Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Comfort food

Gloria Lee
Went "grocery shopping" today. Inverted commas because my groceries are always comfort food. Now my bar fridge and cupboards are well stocked with happy food! Think instant, yummy stuff (usually low in nutrition oops), fruit juices, snacks like chocolates and biscuits and jellies galore. I'm a live-to-eat, not eat-to-live kind of person, so keeping a well-stocked pantry saves me traveling time and from exorbitant prices to satisfy those cravings!

Once I unpacked, I cooked myself a yummy repast of macaroni and cheese, and egg with portobello mushrooms. Sounds good yeah? Tasted better! The meal took all of 4 minutes to prepare from beginning to end, including pouring out a cup of fresh lime juice. Don't you just love the microwave?

Monday, 29 August 2011

A weekend of Tony Tan

This weekend was an eventful one: I voted for the next President of Singapore in the Presidential Elections, was playing mahjong when the news that there would be a recount was announced, was still awake to see Dr. Tony Tan declared President-elect, while watching on live telly as Manchester City, Manchester United and Real Madrid thrashed Tottenham, Arsenal and Real Zaragoza respectively.

A few hours later over dinner at the Singapore Island Country Club, I couldn't help snickering at the nametag of the waiter serving our table. His name: Tony Tan. True story.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Take a seat

Three weeks into my last semester of school, one lecturer let us in on this website which analyzes your character based on where you sit in class. A few days later, a teacher friend told me he uses this tool as an initial evaluation of his students. Seems like more teachers use this tool than you think, so I just thought I'd share.

I used to like sitting in the last row, but these days I prefer a second or third row seat on the extreme left or right. What about you?

Friday, 26 August 2011

The benefits of retail therapy
I went for massive retail therapy today. Happy while shopping, but now glumly contemplating the big hole in my pocket. ):

Trying to console myself with the possibility that shopping can actually help one live longer! Researchers have found that women who shop daily live longer than those who shopped less frequently. And of course, consumer spending helps stimulate the economy.

Yea, that's your cue if you needed an excuse to go shopping.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Hammacher Schlemmer alarm clocks
I am a famously heavy sleeper (with the occasional bout of insomnia), and I think this alarm clock by Hammacher Schlemmer sounds just about the perfect wake-up call for anyone.

The company also stocks a Runaway Alarm Clock - according to the webpage, it "rolls away and hides when you hit its snooze button, and it continues to emit a random pattern of beeps and flashes, encouraging drowsy sleepers to seek it out in order to shut it off". Don't you think it sounds like the most irritating clock around? It would make you start your morning grumpy as a bear! I swear if I had one, I would throw it out the window before the initial week ran out.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

President Tan

Gloria Lee
The surname "Tan" has recently been catapulted into local prominence. Inevitable really, given that it is the only thing shared by all four nominees running for the office of the President of Singapore. It is then a foregone conclusion that the incoming incumbent will be President Tan. Which one of course remains to be seen.

The media has had a field day with this nugget of information. I read with some amusement the article headlined "Tan, Tan, Tan, Tan" published in The Straits Times on 21 Aug 2011. I don't know whether the headline was meant to be a pun on the opening flourish of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, but it sure sounds like it. Incidentally, the piece was written by Sumiko Tan. Yes, another Tan. And an article by Malaysian newspaper The Star screams the headline "No Tan-tative winner in sight". Right. The one who created that headline has nothing to be proud of there.

Moving on from the many newspaper articles spamming Tan-ny puns to death, now even advertising campaigns have jumped on the bandwagon. I was at Vivo City this afternoon, when I caught sight of this new BreadTalk poster (photo above). "TAN-tart", really??! For those who are lost, Tan-tart is what Chinese lingo for egg tart. To their credit, it is a rather creative concept. Albeit an unpalatable one that is unbelievably tough to digest.

What do you think?

Chocolate is a sunscreen?

I recently read this study which indicated that chocolate can protect against sunburn as well as satiate hunger pangs.

The latter I have been aware of all my life, since it has been more than an occasional indulgence. But the former...hmm... I am one of the most easily sunburnt people I know, even when I am diligent enough to use sunscreen. It will be interesting to see where this goes. But meanwhile, no harm eating more chocolate. You know, just in case it's true. (;

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Quick milk magic straws

I've never been a big fan of milk, except to dunk my oreos and cereal in. But these quick milk magic straws I picked up at the grocery store the other day actually made me pour and drink an entire glass of milk. So fun! :D

And there's another brand of these magic milk straws called 'got milk' which I haven't seen in Singapore yet. They come in so many flavours like cookies and cream, chocolate peanut butter, strawberry banana, orange cream, wild berry, chocolate candy cane, vanilla etc. Really handy invention for parents who have kids who don't like milk.!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich

Many of you have probably already read the op-ed piece by Warren Buffett in The New York Times. I was drawn in for a read by the headline - after all, it's hard to reconcile one of the richest men in the world with an article calling to increase taxes for the rich.

In a nutshell, Buffett revealed the secret to how the rich get richer and the poor get poorer across all countries. He makes no excuses for his wealth. In fact, he readily admits to being "mega-rich". The concluding statement in his article is a damning one - "My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It's time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice" - and no doubt would have had the U.S. Congress drawing heavy flak.

Altruistic or not, how can one help but be impressed by a man like that?

Friday, 19 August 2011

Summon Auntie iPhone App

I couldn't stop smiling when I first saw the 'Summon Auntie' app in the Apple app store. For non-Singaporeans, 'summons' (pronounced saa-marns in Singlish) are the infamous penalties issued for parking offenses in Singapore. This app functions as a warning service to the local driving community. I had fun LOL-ing at the lamentation "Summon auntie y u no pang chance" (see top photo), which translates to "Traffic attendant, why don't you give me a chance?"

The creators of this ingenious app are: "A team of mobile and web developers who also happen to be daily drivers who happen to always kena summon. Instead of just complaining when we kena summon, we decided to do something about it!"

There are four main features of the app as described in the website.

1. Park. Once you have parked your vehicle, please remember to tear and display your coupons correctly. Launch SummonAunt App and tap on "Park". This locks your vehicle location and our robust system will send you a notification once a Summon Auntie have been spotted near your vehicle.

2. Alert. This is the holy grail of all our features. When you spot a Summon Auntie doing her rounds, immediately whip out your cool iPhone, launch SummonAunt and tap on "Alert". This sends out an alert notification to all drivers who have “parked” their car within 200 metres (+/-) of your location.

3. Kena. In the unfortunate event that you fall victim to our relentless Summon Aunties, you can still launch our iPhone app and tap on “kena“, select the type of parking offence received and you can share it on Facebook to let your friends know that you have just contributed to the Nation Building Funds! They might be generous enough to treat you a cuppa kopi-o.

4. Alert History. When you drive into a carpark and have just parked your vehicle, and is deciding on the time to display on your coupon, launch SummonAunt app and tab “Alert History”, you will then see the times when Summon Aunties have been spotted in your vicinity, you then have to use your judgement to decide on the time to display on coupon. If Summon Aunties have been spotted like 10 minutes ago, please please please do display a coupon correctly because they will be prowling back like a hungry hyena.

One of the coolest and most functional apps ever!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Barcelona lifts Super Cup
The Super Cup finals between Barcelona and Real Madrid has ended. Barcelona won, of course. No surprise there, though I must say Real Madrid is displaying better form than last season.

It was an exciting match, even with things turning rowdy right at the end. Showdowns between these two Spanish giants have a tendency to end in drama. That tempers ran high was no shock since Pepe had been committing fouls throughout the entire match. The catalyst was a lousy and unnecessary tackle on Fabregas by Marcelo in injury time - he deserved the straight red. Then all hell broke loose. For some unknown reason, Ozil became really agitated (it was a fair call by the referee, so it must have been something else). Then Mourinho went to poke an official on the Barcelona side - like what the hell. Everyone was shoving and shouting at everyone else. The referee was flashing red cards left, right and centre - Marcelo, Ozil and Villa got red carded (the latter two had both already been subbed out!), although Villa didn't do anything as far as the camera showed.

9 yellow cards and 3 red cards - exactly two thirds of which were earned by the Real Madrid side. They can be rather sore losers. Whatever happened to sportsmanship? I really hate it when I stay up to watch a Spanish match (they're always at ungodly hours of 4 or 5a.m.), and have to watch such scenes. Other than that, Fabregas played well - a title in his debut match is definitely a golden start. And Messi. I love Messi. Talented player and straight as an arrow. He is hands down my favourite player, and even though the headline "Messi wins Super Cup" is definitely true with his 2 goals and 1 assist, it is after all a team game. "Barcelona wins Super Cup" would have been more appropriate, I think.

Looking forward to another great season ahead for Barcelona!

Wisdom toothless (Part II)
I just surgically extracted my lower right wisdom tooth. This time, there were two others assisting the doc. I think they were interns, because my entire surgery seemed to be some sort of lesson for them. Through their conversation, I had a blow-by-blow account of exactly what was going on:

"This is an electrode with a *#$#$& tip, so it's easier to slice through the tissue to see the tooth underneath."

"If you can't see anything, it means I can't see anything. And tell me, can you see anything with all that blood everywhere? So spray now, what are you waiting for?!"

"Suction now - and stop blocking my hand! Don't wait for me to tell you to do stuff!"

"Now I'm going to cut the tooth into two. Pay attention."

Not exactly the best kind of commentary to have while you're having a massive headache from all the drilling going on inside your mouth. And this time, I could even feel the doc yanking the tooth out. It hurt bad. After the op, the doc asked me whether I wanted a jab since the swelling the previous time took so long to subside. I said okay, but then the answer was - "Oh, we've run out of the jab."

Definitely not one of the better days of my life.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

First outing with my new lens

Gloria Lee
The lensbaby composer pro is really not an easy lens to use, and will take a lot more time for me to get comfortable enough to do any creative magic with. It is almost impossible to take a self-portrait with this lens too. The photo above took more tries than I could count.

A meetup with the secondary school girlfriends also meant another chance to play around with my new lens, and I like how some of the photos turned out. (:

Gloria Lee
Gloria Lee

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

First photos

Gloria Lee
My first few photos with my Lensbaby Composer Pro! I can't stop chuckling at the photo above of Jessy and Fat gazing at the doggy treats I was tempting them with.

Gloria Lee

This photo of Jessy looks like she's crying..

Gloria Lee

And of course Jaden, who is smiling so happily because his girlfriend has a new toy to amuse herself with so he can concentrate on playing his computer games.

Monday, 15 August 2011

My new Lensbaby Composer Pro

Gloria Lee
Look what came in the post over the weekend (after two long weeks of waiting and waiting and waiting)! Can't wait to play around with it.

My new Lensbaby Composer Pro w/ sweet 35 optic burnt a hole in my pocket, but ain't too bad for my first lens purchase in the six years I've had my trusty Canon 40D. It's all about self-justification, heh.

Do look forward to more cool photos in this space!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

NUS University Town
Earlier today, I visited a friend at the new UTown @ National University of Singapore. It is a network of colleges modelled after Oxford and Cambridge, where students live and attend lessons at the same place. The grounds are beautiful, spacious and tranquil, the residences tastefully designed and cozy. Students were having picnics on the neatly manicured lawns, reading or lounging on the parapets, playing frisbee in the field. It was all very comfortable and nice. Plus Singapore's largest Starbucks is located there (and open 24 hours)!

And I had to visit it the very day I got accepted back into a hall of residence. Aw shucks. Else I might have been applying for a place at U-Town just about now.

Friday, 12 August 2011

A happy bite

Gloria Lee

I have a 'Happy' bite. Literally. Happy is Jaden's not-so-mini schnauzer. He has a history of biting people, and I was an unwitting victim. Luckily, Happy's canine teeth were filed down, else the wound would have been much worse. 

Jaden's mom helped me to apply this penicillin ointment, saying it was very effective. After she did so, I casually looked at the box and the expiry date jumped out at me. The ointment had expired in 1989 - 22 YEARS AGO!!!! My jaw totally dropped and I expected the worst, haha. But apparently I've not suffered any ill effects from it. In fact, the wound hurts much less than I expected it to. But still, omg!

Gloria Lee

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Happy birthday, Singapore!

This year's national day, we had a decent view of the awesome fireworks display from the Promontory @ Marina Bay. There were even random bursts of fireworks during the national anthem, how cool! My photos of the pyrotechnics didn't turn out too well - it was so crowded other cameras photobombed almost every shot. If you missed the show, the video above was taken by a hotel guest at the Ritz.

Meanwhile, here's a photo I took of a car on the street. Don't you think the car mirror wrap is adorable?

Gloria Lee

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Beautiful swear words

The recent controversial NTU valedictorian speech which had the speaker letting fly with a spirited "We fucking did it" made headlines all over the world. My only comment is that the unwitting Trinetta Chong could have taken some lessons from Theo Olesen, the author and artist of the site 'Beautiful swear words'.

Olesen is undeniably talented - he cleverly makes art out of the swear words such that no one could possibly be offended. A few of my favourites below: 'Crap' never looked so good, and a 'rat bastard' has never been cooler. At 17, this young man has only good things coming for him.

Monday, 8 August 2011

DIY surveillance system
Last week, my friend M's domestic helper secretly snuck into M's room when everyone else was out, tried on M's bikinis, took provocative photos of herself thus clad and then posted it onto Facebook using M's laptop. From later looks at the photos on the maid's FB account, it probably wasn't the first time. But this time, the whole process was accidentally caught on webcam (the same webcam on the laptop that the maid was using) - M had forgotten to log out of a conversation, and her friend witnessed the entire scenario and saved the clip. As you would have expected, said domestic helper was on the next plane out of Singapore.

By the by, here's a quick fix for a simple home surveillance system with Google+ Hangouts that will work nicely. No extra equipment needed! You never know, might very well come in handy some time.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The internet is a playground

Just finished "The Internet is a Playground: Irreverent Correspondences of an Evil Online Genius" by David Thorne. It's a published collection of humorous emails and articles from Thorne, which clearly show that the Internet is truly that - a playground. There is only one term to describe Thorne's brand of humour: guai lan (for the uninitiated, it is a colloquial Singlish term).

Almost half the anecdotes in that book can be found on his website. I was especially impressed with the Free Burton Snowboard anecdote, which details how Thorne got his back on a shop with defective products and bad customer service - it's absolutely hilarious and genius at the same time! Gave me an idea - it would also be a brilliant trick to play on a former employer, don't you think?

Missing Missy and Matthew's Party are also favourites. Go take a read, I promise you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Transfer accelerator

This 'transfer accelerator' - or a slide by any other name - was installed at a Dutch railway to help ease commuter flow. This article has more.

I wish we had this in Singapore. After all, you know how how crazy it is at MRT stations here - especially during peak periods. This slide would be such a fun way to get ahead of the crowd if you were in a hurry.

Friday, 5 August 2011

The "Revenge Angel"

For those of you in Singapore who like clubbing, here's some news. Apparently, a woman had gotten infected with HIV after a one night stand with a random guy she met at a club, and is in the midst of exacting her revenge on unsuspecting male clubbers via random injections from a syringe full of HIV-infected blood. Netizens have dubbed her the "Revenge Angel", and though Zouk and The Butter Factory have both insisted that it was nothing more than a rumour, both have filed police reports.

Be it rumour or reality - be careful, yeah?

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Passion mango smoothie
Just drank a passion mango smoothie from Boost Juice Bar. Love this yummy drink, but if I'll be dead broke if I cave in and splurge on this everyday. Thank goodness, a friend set me up with this recipe for the exact same drink

- Mango
- Passion fruit
- Tropical juice
- TD4 low fat mango yogurt
- Sorbet
- Ice

Easy peasy - all you have to do is put all those ingredients in the blender until the resulting mix is as smooth as desired. Sounds like a no brainer, right? Try for yourself!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Apple richer than Uncle Sam
It's official. The United States of America is poorer than Apple, and if that's not enough, Bill Gates too has more cash on hand than the USA. Ouch. I guess Obama has been thanking all his lucky stars that the next presidential election is still some time away at the end of next year.

One could always enter into a lengthy debate over whether it was Obama's less than competent handling of America's debt ceiling,  Steve Job's sterling stewardship of Apple, or Bill Gate's steady amassing of personal wealth through all his successful business endeavours that has led to the unfavourable (or favourable, depending on whose point of view you're taking it from) comparison of balance sheets. But then again, what point would it serve? After all, the financial impact is surely going to make itself felt.

Oh, and it seems that Google is next in line to usurp Uncle Sam.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

What are words

Yesterday's President's Star Charity Show saw Chris Medina of American Idol fame performing his signature song "What Are Words". This song's been done to death over the radio and the web, but doesn't change the fact that it's what it is - amazing.

The story behind it is also a poignant one.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Maison Takuya iPhone cases
Now that the Apple iPhone is all the rage, the demand for a good case (in terms of design, affordability and functionality) is at an all time high.

Maison Takuya's iPhone cases take the cake with its range - made from the skins of the wild sea snake, alligator, french goat, buffalo and ostrich. As can be expected of such luxury cases, they do not come cheap. And some of them can't even get into contact with water, makeup or perfume (as stipulated on the packaging). Definitely not for clumsy oafs like me.

What about you? Pretty as some of the colours may be, would you shell out $100-$250 for one of these cases?
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