Monday, 30 March 2015

The Chalk Farm @ Marine Parade & Paragon (cake shop cafe)

Update 8:11p.m. Friday 3 April: I checked out the Paragon outlet yesterday afternoon. It's surprisingly very small with even fewer cakes than Marine Parade and with poorer service. Disappointing.

The top half section of the Kueh Salaat cake fell off inside the takeaway box. The cake was taken from a full cake, so the woman staff must have somehow broken it when she put it into the box.

Disappointing service. She was not even attending to me & another man standing at the showcase. Instead she was preoccupied with handling some empty boxes while knowing that we were standing there.

Chalk Farm shouldn't open the small place at Paragon if the rent is too expensive. It's not classy. Poor ambience. Poor service. Only a small table in a tight corner & 2 chairs. Occupied by a man who put his bag on the seat beside him.

As for the Kueh Salaat... It was just kueh. It reminded me of the same kueh at a Malay stall downstairs many years ago.

I now have a new love.  Chateraise Japan shows how boring Singapore cake-makers are.


Time of post: 10.47 p.m. Marine Parade.

Was there today in the afternoon, tried the Dark Chocolate Olive Oil.  My first thought was Olive oil is not going to go with chocolate.  But, turns out there isn't any heavy taste of oil.  (I was also considering to avoid chocolate due to possible Cadmium poisoning but what the heck.).

The cake is light & fluffy. But the quality of the chocolate isn't great. It's not top quality chocolate. It's just chocolate, but for $6.50, it's good enough. Better & surprisingly lower-priced than the cakes from Out of the Cake Box that I tried & costs more considering it's not in a mall (Bro & I are actually waiting for it to close down.).

The Chalk Farm @ Marine Parade has a nice & inviting decor that showcases their lovely, tempting cakes. White & quite lovely ambience. Nice & friendly staff.  Excellent & considerate service.

The older lady gave me a cup of water following my cake. I thought perhaps she had forgotten I had ordered a hot chocolate but she said "Yes, she's making it now" & just thought I would like a cup of water first.

Very tempted to try their Kueh Salaat but since bro didn't want any, I ordered only 1 cake (the chocolate).

Didn't want to order any drink even though the young lady said was on offer at a $1.50 discount. Bro didn't have enough cash but since they accept Nets, I added a hot chocolate.

Unfortunately, their hot chocolate is strangely very, very unusually thick & took a while in coming (I had almost finished my cake). Seemed it contained no milk. As if a chocolate bar had been melted into a cup. It was that thick. Pretty gross to drink. And since I didn't like it, it was expensive despite the discount.  I drank only around half (or less than half) & threw the rest into the bin outside of the cafe.

I know the young lady took the effort to make it to perfection & I didn't want to hurt her feelings by not finishing it at the cafe. But... it was really... difficult to drink.

Total cost was around $11+. Expensive drink.

Next time, maybe I'll try the Kueh Salaat.  If I happen to chance upon the shop again.

I read that a Singaporean (surname Koh) created this shop. Did he also bake/make all these cakes in the shops himself?

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Why I don't go to Green Chapter Anymore (Aquarium/Aquascape supplies shop)

Because Green Chapter boss married a foreigner woman (Vietnamese?) with a noisy, ill-disciplined, misbehaving brat. I don't want my money going to them & I don't want to see unprofessional family scenes from them in the store.  The last time I was there, Ronnie replied to my question in a very rude tone and manner.  So I stopped going to Green Chapter @ Macpherson.

I stopped going to Green Chapter @ Clementi because I discovered the man there is dishonest:

1) I wanted some river rocks (he had helped me choose them). Price is $12/kg. He put them on the weighing scale & said $12 without telling me that it's below 1 kg & didn't ask if I wanted to add the rock I originally wanted but put away. Adding the rock that I put away would total 1kg exactly. Luckily, without knowing the total weight, I decided to add that rock at the end. And only discovered that he had wanted to charge $12 for less when I went home & weighed them myself.

2)  On another occasion, I wanted to buy an aquarium. He straightaway said $70.  When I asked whether there was a cheaper one, he then looked it up on his laptop & corrected the price to $62.  He had mistaken the sizes and prices. But this mistake is dishonest.  If I didn't ask, he would have charged the greater price.

3) While I was considering whether to buy the aquarium, he was standing by and waiting for me to give it the "ok".  But I noticed a big stain on the glass & mentioned it. He then said that he had tried removing the stain but was unable to.  Then he said he had another same size aquarium at the back & went to get it.

Clearly, he knew about that stain but intentionally didn't mention it, hoping I wouldn't mind or wouldn't see it.

This is all the more unacceptable considering Bro & I trusted him to a certain level because of his attentive service and rapport with us.

4) He had promised to call regarding the arrival of Dwarf Mexican lobsters. But never called.

When I was considering whether to buy the aquarium, I had told him that I wanted to buy the aquarium because he said his shipment of the lobsters would be coming the following week.  I said if the lobsters were not arriving, then I wouldn't be buying the aquarium. Are you sure they will be here? He confidently said that they would be arriving.

I said, "You'll call right?". He nodded.  (He didn't ask for my number because 2 days ago, he had already asked me to write it down in his book.).

Luckily, I didn't buy the aquarium. But perhaps it was because of this, he pretended to forget to call.

Aside from these, he has very shallow knowledge and experience about aquariums & the aquatic plants & fishes.  It's as if he is not into the hobby & is just a salesman.

Notice that the aquatic plants in the shop are covered in algae. He is able to tell me what is causing this, but doesn't do anything about it.  He mentioned he would be throwing away some of the plants, but on my next visit, it didn't look like he had done so. 

Previously, there was another instance where it showed he was neglecting the care and maintenance of the tanks.

(Update 3 Dec 2015 Thurs):  I just remembered. Back when I bought aquatic plants from Macpherson, all my shrimps in my tank died overnight. Although each shrimp was not the expensive crystal type, all added was still a lot of money.  Plus, those shrimps were fine & I was enjoying watching them. The only reason the shrimps died was those plants I bought. All the shrimps died.

When I returned the next time & asked Dave whether they or their suppliers used herbicides on the plants, he wasn't sure. 

Aquatic plants from the auntie at Clementi have always been fine since the beginning.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo (Cavern King 巌窟王 Anime)

I love this anime so much. Opulent.  Even to the end, I still wished that somehow... Edmond Dantes didn't die.  How I wish that he would appear & say that somehow he didn't die at all...

At first I thought I couldn't bear to write about it.  Didn't want to talk about it. I wanted to quietly, personally brood over its beauty, its meaning, its unexplainable sadness to me.

Very rare I get troubled & disturbed by an anime that puts me into a brooding mood after finishing it. (There was another piece of anime or drama that made me feel this way, but I can't recall what it was).

Even the next day, my mind is filled with the song, the words. I brood in the depths of it. The genius of it shows me how lacking I am in comparison to what Mahiro Maeda has created.

It's not just an adaptation of the novel. It's a completely new piece of work.

A whole new background set in futuristic Paris, technologically advanced with gadgets that are pretty cool.  The moving pictures in the newspaper, reminiscent of Harry Potter, but not quite. The secret password pen is also reminiscent of Harry Potter but deviates from there into a technologically portal that allows access to a person's memories.

The skeleton framework is from the novel. But the anime has expanded & gone well beyond Dumas. I am truly devastated by the genius of this anime. How can I create something as beautiful as what Mahiro Maeda has done? It seems beyond me. I am ... saddened.  While I'm wasting my time having done nothing yet so far with increasing age... he has produced this.

I read the Dumas novel years before, and while I appreciated the writing, I don't recall it being near the scope and scale of this anime.

How did Mahiro Maeda do it?? The story-boarding etc...  His mind must be wow... He mentioned that he changed the angle to the viewpoints of the youngsters instead of the adults. And gave it a futuristic setting.

When Albert challenged the Count to a duel, I didn't know what to expect. I was thinking pistols... back-to-back.  Albert said armor and steel blades. I didn't expect them to get into huge armored giants like those space anime machine-body with swords! Mahiro Maeda said he did that for a difference from the novel.

The anime is so realistic in the human elements. I have not seen another anime like it.   Extravagant, operatic. Well done from start to end.

They even got a Japanese seiyuu to voice the narration in French! Even though I don't know French, it sounded damn real French to me, the way the words are spat at certain points! 

At first I thought it was Jouji Nakata's voice (first knew him in Peacemaker Kurogane as the sexily ill-tempered Hijikata) and was surprised he could speak French or somehow learnt it for this anime. I had a suspicion they had gotten someone to substitute his voice in French.

Listening to it a few times, I realized it didn't seem to be his voice. It's too heavy, too flat. After a while, I skipped over it because it was getting irritating. Checking it up at the end, I found that the seiyuu is actually a man called Yoshinari Torii who had studied in France for 9 years & returned to Japan.

I prefer they didn't use French narration at every start. Japanese would have been fine.

I love the music! Very rousing-ly operatic! The ending theme is very cool, very rock. The opening theme is nostalgic & meaningful. Where did they get this French fellow to sing it??

Actually, I had watched ep 1 of this anime some time ago, but couldn't get used to the strange fashion and the strange settings (not what I'm used to), so I exited.

But 3 days ago, for lack of anime to watch, I perused the list of anime in Goodanime (it has just shut down as of this writing) & clicked a few to see what they were about & started watching Gankutsuou. I realized I had given up on it before. This time I actually just watched Ep 1 without turning on the sound. I left it at there. (I actually watched it because of Jouji Nakata's voice).

Then the next day, I turned on the sound to hear Jouji Nakata's voice in Ep 2 & couldn't stop watching it as the story progressed!!

I also watched for Juurouta Kosugi. Also a man with deep bass voice like Jouji Nakata. Between them, it can be hard to tell the difference (for instance when they are talking at the dining table), but Nakata has a deeper sonorous quality to it when he puts it in.

Jun Fukuyama... I am quite tired of hearing his voice that's nothing spectacular. But in this anime, he is as usual, fabulous as Albert. Very young, very lovely sexy impulsive voice of a 15 yr old youth. Matched against the deeply mature, knowing voice of the Count.

I love the fashion!! The clothes are pretty strange. But it gets amazing as you notice. The clothes flow into the shoes. And the clothes move with the characters. Very fashionable, expensive designer-style clothes they are wearing! I wish I had those!!  Very stylish!!

The hair... Oh! I love the all characters' hair!! I love Albert's hair! It looks so windswept!! And the texture shows up so nicely! It's so unique to anime!!

I love the handsome Count Monte Cristo/Edmond Dantes. His name Edmond Dantes is sooo sexy!!! (even though it's a name given by Alexandra Dumas).

Mahiro Maeda really has an eye for drawing beautifully handsome manly men!!!  Even the cad Cavalcanti (voiced by Tomokazu Seki) is soo handsome!!!

I can't bear to watch Gankutsuou again. Because I can't bear for any part of my first impression to be overridden. I want to keep it in mind. This gem of an anime.  This sadness of Gankutsuou.

Gankutsuou is actually just a bully when I think about it. Why target that young 15 yr old boy? Just destroying his parents will do. Why also spare his mother?

Gankutsuou (Edmond Dantes) is torn between love and vengeance. He still reacts to his old love's voice every time she calls or speaks to him. He cannot help reacting to it.

I kept thinking at the start that Albert is Gankutsuou's son. But... till the end, he is not. But he looks so much like the young Edmond Dantes. I can't believe Albert is not his son.

Thinking about the dates... it was 25 years ago that Dantes was imprisoned. Albert is 15 years old. So he can't be Dantes' son.

Franz dies at 15 years old, by the way.  Poor, handsome, mature boy. I thought there was yaoi between him & Albert but no go.  :)  I thought Franz was going to confess to Albert that he loves him, but no go.

I thought Albert & the Count were yaoi too. Especially when Albert said he's upset the Count had toyed with his feelings. And the scene where they were wearing identically patterned robes in the Count's spaceship seemed rather suggestive. But seems nothing happened.

At the end, Albert rose on his feet with open shirt & bandaged stomach... to kiss the Count's-- ... I thought it was going to be mouth-to-mouth and I was rather surprised... -- cheek. What a beautifully unexpected scene!!!

I love the grandeur, the opulence of the graphics! Although actually, there are scenes that have intentionally been left looking like just drafted CGI like the train station & wide carnival areas. Very basic & bare grey objects.

I love the English subs!!  

Defeated by a boy:  


Check out Franz's shoes:

The lovely contrast on the inside of the Count's cape:


Franz's age on his tombstone:

Albert's cute dripping snot! I have never seen an anime show such a scene. The snot drips, he sniffs it back up & it drips back out. :)


So cute of the Count to kneel to the little girl from his tall position, whip out his hand for her to take, then kiss it. So telling of his kindness and lack of airs. Look at the little girl's posture. Amazingly drawn.  (He kneels because he knows she is the princess of the Janina empire, unfortunately sold as a slave.).

Then there's this sexy... little wallpaper from the Japanese site: Look at where the Count is putting his right hand... Naughty...

Update 24 Mar Tues: I finally figured out why the color patterns of her dress look so familiar.  It's KLIMT!!  The thought suddenly came this time after seeing the scene where the Count kisses her forehead...


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Rude, Uncouth & Uneducated Town Council Staff & Shitty Town Council

Wed 18 March

To talk to such a person early in the morning is a real lousy experience. No wonder uneducated people are looked down upon.  They are unreasonable, uncouth. Their lack of intelligence is very unpleasant to talk to.

I felt like hanging up the phone the moment this man spoke.

I am surprised the Town Council hired such a man (Mr Teo) to represent them as being in charge of "open spaces".

Even the receptionist I first spoke to was better & more educated than him. Goodness. What sort of shitty people do the Town Council have?

The moment he answered the phone, his English was in bits. It sounded like a child was trying to speak. When finally, he geared up enough to speak, his words were very crude, very uncouth.

Clearly, he was very uneducated. From the way he spoke, not even 'O' level. Bucktoothed?

Yet I confirmed with him that he was Mr Teo in charge of open spaces.  I wanted to tell him that he was very rude. But held back to see if he could do anything regarding the matter.

It is better he were fired.  Scolding him over the phone isn't going to go anywhere. A stupid person will just remain stupid even if you shout at him.

He even demanded for my particulars in a totally uncouth way (just like the uneducated, alcoholic Indian man of the Residents' Committee I had previously encountered).

What is the use of demanding for my particulars when he has no intention of solving the problem?

I was very surprised the Town Council has such "in-charge" staff. Where did he come from?  The trash?

From previous cases, I notice the Town Council don't do anything. They will give all kinds of excuses and go roundabout in wasting your time pretending they will look into it.  They give the impression that they will look into it.  But when you press them for confirmation, they will finally admit that they can't do anything.

Not only that, they hire very stupid and lazy people to be "in charge".  Such people shouldn't even be able to get  a job.

The Town Councils are useless and should be replaced.  They can't even do garbage collection properly. Those India garbage collectors drip the stinking garbage liquid everywhere they drive their garbage trailers. And they shouldn't even be going into void decks and pedestrian walkways, yet they do it everyday.

That's modern Singapore? In the past, no such thing. I never saw garbage collectors go into walkways or drive by with a full load of uncovered stinking garbage while people are walking. 

Singapore is going worse than backwards. So unhygienic.

When the Town Council was alerted to this problem, nothing was done. The Indian garbage collectors just put a canvas over the heap for 1 day. After that, it was uncovered heaps of garbage being driven here and there as usual.

In India, garbage is everywhere. They have no sense of hygiene. These Indian garbage collectors think they are in India, driving their vehicles up and down and around public streets of Singapore. And the Town Council does Nothing.

Certainly, the Town Councils have money to improve things. But they choose not to.  The Singapore government would rather waste money building useless things like the giant Ferris wheel and doing useless projects like doing a train with Malaysia. And then wait to say that actually the SGD is weak and they have been using precious reserves to prop it up.

I love Singapore but things have gotten bad in just 10~20 years. It's quickly reversing the "progress" that the country achieved in a few short decades.

The Town Council has money and yet I just discovered that they don't even want to put basketball netting in the HDB courts. The Town Council says they don't put netting for the hoops. If there's a game, the residents/players put up the netting themselves.

Come on. Basketball netting is very cheap.  Only a few cents each. The Town Council can't even afford to put up netting for residents?

Even those CCTV cameras along the walkways are not Town Council's work. It is the police that put them up. The Town Council only put up CCTV inside the lifts.

Considering all the things that the Town Council did not do and cannot do,  it is useless keeping such councils.

They should be replaced with better teams of people who can do, can solve, can help, can improve.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Devil May Cry (anime)

Dante is a half human, half demon, always broke, gentle, kind, manly, demon hunter who loves strawberry sundaes and pizza without olives.  Check out his description by the waitress on roller blades at his favourite cafe. ^_^

The always broke part where the jobs he takes on always don't pay or don't pay enough, sounds like Getbackers.

I watched it for Toshiyuki Morikawa as Dante. Very sexy voice. *smiling* as always (except for when he was younger at 23 in Devil Hunter Yoko. Didn't sound like him at all. Very light voice without his characteristic bass. Either he got that bass as he got older or he didn't put it on.).

I also watched for Akio Ohtsuka who voices Morrison (I love his deep sexy voice that I first encountered in Utena.  Now that I've come to know Jouji Nakata's voice, I think the bass of Akio Ohtsuka's voice sounds like Jouji Nakata except Nakata has a strange breathless end to his words.).

And I also watched it for Jouji Nakata.

I didn't notice until I watched Episode 11, there's also Katsuyuki Konishi. ^_^  Distinctive voice. I first noticed him in Kyo Kara Maoh (subsequently, he did Diabolik Lovers as Reiji).

Based on a video game, I didn't expect it to be good. But Devil May Cry is surprisingly good. Episode turner. Rare that an anime is good enough that I click on next and next until it's finished at 12 episodes.

Year of it is 2007.  So the drawing is not so CGI quality like now, but the stories are very interesting & unexpected.  Dante is handsome at certain angles.

The background, characters' names, looks, fashion & cars are old style America (1940s?) with fictitious names of towns and areas. I like Patty Rowell & her dresses.  Her name has that air of old-style America like Kajika Burnsworth in Hanasakeru Seishonen anime.

Episode 7 is the best.  Very nice. Unexpected & similar to Hakkenden episode with the little boy (that was more touching) & Garo episode with the parents loving their son so much (& Zero had to intervene).

Second best episode would be the one about the devil who fell in love with a human woman in his 1 month stay here. I like that he asked Dante about his own parents (demon father and human mother). I like Dante's answer. Very practical & funny. The passion is gone but he thinks they still love each other from the bottom of their hearts. Sounds like an old married couple.

Would be nice if they showed how his father looked like. In Episode 10 (with my other fav seiyuu Jouji Nakata as Baaru), I thought I was going to get to see his father or parents, but nothing happened.

Sexy intro of Dante:



Saturday, 14 March 2015

Billions of reserves being used to prop up Weak SGD

Why is the SGD weak? How long has this been going on?  All along I have been proud of our strong dollar. Now the report says it's been propped up using the reserves?? 

I thought Singapore is supposed to be progressing?  Back then, it was said foreigners were necessary for economic progress. Recently, it was reported that economic progress has been due to export activity.

Now it's reported the SGD has been so weak, so much of reserves (US$34 billion) has been used in just 6 months. In other words, Singapore hasn't been doing well?

Then what have Singaporeans been tolerating the influx of foreigners for? Which part about foreigners has been necessary for economic progress? What the heck has Singapore been doing?

In six short months, reserves have fallen by the equivalent of 11% of a full year's GDP. 

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Eh, Thomas Edison is a ... Was a Rogue.

Bro & I had a conversation where I missed all the geniuses of the past & said what would happen if they didn't die? If only they didn't die, how much much farther humankind would be now. All those genius men.  What a pity.  (Looking out the bus window) It would certainly be better than now. Or... (come to think) would it be worse?

Bro: Didn't you say Da Vinci invented things for warfare?
Me (frowns): Yeah. Tanks, catapults & stuff.  He would destroy the world rather than make it better.

Previously,  Bro had said Edison was very enterprising in his time. So I wondered how he would fare adapting to our time if he were still alive today.  He would certainly revolutionize & put his hand to everything in improving things including his own light bulb & the current trouble with so-called energy saving bulbs.

I saw Edison in a good light.

Now I learn he was actually, a rogue. Using mobster style (with guns) to bully others as this narrator says in the video. Pretty surprising but then again, looking at Edison's eyebrows & look, he looks like a bad fellow.

And copying old-fashioned films on negative was surprisingly easy. Just shine a light on a strip of negative & it's done.

He really looks like a pirate.   It's fitting that he died rather than lived on.  He would certainly make things worse with his greed in this new money world that's worse than before.

I always felt that it's a pity all the geniuses of the past died.  But now I have come to understand that geniuses cannot be allowed to live forever because they have their bad sides just like everybody else.  The world could be worse if they continued living on.  Or the world might well no longer exist because they put their genius to destructive use.

(I was looking to re-watch Fifth Element. Bro was telling me about a funny scene in 5th Element where the villain choked on a cherry despite all his gizmos, his fumbling hand pressing all the buttons, all the gadgets popping up, cactus etc... & the priest asked where's the robot that will pat him on the back? I saw the scene on Youtube & that's how I came upon this Edison video).