Saturday, January 31, 2009

May You Never Die

John Martyn one of the best old-school piss artist singer-songwriter-guitarists, not so very often aka Ian McGeachy, passed away last week.

I posted about his guitar skills, oh, I can't find it now, it's too late, I'm too sozzled, a few months/years ago... This was the music I spent some much of the 70's and 80' listening too and obsessing over. I saw him once, maybe two times (I'm checking with the ex-, her memory is better than mine.)

Someone said, here's a loss that they will really feel. Only 60 (nine years my elder). I concur...

Here is the clean-skinned young man circa 1973...



Sunday, January 25, 2009

Coffee Grounds For Divorce

Unlike some cynical readers of this blog, I DO have great faith in horoscopes (Chinese and, um, non-Chinese), just as I find Divine Intervention a useful tool when I misplace my house keys (a quiet prayer up to St Anthony and hey presto!). I also believe in Santa Claus, transubstantiation, virgo intacto parthenogenesis of male children, routine miracles at Lourdes, ocular bleeding of statues, pigges bones*, papal bulls, touching wood, avoiding black cats, Babylonian haruspicy, and of course the venerable Tooth Fairy, who is playing me a fair treat of late with this fucking dental cap (about half a tooth actually) which keeps falling out.

Three times tonight during a Lebanese meal at the famed (and nearly empty) Abu Ali Restaurant the bugger came loose. There must be something happening. The remnant tooth is cold sensitive without the cap firmly pressed into it. I really need to put several hundred dollars under the Parkview pillow of my Tooth Fairy Dentist when I get back (if ever) to Singapore, to sort this out this entire buccal mess once and for all (or until the guarantee expires).

So, at dinner tonight, as I am fossicking in my mouth yet again to resite the errant ceramic, one of the local ladies offers to read my future from the dregs in my coffee cup!

Of course I trust her that the patterns in my life will play out according to (or caused by?) whatever patterns the dribbling coffee dregs will make in my cup. It only stands to reason. Perfectly normal thing to believe in...

- Thurth, I say. Bru moth thuum warrrn. (Sure. But you must tell me all!)

So when the tooth-cap is pushed relatively firm into its cavity, I turn the finished (not empty) cup of thick mid-sweet Turkish brew upside down in its saucer and several kilograms of cosmic dark matter, err, mushy coffee sludge slides down the inside of the cup, creating (I presume) forms and appearances of great moment and significance for her to divine. I pass the cup, still upside in the saucer, across. She waits for a minute or two, then turns it over.

- You are in love, Sir Ekpat, she says right up.

- I am? Who with? I look around. Laughs, smiles.

- You are not in love?, asks one of the other ladies, one I was careful NOT to look at - a bit too eagerly, I think.

- Not that I am aware, no, I am not in love, I laugh.

- Well, you have a big heart, a wide heart full of love, says the coffee reader, nodding as if that was what she meant in the first place.

- Of course I love all of *you*, I say. (Thinking, big heart? Maybe she has seen some evidence of long-standing hypertension induced cardiomyopathy?)

She tilts the cup around and looks at it from another angle. She peers into it with concentration, she seems almost embarrassed by it what she finds there. What is it? I have a pornography obsession? I will die a Mulder death?

- There are two women.

I sigh...

- Well, I *was* in Bangkok earlier this week, and it's only natural, a man has his urges, irresistable really, and when it doesn’t seem to upset anyone, and the price is reasonable...

- You are in love with two women, she says.

Coos and laughter from around our section of the table…

- Well, no, I am not in love at all, I insist.

- There are two women though.

The other lady leans across and looks into the cup. - Yes, she is right. There are two ladies.

Why do I get the feeling I am being set up here?

- Well maybe it is my mother and sister. They are the two women in my life…

- Yes, maybe that is what it means, she shrugs, unconvinced.

She passes the cup to her friend, whispers to her and smiles back at me.

- She knows what will happen in your future, how you will live long time, when you will die, from this, says the second lady, smiling also.

- Yep, sure, I say. I believe you. The tooth falls out again as I try to chew a tough slice of babaganoush rolled in very thin bread (fed in with three fingers).

- Nnuth knellm unn urrr nf nnnn oooh zaarrr. (Just tell me where and I won't go there.)


* Ne was there such another pardonere.
For in his mail he had a pillowbere,
Which, as he saide, was our Lady's veil:
He said, he had a gobbet of the sail
That Sainte Peter had, when that he went
Upon the sea, till Jesus Christ him hent.
He had a cross of latoun full of stones,
And in a glass he hadde pigge's bones.
But with these relics, whenne that he fond
A poore parson dwelling upon lond,
Upon a day he got him more money
Than that the parson got in moneths tway;
And thus with feigned flattering and japes,
He made the parson and the people his apes.
But truely to tellen at the last,
He was in church a noble ecclesiast.

Pasted from

Friday, January 23, 2009

Not Happy [with Addenda]

Turned up at the hotel in Dubai at 3:30am. No booking under my name. This is the first time in 10 years like this something has gone wrong...

Checked myself in and promptly fell asleep into a moody nightmare of dusky skyscrapers and wrong venues and (for some inexplicable reason) hookers, sharks in the swimming pool and (even more dangerous!) ex-girlfriends...

Freud, front and centre please!

Maybe someone from the company will find me today. (I hope not, I still have the presentation to write.)


[Addendum I: Toaster Wars Strikes Back - at breakfast just then, two dudes each stole one of my twice-run through pieces of toast from the tray in the nano-second I moved away to get a plate. ToFos! Is this is the first time these people have ever eaten out? One was a swarthy type, the other a lanky, old American. So, yes probably. I got my toast back from the Yank - at least he was civilized enough to use the tongs to have picked it up. The other guy I let go with some abstruse mumbled abuse behind his back - who knows which hand he used...

Addendum II: Booking problem solved. It was a name SNAFU at the time of reservation. They had not booked me under my name, nor that of my company, but under one of their local company representatives in order to facilitate the credit card deposit. No-one had told me, I had had no Booking Confirmation number sent to me, so there was no way I could have found it anyway.

Addendum III: I was right. There IS no agenda for the training - as yet! Training starts tomrrow, therefore I have most of the day to put 20 slides or so together. I will need to do some surreptitious competition research but the Internet here is $55 per day! Alas, the swimming pool beckons out my window, down a few floors. Alack, it is freaking chilly here, only 15 degrees oustide currently.]

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Back Into The Swing Of It... Sorta

Off the plane at 3pm, repack the suitcase, load a warm coat and sweater, and my exercise elastic-stretchy-thing this time, and head back to the airport for an 11:30pm flight to Dubai. (And move the fridge from MJ's room into the maid quarters and of course it doesn't fit under in-built cupboards by a matter of millimeters.)

That reminds, me: I still haven't prepared any of that training I am doing (?I think) tomorrow, or the day after, or both. I don't know what to do, how to start. It's SALES and MARKETING - WTF do I know about that - I am clinical person!

I was trying to explain this fault in my character to Izzy. It relates to my lack of imagination. I just can't *picture* it, just can't pre-comprehend what I will be doing or need to be saying at the training. Where people will be sitting, what they want to hear. What I will write on the whiteboard, put in my PowerPoint. The fact that no-one has sent me an agenda (there's an agenda?) only enhances this sense of the fogginess of the future. There is a niggling thing going in my head, like guilt or apprehension of trouble: maybe *I* should have prepared the agenda...

I have no fucking idea how I get through each day, each year, this life.


Of course, things were cushy when The Mouse was around. The packing would be done automatically, I'd be blogging... I really miss the way on the weekend, or of an evening, she'd creep up with a cup of tea and a biscuit and scare the living daylights out of me. Then my reaction would cause *her* to flinch, and there'd be this little nervous giggle as she placed the cup and plate by my side: "Oh Mr Pillip, you frighten me!"

"And you gave me a freaking heart attack!"

Ah, the past...

Nostalgia: a foregone illusion.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Less Majestic Decision Deconstructs Harry

Yes, as DH pointed out in his comment on my last post (he obviously got up and wrested his Bangkok Post from the hotel-room door-handle before I did), Australian best-selling author (5 copies was it?) Harry Nicolaides coped it sweet with a three year sentence.

From the photo on page 1, he doesn't look too happy about the prospect of more time spent in the "Bangkok Hilton" and I don't blame him...

Because I am actually in Thailand at the moment I've just deleted a large section of criticism of Thai legal stupidity and the anachronistic monarchic systems... The arbitrary way this law is applied is just too scarey - everyone knows what is going on with the royal family, yet the author of an obscure novel gets punished for saying it... Many of the readers comments to the Post article pretty much say how I feel about what a tragic farce this is...

And because I don't want to join him, I'll shut up right now...


(p.s. I notice that the once ubiqituous yellow t-shirts on Monday have pretty much disappeared as wearing one would be considered a Political statement rather than a royalist one.)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Why I Quit My Philosophy Course

Q1: What is "the self"?

A: The self is a relation that relates itself to itself or is the relation's relating itself to itself in the relation; the self is not the relation but is the relation's relating itself to itself… In the relation between two, the relation is the third as a negative unity, and the two relate to the relation and in the relation to the relation; thus under the qualification of the psychical the relation between the psychical and the physical is a relation. If, however, the relation relates itself to itself, this relation is the positive third, and this is the self. Søren Aaybe Kierkegaard, Sickness Unto Death

Wrong! Søren, you are driving me to despair. It's almost like you want me to be unhappy, as if that is what you consider to be the truth (YOUR truth) of existence. Your logic is like a best-selling self-help book that says, "The answer is not in any self-help book, and certainly not this one."

It requires an amazing leap of faith to understand whatever the fuck you are talking about. Lift your game, boyo. See me after class. I'll give you the fear, you bring the trembling.


I have absolutely no idea what that passage is saying. Am I stupid?


I have no idea (yes I do, I am lying to myself - it is because I am getting old) why I have taken up trying to read such impenetrable philosphy texts. (Not all, indeed not much, of Kierkegaard is quite as abstruse as this, thank whomever. But more is coming from Amazon!)

Is it a desire to understand why my life has been so non-descript and so non-productive? Is this a real or an imaginary problem? Is it merely the expected MLC?

*Have* I lived a proper life? Am I doing the right thing now? Am I thinking the right thoughts? Am I saying the correct words? Am I writing the funniest jokes? And if so, who have I stolen them from? What should I do next with my life? Buy big in the STI?

Questions keep arising (in my mind only, I haven't been blogging a lot of this lately) about the power I have (in the form of cash in the bank) and what I should do with it. Should I imitate Christ, (also currently reading Balzac's The Wrong Side Of Paris, purely coincidentally about a MLC guy who joins a secret religious charitable sect in the late 19th century) or should I get a massive ouija board tattooed on my back and impersonate Creepy instead? Should I get a boat and pretend I am Dick Headley cruising around the Caribe?

But then, Mr Kierkegaard (or Mr Balzac), if Christ was such a great guy (let's face it, he is the one being in the universe who is a synthesis of the aesthetical "present", the supra-moral "eternal" - q.f. Heideggers 'Being and Time', Neitzche's 'Beyond Good and Evil') then, rather than doing his healing and teaching on such an ad hoc basis, why didn't he educate some of those apostles as medical staff and teach them some of the basic rules of medicine/hygeine.

Getting those health care workers to wash their hands and showing them the simple trick of isolating the contagious would have been pretty easy lessons for the Lord of the Creation to pass on, and those pearls would have "saved" millions of lives over the millenia.

In fact, why didn't he set up some sort of free health care system, or a group of hospitals healing the lame (splints/crutches/bone-setting), raising the dead (CPR, the Heimlich maneouvre) and so forth, maybe even a pre-cursor to the Red Cross, spreading good deeds and simple life-saving first-aid across the Levant?

Hey. What about some schools for the young and curious, big guy? Great teacher, right!

Literacy and health, how hard can it be if you are of the same substance as the creator of the universe?

And why was there no structured organization in the early church for the efficient management and distribution of all those charitable goods from the rich who were bent on following him? Where was the distribution system that ensured that what was donated made it to the needy and desitute? Something like OxFam, or the World Food Program. Why did it have to wait for St Vincent De Paul to get this logistical piece of cake moving at all?

You'd think all that experience with distribution of the loaves and fishes would have given the apostles something like a workable blueprint...

I am sure I'd do better imitating Warren Buffett. Or Pavarotti - at least I look like him (with a bit of false hair here and there).

Or should I just go out and get laid? (This question is not part of the test.)


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lemon Poprocks Tart @ Iggys

Comment of the night:-

After ten courses (not counting the first sorbet and the seaweed poppadoms) time had flown, it was 11:30 already and out came these little lemon mouth bombs which we dropped into our mouths in one bite and as we sat there letting the lemon tartness do its thing and the crunchy tart-base melt away, a series of sounds starting exploding out by our cheeks, by our ears, our mastoids, all around our tongues, brittle cracks and pops of effervescence, it made you feel like your face was in a magical cartoon where tiny stars and minute rockets were whizzing around, a multi-coloured and metallic sensation, yet sweet, funny and just a little disconcerting when it kept going and going and going... And M says;

"I hope you fellas don't think that's we girls experience when we give you a BJ!"


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

What happens on the beach, STAYS on the beach... unless you txt your father accidentally to brag about it! = so many fun ways fuck up!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dead Snow

Self-amputation scene! Warning! Not suitable for children!

Horrible nasty Nazi mutant zombies, goreful scene but funny at the end...

Don't say you weren't warned.


Monday, January 12, 2009

For Smoot

Roast spuds.

This is pretty much how I did them. I sprinkled some flour over the spuds before bashing them around a bit (a la Nigella) - makes for more things to get crusty. I used duck fat.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Do You Keep Dripping? / War Is Hell

The vaudeville funny-man would have riposte to any positive answer to that question...

"Well, you better see a doctor then!" Boom boom! Ha ha!

The assumption is that he'd asked that question of a butcher, see... Groan

Dripping = lard. Because a butcher would keep, as in have on store, a supply of cooled, strained fat - the 'dripppings' of a roast, say.

But it might also mean, like, dribbles coming out of your urethra once the sensation of urination had passed, indicating for a man, a prostate problem.

I'm off the Cymbalta and so No, I don't keep dripping. Not anymore. However I am majorly grumpy I've noticed...

And No too would be the answer of all the butchers and culinary stores I've questioned this week in Singapore in my search for lard for the crispiest roast potatoes in the red dot.

I'd been to Cold Storage in Novena, Marketplace in Tanglin Mall, Jason's in Orchard Towers, Giant in Vivocity Harbourfront (all of which actually ARE Cold Storage), Jones The Grocer and Culina in Dempsey Hill.

According to the wisdom of crowds, viz-a-vix the ExaptSingapore Cooking/Food forum, the butcher at Holland Village keeps some aside. Well, expert expat, my weary feet went over that place twice, and there IS no dedicated butcher at Holland Village. There is a wet-market beast disectionist and a meat section in the Cold Storage, but neither of knew what the hell lard or duck fat was.

Anyway, I found some - some graisse de canard at the Swiss Butcherie in Greenmount. $16 for the last jar. Duck fat. I'd rather much cheaper and better beef fat... Supafry, which is all I wanted, just some boring old dripping like mum used to keep in that yellow porcelain jug in the fridge, you can buy anywhere in the suburban corner shops of Australia, where health messages have yet to penetrate, it's just a coupla bucks...

Sigh. These potatoes better be good tomorrow... Report to come.


In other news - Israeli deaths due to friendly fire (6) currently exceeds the number of Israelis killed by Hamas rockets (4) in the past two weeks. There is a lesson in there, somewhere. And it's more than 4 and 6 just doesn't add it up as a UN school is blasted, killing forty or fifty people who were seeking refuge there...

Somebody famous said: Those who don't study history are condemned to repeat it. E@L says: Those who DO study history know that it's mainly the bad parts that are repeated.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Questions: Before I Go Any Further In Voicing My Contempt For Certain Aspects of Singapore's Management Team

Singapore's law against sedition starts off like this:

3. —(1) A seditious tendency is a tendency —
(a) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the Government;

By "the Government" do they mean the ruling political party which happens to be in power, that is to say, "in government", at any given time?

So that to excite disaffection against an opposition party's policy would NOT be seditious, until there come a time (praise the Lord!) when some group such as the Singapore Democratic Party is in power? And then it would become seditious?

And that praise for the current PAP's wise policies would become seditious if it was no longer in government?

And is the judiciary part of the Government?


Because I want to link to Molly Meek's latest post - typically bimbotic! - and to the Wall St Journal's November 29th editorial "Singapore Strikes Again", about the Asian WSJ being sued for, for, for all sorts of things, like reporting.

And I want to ask the person who, on the WSJ forum, wrote this...

The Wall Street Journal is sued in Singapore for badmouthing the latter's political system again. We are annoyed by westerners constantly trying to impose its value on other cultures. The result can only be one thing: deepening hatred of the white people and periodic vengeful infliction of pain like the 9/11 attack and the search for American and English to butcher this month in Mumbai.
This is a classic example of arrogance of a culture that dominates others for one reason or the other at different stages of human history. This dominance of European culture will not last.
Cheung Yuk Ming
November 30, 2008

...why they think merely reporting on public domain facts warrants their implied (fairly overt it now sounds to me) threat of terrorism in reprisal and if so, will it perpetrated by themselves, or by the Singapore Government, or all Asians - that is to ask, who is "we"?

And also ask this Cheung Yuk Ming (Emperor Ming? He of the royal "we") which "westerners" values exactly do you/they/we consider are bringing about all this hatred?

The right to a fair trial before peers? (Too slow!)

Free speech? (Too loud!)

The right to peaceful protest? (Too trafic-jamming!)

The separation of powers? (Too surgical! One or more of the conjoined babies might die!)


Wasn't it the alternative values of the Asian Tigers - "slave labor, cheap prostitutes and even cheaper politicians" (and their profiteering cronies - robbing their own banks, chopping down forests illegally or running drugs, etc...) - that brought about the previous economic crisis in 1998-2001 AND have helped keep the vast majority of Asia's poor in stone-age living conditions, cowering in fear (such as in Singapore-supported Myanmar) or living in silent desperation under corrupt and oppressive regimes?


The reason I ask this is that clause 3 of the act says:

(3) For the purpose of proving the commission of any offence under this Act, the intention of the person charged at the time he did or attempted to do or made any preparation to do or conspired with any person to do any act or uttered any seditious words or printed, published, sold, offered for sale, distributed, reproduced or imported any publication or did any other thing shall be deemed to be irrelevant if in fact such act had, or would, if done, have had, or such words, publication or thing had a seditious tendency.

... which E@L's learned legal brain translates as, "if you didn't intend to be seditious but what you said, did or wrote can be twisted by lawyers working for the PAP [oops, I mean Government, or do I?] to appear seditious, then it is seditious".

Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass Changi Airport. Do not collect your Welcome To Singapore brochure.


Ah, only seven days in the country and I'm going insane! And judging by his new banner, Skippy-san wants to live here? It's just amazing...


Sunday, January 04, 2009

iMac Frustration Causes Singapore Man To Go Out For Beer.

My iMac.

Fuck. I shake my head. Really. It is for superficial people, designed by people who were only concerned about the appearance of its features, not their functions, not thinking through about what people would want them to do.

(I am talking about the default programs here, not those brought in by smart, cafe-latte drinking, socially concerned, Moleskine scribbling, third-party people.)


OK, I have found a way to put Dashboard widgets onto the main screen so that my clock, calendar, iTunes control, local weather report, and address book are all there, all the time. (Well the trick works OK in one direction, not so much in the other.) Like the Google Desktop Sidebar, like the Microsoft Sidebar for Windows. I don't have to click or press a key - the large clock is always there, ticking away. How hard can be it be?

So I look at the large date ticker on the iCal widget, click on it. Out slides a monthly calendar with today's date highlighted. I click again and out slides a list of today's appointments, if any. What about tomorrow? Nope, it won't highlight any other date than today. I can't check whether my schedule is busy on any other days. So I need to open iCal itself. Can I do that from the iCal widget? No.

They never thought of that when then spent hours getting the shiny black surface looking just right. I have to go to my Dock thingummy and find iCal to open it! How useless is that iCal widget except as a piece of eye-candy? Fuckers!

The default iTunes widget. If iTunes is off, will it turn iTune on? No. I click on the invisible Info button and the widget does a cool flip around to show a "Select Playlist" function. Does it actually allow me to select my playlists? No. They don't exist according the iTunes widget. I have to start iTunes and find my playlists from the Dock and from iTunes itself. Can I *start* iTunes from the iTunes widget? Are you kidding, No-ho! Of course NOT! That might actually be useful! All the widget does is allow me to pause, change volume, repeat and shuffle and select next and previous in the current playlist. I have to have iTunes running first, at the same time, if I want to do anything like change who I want to listen to.

The bland grey Address Book widget needs me to type an initial letter before it does anything, which is to drop down the list of all my contacts. Are they arranged by the first letter I typed? No. The letter has to be somewhere in the person's file, is all. The last contact I selected used remains selected even if it doesn't have the letter in the name I typed, which is really confusing. Why? Like I said, because maybe that letter is somewhere in that person's address or their email. Type another letter and it narrows the field, but not in a way you'd expect. Typing "t o" brings up a blogger mate who is filled under "Spike" for example, because his email is ""... Weird. When you do have a contact selected, you can click through all other contacts. Well let's face it, the parent Address Book is a boring and dull application anyway.

The Clock widget. Why not iClock? You can set regional times, but you can't set an alarm from the widget. OK the default clock on Windows Sidebar is pretty lame as well, so I won't get into that aspect of it all. But I want a reminder/alarm function. I can only do it by going to iCal (manually of course) and setting up an appointment, not through the clock function! How shitty is that? WTF?

I have downloaded a third party calendar application from the dudes at iSlayer that works OK, but still doesn't have an alarm. There are quite a few REALLY neat one for Windows, but the list of clocks for iMac is pathetic. To get an alarm, I have to download another clock widget.


Also my Mighty Mouse will not scroll unless the sidebar is at the bottom of a page. It will then only scroll up, but when the idnicator is at the top, it will not scroll down. I kid you not.


Fuck it, I'm going out for a beer...


(As I am typing this, the beast, like the id monster in Forbidden Planet, seems to sense I am writing about it, and the keyboard locks up for no reason...)

[Addendum - after five beers, three white wines and a Knob Creek and three episodes of Battlescar Tallactica, came home and re-checked this post. My, I had a big visit from the Typo Fairy there didn't I? That's because I composed that post in Google Docs, which like 99.99% of everything in this non-BG universe is a piece of shit. Most of the day I spent trying to link my OneNote files automatically to GoogleSites. Not gonna work. Think I'll need to get a pirate of MS Sharepoint somewhere. Fucking Windows.]

Pseudoscience Gets Me Riled - I Won't Apologize Again.

Ben Goldacre has just written a nice little piece on those who deny the HIV/AIDS connection, and my blood started to boil - in support of him, of course.


My feet still hurt, alright? After several years the pain has not gone away despite surgery, orthotics, deep-muscle massage and stretching exercise to relieve nerve impingement, despite prostate-strangling mind-numbing drugs (two months of the Cymbalta poison was all I could handle!) - well, they are better than they were thanks to the drugs - but they continue to give me trouble.

But, no, emphatically NO, I will not see a homeopath.

Homeopathy is dangerous. It kills people. "New(actually "old")age" medicine in general kills people. The arguments behind many popular pseudoscientific ideas have caused wars and incited otherwise preventable carnage. The oversimplifications and unprovable "logic" of anecdote have provided lunatic adherents with sufficient confusing verbiage to pollute the thinking of otherwise rational people. I hate it, hate them.

Enough, already.

I will not tolerate it. Homeopathy is up there with the HIV/AIDS refuters, with Holocaust deniers, with Mormons knocking on my door offering autographed 1st editions of Ayn Rand's ravings.

Go away!

I reserve the right to get angry and righteous (in the Pulp Fiction sense) if you mention it again, and I will not apologize...


(OK, it's just people in general that I hate. Pass me my Schopenhauer, I need a laugh.)

[Addendum: Actually, as homeopathy posits that the less you have of something the greater is its effect - a sort of new-age inverse square law - by having none of it, I should obtain infinite benefit!]

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Yoghourt* Prices Trigger More Expat New Years Whinging

Milk glut? Farmers ploughing their dairy cows back into the soil as fertilizer? Milk run-offs polluting the drinking water in starving nations?

Not seeing it here in Singapore where my all-time favorite Victorian Jalna pot-set vanilla yoghourt still costs around SGD$9.60(AUD$9.42) for a 500g tub in the one or two supermarkets (Tanglin is one, natch) where you can find it here. The same tub on the virtual shelves of Safeway supermarket in Geelong is about $3.82($3.75).

Ah, the kick in the teeth we expats take on a daily basis just to get out taste buds around something like our home country quality. Supermarkets here perform merely a cheeky lip-service to the needs of the elite 'foreign talent' such as myself - witness the way Vegemite comes and goes from the shelves, the fact that there are only 217 types of flat-bread available, rather than the ASA mandatory 432. And don't we raise our eyebrows over the restricted range of Trail Mix or salad dressings? Just try to find a nice slice of ox-tongue when you need it most! Supercilious, indeed they are to our needs. An Aussie has to keep an ear out and an eye open for special gossip of the supply ship coming in as we spend our days wandering through Tanglin Mall looking for something 'Oriental' to send home to the family. It can really get up your nose.


And where have the soap and powders of my clean, non-sweaty dreams gone? I merely WANT Pears transparent soap, but I really NEED Dettol Daily Talcum Powder (SAFETY WARNING: do not use the Menthol version on scrotal regions!). With Dettol's perfect level of 9% zinc active-ingredient, I can rest (or be active) assured that I will not get great clumps of off-white clag adhering to my ball- and arse-hairs (as happens with 15% zinc powders) nor will an irritating anti-social rash develop in the crease of my lap-areas during the course of my 99% humidity day. Experienced expat men of the sweaty, groin-rash-prone variety know this, or they certainly learn it eventually the hard way.

Whispers in the post-golf shower room, mutterings in the club over snooker and gin-tonics - someone notices a certain gait, recognizes the wide-stanced symptom of a fellow traveller. Some high zinc concentrate powder (15%) in the acute phase, or even a some nappy-rash creme... A new brand of underwear is required - many swear by latex and recommend the pricey American ones, but M&S (when their freaking underpants ship comes in to dock) may have cheaper alternatives in stock. Some are happy with loose boxers, but I am not of that party. But once that red groin-crease of horror is under control, a 9% powder is required to maintain a rash-free, clag-free sexual recreation territory. In HK I found that Amiens, an American brand, in selected pharmacies, was perfect. Then after two months, knowing I needed it and being bastards, they refused to restock. Eventually I found Dettol (UK brand). Although it is an ESSENTIAL part of my life in the heady tropics, is also not available in most supermarkets or pharmacies in Singapore. Talcum powder, they think in these parts, is soft and gentle for babies' bums or lavender-scented to mask old grannies' incontinence.

No, I swear, talc is for REAL MEN! With real issues. But often I cannot get the zinc I need! I stock up when I can, but people look at you funny when you travel across the island to buy six shakers of talc...

I have some of those other brands of course, packed away in my toiletries cupboard. They were purchased in extremis and under suffrage, and they are rubbish, tripe, they make me puke, they are shite, useless, a failure in the provision of the service the proffer to deliver, etc,...

Ok ball-rash digression over, back to yoghourt.


E@L, why, Falstaffian fellow, you tactfully ask, do you go for the Premium Creamy tub rather than the Low Fat? Other than the fact that one is rich, firm and luscious and the other is unavailable? Why do I not select from the the plethora of other yoghourt brands instead of hunting for my delicious Jalna (nurtured in the green valleys of the mighty Yarra)? Why do I not compromise and go for cheaper stuff like Marigold and,... and, yuck, whatever.

Dear reader, E@L replies, did you not read the bit above about "rich, firm and luscious"? Other yoghourts are like some form of liquid plastic by comparison; artificially thickened and festering with bad chemicals like,... like, yuck, whatever. I eschew them, they are too,... too, like, yuck, chewy.

Nutritional Comparison

Jalna Low Fat - "Energy": 441kj/100g, Fat/100g: 2.0g, Sugar/100g 14.2
Jalna Premium - "Energy": 520kj/100g, Fat/100g: 4.6g, Sugar/100g: 12.0

There you go, bugger all difference really. I only use two scoops (maybe 60g) in my mixed fruit and muesli breakfast. So I am saving in sugar (getting heaps of carbs from the fruit anyway) and increasing the calorific total by only about 30kj.

A little bit more fat, but that's what Lipitor is for, right?


(*Yes, I know there's an alternative (i.e. non-Australian) spelling, but I am an Australian, so get fucked.)

(Oops, just realised that my GMail timezone does not carry over to Blogger. Fixed, I hope.)

Friday, January 02, 2009

GMail On GoSlow?

Anyone else finding GMail is on a crawl and has been for several weeks? Is there an extended DoS going on? I deleted most of my large unnecessary (aka porn) files (thanks T!) so that's not it.

Other things are working fine - my Audible downloads are charging through at 250KB/s.


New Years Revolutions

One year turns around into another, yeah? So what? It's that I'm getting dizzy is what. Can we slow this turntable down to 33.3333333RPM, please?

200andfreaking9? What happened there? I was planning to big-time it for 1999 just the other, the other... I can't find a suitable descriptor for the time period I'm talking about here. The other awareness point... Last crisis... Shit, whenever.

It's a whizz, a spin, a flurry, a rush, a charge, all a bit too much, this continual progression of the NOW. This eternal transience. This everlasting ephemerality. And the tickers tick over to another digit in the 21C as we sip on champagne in a Jacuzzi in Bukit-Timah. And unlike Catch22's Dunbar, trying to get bored to make time last longer, the exquisite boredom of having too much interesting stuff to do which seems to take forever only makes my life spin even faster.


Thought in a taxi (driver nodding his head continually: bob bob bob) - when religious people say that we atheists lack spirituality, I get the impression that they really mean that without god there would be no *romance* in their lives. They are afraid to live without love, everyman's touch of the metaphysical. Which is fair enough. As if god was the sole source of that. As if they were afraid or embarrassed (it's not tough) to accept that goodness, justice and love can have a HUMAN source, just as hate and stupidity do as well. As if people weren't enough.

So OK, sorry, back to the point - there's no real, like, SEXUAL romance in my life. Currently. But there is drama... And plenty and plenty of love. By Darwin, I am swamped by those that love me.

I'm doing OK. Keeping on, convinced of my contribution, satisfied that my weaknesses aren't all that bad in the greater scheme of things, pleased that my efforts are appreciated, surprised that my vices haven't killed me yet.

Just doing it all as an older man than I was.


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