40hands on the plain with a milkshake

Now that my morning caffeine intake is taken care of by just a teabag of Lipton, I enjoy rewarding myself with a good cup of delightful coffee on weekends.

Forty Hands and The Plain, quaint1 coffee houses with very different vibes, serve solid beverages and one with a touch of Australian yeast extract. Just based on the coffee quality, they are both revisit-worthy. I like mine creamy and pungent. The guys at 40hands accomplished this perfectly. Though I must admit that I am more drawn to Plain’s seating sensibility and lighting. Shallow, as I am.

Forty Hands - Strong refined latte. Potentially addictive.

The Plain - Though I don't use the sweet, soft brown sugar is a nice touch. Latte is as good as most good coffee places.

The Plain - Soft boiled eggs with vegemite breadsticks. Insane amount of saltiness.

The Plain - Not sure why it's called Dean's breakfast; poached eggs were nicely done but the toast was rather cold.


Then, there was a slight detour to the dairyland of goodness at Once Upon a Milkshake.

Once Upon a Milkshake - Lychee and Mocha gooeyness. Much too goey for me.


  1. read: small establishments with limited seating []

Weekends with family

If not for the travel freeze, I would not have been able to enjoy two consecutive weekends with the family. It is rather odd that every year, at this time, I will be away. Anyway, it is getting addictive.

It was mighty sunny last weekend but we were thoroughly child-ified at Universal Studios Singapore. Colours and music and smiles. There were alot of smiles! The park is extremely disabled- and senior-friendly. We were very impressed and encouraged (except for one guy whose ankle is made of precious gold).

Captivated @ Universal Studios Singapore


Instead of a regular party, the celebration took place in a bowling alley. I am very amazed by the ‘bumpers’ for children. For uninitiated, the bumpers will prevent gutter rolls. It was a special day, especially for the birthday boy who is obsessed with the sport.

Celebration with Bowling


This is what weekends are for. Truly.

Tony Judt, man of words

I have never heard of Tony Judt until last month. He had passed away from Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

In the cold hotel room, I stumbled across the recorded interview. Immobilised from neck down, his use of the English language of such deep textures had me prematurely assumed that he was another elite, possibly a bigot. Yet, I couldn’t stop watching the telecast. The raspy voice resonated strength, loftiness, and at the same time, a deep sense of reflection. I was so lost in his strings of words, I could not keep up with the content and context. It was very frustrating. As the initial disorientation started to dissipate, it dawned on me – this is what being inspired feels like.

I know people say that one should always ‘put it simply’. What is really wrong with expressing yourself in an unnecessarily elaborated manner? In an email to a journalist about his Jewish identity, he wrote, beautifully –

More than I sometimes understand, I think, I am both writing in and about the tradition and spirit of Jewish cosmopolitanism: caught somewhere between Marx’s ‘ruthless criticism of everything existing’; pil-pul; zahor!; bearing critical witness; social responsibility; and perhaps a certain davka. I’ve never written about this directly, but I think it informs the tone – and probably the subject matter – of much of my work. It also makes me smile when American ultras accuse me of being ‘un-Jewish’ in my criticism of Israel, etc. It seems to me that, for good and ill, I am decidedly Jewish and in a long and worthy tradition.


In our pursuit of a good/better grasp of English, many people forget the power of the language. They forget that we can morph the metaphorical into reality. They forget that there is no limit to the imagination when words meet the mind.

Putting aside his political views and links, I am so glad that he reminded me of the philosophy of the written words. Like reading Jane Austen, the enigma reigns.

Fancy the HTC Desire HD

One of my odd habits – I don’t trade in / sell / give away / discard my mobile phones. Which translates to a cellular collection worthy of heirloom and/or museum status.

Anyway.

While I am still very pleased with the X1, I have been itching to get hold of an Android set. Since I am too lazy to use the XDA-way to boot Froyo on my current handset, I am very excited with the launch of HTC Desire HD. A quick search on Google and you will find loads of first looks, swoons, and most importantly, support.

Indeed, it is beautiful. Now I just need to work on my mental roadblock and get over the (frustratingly) lack of video-conferencing capability.

The day Google sends a warning

First, you are surprised by the restriction. Then you become confused with the multiple failures to reach the admin login page. Your frustration grows as the step-by-step sanitisation guide is more difficult than keeping cool in summer. Soon, you relent and log a support request with your service provider. 48 hours later, you feel upset that the cleansing action has not lifted the block. To make things worst, you found out that the database table for user access has been wiped out.

This site may harm your computer. And it is all because of this little statement.

If your WordPress-powered site happens to be inflicted with malware and you are feeling any of the above, I understand. The past week has been long for me too. Few things you can do to help relieve the pain.

  1. Log a support request with your service provider to scan and clean all instances.
  2. When that’s done, logon to phpMyAdmin to edit the admin password (look for wp_users). If you wish, you can use other methods to change the password.
  3. Secure your wp files (see Hardening WordPress)
  4. Resubmit your site to Google via Google Webmaster Tools

References and tools:
http://scan.sucuri.net/
http://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=45449
http://codex.wordpress.org/Hardening_WordPress
http://codex.wordpress.org/Resetting_Your_Password
http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/

To champion and inspire @ YOG

I still remember the exhilaration (and occasional disappointment) of being in a competitive sport. Your team mates are not your BFF but the good ones will always root for you. Your coach is not a father figure but he will always be honest. Your competition is not an enemy but the worthy ones will always put your mind to the test.

Perhaps it is that nostalgia that got me so emotional during the opening of the Inaugural Summer Youth Olympics, proudly hosted by Singapore. Granted, we have a tradition of going over the top, sometimes, with the recount of our history. I do believe that some were truly entertained and inspired by the theatrical display of colourful fabric, water splashes, and pyrotechnics. And not to forget the angelic choir who sang the National Anthem.

I may not agree with all the accommodations we have to make for the guests, but I am glad that they are here.


Link to video via @lucian

Light up and sit down

I know people say life goes on, and it does, and no one tells you that’s not a good thing. Why is that?

– Betty Draper, Season 1

Get out of here and move forward. This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened.

– Don Draper, Season 2

You’re not good at relationships because you don’t value them.

– Roger Sterling, Season 3