Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saturday night out

Went to the SSO -- only because there was the holy triumvirate of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven on the programme. Couldn't go wrong with any of that.

It was billed as a gala night, so there were none of the usual ticketing concessions. However, $50 bought me a ticket in the fourth row (as opposed to $300 for a seat in the second balcony for THE Berlin Phil -- yes, still harping on that) -- I was so close to the musicians that when a second violinist used his bow to stab down a flyaway page of music, I could hear the thwack as it hit the sheet.

Haydn was Symphony No 44; Mozart was the Prague symphony and Beethoven was his allegedly only violin concerto, with guest violinist Renaud Capucon, but I hadn't heard of him. Liked the Beethoven and Mozart anyway, but I don't know whose version of Prague I've been listening to, thought last night's version didn't have an arresting enough opening.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Facebook ate my brain

It's a deadly combination of social media and newly acquired cable TV -- the cable company (one out of the two here) gave us free access to all their 100+ channels as new subscribers (don't you love competition). It's not a free lunch but a marketing ploy (see, some bits of the brain still works, FB didn't eat it all. Yet). They probably wanted to hook us onto all the channels available so that we'll take them all. Or they probably hope that we forget to opt out after the free access period is over and then bill us for 100+ channels instead of the few dozen or so that come with the package we've taken on.

Anyway, with 100+ channels and getting on FB, I have not read a book in the past two weeks. I'm deeply ashamed. The bookmark left in the volume by my bed hasn't moved in a while. The only reading that I've done is The Economist, and that's because I have a subscription. If I don't finish the current issue, another one will show up on Friday and I don't want them to pile up.

Must. Turn. The. Mac. And. The. TV. Off.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bye bye, boys

These are Spike and Zoey, a pair of Italian greyhound brothers who live with a friend in Tokyo. I'm fond of them because I first visited Tokyo when they were newly acquired, and slept in the guest room which also served as the dogs' room. So they were a big part of my first Japan experience. That was more than 10 years ago.

Spike died a couple of years ago. Zoey died yesterday. He was getting on in years, but seemed fine. Then he went to bed and never woke up. It is somehow comforting to know that he was a good boy to the end, didn't put anyone through that last trip to the vet, and that he went peacefully in his sleep, on his own bed.

But he will still be missed.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Geographical eats

There's a new(ish) stall at the food court that sells laksa. All sorts of laksa, actually, from around the region: Singapore laksa (of course), Penang laksa, Johor laksa, Kelantan laksa, Sarawak laksa and Myanmar laksa.

Other than Penang laksa, which is popular enough, I'd never even heard of the others. Though I was well educated -- and well fed -- on Sarawak laksa by a Sarawak-born wife of an editor I used to work with. I didn't even know that the Malaysian states all had their own varieties of laksa. I will have to go back and eat my way through the archipelago.

Out of solidarity for Aung San Suu Kyi, I ordered the Myanmar laksa. It was prepared and served by a cook from China. Only in Singapore.

The Myanmar laksa had a broth that was almost scary in its livid yellowness. It was creamy with coconut milk, cut by the tang of freshly squeezed lime on top. No picture. Am not food blogger enough to take pix of things before I put them in my mouth. Just take my word that it was yummy.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Facebook follies and a blast from the past

So I finally got on Facebook. And instantly slid down the slippery slope of perdition. I didn't poke people that much, really. But I swore a lot while trying to navigate round an unfriendly interface and trying to find the "hide" buttons that were hidden. Purposely, I daresay. And then a comment that I posted in response to a friend showed up in another friend's wall, puzzling friend #2 greatly while leaving friend #1 thinking that I was ignoring him. It was enough to make me "unfriend" Facebook. There. I've said the word. Unfriend. I'm deeply ashamed. Every fibre of the professional sub-editor in me is quivering with righteous indignation and demanding that I return all Headline of the Year awards.

The plus side of Facebook is that it didn't take long for an old school friend to find me. And then she got all nostalgic, and ended up posting on her wall, a picture of our old school gang, taken during someone's wedding. I don't even remember the occasion, but it was a calculated guess seeing that one person in the group is in a wedding gown.

The trip back to the 80s was another shock. I'd forgotten that I never used to cut my hair then. And that we wore blouses with big white bibs for collars. OMG, looking at the photo was like stepping into a time warp. I was part of The Breakfast Club.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Don't it turn my brown eyes red

These are Big and Small, an imaginatively named pair of stuffed dogs (the big one is Big, the small one is Small), who are err, pets to our pets. I don't know what possessed us to think along the lines that our dogs would like to have their own dogs when we bought them. Queeni likes to carry Small around in her mouth, and Rupert likes to feel macho by shaking Big, twice his size. Which means that Big and Small got a little stinky with dog saliva.

So L put Big in the wash with some other toys. Small escaped the wash because he was hidden by somedog behind the sofa. And into the wash went some bleach, partly because there was a predominantly white toy that had gone predominantly brown.

Big emerged from the wash with scary blood-shot eyes, the bleach having turned its brown eyes red. I find it scary to look at, but Rupert doesn't seem to notice the difference and is back to being macho with Big. Or maybe he feels even more macho now, to shake up Vampire Dog.

Monday, February 07, 2011


Somebody made her own pineapple tarts. She said I could post the pix of creations here with a "don't laugh" warning, seeing that this blog is on a pineapple tart roll. Seriously, nobody's laughing. I think they're awesome. Especially when she did everything from scratch, the pastry and the jam filling (which took six hours). The tarts look beautiful. I bet they taste yummy too.

Gongxi facai

I don't know if this was somebody's whimsical Chinese New Year display by the roadside, or it's if an offering/plea to Cai Shen (God of Fortune) -- given the ingot and the playing card (lucky No 8).

Fatt! anyway.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Pineapple tarts, round 2

Sorry, Somebody. Another neighbour, another jar of pineapple tarts. However, these are store bought and factory made. And nothing to shout about. Don't really like them in the pigs-in-a-blanket shape. The home-made ones still win for taste and aesthetics.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Glint in the eye

This pix is for the benefit of somebody, so that she needn't look at a pineapple tart everytime she drops by here. :)
Gongxi facai.