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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

This is a picture I stumbled upon many years ago and up till now it still tickles me. Pardon my sick humour. Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends today and all who celebrate Thanksgiving (today and any other day). I'm always confused by when Thanksgiving is.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sis's Birthday Dinner at Kuishin Bo

Last month, we celebrated my 2nd sis's birthday at Kuishin Bo, Great World City outlet. Before this, the very first and last time I went to the same outlet was for my department's Christmas lunch a year ago. Although many of my colleagues commented that the standards seemed to have dropped, I thought that the food was really good. I recommended Kuishin Bo when my sis said she wanted Japanese food.

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The Great World City outlet which is still rated a very favourable 4 stars on Hungry Go Where seemed to have dropped in standard that evening. This is the first time I edit my own food pictures and blog about them without craving for them like I usually do. Furthermore, the lighting at our table wasn't flattering and somehow, all the photos that day did not turn out well.

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The soup in the teapot aka dobin mushi used to be very good but that evening, it tasted like any normal savoury soup. The crayfish was free due to some early bird promotion or something. The cold crab, chawanmushi and cold soba was alright. Nothing to shout about.

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I love whacking sashimi for buffet but I did not take my usual amount that day. The ebiko was a prized catch for my sis. She loves biting onto springy ebiko and ikura alike. Sprinkling some ebiko on top of her chawanmushi made it a lot more delicious!

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The meat dishes you see below was cooked upon order. The beef was good. The lamb (that black piece at the top right) did not look like lamb but tasted good according to my eldest sis. The fish had too many bones everywhere; it was quite difficult to tackle that dish. The variety of soup and ginseng porridge were not bad.

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Left: When my 2nd sis came back from the drinks dispenser with Milo, all of us laughed at her. "Come all the way here just to drink Milo. Don't you already drink enough Milo at home?"
Right: I love half boiled eggs (eaten the Chinese breakfast way with dark soya sauce and pepper with toast) but I slurped this half boiled egg in a mouthful and could not talk for the next few minutes. I was actually on the verge of puking the whole egg out. It was cold and meant to be taken as a cold dish. It just felt really disgusting having cold semi liquid egg in my mouth.

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The desserts were alright. Cut fruits couldn't really go wrong. The matcha ice cream was a disappointment as it tasted like vanilla ice cream instead.

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The dessert counter actually looked really appetizing!

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All that was left for the chocolate fondue were the marshmallows and dried fruits after I took the last stick of strawberries. I usually like to dip my cut fruits into the fondue fountain too. I love cheating myself that I'm eating healthy chocolate coated fruits instead of those chocolate coated marshmallows.

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To be honest, the food spread at the buffet table really looked appetizing and the food in general wasn't too bad. It was just the drop in standard which made me a little disappointed. My family was not disappointed though they felt that they had had better Japanese buffet at a much lower price than what Kuishin Bo was charging.

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My sis's present from me-- the very same Coach bag which I have in pink. My mum liked the bag so much that she immediately asked my sis if she could borrow from her as and when she wanted. -_-|||

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This side and that side of the table.

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I like to have individual shots of all of us.

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Minus my dad here who was behind the camera.

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Taking a picture of you taking a picture of me.

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My mum also wanted to join in the fun.

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As all the staff were so busy, this was what we could make do of the family shot. Good thing my sis's arm was long enough to accommodate all of us.

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Displeased that we could not have a proper family photo, I decided to make use of a dustbin to snap this series of photos. Yup, I balanced my camera on a dustbin and set the many shots in one setting mode to get this series which I've made into an anigif. Hope the anigif is displaying well on your screens.

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As I was blogging about my sis's birthday and recalling all the family celebrations in 2012 and 2013 which I combined in a single post 2 months back, I realised that I haven't even blogged about my dear hubby's birthday which was in July. Gotta work on that real soon!

[All photos in this section were taken using Canon S95 and iPhone 5.]

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Crocs Are For Dorks

My hubby kh would never fail to utter the above line each time he saw somebody with those abominable clogs on their feet walk past us.

Even the Urban Dictionary defines Crocs as "shoes for people with no taste".

Before I continue my post, I would like to invite all Crocs lovers to click the x-button on the top right corner of your browser now. Oh well if you are a good sport who love to laugh at yourself, please feel free to linger around. 

Recently, my good friends Cyn and Charlene were casually talking about Crocs over our Watsapp group chat. Cyn was voicing out her thoughts about how Dylan (Charlene's 18-month-old son) is always wearing proper shoes and not Crocs like many kids. Charlene replied that it was because his mum hates Crocs and hence Dylan would never be seen wearing Crocs.

Cyn is all for Crocs and clad my godson, Jase in Crocs whereas Paddy ABHORS Crocs and decreed that their baby would not wear Crocs when he/she starts to walk. Cyn thought it was just a British guy thing and was shocked by Charlene and my vehement abhorrence towards Crocs.

Our casual chat about Crocs jolted my memory of an absolutely side-splitting Croc-bashing article I read a few years back. I remembered reading that article thinking "Hey, that sounds just like me if I were to write a post about Crocs."

The article was written by Steve Tuttle on Newsweek online and it was really difficult retrieving that article. All the newsweek links had since been disabled. That's the disadvantage of respecting the intellectual property of a writer-- one would not reproduce the whole article anywhere on his/her site but to include a link to the actual page and then the page gets removed. I've lost interesting articles whenever I respected intellectual property and because of that, I would sometimes reproduce them on my blog while crediting the author so as to make them accessible for myself and other like-minded people. I was glad when I finally found the article on The Lawson Chronicles.

Do note that the following is a reproduction of Steve Tuttle's article with embedded links and pictures from my own research. I hope that the insertion of pictures would provide a more interesting read for those who could not bear reading mere text.

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The case for ending our long national nightmare
By Steve Tuttle | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Aug 1, 2008

I like to play a game with my son, Joseph. We sit on a bench in touristy Old Town, Alexandria, Va., and we're not allowed to get up until we see a dozen pairs of Crocs. It usually doesn't take long. But the other day we were stuck at eight after a few minutes, and I was getting a little concerned. Just then my boy leaned over and said, "Don't worry, Dad. A family of dorks will come along any minute." To paraphrase Hank Hill, if he wasn't my son, I would have hugged him right then, I was so proud.

I know what you're thinking: what kind of sick father lets his impressionable young son call people dorks because of the shoes they wear? Well, who else will teach him that wearing sweaty bright purple clown shoes in public is not OK? He certainly won't learn that lesson at school. Teachers seem to be some of the biggest abusers of this horrid fad.

I know what else you're thinking: "I like Crocs … they're so comfortable. I'll tell you who the dork is … the guy writing this story, that's who! And who died and made him the fashion authority anyway?" Well, no one. I own pitted-out T shirts that are more than a quarter of a century old, and I've been known to strut around town in some pleated khaki Dockers. I own one belt. A female colleague even told me once I'd be a "perfect candidate for 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy'." I think she was trying to be helpful. My complete lack of fashion sense actually supports my theory, because even I know these things are an abomination.

Yes, I'm really, really late to the Crocs-bashing party. Really late. Plenty of fashionistas have written screeds over the years. But the damn things are still here, so this is no time to stop fighting. To quote the great John Belushi: "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell, no!"

I've been following the good work of Web sites like I Hate Crocs Dot Com for some time, even going so far as to submit a photograph of a stuffed skunk spraying a pair of pink Crocs. The fantastic Best Page In The Universe posted a hilarious rant a while back joking that people who bought Crocs on also bought frozen corn dogs, Pabst Blue Ribbon Light and trucker balls, as well as the CD single "Hey There, Delilah" by the Plain White T's. The rant's author, Maddox, writes: "People who wear Crocs go on and on about how comfortable they are, and how it's supposedly odor resistant because it's made out of some kind of anti-bacterial foam …

You know what else it's resistant to? You getting laid."

A popular YouTube video called "Dorcs" parodies the trend: "Wow, but they're so ugly," says an office worker to her friend. "That's how you know they're comfortable," he says. By the end, she's a convert: "I've given fashion the finger, and joined the Dorcs revolution!" The Crocs Empire is acutely aware of us haters. Even their own commercials make fun of the irrational and over-the-top rage their shoes instill in people like me. In one, an unshaven lunatic holds a neon blue Croc in front of his face and screams, "Why are you wearing these!" for 30 seconds. I only wish I'd known about the tryouts for this commercial.

Crocs's stock price has cratered of late, so there is hope. According to the Rocky Mountain News, the shoes, "which were once so popular that the company couldn't keep pace with demand, are now piling up in warehouses." Maybe the company's just a victim of its own success. If practically every person in the U.S. already has a pair and they're indestructible, how many more can you sell? The same thing happened to Wham-O back in the 1950s with the Hula Hoop.

But the company isn't giving up. They've been diversifying, sponsoring Olympic teams and veering off into sandals and other designs, trying to fool us. They've even gone so far as to create a high-heeled Croc. OMG, as the kids say. These have to be seen to be believed. I recommend only the strong of heart should attempt to Google "high-heeled Croc." The company Web site has this ominous warning for us: "Today, Crocs™ Shoes are available all over the world and on the internet as we continue to significantly expand all aspects of our business" (italics added). That sounds like a threat to me. They're even suing other companies like Skechers for allegedly stealing their great idea. Skechers says the lawsuit is "baseless," "outlandish," and "ridiculous." I'll tell you what's outlandish and ridiculous: that these things sell so much that another company would feel compelled to copy them, allegedly. Don't we have enough eye pollution with just the originals still out there? Don't be fooled, America! Soylent Green is CROCS!!!

If you think about it, the Crocs company should really be admired. P. T. Barnum would be proud. They've managed to separate money from the wallets of millions and millions of seemingly sane people who wake up, look in the closet, and actually decide: "Today I'll leave the house wearing these neon-green Dutch bubble shoes with Swiss-cheese holes in them. Maybe I'll even buy some little plastic strawberries or bananas and jam them in the sweat holes, just to jazz things up and make the bacteria incubate faster." That's fine. I say do whatever you want in the privacy of your own home. Let your Crocs freak flag fly. But don't make the rest of us watch.

I realize this article might not go down too well even in my own editorial office and certainly not in our ad sales department. My boss in Washington read an early draft and said it was funny, but that I had a "somewhat demented obsessiveness." At least he threw me a "somewhat." Another editor wondered aloud if I had perhaps been trampled by Crocs at some point in my life. I also worry about writing this because some of my best friends—and their sweet, innocent children—wear them. One of my dearest—the sister I never had—introduced me to the shoes years ago when she waltzed into a garden party in a pair of bright hot-pink Crocs. I couldn't stop staring at them. "What are those things?!" I whimpered nervously, hoping maybe she was rehabbing from some sort of strange Achilles mishap. "Oh, they're called Crocs … I got them for gardening," she said, so innocently.

Oh, if only we'd known what a tsunami of fashion idiocy was about to be unleashed, maybe we could have stopped it somehow, and they would have stayed in the garden where they belong, covered with manure, a trendy item to be featured on If only. Then they wouldn't be out there in the American mainstream, that big, vast, sweaty mainstream traipsing through our airports and over our beaches and around our great shopping malls. Plop, plop, plop, they go, stuffing their Crocs faces with ice cream and Doritos and giant sodas. Plop, plop, plop. Stuff, stuff, stuff. Yuck, yuck, yuck. And the rest of us have to watch. I spent eight hours waiting on a flight at Dulles over the 4th of July week and I was just minutes from tackling the next group of Crocs ploppers I saw. Luckily for me—and the ploppers—my flight finally arrived and I wasn't arrested for assault. Knowing my luck, I'd have shown up in court to find 12 pairs of Crocs sitting in the jury box.

It would have probably been better for my career if I just posted this as an anonymous Craigslist rant as CrocsHatah35 or something. Plenty of others have spouted off about Crocs there. And sure, I would have had a lot more readers. But Craigslist doesn't write my paychecks, and this is just too important to ignore another day. Some times you just have to make a stand, even if it's a few years late. Do we really think we're going to stop global warming if we can't even end this fashion Chernobyl once and for all? I think the U.S. government should institute a Crocs buyback policy, like they do in the inner city for guns. It would do more to beautify this great land than Lady Bird's highway beautification program ever did.

So I'm begging you, America. Just stop. When you wake up tomorrow and look at your options, choose flip-flops. Go barefoot. Wear boots. Anything but Crocs. By next summer—if we all work together—we can have this plague of bad taste virtually eliminated. Yes! We! Can!

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Unlike my hubz kh, Paddy and Charlene, I'm not 100% a Crocs-basher. When Crocs introduced ballerina flats and slippers, I thought that they were quite pretty.

See, the ballerina flats are so sweet right?

And the slippers, they look like what Adidas would produce too! I've seen Adidas slippers remotely similar to these.

The hubz still do not agree with me.

Jo: See, Crocs ballerina flats are so pretty.
Kh: Crocs are for dorks.

Jo: The Crocs slippers don't look like Crocs at all. I like the colour combi.
Kh: Crocs are for dorks.

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Shopping at ZALORA This Christmas

Since we are on the topic of fashion and apparels, I would like to do a little Christmas shoutout for ZALORA!

November is the time where sea of people start to throng the malls for Christmas shopping. I was at Orchard just yesterday evening and the crowd was massive. It was really difficult to shop and I hate to squeeze through the crowd. What else could I do but to take my shopping spree online! ZALORA would be the perfect online destination to do my Christmas shopping as it offers a range of irresistible Christmas gift ideas, promotions and deals to make your Christmas shopping a little merrier. On top of that, ZALORA offers free shipping for orders above $40 (which is easy to hit for Christmas shopping) and 30 days free return policy.

Sign up for ZALORA's newsletter and earn a S$10 cash voucher. I have many spam emails daily and deals, promotions and shopping are just some of my favourite spam emails. I love scrolling through ZALORA's newsletter for various deals and promotions which happen almost every day.

Hop over to ZALORA and start shopping now!

ZALORA's Website:
ZALORA's Christmas page:

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Edited to add:
This is a scheduled post. So while this post happily made its way to blogosphere, I was miserably sleeping my ENT infection away with a 38.7 degree fever.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Captain Hangman

The movie Captain Philips --starring Tom Hanks as the eponymous hero of the novel-- was released in Singapore two days ago. This is one movie which the hubz had wanted to catch since we first saw the trailer. The movie would be something which the hubz could identify with as he once had a mission to patrol the Gulf of Aden which was infested by Somali pirates.

Situated between Yemen and Somalia in the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden is a vital waterway for sea trade, with approximately 25,000 merchant ships passing through each year. Since the Somali Civil War, shipping along the Gulf of Aden has been threatened by rampant piracy. Pirates on skiffs are known to chase after cargo ships, intimidate the ship crew and hold them for ransom.

A maritime nation with the world’s busiest port, our country Singapore understands the importance of keeping the world’s sea lines of communication open. As a responsible member of the international community, the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) has been working closely with the navies of several other nations to fight against piracy threats in this vital waterway, under the ambit of the Combined Task Force (CTF 151).

Since 2009, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has contributed a total of three deployments of the RSN’s Landing Ships Tank (LSTs) and the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) Super Puma helicopters to the Gulf of Aden. My hubz was one of the Super Puma helicopter pilots in the 2011 deployment who was involved in the foiling of pirate attacks when he first spotted a white pirate's skiff in the sea of blue.

The hubz had a total of 20 seconds of glory in this video at 5:05--5:15 and 7:33--7:43.

I wrote a brief post on the hubz's mission  in 2011 without elaborating much but having newspaper cuttings to tell the story. Also due to kh's nature of work, there are some tasks he does at work which are classified or not meant for the public or even for me to hear. Hence, I would always check with him what is appropriate for me to post. As usual, I'm doing a throwback here while trying to relate back to the current. I always have good reasons for having throwback posts.

~*SAF Overseas Service Medal Presentation*~

Welcoming RSS Endeavour back to Singapore!

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It was too easy to spot kh. The one with the Mickey Mouse ears.

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The Navy and Air Force men all in a row.

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Me and Kh.

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Together with my parents-in-law.

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My FIL looked better with kh's cap than he did.

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A shot with RSS Endeavour in the background.

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It was time for the medal presentation. There were many deserving recipients.

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Finally, it was kh's turn. I had to zoom to the max to capture this.

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What a great honour to have received these.

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After the medal presentation, RSS Endeavour was open for the families to visit. That was the first time I stepped into a navy ship.

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From the visit, family members learnt a lot about their husbands/boyfriends/fathers/sons/brothers led their lives while away at sea for 3 months. Kh kept raving about how good the food was. Having good food on board the ship helped to keep morales up.

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Each time my PIL and I bumped into a face familiar to kh and got introduced, everyone would tell us about kh and his $10K Bose TV and how they slaved to help him haul the TV up the ship. Kh had lots of "love notes" from his co-workers. It was really hilarious witnessing some of the same people helping him to haul the TV down. I should have taken a video of that!

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Apparently my dear hubby bought a Bose Video Wave entertainment system when they had stopover at Muscat. He was really intrigued by the surround sound system without the need for speakers and wiring and impressed by the demo that he bought the TV there since it was not available in Singapore at that time. -_-||| I took a few weeks to get over his spending on the TV since I'm one who hates surround sound system at home and often complain about how his TV or computer is too loud. It has been almost 2 years and we have only used the sound system less than 10 times as I really could not stand all the deafening sounds in our little room.

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Just to show all of you how big the TV is and how he had made so many people slave for him.

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After all the hullabaloo, kh and I headed for one of our favourite Japanese haunt -- Tamako. It is a quaint little izakaya (居酒屋) that looks so old, forgotten and tucked away in Concorde Hotel Singapore that if Kh's Japanese friend hadn't recommended it to us, I would have thought it was a shady place. It is precisely because it is old, forgotten and tucked away that makes this little haunt an unpolished gem. The thing about traditional, non-franchise eateries would be their hand-made menu and funny English.

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Tamako serves authentic Japanese food prepared right before your very eyes. If you know the owner well enough, he might prepare a dish for you that isn't listed on the menu. For a period of time, the owner recognized kh and prepared special dishes upon request. We have not been to Tamako for about 2 years since and I wonder if he would still remember kh.

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My favourite simple comfort food would be their cooked salmon onigiri. So simple but the best I've ever eaten! I could simply sit at the counter and eat their onigiri without any other food.

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Tamako isn't for you if you are one who hates cigarette smoke. (I really abhor 2nd hand cigarette smoke by the way). If the owner has his regular Japanese customers visiting, be prepared for lots of indoor inhaling of 2nd hand smoke. Singapore bans smoking indoors and even in many outdoor seating eateries. Tamako must be one of the only places to allow indoor smoking. Smoke aside, we really love the simple traditional fare at Tamako.

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