Friday, March 30, 2012

The best laid schemes of mice and men

Think it was from working on New Year's Day or something, that I had a day off in lieu, and cobbled some other off days together to get a three-day long break this weekend.

Did not think I'd spend my birthday with L in hospital. What a Dragon Year birthday.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Strange eats

Singapore foodies, weigh in on this one: pandan cheesecake.

It's not like New York cheesecake, nor even like baked Japanese cheesecake. It's a brick of pandan cake (and a darker than usual bilious shade of green at that) covered on top with shredded cheese. You know how some pandan cakes come covered with dessicated coconut? Well, this one had shredded cheese instead.

It's from Indonesia, and was given to us by our downstairs neighbour. I don't particularly like pandan cake, and L knew that he would never be able to eat this on his own, so he promptly cut it into two and shared half with the neighbour across the landing. (She was watching in amusement and lending encouragement to the two young girls that were sent up to deliver the cake, as they were summoning up their courage to ring our doorbell because they knew that would set off the dogs.)

Much later, neighbour across the landing asked L how he liked the cake. He conceded that it was strange, and so did she. She thought maybe we should gently heat the cake a bit, and melt the cheese, like what you do with a pizza. L didn't think so.

Must be our palates that are weirded out, because this concoction has apparently been around a while. There's a seal of approval thing on the side of the box that says: Fifth anniversary!

Monday, March 12, 2012

I could be The Stig

I studiously avoided the motoring programme Top Gear on BBC when we first got cable TV. I'm not a car enthusiast -- I don't even know how to drive -- and I was sure that reviews of things that zoom past very fast was plain boring. But Top Gear has a huge following. Last December, they were selling tickets here in Singapore for a Top Gear live special in Perth, Australia. I didn't know that the fuss was about. Until I caught an episode a few weeks ago. Now, I'm hooked.

It's not the cars. I couldn't give two hoots about the car reviews. It was solely the madcap antics of the three larrikin co-presenters. Each episode, they would have an absurd challenge -- oh, converting a three-wheeled Reliant Robin into a space shuttle; racing about an airfield in airport vehicles (a fire engine, fuel truck, a catering truck, a bendy bus, that thing that's stairs on wheels, to see which is the slowest vehicle that's causing flight delays); being roadies for The Who.

A fourth character, the show's test driver, shares the credit lines with the three co-presenters -- an anonymous faceless voiceless test driver called The Stig. They would have you believe that The Stig is not entirely human. His Facebook page (of course he has one) says: Some say that he's Mac compatible, and that he once punched a horse to the floor. All we know is, he's called The Stig.

It's a running gag who The Stig really is. I'm told T-shirts proclaiming "I am The Stig" go fast on the Top Gear e-store. Various names have been thrown up. All male. In the light of International Women's Day, has anyone considered that The Stig could be female? :)

Monday, March 05, 2012

Travel travails

By the third quarter of last year, I knew that I would be making a trip to the UK this spring. My travelling companion happens to be one of those Net savvy people, and after Christmas, had already found a good online deal on the tickets. Before the year was out, we had already booked our tickets.

This was a whole six months before the trip. I had never been so organised so far in advance before. I mean, the year of the trip wasn't even the year of the booking of the trip!

Now, with the trip two months away, we're down to the nitty gritty of making reservations. For overnight accommodation for the short trips away from where we're staying, for restaurant reservations, for theatre tickets.

And ran straight into a brick wall. The nights that we aimed to stay over were full, we could not get dinner seatings at a time that we wanted. This is two months away. On week nights. How could everything be fully booked already? I don't even know what I'm going to have for dinner tonight, how do so many people know exactly when they want to sit down to dinner two months from now, and where they want to spend the night?

There must be very many highly organised tourists out there. I'm in trouble.

And how did we book trips before the Internet?