I didn't glance back, to see if he would be alright.
Would it have made a difference if I had?)

cough syrup trip

man the medicine i got fr the doc upstairs at the office was amazing!

after coming back from work and taking a shower, i popped downstairs, drained 10ml of that down the throat and sank onto the sofa to watch somethng on tv. i have absolutely no recollection of what i was watching there, but i know that after 20 min or so, i was feeling mildly euphoric. the cough seemed to have subsided and i was floating off into lalaland, oh so nice and quietly.

but nope i was not going to sleep on the sofa so i had to drag my ass upstairs and onto my bed and drift off, except that i didnt.

for some reason thoughts were running through my head and they were just too good to be forgotten so i dug out a notebk and scribbled some of the random crap that was spewing forth and then i turned out the light.

and glory glory it was 9am the next i knew it.

but eh, saturday, need to sleep some more.

so 10am then

listening to guster - red oyster cult

Friday, September 16, 2005

dead n dreaming

funny how some days you sleep for 4/5 hours and you're still ready to go.
other days you sleep for 10 and you're still dead tired.
i want to go home, then again i know i won't be able to fall asleep quick enough
i hate wasting a friday night but i really should waste this one at home
its 2329 and there are still stories to be done, u know what this means!

it's hardly lyrical, it doesn't read well.
i'm in a hazy frame of mind, and i havent even taken the cough medicine that promises to knock me out yet...

been a long day

now playing: jealous sound - hope for us

a wise friend once told me

alcohol kills germs

I'll drink to that!

Listening to Long View - I Would

Thursday, September 15, 2005

the life of a hack

Just when I thought I was home free with this bout of somewhat-flu, I got whacked upside of the head by a nagging cough and somehow, again a slight sore throat. wtf!

And I was even thinking of making some chocolate chip cookies(!) I guess that will have to wait...

Listening to The Dears' 22: The Death Of All The Romance...
oh the drama of it all!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

when you wake up feeling old

it's time to go to the doctor to get an excuse for not going to work....


Monday, September 12, 2005

some title here

upon opening the email, my first thought was: holy crap has it already been ten years?

and yes, it has. It's been 10 years since I left secondary school...

I still hang out with some of my friends from there, but most of my ex-classmates I haven't seen since then, partly because I didnt join the affiliated jc, but decided on the one near my house - walking distance! It was closer to get to school than to get to the bus stop. what a steal!

Anyway, in the email was an announcement of the reunion of the class of 95, back at the old alma mater. Would be fun to go, think a few people are quite interested already.

Meanwhile I was reading this story off Village Voice about sharing food with others.

The writer was dining with some friends when her friend's bf freaked somewhat about sharing food with the others, despite his not enjoying his own dish very much.

Like the writer, I love sharing food, I hate it when everyone orders the same dish and try to negotiate for something different on the table instead. I love variety and it's a great way to try out the rest of the menu.

Whenever my family goes to hawker centres (although that's something we haven't done for a long while now) I tend to let everyone else order things and eat bits off their plates. Sounds horrible I know but I never know what to order and like to see the whole table full of good and different food.

When it comes to western restaurants though, so far havent had any problems with the people I eat with. The recent dinner is a good example, where we each tried something different for the mains and shared pasta and dessert.

I suppose some people don't like to share food because they're afraid of er, catching others' germs? Is that how it goes?

Do you share food?

..... as this entry has continued now until after dinner, I must say that tonight's thunderstorm has drummed up extra biz for the office canteen. It was quite crowded for dinnertime. And a few of my colleagues had never had dinner at the canteen before, in all the years they've been here. Fascinating. Says plenty about the food there, although my mutton murtabak was quite decent.

Listening to Teenage Fanclub's Don't Look Back

Speaking of which, I'm probably gonna get these online.

David Berkeley - After The Wrecking Ships
Beulah - Coast is never clear
New Pornographers - Twin Cinema
Nicolai Dunger - Tranquil Isolation
Nicolai Dunger - Soul Rush -

As The Guardian said:

Nicolai Dunger sounds like Nick Nolte looks. Beaten down, dishevelled, with last night's Jack Daniels still coursing through his veins and this morning's Marlboros still burning in his throat, his careworn experience jostles with his undefeated optimism.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

sleepy sunday

Hmph today's run was more tasking than usual.

And now I just need to get some sleep. Getting home after 4 and waking up at 930 is taking its toll on me, despite the mini nap before work. I never understand why I can't sleep in the afternoon - I tend to drift off and then wake up, drift off and wake up.... The only thing that helps me to fall asleep a bit is some music, a little Bebel, something off the Midnight In The Garden Of Good and Evil OST, a little Kronos Quartet. Something not loud and banging. Something a little quiet and sleepy.

Then I drift off....

Only to wake up again 10 minutes later.

And Spins doesn't do Sundays.

now playing Interpol - C'mere

poptart on sat

mmm tasty
i like

Friday, September 09, 2005

oso good

One thing I learnt from our dinner at Oso - people in Singapore do eat quite late.

I'd popped into the restaurant at about 740, 10 minutes later than the scheduled time. Eps and J were already browsing the menu, and there was a couple at the bar, but that was about it.

But about 45 minutes later, the place was about 3/4 full, with more streaming in after 9.

And there I was wondering why they needed so many waiters when it looked like it was going to be a quiet Thursday night....

Onto the food!

We decided to skip the appetisers and share a beef ravioli in a creamy mushroom sauce. Quite tasty. The kitchen was nice enough to divide the pasta into three plates instead of us three attacking one plate hawker centre style.

But first an amuse-bouche of cherry tomato with pesto sauce.

We lingered over the wine list, unsure of whether to drink anything. (Eps muttering about liver damage but at the same time, not having drank enough during her recent trip to Margaret River)

So it was to hell with it, let's get a bottle as usual. The waiter, in his very nice low voice, suggested a Chianti Classico 2001, promising a wine with a lingering character. And it did sort of grow on you and went well with the food. (As you see I fully absorbed every detail of wine tasting discussed in the two wine masterclasses I covered at my previous job)

Anyway, I had the pan-fried venison with a berry sauce and roasted pumpkin on the side. Cooked just right with a lovely pinkish red centre. And the sauce was a nice accompaniment.

J's 8-hour rack of lamb had a lovely crust of fat, just a little crispy and soft and having that with the meat was heavenly. (although the crisscrossed fat makes the rack of lamb resemble a pineapple somewhat). No wonder it's one of the restaurant's most popular dishes.

Eps' stewed duck leg was pretty good as well and a large portion.

The chef had arranged the dishes in an attempted artistic manner, which surprised me. On my square plate, the edges were lined with bits of cilantro and what I'm guessing is a sauce made of cilantro. The slices of venison were arranged in a line on the left side of the plate, separated by a drizzle of the berry sauce. The right hand side of the plate was lined with the slices of pumpkin.

All that left us very full but how could we leave without trying the dessert?

The place is known for tiramisu but I somehow don't like ordering tiramisu at restaurants....

Then there were two desserts which seemed to have an involvement of cinnamon.

I don't like cinnamon much, which shocked my two dining companions.

But yes, I'm really not fond of it, so please don't sprinkle it onto my cappucino.

Upon asking the waiter for a recommendation, we decided to try the warm pumpkin and chestnut cake with a roasemary caramel.

It didn't look too appetising as it was grey with a sprinkling of icing sugar and a faint amber sauce on the side.

But it did taste good with the rosemary caramel. And unlike other desserts, like I suppose the chocolate tart or the tiramisu, it didn't leave me feeling overwhelmed.

I like Oso, the service was warm and welcoming, the restaurant itself was tastefully done up - elegant yet cosy - and the food was good.

Of course, the company's always the best! It was as usual, a fun time with the girls.

And so concludes my big dinner for the month.

Now what will next month bring?

27 Tanjong Pagar Road

the grateful dead

while i wouldn't want to be blasted off skyward in a burst of fireworks (ok that doesn't sound too bad actually, better than being kept in an urn sealed in a concrete hole in the wall with a marble plaque marking my spot for eternity - or at least until the columbarium stands), i think there are lessons to be learnt from Hunter S Thompson's sparkler of a funeral.

I don't want wreaths and pots of flowers.

They simply clutter up the place and fill the air even more with the smell of death and dying. Please make donations to a charity of choice instead.

I don't want relatives in white t-shirts and a blue square pinned to the sleeve. I never understood that. People should wear whatever they like, even if it's bright pink. But I draw the line at t-shirts that say things like 'ding dong the witch is dead'.

I don't want a long three, four, five day wake.
It should be simple, and as short as possible.

People never know what to do when they approach the coffin.
Do I look in?
Do I bow?
Do I say a prayer?
I never know.

I don't want horrible food cooked outdoors by a family whose young daughter hangs around with dead people and their left-behinds while her parents work wakes.

Finger food, alcohol. Far better.

At Hunter S Thompson's funeral they poured champagne, mint juleps and Wild Turkey.

I'll have gin and tonics, Erdinger and champagne, that is if those i'm leaving behind can afford to dole out the alcohol but seeing how I'm tossing more than i'm squirreling away, I doubt I will be leaving much behind. Sorry, er, future ones. (if any)

Mourners (well-wishers?) supped on lamb chops and prawn cocktails.

I haven't exactly figured out what kind of food would do, but dessert would definitely involve chocolate.

Death by chocolate? Death with chocolate.

It's Friday night. I'm in the office. It's about twenty minutes to midnight. Spare me.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

n now for the evening news, by the morning news

The Morning News compares
living in New York and living in San Francisco.

Writer Lance Arthur compares the two cities by
- convenience factor
- climate
- housing
- transportation
- Culture

New York: In a word, perfection. Concerts of every imaginable type by the famous, nearly famous, and infamous. The stuff you see on the streets is better than the acts appearing on stages nearly anywhere else. World-class museums that set the standards. Art out the butthole, sometimes literally. Every movie opens there first, and no musical or stage show is considered a real show unless it makes it to Broadway. Carnegie Hall continues to hold the appeal it always did, and every Christmas those Rockettes still kick up their heels before Santa drops from the ceiling in his magic sleigh. There is, literally, nothing more anyone could want.

San Francisco: You can wear denim and Chucks to the opera. And I’m talking Levi’s 501s, not Earnest Sewns. Wicked made its debut here for “tweaking” before moving to Broadway to become last year’s most successful bore. This year, they’re trying the same thing with a musical version of Anne Rice’s Lestat, with music by Elton John. I’m not making this up. David Mamet lives somewhere around here. I think. Anyway, people curse a lot about real estate. Sony built a great big mall no one goes to. The most famous theatre, the Fillmore, is a dump, and for Christmas, Macy’s builds a giant tinsel Christmas tree on the front of the store in Union Square.

Conclusion: New York is the most culturally advanced city in the United States, if not the world. Something is always happening and you’re always invited.

Advantage: San Francisco. You will never feel out of the loop or discouraged that you missed anything. No one will ever ask, “Did you see so-and-so at such-and-such? It was/they were marvelous!” because no one did.

Guess where he lives.

left unsaid

i hate it when people voice thoughts that i've been harbouring and that i've been too lazy and unsure of to carry out.

because yes, you're right. i really should. but i'm not sure how, i'm not sure where to begin.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

distill the life that's inside of me

I am longing to have some afternoon tea.

Not the mad rush of buffets that many hotels here entice people with.

Rather a more refined, sit-down tea.

With a couple of trays of small cakes, scones (oh, love scones with strawberry jam) and sandwiches, and of course several choices of choice teas, although I tend to play it safe and go with darjeeling.

I remember liking the one at The Regent (although they give in and turn it into a buffet on weekends) and I think the Shangri-La, which might've been a buffet though.
However, while some people rave about the Devonshire cream tea at Fosters, that one is just sad. Sad little sandwiches and dry-looking scones.

I think the best scones I've had here at from Cellar Door Deli but they tend to sell out quite fast! Haven't had those in ages.

Akan datang...
dinner on Thursday at Oso at Tanjong Pagar! Will review that in due course, but was quite appalled to learn that corkage is $30. Wine might not be an option after all....

Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld
So I can sigh eternally

Monday, September 05, 2005

out of breath

now what is going for a jog without music?

I've been updating my 'got my running shoes on' playlist in the ipod. (I've also got another playlist of sleepy music to fall asleep to but that's another story)

music definitely helps me when exercising, even when at the office gym with the damn radio blasting, i bring along the ipod for the right music.

i've been starting off with one of my favourite Jimmy Eat World songs - The Authority Song = it's got a good happy beat and is good for easing from a walk into a jog.

with the shuffle mode on, anything can happen, from The Strokes' 12:51, Live's All Over You, Spoon's The Guest List/The Execution to Pearl Jam's Down and Am Radio's Oh Oh Oh. Essentially anything with a good beat and catchy start.

Then there are some songs I leave at the top of the playlist, when I just need a boost music-wise. (haha!)

These include:

Pearl Jam's State Of Love And Trust
Coldplay's Shiver
The Strokes' The End Has No End
Jimmy Eat World's Praise Chorus
Blink 182's Down (!)
Muse's Hysteria (good for a sprint! whenever this song comes up, it makes me want to run, strangely enough)
Radiohead's Myxamatosis
and lately Lifehouse's Out Of Breath (especially the second refrain of "I keep running... I am running....") (yes, Lifehouse is on my ipod)

it was just too hot today for a good one...

iTunes is playing Pavement's Elevate Me Later

Sunday, September 04, 2005

september sessions

My family always marks the start of September by celebrating two significant events.

September 1 - my mum's birthday
September 5 - my sister's birthday

Last Thursday, the family went to the Hilton's Harbour Grill for some meat and shellfish, as my mum wanted to try their oyster bar.

The restaurant is in serious need of a facelift.

It's not decaying or falling apart, it's just stuck in a time warp.

Stepping into the restaurant takes one back a couple of decades, back into the 80s. It's white, expansive, with faux french windows and wooden floors. It conjures up an image of Don Johnson in his white suits. I can just see women with big hair and shoulder-padded jackets and miniskirts fitting in oh so comfortably here.

But dressed in my black top, amber skirt and heels, I felt a bit out of place.

And when I opened up the menu, I felt like running to find another restaurant. There was nothing much to the menu, which despite its hefty size, had few interesting options. Pricey too.

A duck consomme with enoki mushrooms went for $20 and a lobster bisque for $25.

Steaks were a bit more decently priced I suppose, starting from $40.
(That was until the rib eye came and it was a quite small piece of meat that one)

My prime rib was $50.
But it was a decent hefty thing, although the tips were a bit too dry.
And nothing too spectacular.

My parents ordered some oysters as well. Each oyster goes for $7, or $13.
That's per piece.

However, they do have some specials where two oysters are paired with an alcoholic beverage, like a Vodka Martini. Strangely, these oysters don't come in their shells.

My sister had some scallops with risotto and a champagne gratin.

I was half expecting a mound of risotto all smothered in cheese, but the plate contained two lonely scallop shells with the risotto, scallop and cheese filling it. Needless to say, she was still hungry after.

We passed on dessert as nothing was enticing enough, and headed home for the tarte tatin, which ended up being decent I guess.

On Saturday we had a far better birthday celebration, although an early one.

Parking was a pain though, cos we were headed to Original Sin at Chip Bee. Ended up parking at Holland Drive, but it's really not that far, plus it was a cool breezy night.

We started off with the Mezze Platter - falafels, pita bread with hummus, tzatziki (love that word!), something that was prob eggplant, and a pumpkin mash. Oh and a bit of salad with feta cheese and olives. Lovely. The starter size is plenty for four people to share.

My main was the er... something Misto. Essentially spinach, tofu, chives and I think ricotta cheese patties, breaded with er almonds and sesame (as you can tell I was paying close attention to the menu description) topped with some rocket, asparagus and drizzled with some plum sauce. Delicious.

My sister's filo pie was good, as was the lasagna (sauce was a bit sweet tho). but the so-called Magic Mushroom of portebello and some kinda tomato sauce and cheese wasn't that great.

After all that we were just absolutely stuffed but I felt that we couldn't leave without dessert.

So we ordered the chocolate mud cake with vanilla bean ice-cream. Lovely ice-cream but cake was a wee bit dry for my taste, so I piled on the ice-cream. But four of us, we are very small eaters and only managed 2/3 of the cake.

It was a longish walk back to the car but I sure needed it. Too too full. But a good sort of full.

I'll be back!

Oh, Friday night after work I just needed some red wine. Couldn't figure out which other wine place would still be open at 1230. So ended up at Vino Vino again. Somehow I miss going to the Wine Company, but they close too early. Vino Vino's wines are decent but not as extensive. Service is good though and there's always a couch available to lounge on whenever I'm there so it's not too bad. Plus En is just next door, in case there's a need for late night sashimi.

So that's my weekend update.

Sunday is being spent at the office as usual, where I hung around the gym for 10 minutes trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with the treadmills. Only two of them seemed to work and people were on them before I got there. The others, while plugged in and all, just couldn't be turned on. So I had to wait a bit till one of them finished. Fortunately there are more people at work today, unlike last Sunday, so things weren't piled up when I got back.

Oh and a few minutes after I get into the office, the strap on my sandal breaks and i have to wear my running shoes around instead. Sad sad day for my yellow shoes. What am I going to wear on my feet that's yellow now? I have green, orange, red, black, brown, gold, orange and yellow, blue, beige, but no yellow! Now I have to go find myself another yellow pair.

Also on Saturday, a new addition to my wardrobe - a pair of non-yellow shoes and a dress.

looks like i'm it

since hucks tagged me, i have absolutely no choice at all but to: List three random facts about yourself that your friends might not know. And then tag five other friends to do it.

1) While most people attend one school from nursery up to k2, I went to three kindergartens. Maris Stella, Nanyang and PAP. Best of three worlds? I don't know. All I know is that PAP really sucked. It was like going to detention camp, no fun at all.

2) I hate climbing up overhead bridges in flats. I'm fine with going down them but I always feel like I'm going to topple backwards and fall to my death. So when I climb up the stairs, I tend to go on tiptoe. (I realise this sounds quite insane. Sad but true)

3) I used to eat durians, when I was a kid. Before I knew better.
I hate the way the odour just lingers all over - your mouth, your face, your hands, your body. Brushing your teeth never helps.
I have not touched an actual durian for probably about 20 years now.
But when I was in Chiang Mai I had a durian chip, just to see what it tasted like. It didn't taste of durian at all, thank god.
However, I might consider eating durian, if you pay me.
(In no way does this include faux durian - eg durian paste, durian mooncakes, durian puffs - which I will never ever touch)

So I tag:
- Dimsumdolly
- the sassy slumbering gal
- drifting
- meandering in words
- erm, i realise that most of the friends who read this tend to not blog. so i'm just keeping it to 4
(but in case you would like to reveal to me your innermost secrets that other people don't know, give me a call)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Why is it that we don't write smart?

I met up with T today. Good to catch up after not having seen him since, LAST YEAR.
Over sandwiches and coffee, we wondered about the state of writing in Singapore.
Essentially, why is it that we don't write good?

Good is subjective. For me, I like witty, funny, crisp writing that makes me think, that makes me laugh, that makes me want to live that life. I mean this with regards to columns especially.

I must say I've never really read much of that from our shores.

I'm not talking about newspapers so much, as I know the purpose of newspapers (at least this one) is to cater to a broad market, to write at a level so as not to alienate the population. (which also does mean the need to explain almost every little thing eg blogs = weblogs= online diaries)

But why don't we have magazines that are more page after page of glossy pictures? Magazines that require more than just 10 minutes of a quick browsethrough while standing at the bookstore?

T used the example of GQ as good writing, but I like Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, Gourmet, Vogue (especially the Food section). Magazines here tend to skim the surface, keep things trivial and relatively non-controversial. Even the columns aren't terribly exciting to read. It's like the columnists hold back from revealing anything juicy. I guess Singapore being the minute country it is, someone's bound to wonder if he or she is the person the columnist is talking about. I guess that's what psuedonyms are for.

I'd like to read a local magazine that
1) doesn't use the lazy question-and-answer format. There is absolutely no point in that unless your questions are witty.
It doesn't work when you say:

MagName: So, tell us about your new album.
BandThat'sProbablyNotBoringButSureSoundsBoring: Oh it's something that we're boring boring boring boring boring the socks off you....

MagName: Cool. So can I ask you another boring question?
Band: ......

I think q&a only works on something like the article I'd linked to some posts ago, (read it again here) where Daniel Handler interviewed Jack Black. Now that's an interesting Q&A to read.

2) Doesn't always ask the same questions

3) Doesn't pander too much to advertisers and feature a whole story on one advertiser, disguised as a story but actually is nothing more than a hugeass ad.

4) Doesn't highlight information. Literally.
One eg is Self. I used to read this US magazine regularly, then they had a makeover and decided that they would highlight information for the reader, as if we couldn't already read those snippets of information ourselves, and had to have the yellow attract us to it. It's kinda like duh flashbacks in movies, like Cellular, obnoxious voice-overs in documentaries on Animal Planet or those episodes of TVShowX which simply piece together scenes from previous episodes as the main characters tell each other "remember when...?"

5) Use clean font and good paper. And don't space out their paras and columns too much. Also, don't clutter the page too much with ads, like Today, where sometimes you just can't tell if it's a picture that goes with the story, or an ad.

6) Don't promise too much on your front page. Recently saw an old copy of Female where the front page blurbed an interesting-ish story. Turned to it and it was just a para that really wasn't worth reading at all.

7) I'm tired of celebrities on the front cover. Mostly cos it's always the same pp - fann wong, fiona xie. just use a model already. (and on that note, when doing the cover of a magazine that's about health and exercise, the model should preferably look somewhat athletic and not look like all the exercise she does is posing in front of a camera)


Listening to Matthew Ryan - Return To Me

Thursday, September 01, 2005


It's my mum's birthday today, so I took the day off and we're gonna go out to the Harbour Grill for dinner.

So besides watching TV and reading The Historian (I'm about halfway through and I must say that while it's interesting, it is a bit tedious!), I skipped off down to Coronation Plaza to pick up these lovely flowers.

And made a tarte tatin (which seemed a bit disastrous earlier, because my dough felt like it had way too much butter and not enough flour, as in, it wasn't becoming breadcrumb-like, so I had to toss in more flour. And later, I read the recipe again to notice that they said, rub in 125g of butter, not 150g of butter. The remainder was to be melted with the sugar. Dough! - So I ended up with excess dough...)

Seems to look alright though. The real test will come later when we get back from dinner, with hopefully a little room for a slice of tarte tatin (essentially an upside down apple cake, with a fancy French name.) The origins of the name apparently is because it was first served at L'Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron during the 19th century.

Listening to Joni Mitchell - Little Green

Igby Goes Down

I finally watched Igby Goes Down from beginning to end. Previously I had caught only bits of it on cable, often turning it on in the middle of the film and feeling a bit lost.

But I must say, an excellent movie.

A coming-of-age one, yes, and many of them do suck, and starring a Culkin (Kieren though) but very captivating, in a sort of Catcher In The Rye style. (the world sucks, people suck, etc etc)

Essentially Igby's (Culkin) the younger son of a dysfunctional -ish family. His older brother (Ryan Phillipe) is the 'perfect' son, a Columbia student, but who can be bothered with his brother. His mother (Susan Sarandon) has cancer, his father (Bill Pullman) is in the loony bin, his stepfather (Jeff Goldblum) is one of those slick filthy rich types.

No wonder Igby turns out the way he does - gets kicked out of every school he attends, gets sent to military school and then decides to cut a deal with his stepfather and hideout in one of his lofts.

All Igby wants to do is leave, leave New York and leave his family behind. He's rebellious yet not entirely dangerous.

Culkin really surprised me in this one. I guess I always just put him, his brother and the rest of the Culkins in this box that's labelled Do Not Watch, but he made you want to side with him, instead of wanting to hit him upside down for being the spoilt brat he is. Phillipe, whom I've also never really been a fan of except maybe in Cruel Intentions, also pulls his weight in this one. It's an amazingly strong case.

This is one of those films where the whole is more than a sum of the pieces. It's actually a somewhat aimless show, not very story-driven. Yet somehow it's a well-written, well-balanced movie.

Go see.