Carver Country

Thursday, March 13, 2008

this has got to stop. cough. cough

You were ill for pretty much the whole of January. Bad case of the fecking flu.

Minimal exercise. Plans to increase the frequency of gym and pool work went poof.

Then February and the Chinese New Year rolled by. Nothing like CNY goodies eh?

But, feck, you somehow lost 1kg over that period. You had set yourself of gaining 5kg of mass at the start of the year. Curse that sniffing-whooping-coughing lady who sat beside you on 199 that day.

Now, you and your other family members are all down with cough and flu, cos of that fucking idiot of an old cad who has steadfastly refused to see a doc for the past two weeks.

Tailor: Your measurements have gone down. Would you like your next shirt to be based on these new measurements?

You: No! (*Curses under breath*)

Feck that flu. And curse that cad.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

reading up on menswear and men's style

[Note: to be updated.]

You have been buying and reading books on menswear, style, and grooming. That kind of stuff. Jiang-Hu-lookalike-Groom-to-be has asked you for a list of the books.

Online: Ask Andy About Clothes, Details Men's Style Manual Perfect Fit, GQ Style Guy, Men's Fashion Tips, The Upgrader.

[note to yourself: list the books and forums.]

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Monday, February 04, 2008

manbrain = p-brane, art-of-shaving edition

Tonight's "you-think-you-think-you-know":

Shaving cream, yes.

Shaving foam or gel-foam, yes. But, if one is a shave cream snob, no.

Shaving gel, no.

The Upgrader's Shave Cream Hotlist.

Oh, and products containing salicylic acid, maybe?

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

on your radar: woven in japan

The days of just Levi's, Lee, and Wrangler are gone; several new brands have risen and proliferated in recent years. And there is this fascination with Japanese denim.

info:'s introductory article.

more denim: Denimology, The Upgrader's Basic Blue Hotlist.

[update] you bought: Paul Smith, Red Ear series.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

forgoing alaskan crab @ sin hoi sai

You met Prof at The Gallery (Heeren) to shop for a watch. Cerruti 1881 it was. Then we discovered the-whatever-that-replaced-Marche was closed, so we decided upon cze cha at Sin Hoi Sai, Tiong Bahru Road, instead.

Ah Wai and Mister G joined us. Somehow Prof's playful suggestion of ordering Alaskan crab at the rate of Sing$12 per 100g did not materialize. (How are we going to ever make it to that Mellben place if none of us are ever up for crab?)

Sin Hoi Sai's version of marinated pork rib. "Gao gei" (dialect) with regular/salted duck/century eggs. And a rather assam-tasting tom yam soup. Prawn paste chicken and pepper pork ribs not in pic.

Now, about that Alaskan crab thingie Prof had his eyes on...?

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Friday, January 18, 2008

sashimi @ rasa sentosa

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strut! @ rasa sentosa


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

eat. just eat.

You met Mister G and Not-at-Meeting Richard at The Cafe Cartel, IMM.

You were down with the flu again. But you never let yourself starve, especially when you are ill.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

garden street kway chap @ serangoon gardens

The rice flour sheets were thin and soft. Good.

The various items were less tasty. Not so good.

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protein, carbs and more protein @ astons express

You met Mister G for lunch at Astons Express, Serangoon Gardens.

Prime ribeye, house salad, and pasta salad.

You found a strand of hair in the pasta salad. Maybe they thought you were not getting enough protein.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

ramen @ noodle house ken

Your post-Hush Puppies shop-alot meal.

The noodles tasted more alkaline than usual. Mr Personality Keewee says you should have complained to Ken. Orr.

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new shoes

Ongoing sale at Hush Puppies stores. 25 to 40 percent off.

You bought a pair of bluchers (open throat lacing) and a pair of balmorals (closed throat lacing).

Useful: info on styles of men's dress shoes.

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a not-at-all-metrosexual lament

The years of refusing to use moisturizer have caught up with you.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

ice-cream @ haato

Next up was the Ulu Pandan area. Ice-cream at Haato, to be exact.

Citrus and lychee flavours. But the combination just tasted wrong. Your bad.

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fish mart sakuraya

Unfortunately, your stomach was full.

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braised duck @ lim seng lee

From east (coast road) to west. You suddenly had the urge to visit the Pasir Panjang area.

Then duck rice came to mind.

The meat was sliced thinly. Quite tender, too. You did not like the gravy though.

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chin mee chin

Well your house was not blown down by the big bad wolf. Whatever. Benny Lava.

But you digress.

No modules today. Thus, a third consecutive episode of BlackRx and Mister G's Gastronomical Adventures.

Chin Mee Chin at East Coast Road is, apparently, an institution. Bread. Pastries. Kaya toast. That kind of stuff.

You were underwhelmed by the breads.

You did not quite rate the kaya either.

What's wrong with you? So anal. Hah.

Where you saw eggshells, Mister G saw art.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

being goofy

Post-claypot chicken rice. At Giant supermarket. Turf City.

Mister G knows just when to be goofy.

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claypot chicken rice @ new lucky

Mister G was in the Commonwealth area, so Clementi was sort of the middle ground. He suggested claypot chicken rice for dinner. Yeah.

The folks at New Lucky forgot to put salted fish into your serving. Which, in your opinion, is an essential component of this dish. Aargh.

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coffee while in exile

You and Violet were waiting for Oxford Huanyang at the library. The cafe on level 3 was a ideal place to wait, read, browse, and surf.

And drink coffee and eat strawberry cheesecake.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

flavour confusion @ icekimo

Then it was off to Icekimo at Sin Ming Road for ice-cream and the aeroplane game. Mister G ordered that 8-scoop thingie.

You were stricken by cough and flu, which you insist led to your inability to differentiate between the flavours. Yes. Really. "This scoop is Horlicks, not Nutella? Which is the D24 I absolutely want to avoid?"

Oh, and D-b-I Richard did not want to play the aeroplane game.

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japanese buffet @ takaya (thomson road)

Mister G and yourself met Dispensible-but-Irreplaceable Richard near his stomping ground for dinner. You vetoed both kampong and non-kamping chicken rice. (It's either Wee Nam Kee or the highway. No other "Kee" comes close.) Nobody stumped that hard for Korean barbecue and Hong Kong Street franchise cze cha. Then the sign advertising "buffet for $23++" outside Takaya caught their eye. $23++. What the heck.

You felt the food was average. The cost per person was cheaper than Minori @ UE Square, but the range of items was also less impressive.

Mister G wondered whether long grain rice was used to prepare his fried rice. Hmm.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

char kway teow at #01-01

Many months ago, Prof tried the char kway teow at #01-01, Amoy Street Food Centre, Maxwell Road, while waiting for you to meet him at Books Actually. He quite liked da grub.

It was your turn to check out #01-01 this evening.

Your verdict?

Taste: average at best. The chilli had little kick. The chinese sausages ("lap cheong") used were too sweet. It hurt that it was fried without any use of stock.

You also suspect the plates of kway teow were not fried individually. You placed your order a while after the lady in front, but both of you received your orders at the same time. Maybe that is why the dish lacked that touch of "wok hei"?

You'd much rather head back to Apollo Fried Kway Teow, located at Marine Parade Central. Your current fave.

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a book on writing.

You bought The Modern Library Writer's Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction, by Stephen Koch, while browsing at Books Actually.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

look sharp! @ Mode et Creation

You are not Caucasian; you are not an expatriate; you are not a tourist -- you are just a local, white-collar civil servant who wants to dress well at work.

Thus your lousy experience with a certain tailor at Holland Village Shopping Centre really, really irked you.

Later that afternoon, you decided to visit a tailor with a reputation for good customer service. Just to get that pent-up energy out of your system. Your google-ing (Flyertalk Forums thread, TripAdvisor thread) turned up Mode et Creation as another tailor shop worth visiting. (In addition to Oxford Tailor, that is.) Address: 545 Orchard Road, #04-02, Far East Shopping Centre, Singapore 238882.

Mr Anthony Tan is the tailor at Mode. He has been tailoring menswear since 1977. It was both a breeze and pleasure to transact with him. He was patient, ever so willing so show you more fabrics, not the sort of person to hard sell, attentive to your work needs.

After much browsing and discussion, you decided to tailor two dress shirts, one maize and one lilac in colour.

Style notes: French-front (concealed buttons, as always), semi-spread collar, but barrel (button) cuffs this time (more appropriate for your work environment).

What really made your day subsequently was this: you had placed your order on December 27. Anthony told you the shirts would be ready for collection on January 5. Very reasonable, given it was the end of 2007 and start of 2008 period. You told him there was no hurry, as you were not going to dress up that often while in exile.

Imagine your pleasant surprise when Anthony had the shirts made by January 3rd. He said he wanted you to have the new shirts ready to wear when you began exile.

You thanked Anthony profusely for being most thoughtful. You will return to Mode et Creation for sure.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

no chickening out @ Ikea Tampines

After you powered up on mee rebus, Mister G asked, "More chicken? And meatballs, too?"


So you and Mister G came to Ikea Tampines. You saw the crowd and the queue. You had to conquer the long wait before you could conquer the grub. So you did. Somehow. With a detour to Giant supermarket thrown in.

No. Chickening. Out.

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mee rebus power @ Rahim

Early morning, start of another new year. T-minus-one day to exile. Nothing you could do to ease your trepidation except: eat.

You were not in the mood for Chinese fare, so Mister G suggested we power up on mee rebus (and soto ayam) at Rahim Muslim Food. You arrived before the Rahim folks were ready to begin business, and thus alleviated the waiting with a couple of soft-boiled eggs. But quickly leaving the issue of too much cholesterol aside, the mee rebus + satay gravy + extra chicken was just what you needed.

Now here is something else that caught your eyes, and you think you might as well bring it up: a Makansutra Food Masters 2007 award plaque was displayed quite prominently at the stall-front. There is a potential issue here, because you checked the list for 2007 again and again, and Rahim is not among the stalls conferred the award.

What's going on? Did Makansutra give out additional awards? Or did their corporate partner, Yeo Hiap Seng, do so? If the answer is yes to either, then this begs the question: why? Doesn't this cheapen the award, and come across as quite unfair to the official ten recipients?

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

south china sea dory vs. atlantic halibut

Both Shatec Ethan and Event Organizer KY have recommended Fisherman's Wharf at New Bridge Road, opposite Central Mall. So you, Ah Wai, and Prof went there before heading back to the latter's place for mahjong, Calpis Grape, and EPL.

It took us a while to get used to the queue-up-yourself-to-order system, and even longer to decide whether to go for their "standard" fish-and-chips, which appears to be dory fish, or for something more, uh, exotic. Then again, knowing the two guys you were with, should you have been surprised at their decisions?

In the Wai and Prof corner, we have... $6.50 South China Sea Dory! And, in the BlackRx corner, we have... $14.50 Atlantic Halibut! It was never going to be a fair fight. Wai and Prof teased you throughout the meal for spending twice their amount for a similar quantity of food. "South China Sea beats Atlantic!" they chimed.

Taste: the dory had a sweeter taste; the halibut tasted like, uh, halibut. The freshly cut fries became soft quite quickly, but that was to be expected. You went for the tartar sauce and curry mayo dips, and liked both.

Overall: you would go back again. Just that you think you will be more cost-conscious next time, and question the wisdom of ordering any cut of fish other than the dory.

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bak kut teh @ Ng Ah Sio

Your previous meal at Rong Chen was a disappointment. So you told Ah Wai and Prof to meet at Ng Ah Sio (Rangoon Road) instead.

Ng Ah Sio serves a Teochew-style soup that is much more peppery than Outram Park Ya Hua and Rong Chen. Ah Wai actually felt the soup we tasted on National Day 2006 was even more peppery than today's.

More importantly, you found the taste to be way better than Rong Chen's. The latter does appear to serve better cuts of meat, though.

The ter ka (pig trotters) tasted average at best, but cost more than Rong Chen's. Ng Ah Sio appears to have raised prices across the board since your last trip -- heck, the staff are now using PDAs to take orders.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

your choice.

"Everyone will endure pain in life. Misery is optional."

That means you.

Yes, you.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

not the right fit, so you are now throwing a fit (well, sort of).

A colleague is getting married next June; you are helping him coordinate wedding attire. He has selected fabric for a made-to-measure suit, now it is onto choices of shirt and tie.

We met in the Buona Vista area, as he wanted to visit a tailor he came across at #03-21 of Holland Village Shopping Centre. Okay, let's do so -- you, too, were interested in seeing what shirt fabrics they stocked.

Both of you went there decked out in sports T-shirts and three-quarter length pants. You were also carrying your racket bag cos you had a coaching session earlier.

You began by telling the tailor and his wife you were there to browse shirt fabrics. He took out collections of fabrics, and asked us if we had particular designs in mind. You did not, while your colleague wanted to tailor a white shirt, if he saw a weaving pattern he liked.

You would not say that the tailor gave you a good first impression. He looked quite unenthusiastic, bored, and well, neither friendly nor welcoming.

Then three tourists -- a gentleman and two ladies -- walked in. The guy wanted to tailor a jacket. The tailor proceeded to talk, joke, and laugh with them, asking them how they heard of him, were they here upon a customer's recommendation, blah blah blah. Hmm.

You finally spotted a lilac colour fabric with a weaving pattern you liked. You asked for a price quote. "$75," he said. "Very reasonable," you thought to yourself.

But you wanted to have the shirt made in mid-Jan, so you asked the tailor if he would give you his business card, on which you will write down the fabric number.

"We would not want you to do that," he said, taking you somewhat by surprise. Okay, well, you kinda understood that he was concerned you would note down the fabric number and have the shirt made elsewhere. But hey, come on, you wanted to take down the fabric number because you did want to have the shirt made at his shop, just not so soon.

"We will write down the fabric number for you," he then said. His wife takes out a piece of scrap paper, jots down the number, but without asking for your name. Oh, and you never did receive the business card you wanted.

You started to feel quite disappointed.

At that moment, you could not help but glance at the fabric again. Fine, you were sorry you did that. Or should you not have been sorry at all?

Because, to your astonishment, the tailor mumbled something to his wife, and she quickly closed the fabric book. Wow. Top secret.

You walked out of the shop immediately. You are not going back there again for anything.

That, really, please, is not how you wanted to be treated.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007.

Be safe. Be happy.


Monday, December 24, 2007

what you saw is not what you got

Went to Haagen Dazs at Junction 8 with Mister G, Doc Woon, and UCC Daniel.

You ordered the "Rich Hot Chocolate".

And when it was served, you thought they'd mistakenly prepared a latte.

And it tasted more of orange peel than chocolate.

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bak kut teh @ Rong Chen

You cajoled Mister G into having a Xmas Eve pork rib soup brunch at Rong Chen Bak Kut Teh, Sin Ming Road.

The soup was Teochew-style, pepper- and garlic-infused. It was, out of those you have tried, closest in taste to Outram Park Ya Hua's (Keppel Road). The actual taste was quite underwhelming, though. Way less peppery than Ng Ah Sio's (Rangoon Road), and less tasteful than Seng Kee's (Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10). And the meat? Too hard.

The ter ka (pig trotters) was above average, just not at the standard of Seng Kee and Curry Wok (Coronation Arcade).

You hope your next meal at Rong Chen will turn out to be more satisfactory.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

when mummy is away,

you come out to play in the kitchen.

Main dishes: galbi [wiki] and sundubu jigae [wiki] + oden fishcake combo. Sides: napa cabbage and mustard greens kimchi [wiki] (latter not in picture).

Of all your usual suspects, only Prof was available to taste your usually latent culinary skills. Sigh. Thanks, Prof.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

the morning after.

You stood alone, your back facing the hostel, looking anywhere but behind you.

It was the morning after. Yesterday night you tried to get to her. Now you wanted to get away from her.

What were you thinking back then? Or did you not think at all?

You heard her call your name, and felt her approach. Cautious. Unsure. Awkward. Silence.


"I... I'm thinking of visiting the shrines today. Kyoto is well-known for its shrines. What about... you?" She asked.

"I think I will head downtown." You replied.

Then, (sheepishly), "dai jo bu?" [Japanese]

(Did you really have to ask?)

"Actually, my stomach is not feeling too good. It must have been the coffee I drank yesterday night." She offered.

You knew better. But you decide not to say anything more.

Because you should have known better.

"I am going now." You said, turning to look at her.

"Oh, me too."

"Alright then. ja ne."

You turned away to walk away. Westwards.

She walked Eastwards.

You walked until the city skyline came into view, making sure not to slow your pace, nor to turn around and look anywhere but in front of you.

The morning after, the city skyline came into view, alongside the dawn of your realization: you are such a scumbag.

Because you should have known better. The morning after.


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Friday, December 21, 2007

nobody said anything.

10pm. Sunday night. An hour before book-in.

You and her. In a taxi, headed towards Nee Soon Camp.

Nobody said anything.

Tough -- the cost of the long distance phone calls; the time difference; the experiences, your experiences (to you, at least); your mother's disapproval.

Nobody actually said anything.

She held your right hand in her left. But you had forgotten to squeeze her hand, like you usually did. For reassurance.

Still nobody said anything.

The taxi came to a stop along Transit Road.

The gates of duty beckoned. Once more.

Avoiding her gaze, you opened your side of the passenger door.

As you stepped out, you felt a tug on your right hand.

Finally, you turned back. And looked. Into her eyes.

She kissed you, and held her gaze.

She had begun to cry.

Still nobody said anything. You would like to think you both understood.

You closed the passenger door and walked towards the camp gate.

At that moment, you felt as if you could accomplish anything.

Even if it was just for that one more week.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

look sharp! @ Oxford Tailor

Made-to-measure at Oxford Tailor (discovered via a Flyertalk Forums thread). Address: 1 Raffles Place, #04-12, OUB Centre, Singapore 048616.

Fabric design: blue and pink pinstripes; herringbone weaving pattern. Style notes: French-front (concealed buttons), no shirt pocket, French cuffs. As per your preferences.

Much thanks and compliments go to: Mr Alex Lee in particular. He was most friendly, patient, attentive to your needs, open and responsive to questions, and did not try to hardsell you anything above budget. You will definitely tailor more shirts from Alex and the folks at Oxford Tailor.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

he will always have a place in your heart hotel.

Rest in peace, Dan Fogelberg.


Monday, November 26, 2007

a wild beef chase

Legend Beef Noodle
Block 22, Toa Payoh Lorong 7

Stall Owner: Mr. Foo

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

you took the afternoon train going anywhere.

to Punggol, actually. Via the Northeast MRT line.

You and Ah Wai in the train. You were trying to capture an optical effect, but failed. Oh well.

You chose a horrible day to make the trip -- wacko thunderstorms greeted the two of you upon exit. The photographs understate the conditions then.

You assume there is more to the area than crying rainstorms and howling winds.

Signs of civilization at the bus interchange beside the MRT station.

Punggol is still a work of development. The farms you remember from your childhood are long gone.

Bon Jovi moment at the station's LRT extension. Given the weather, the sign was a definite necessity. Though you wonder why the planners and architects did not design the LRT station to be sheltered from the outside elements in the very first place.

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