More shouts and murmurs

1. An Imagined Date Between Two Straight Men
LOL. This is EXACTLY how I would have written it.

Matt: It’s nice to finally meet you! I like your flannel shirt that smells like whatever soup you had for lunch.

The banal conversation and the fake feminism.

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lol. I guess we can agree on one thing. I wonder if this is what all married women fantasize about. Their husbands running off with another man and leaving them well alone.

I mean, I am in several Whatsapp conversations with exactly two other heterosexual (or so I’m led to believe) men and it’s really quite accurate! Especially the Cards Against Humanity obsession. My heterosexual men are not so poncey as to discuss the postmodern condition or to call things “Kafkaesque” though.

2. Valentine’s Day word problems
Ah, I was falsely led to believe that it would be problems to do with words, like anagrams or some such thing. I forget that K-12 teachers here inexplicably like to call math problems ‘word problems’.

6. A friend sets you up with one of her co-workers on a blind date, on Valentine’s Day. At dinner, your date insists it’s important that “we give President Trump a chance.” If your youngest sibling is five years younger than you and is about to celebrate her second wedding anniversary in three weeks, how important is it that a couple has so much in common, really?

3. People more difficult to break up with than your SO

4. Classic Rom-coms Rewritten for Trump’s America
This makes me feel like rewatching all of them! It’s been more than a decade since I went on my romcom binge in rgs. To watch: Clueless, You’ve Got Mail, Maid in Manhattan, Reality Bites (have not watched?), Obvious Child, Casablanca, Kate and Leopold, Annie Hall, The Lake House. Well, maybe not Lake House.

5. The Kama-Sutra for Married Couples
As always, Simon Rich is gold.

6. The Cheater’s Guide to Love

7. Books just for grown-ups, with cute interactive shelf!

8. A Singaporean love story in civil servant speak
omg… “Irregardless”… the whole thing was so painful.

9. OMG This is me to a tee!

For years, I resented any recipe that called for tomato paste. It wasn’t the flavor of the paste itself, which I’ve always been fond of, or even my erroneous suspicion that its impact on finished dishes was overrated. Rather, it was the sight of yet another full can (less one or two tablespoons at most) joining its half-used predecessors in the back of my refrigerator, an elephants’ graveyard of forgotten tomato pastes in various states of decay.

Finally, a cute comic by Adam Ellis:
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Annunci

Anniversary 2017

Got up in the middle of the night (6:30am?) and couldn’t get back to sleep for awhile, so we decided to skip the Hilary Hahn concert today :P in favour of staying in. Sorry Hilary, I guess sleepiness and laziness won out over you in the end. We have seen her before at the BBC proms playing the Beethoven violin concerto but because the symphony doesn’t seem to have processed my campus club membership yet ($30 for all-you-can-hear) it was also a bit difficult to get tickets. I didn’t want to make the trip downtown only to find that they had no tickets left :S

It was a fantastic decision – I got up at 12-ish and made us an English fry-up
Full English Fry Up
with scored sausages and all (no black pudding). We didn’t have English muffins on hand so substituted with bagel halves smeared with raspberry compote from Dahlia Bakery.

I gave Z his present last night – a really vintage compass/sundial that I got from Pangaea in Nashville, TN

(which he already knew was coming) and a bottle of artisanal olive mix (which he didn’t know was coming). I had asked him to drop me off at Paper Source in UVillage ytd (believable, but not the true destination), from which it was a short walk to Pasta & Co., where I was first intending to get the olives. Some pricy Italian ones since he only buys cheap Greek varieties for himself. Pasta & Co. was closed! So I ended up having to go back to our regular QFC to find the best olives on their shelves, all the while stealthily avoiding him because I had sent him to get groceries while I was at Paper Source :P

This morning he gave me a really cool anniversary card:


that he made by cricutting the swans out, placing them on the white linen paper, lighting a candle and snuffing it, placing it near the paper+swan cut out and then covering the entire setup with a bowl. The wax vapor would then condense on the uncovered parts of the paper, making those parts hydrophobic.

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Adding the yamabudo ink at the end was a nice touch, although it made the swans look rather more like flamingoes. Probably we should do more research as to the kind of paper to use that doesn’t bleed; the end result was rather unintentionally tie-dye-y:
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He also gave me my presents (which I picked out :P) – a set of Sarasa milk colored pens (kind of like chalkboard ink) and also sent me on a washi tape hunt through the house

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on the picture frame leading to the loft

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in the bathroom

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on the shopping shelf

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on the ntuc water bottle

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on the mechanical wave toy

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underneath zassou

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next to the crate & barrel fox

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next to the pebble tower

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on top of my muji humidifier

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and on top of the chesapeake bay candle

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There were 14 tapes in total and each one of them has really pretty watercolor designs on them and is 21m long!! About $1 each on Amazon, which is pretty worth it. I think the watercolor designs are much prettier than those in Paper Source and definitely more so than those in Michael’s etc. Then again, washi started in Japan and has had a much longer history in Asia than over here. Not to mention stationery in general is 100x more advanced in Eastern Asia than here, in terms of compactness, design, color, and efficacy. I remember being quite horrified the first time I went to the Cornell Store – the staplers are holepunchers are ginormous! Super heavy and super non-portable and you need a lot of muscle to use these tools, when their functions are really singular and can be easily outsourced to much smaller implements that are easier to use and to bring around. Case in point: I have been lending my classmates my stapler every time homework is due or after an in-class test ever since college started whereas in Singapore nearly everyone has one of their own in their pencil case from elementary school.

Doing the tape hunt made me realize how colorful our place is :P He could find objects to match every single tape to and I walked right past a lot of them without noticing them.

Watched two episodes of We Got Married (Jjongah) over lunch and then had our defrosted eclairs from TJ’s:
Trader Jacque's Eclairs
Trader Joe’s really has The Right Idea when it comes to dessert! Look at that shiny chocolate fondant! They should roll out a coffee eclair; I would be overjoyed. I believe it was something like $2.99 for a box of four. Which is ridiculous. I am never making eclairs again. The only problem is it takes like an hour to defrost at room temperature, and in our house the room temperature is quite a bit lower than the room temperature I imagine they think our house is at :P and it looks so delicious and beckoning more often than not we end up eating it while the vanilla custard is still partially frozen because we are piggy :S I think two hours is a more accurate recommendation for defrost time.

Links 2

Mainly for my own remembrance
1. Well people are actually moving to Canada

Also, a company called True North has sprung up overnight, in Vancouver, to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to start poaching some of our top technology talent.

“Got U.S. visa worries?” the company’s website goads. “The solution is True North. We make it simple for you to immediately gain the necessary paperwork to set up a Canadian work and residency status similar to what you have in the US, so that you avoid disruptions or uncertainty relating to changing U.S. visa regulations.”

2. How the kiwi descended from the chinese gooseberry

It all began in 1904, when Mary Isabel Fraser, the principal of an all-girls school, brought back some Chinese gooseberry seeds from China. They were then given to a farmer named Alexander Allison who, planted them in his farm near the riverine town of Whanganui. The trees went on to bear their first fruit in 1910.

But, as luck would have it, neither the British nor the American attempt at commercializing the fruit was as fruitful. For example, the first batch of seeds brought to Britain’s Veitch Nursery all produced male plants, thwarting the growers’ plans to produce edible fruit. The same fate befell the U.S. government’s attempt. “It seems ironic that the sending of seed by a missionary to an amateur gardener should eventually lead to a new horticultural industry, when the efforts of the Veitch Nursery and the U.S. Department of Agriculture were so much less successful,” Ferguson remarked in his 1983 essay.

The gooseberry’s rebranding didn’t happen until almost 50 years after Allison’s trees bore fruit, according to New Zealand’s official history, when agricultural exporter Turners & Growers started calling their U.S.-bound Chinese gooseberries “kiwifruits” on June 15, 1959.

The fruit’s importer told Turners & Growers that the Chinese gooseberry needed a new name to be commercially viable stateside, to avoid negative connotations of “gooseberries,” which weren’t particularly popular. After passing over another proposed name, melonette, it was finally decided to name the furry, brown fruit after New Zealand’s furry, brown, flightless national bird. It also helped that Kiwis had become the colloquial term for New Zealanders by the time.

Huh. I thought it was at least hybridized or something but it looks like they took it wholesale!

3. On Puzder as labor secretary

A bit whingy and over-emotional/irrational. Like, if for the first 5 years of your job you hardly see any raises or anything wouldn’t you go looking elsewhere? Why would you let your career continue in the same trajectory? But yes, I see your point.

4. Jake Tapper grills Kellyanne Conway on Trump’s Lies

5. The dishes of different dialect groups each chinese new year
Thought the hainanese chicken rice with creamy mushroom and chicken sauce was quite weird haha. I always felt chicken rice was a 清 dish though, having a gloppy sauce is a bit weird.

6. On Emily Temple-Wood, the wikipedia editor who fought back online misogynist trolls by adding articles about underrepresented and unknown female scientists every time she received a threat or insult. People -.- Should learn that their personal insecurities are not a woman’s problem to solve.

7. This picture is me at any social gathering involving more than 4 people (including Z)

8. Flight Attendant Quietly Informs First Class Passengers Where Real Emergency Exits Are

Links

Used to do this quite often last time when I was very free to surf all the weird and wonderful links on fb.
Have been having trouble sleeping recently so here’s what I have been reading (in addition to watching Sens. Warren and Sander’s videos on fb)

1. This gecko sheds his scales to get away from predators – why, I’m not sure how it helps. Oh, apparently its predators grab onto it via its scales, so it’s akin to criminals shedding their coats when they are grabbed by law enforcement officials. They also have some freaking humongous scales! More like a pangolin than a gecko.

2. New Yorker mockery of hygge

I sit under a thick, lumpy blanket with my new book about hygge and light the “cabin-scented” candle I got from my office Secret Santa, Gail. Is this hygge?

The candle smells more like new rain boots than like a cozy cabin, so I put it out, cupping my hand around the flame and blowing slowly, savoring this moment of domestic defeat. I pull on another pair of socks. I think this is hygge.

and,

My hygge book doesn’t say anything about not looking at screens, but it feels implied. I should Google it.

I open a fifteenth tab about Laura Linney. I don’t know how I got here, but I embrace the journey.

I love Laura Linney too! Especially her accent.

3. And since I am really missing the chowder at Skipjacks, I suppose I should try Kenji’s New England Clam Chowder recipe pretty soon. It’s just not the same as Seattle clam chowder, as our recent visit back to New York confirmed.

Gallery

4. Why yes I would like a greasy soulless valentine’s day menu. Screw the champagne and the chocolate covered strawberries, those pepperoni garlic knots are definitely what we’re going to do.

5. On Republicans silencing my favorite senator and well, now everybody’s gonna hear about Coretta Scott King’s letter. I gotta say though, with Betsy Devos being confirmed I can’t help but be convinced that majority of the senate republicans are a bunch of wusses with little to no regard for the competencies and ethics of the people they are handing influence on a platter.

6. China’s oldest newborn teenager – well the jury’s still out on having children but it’s nice to know technology allows you to do it when you’re in the middle of a mid-life crisis.

7. Sherlock Holmes and the Massacre at Bowling Green. Well. The title speaks for itself :P

He handed me a dusty photograph featuring a rather tall man reminiscent of the orangutan in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and a blond woman with a somewhat vacuous expression.

“Is she on the left?” I asked, peering at the crumpled image.

“The far right,” responded Holmes. “Oh, you mean in the photograph. Yes, that’s her.”

and

“What was it that she said again?”

“ ‘I bet it’s brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi-refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized, and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.’ ”

“Goodness. She’s not a very eloquent speaker, is she?”

“My dear Watson, the woman just witnessed a horrifying event all by herself. Of course her words were not so well selected. She is obviously in shock.”

lolol this story is gold everyone has to read it.

8. Kenji’s recipe for extra flaky scallion pancakes, since I have not had any good ones here yet. The hot water dough sounds easy enough to make, and I thought it was cute how he got inspiration from Yan can cook. We all used to watch that as children in sg! I think it was on free-to-air. There’s no telling what you pick up from your upbringing that will psychologically impact the way you cook and live.

9. In which the internetz discusses Obama’s snapback fashion choices and the reality that he’s not coming back

10. Long-ish NYer article about losing things. Very me.

Christmas presents!

Had the guys over for some Bahamian food the other day – since I wanted to try the jerk spice mix we brought back from Genuinely Bahamian.Turns out, it’s insanely difficult to find pigeon peas here – we drove to three different supermarkets (asian/hispanic) – the first two didn’t have them – just a lot of pintos, black eyed peas, regular peas, lentils, etc. Finally I called up Mendoza’s Mercado (this tiny hole in the wall on Aurora St) and the shopowner told me he had them! Should have started with him. I don’t know how popular pigeon peas are among mexicans, all I know is it’s a Bahamian peas and rice thing, and I wanted to make a super peas and rice just like the one at Lukka Kairi (failed, btw) which of course wouldn’t be the same without pigeon peas.

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ZH came at 6:15pm and GGY gave me an eta of 7:30pm, so I started frying the battered bananas at 7:15pm. He was 10 minutes late! Then he waltzed in and said in his typical sing-songy way
“Hello everybody!”
“Traffic bad?”
“No, traffic was GREAT.” (he’s not being sarcastic. ggy is just not a very sarcastic person)
“lol you don’t have to be so honest you know..”
“There were NO cars on the road.”
“Then how come you were late?”
“I left late.”
lol. No shame, this one.

We got so many presents! It’s so fun to have friends lol. ZH gave us a double sided(?) hotpot! Since he knew we didn’t have one. Now we can have hotpot parties. Tbh I’m not a super big hotpot person but I do like Japanese odens and Korean soon dobu jigaes and if I ever have a good superior stock recipe down then I think I would like hotpot. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense in super hot and humid Singapore so I never had it growing up, at least not in a restaurant? It was always homemade in my grandma’s house at CNY or something and so I always associated it with sweatiness and a general zomg-you-mean-I-have-to-cook-it-myself?!? kinda vibe. That said, I think it makes quite a bit of sense here and we’ve already got a few soup bases to toy around with.

Then GGY produced a present each for me and LZ! Totally unexpected. We got him a present of course, his birthday was just after christmas and we hadn’t seen him since then. I got a nice bottle of pilot iroshizuku ink in mountain grape color. It matches the rest of my ink perfectly! Time to write some nice letters.

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Z got a mechanical pencil, which GGY calls his favourite mechanical pencil lol. The funny thing is, Z got TWO of those mechanical pencils for his birthday in October from the same person, one in black and one in silver. The tip sorta rotates a bit so a sharp edge never forms with the lead. The packages came from Amazon prime and the card said “Happy birthday LZ! From: LZ” and we had NO idea who sent it. Asked around several people, including ggy, and we even made him double confirm “you sure you didn’t send it?” In the end it was SL who sent it, and then the note made sense, because who knows what Jaws is reading out to her when she’s filling in the form for the birthday note on Amazon? She’s visually impaired so filling in things like that would be trickier for her. But apparently our implanting the idea of giving Z a mechanical pencil in GGY’s mind was so powerful that he really went and got him one for christmas. We’re never talking about pencils again. Next time we talk, it’ll be all about ferraris.

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We got ZH a little autobridge game from the Downtown Antique Shop in Nashville (where you play bridge with yourself) and I repapered the cover, as with most games you get in an antique shop, the cover can be quite cui. Of course you lose a little of the vintage feel, but I wanted him to feel like it was a present rather than a random piece of junk lol. Now the cover looks as good as LZ’s go set (I used the same pattern of Nepali paper)

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For ggy we went to the Bean & Bailey workshop in Chattanooga to get him the little faceted salt bowls we saw in Portland and absolutely adored. Wrapped it in a rum cake box to throw him off the scent (well, rum cake is quite a plausible present since we did just come back from the Bahamas but is not as satisfying as those little salt bowls.) He loved them :)

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We got him orange, purple, and grey, all in light pastels.

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And seconds in cobalt, teal grey, and dark grey for ourselves. These were half price because they were color tests. They don’t actually produce pieces in these colors.

All in all, a rather nice belated christmas celebration :) Would be better if I had made the salted egg yolk cookies in time for ggy to bring back to sg but I am still recovering from the bout of fever and sore throat contracted while in Nashville (we suspect it was the Nashville hot chicken that did my throat in) so have been feeling very listless and not-wanting-to-do-anything-useful. Also my legs are covered ALL OVER in mosquito bite scabs. Or perhaps they were sand flies, one can never tell. I’m not very good at not scratching either. It looks like my legs right after I got back from OBS. Hopefully it goes away at some point! This would be a perfect time for a nice oppa to suddenly appear with a packet of anti-scarring lotion wrapped in a white paper bag from a korean pharmacy. Ah, one can only dream.

23 December 2016 – Snorkeling on Rose Island

Went snorkeling today!!! On the huge reef at Rose Island. There were about 3 private charter boats there too, so you know that place is really worth snorkeling. We paid about $84 each (with a promo code) for the Sandy Toes tour which included a buffet lunch and a boat ride to and from Rose Island from the Paradise Island Ferry Terminal.

Everything on Paradise Island is overpriced, including parking. Like we frequently manage to park for free in downtown Nassau, things are pretty badly regulated and unmonetized there. The Atlantis employee parking garage costs someting like $17 for a full day of parking, which I suppose is not unreasonable. But we found the lot opposite RIU that cost only $5/day and felt pretty damn smug about that.

The snorkeling was amazing, and the snorkels we got from Amazon are amazing! You can literally stay face down on the water indefinitely quite comfortably! We went in with just our prescription goggles and the snorkel, no fins or like snorkel mask or life jacket. Swallowed a hell lotta salt water but it was totally worth it. The two best fish of the day we saw was the grey angelfish and the queen triggerfish, which can apparently change its color depending on its mood and how much it feels aggressed. It’s one of the largest triggerfishes that one is unlikely to see in a marine aquarium because it’s also highly aggressive and eats almost everything else.

Its diet consists of invertebrates. In aquariums shrimp, squid, clams, octopus, scallops, and crab are all good choices of food.

According to wikipedia. I also want to be a queen triggerfish. Man, we had such good lotus root flour battered calamari at Saigon Kitchen the other day.

The pictures were… not great because we were shooting blind. All the refraction from the water to the camera case ensured pretty much that I couldn’t see what I was shooting, so I just aimed randomly. Will add some to the post if and when they get uploaded.

Oh yeah the woman at the parking garage told us “You have a beautiful family” lol. I think they think maybe Chris and Rich adopted us. Are most people who travel to Nassau in families? Or is it being in the same car that makes you a family? In which case I am families with very many people. This reminds me of Shim Cheong’s misconception about marriage way back in episode 3 or 4 of Legends. Anyway yesterday Chris almost gained a new husband, today she gained a son. The tour guide on the boat to Rose Island told everyone else on the boat (there were about 50 of us) that Chris was his mother. He was named Chris too, so he told the whole boat she named him after herself :P And he was Bahamian, so his skin tone was quite a few shades darker. He looked at her and told everyone “it took me ten years of giving this tour under the hot sun to look like this” lol. Then she introduced him to his sister (me), who is a totally different color altogether and told him “as you can see, I have an errant past!” lol. He gave me a hug and it was so cute we should have taken a “family” pic.

While we we were snorkeling, the other guide, JU, handed me a huge orange starfish the size of a neck pillow. I shot a few pics of it in his hand and later tried to pass it to Z so I could shoot Z holding it. At the same time JU was swimming to Z to pass him a smaller starfish to see and Z kept signalling “no no no” in the water because he was frightened (of the both of us handing him the starfish). I heard JU snort in laughter beneath his mask and then he surfaced and gave a real loud belly laugh. “He’s scary! A scary cat!” (He meant scaredy lol but maybe their accent makes it come out as ‘scary’) “Who’s scared of a starfish?? A starfish ain’t no gonna bitechu?!?!” lol! Then he told everyone on the boat Z was afraid of a starfish lololol I was so amused. Z was not and said we were both mean people hahah.

22 December 2016 – Food tour

Since I am quite behind on my journalling I am going to put some key highlights here to help my foggy memory later:

Today the Carl’s Jr wait staff mistook me for Chris’ daughter and she was so pleased :P She asked the waitress for the order number and the waitress told her “I gave it to your daughter” and she raised her eyebrows and was SO happy when she was telling us all about it.  I told her I must be starting to look more and more like her :P

We managed to get the car exchanged today for an even older one (same model – Suzuki Swift), but one whose door locks and internal light works. The hood of the car has had its paint scuffed off in two places, so when we got out of the Carl’s Jr, Rich tapped the “bald” spots and said “This car is new. It doesn’t even have paint on yet.” in his wry, Rich-y way that is so adorable.

We told them about how we used to sneak Carl’s Jr burgers into the cinema in empty popcorn boxes and they had a good laugh. Also about how all the Carl’s Jr in Singapore are all in very central areas and does good business, even though if I had a choice the first fast food chains I would be bringing in would be more like Chick Fil-A or In-and-Out. Chris said looking at the Carl’s Jr logo it’s likely under the same family as Hardee’s and she’s totally right! I just looked it up! They have the same star and the same font.

Chris found a piece of coral and a piece of sponge on Love Beach today and said she was gonna make it into a necklace. I took them and used them to scare Ze and Rich had a good laugh. Chris said “Yes. A highly revered army lieutenant, scared of coral..” :P we’re gonna have a good time snorkeling tomorrow. Z tested the snorkels and verified that they didn’t let water in.

My phone died after being submerged in the sea water and Z tried to take a pic. So much for the rubber seal. Give me a break. The funniest part is we intentionally put it in the water to see if it could take photos. Lame shit.

Ooh, we went to John Watling’s Distillery and had a hilarious tour by the tour guide. Apparently John Watling was a pirate (not a distiller) and he was killed by a gunshot to the liver. So they named the rum distillery after him because “if you drink too much rum, it shoots straight to your liver and you die.” That’s such a great reason to name something after someone!

Chris also got proposed to today by the owner of the Rum cake shop. She went in, wanted to know something about the production process and the owner (a British guy, it seems) said it was highly secretive and he spent a long time fine tuning it. “If you want in on the secret you’d have to marry me. How about it?”
“Is there any other way to find out?”
“It all depends. How keen are you? I’m old, I’m broke, and I am quite frequently grumpy.”
Old people flirting are SO cute. gosh. She’s so good at talking to anyone and everyone, even the people beside her on the plane to Nassau, she talked to them the entire plane ride.