Monday, February 13, 2017

Cavalock and The Catchup Post

Busy or lazy? A little bit of both is probably the reason for the infrequent posts. And there was this local blog article I read a couple weeks ago bout how no one reads blogs any more. Which made me a wee bit hesitant bout posting then I remembered I'm writing this more for myself, to remind myself of the good times than for an audience (real or imaginary) out there. But I still do wonder if anyone reads this blog.

Now I do need to do some writing. Chapters of a short story that I told myself I gotta finish before the end of the month and planting myself with my Macbook at the public library is one way to be productive. Yes, I'm one of those who tend to be easily distracted at home. Of course board gaming is still taking up a huge chunk of my time and I'm loving every minute of it. Was even introduced to three WhatsApp gaming chat groups recently. Maybe I'll do a post on some of the new games I'm into right now.

Anyway the baker-at-home finally brought me to lunch at Ippin Cafe Bar, down Mohamed Sultan Road. I really like this Japanese Restaurant even though we were the only group there for a better part of the afternoon. I'm sure it's way more crowded in the evenings.

I would definitely go for the Ikura don again the next time I'm there. There's so much in this bowl. Same for the grilled oysters. A most satisfying lunch that we had 'walk off' with a short stroll to Meidi-Ya supermarket. 

Sure wasn't expecting this Disney showcase at Meidi-Ya. Lots of Tsum-Tsum products on sale at the supermarket. I don't think you find these particular ones on sale anywhere else. $10 bottle of Calpis Grape anyone?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Cavalock and The Fukubukuro Bag Grab Part Deux

We did it last year so we are doing it again this year and because I could never say 'no' to a bit of gamble or tikam ever since my booster-opening days with Magic: The Gathering. But I digress. It's time for this year's Fukubukuro raid at Isetan. Just like last year, there were lucky bags filled with mystery gifts for sale at Isetan. I got a more detailed explanation of what's it all about in last year's post. When you have almost zero Chinese New Year visitation obligations like me and the baker-at-home, this is what we do. Pros and cons of coming from a very small and intimate family I suppose.

For this year, Isetan listed the contents of their mystery food bag and it was almost the same as what we got last year. I don't know why they did it as it very much took the fun out of it. No more mystery there. Except for a couple of items like the Apple Juice and Japanese beer, we ended up giving away most of last year's stuff, and I think the soap is still somewhere in the drawer. Naturally we didn't wanna go through that again and decided to try our luck with the S$88 household Fukubukuro bag instead. But no, they didn't provide a list here so we had no idea what's inside. So here's our loot.

No complaints here. The Panasonic iron will definitely come in handy right now as ours is on the fritz. The others will be of use eventually, one day, somewhere somehow. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Cavalock and The Overdue Post New Year Lunch

Always glad to know that there's somewhere for me to chow down on a plate on good and cheap wanton mee. Dropped by the ever popular Foong Kee along Keong Saik Road couple weekends ago and had one of the best wanton mee I had in a long time. Totally enjoyed the char siew and springy noodles. But I reckon the joint is usually too damn crowded on weekdays so I'll probably be back on another weekend.

I have always loved the Simpsons TV series since they first appeared on the Tracy Ullman Show but I'm sure most fans would agree, the last couple of seasons haven't been all that good at all but we soldiered on and I'm to say that last week's episode "Pork and Burns" featuring the return of Spider-Pig from the Simpsons movie was the best in years. Yes, there's a pig involved so it might not be politically correct for all audiences but it's absolutely hilarious. So many spoofs involving Grey's Anatomy and even Whitney Houston. It's so funny I'm still re-watching that last scene again and again on my iPad. And it's driving the baker-at-home crazy.

I'm also finally catching up on the Preacher mini-series, great show and (almost) as violent as the comic book series. But plot-wise it's quite a departure from the comic. Got the chance to watch the infamous lady Ghostbusters too and it wasn't as bad as the reviews made it out to be but the villain was probably the lamest antagonist in movie history ever. Sure glad I didn't have to pay to watch it. It wasn't terrible but not bloody worth the admission ticket IMHO. Oh, and I have yet to watch the last season of American Horror.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Cavalock and The New Year Cake Crave

Cake. It was a bizarre almost insatiable craving for cake, sweet moist cake that nearly drove me nuts over the New Year holiday weekend. I can't explain it or know how it started, well, I suppose looking at online pix of cakes from around the world might have played a role in it. Had some fruits and even a cream puff but they were no substitute for cake.

Well, I finally got my cake on the fourth day of 2017. A nice big slice of Japanese matcha white chocolate cake from Sunday Folks. Well worth the wait. Man, the joint was crazy packed on a workday afternoon. Is school out or something?

Spotted this opening just down the road from the old family home. Looking forward to checking it out. So what was good in 2016? The TV series that surprised me ... in a good way was The Exorcist. Only ten episodes long and although it started off pretty slow, the plot twist midway elevated the show into one of the best horror series out there right now. Especially if you enjoyed the original movie, this is definitely worth taking a look.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Cavalock and The Unexpected Year In Writing

Happy Holidays! 

Another new year coming up and it's another restock of New Year Japanese Beer at Meidi-Ya. Yup, it's the same as last year so I'm betting it's good enough to warrant a restock.

This has been a rather extraordinary year for writing. In February, I was most fortunate to receive not one but two overseas letters of acceptance for one of my short horror stories. Yes, I had to turn down one of the offers. Then in May, I got an email from publisher Marshall Cavendish wanting to do a photo book featuring me Dad's wildlife pictures. And just when I thought that's it for the year, along came a royalty cheque and an email from a different publisher interested in another of my pieces. Extremely grateful for this unexpected turn in my writing endeavours. I can only hope for such opportunities next year.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Cavalock and The Holiday Balls

Another popular stall that's just a hop and a skip away from my tiny apartment that I only recently made into a regular haunt is the aptly named Beef House, along Syed Alwi Road. Just go for the beef tendon balls, they are great balls. Nice and chewy balls. Delicious balls, not unlike these equally delicious famous balls on YouTube. Ah come on, it's the holiday season and you can't go wrong with a classic! Just watch, you'll thank me later.

So earlier this year, I opened my first and only Instagram account ultron8 as a kinda therapeutic exercise where I try to come up with original Lego vignettes by putting together various Lego pieces. Strangely enough, I'm kinda proud of it as I certainly didn't expect to have that many followers so soon. Back when I was in the creative industry, we were expected to come with creative ideas like a dozen a day, it was mentally exhausting. Right now when I do creative stuff on my "own time and target", it's a lot easier and much more rewarding.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Cavalock and The New Old Family Home

Ever since I left the rat race, any subsequent achievements have been more of a personal nature than something work-related. I mean it's no more fancy office projects or work milestones to signify one's life achievements, know what I mean? Instead my accomplishments for the year are extremely minor but more intimate compared to those still working today.

One of the things I'm rather proud of is how the baker-at-home and I finally fixed up my old family home. Transported it from the 1960s to the 21st century! We aren't living there as we got our own little apartment already and yah, if the price is right, who knows? :)

The metal wall ornaments in the above two pictures are or were the backdoor gate and window grills! Our designer/contractor decided to turn them into deco pieces!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Cavalock and The Early Amazon Surprise

While two other famous nasi briyani stalls are trying to literally beat each other up, I'm tucking into my nasi briyani at Block 17 Beach Road. The joint ain't exactly new and they have been there for ages, but I have only recently started patronising the place even though it's like a ten minute walk from my apartment.

Huge serving of really fluffy and fragment basmati rice with nice chunks of moist tender chicken. Expect a queue as early as 11am for lunch and we even saw a guy stuff over a dozen packets of nasi briyani into a large travel luggage, zip it up and roll out with it. I suppose it's that good that you would wanna pack enough for your village back home.

It has been a crazy busy and draining week with few bright spots. One being my Amazon delivery arriving a week earlier than expected. Funny thing is they (the local carrier folks) left it outside my apartment. Apparently this is a common practice. I have heard complaints from friends who were absolutely pissed off to find their precious parcels left for hours outside their homes when they returned home from work. So I was out the entire day and came home to find mine outside door. Fortunately everything was intact. But I was still slightly miffed. No phone call or SMS to inform me of the delivery. Nothing, not a beep. The tracking site said it was due next week. But again, since everything turned out fine why kick up a fuss? I have ordered more than couple times from Amazon and all them times, they arrived on time. Anyone else had such an experience with Amazon?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cavalock and The Friday Flashback

Last Friday was a good day to eat well and play good games. Been too long since I had a hearty lunch at Aoki and I'm glad to say that their popular bara chirashi don is still worth every dollar. An enjoyable meal accompanied by equally delightful conversations with friends who have recently returned from Tokyo. Unfortunately I had to leave the restaurant to host a boardgaming session at my friend's office, well, maybe 'unfortunately' isn't the right word. I could never say 'no' to boardgames and this is something I do once a month for his office staff, like a casual games day thingy.

We cracked opened and played the highly-rated hidden movement game Letters from Whitechapel for the first time. It's not a new game but I have heard so many good things about it that I had to try it plus I don't have a hidden movement game in my collection so why not? In this game, one player is the infamous Jack the Ripper and the rest (up to 5 players) are the police officers trying to apprehend him in this rather historically accurate game. Except for Jack, every other character in the game is based on an actual victim or police officer. The map is an actual grid of Whitechapel and the tension! Geez, I can't begin to describe the stress or mounting tension when you are playing Jack. The other players are searching for you and only you know where you are, so you see them walking just past you on the map and you grit your teeth hoping that they don't "search" that particular spot that you are at. IMHO, this is also a terrific two-player game as you just need one other player to take control of all five police officer then it becomes a really crazy fun cat-and-mouse game.

Great, exciting game and I can see why it was nominated for a couple of awards. If anyone wants to play a session or two, just let me know!

"Get ready to enter the poor and dreary Whitechapel district in London 1888 – the scene of the mysterious Jack the Ripper murders – with its crowded and smelly alleys, hawkers, shouting merchants, dirty children covered in rags who run through the crowd and beg for money, and prostitutes – called "the wretched" – on every street corner.
The board game Letters from Whitechapel, which plays in 90-150 minutes, takes the players right there. One player plays Jack the Ripper, and his goal is to take five victims before being caught. The other players are police detectives who must cooperate to catch Jack the Ripper before the end of the game. The game board represents the Whitechapel area at the time of Jack the Ripper and is marked with 199 numbered circles linked together by dotted lines. During play, Jack the Ripper, the Policemen, and the Wretched are moved along the dotted lines that represent Whitechapel's streets. Jack the Ripper moves stealthily between numbered circles, while policemen move on their patrols between crossings, and the Wretched wander alone between the numbered circles."

Monday, November 21, 2016

Cavalock and The Tamarillo Tidings

If a peach ever got down and dirty with a fig, their love child would probably be a tamarillo. A native fruit of New Zealand, I got my first taste of it last weekend at a New Zealander's birthday party. It's a a little tangy but still tasty with a peachy texture. Should have gone for a tighter close-up photo but that there below is a tray of over a dozen tamarillos, all peeled, cut up and just warm enough to be enjoyed with a delicious scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Pic from Wiki

And now this. So my 83-year-old Dad renewed his senior citizen's zoo visitor's pass and snapped more than a few hundred shots while he was at it. More primates than birds this time. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cavalock and The Game of Thrones Play Pitch

I grew up on Bovril, tons of it. Lunch or dinner at home usually came with it in a hot bowl if there's no soup accompanying the meal. And there's Marmite. It was all right I guess but I'm a Bovril guy, especially if it's the old original beef extract and not today's chicken or vegetarian versions. Well, look what I found at Meidi-Ya supermarket, and it's not just cookies. There were Marmite breadsticks and chocolates too, it's like some freaky Marmite menagerie. Bought it as a birthday gift for a Kiwi friend and I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for a Bovril collection soon.

Highball whiskey in a can?!? A huge mug of highball whiskey was a dinner stable whenever I'm back in Japan. Them booze there are really just too cheap to not order at least one during a meal. I just wish the can I found at Meidi-Ya was as cheap. 

Ate them but never got nekkid with them in the shower. Horse shower products, as in from them and not for them. Hah! Nah, a wee bit too pricy for me although I am extremely curious as to how horse oil smells like. I suppose they'll make sure it all smell nice and floral, like rainbows and unicorns.

Now if you are a fan of the book or TV series Game of Thrones,  I seriously recommend this new game Game of Thrones, Hand of the King. It's real easy, plays in about 15 to 20 minutes with up to four players. First randomly lay out all the character cards like below then on your turn, you control the Varys character card and move him vertically or horizontally. You decide where or who he stops on and grab all the same character house tiles in the row or column as the one he lands on. When you control a majority of the house cards, you get to keep the corresponding banner token. Winner is the one with the most token banners!

It's just simple moving up and down across the board but there's more than a bit of strategy involved as you try not to land on a square that'll give your opponent a serious advantage. One of the coolest things about this game is how the below companion cards make it so thematic. You get one of these cards when you collect the last character of any house. These little cards can really change the outcome of the game. But what I also like about the game is the cute, cartoony art that captures some of the recognisable features of the actors in the TV series. Now if anyone feels like having a game, just let me know. ;)