So Do It Yourself

Being locked away for quite awhile, the world continued spinning as I discover- Ah, screw the melodrama. Long story short, I recently discovered a couple of things have changed in town. The addition of an annex to the existing Plaza Singapura, for one. (It’s splendid now, not to mention huge.) and secondly, to my chagrin, the main area in ION Orchard’s food hall is closed for upgrading.

My favourite dango store. Closed.

HORRORS.

Naturally, I wasn’t about to stand for that, so, by some stroke of luck, I chanced upon some do-it-yourself dango flour while browsing the food aisles of Daiso. (In Plaza Singapura, no less.) Also because the food is always the first place I look in any mall or store. I carry little interest in much else.

So. Dango.

If you don’t know what that is, they’re this little rice dough dumplings commonly eaten with sweet soy sauce or red bean paste. The stall in ION food hall, called ‘Azukian’ (Thank Google for finally providing me the name.) had Chocolate, Yam , Strawberry and a large variety of other toppings.  

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Orgasmic.

I decided I would make my own.

The price of 5 sticks of dango was about $10 on the offer price.

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Armed with $10 worth of Ingredients from Daiso, we set out on an epic Trial-and-error session of dango-making.

The expectation:

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The reality:

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Verdict:

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So mayyyybe it did get a little messy at times…

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“Is it supposed to be doughy or powdery…?”

And certain trial-and-error methods didn’t really go as planned. Like my attempt at adding a little color to the dango a la Hanami dango (The tri-colored dango)

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Hanami Dango

It was then I realized I was completely out of food coloring, which was pretty odd, seeing as I thought I always had some lying around. But no matter – I found some grape flavoring…

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And in this next picture, you can see the difference between dango with grape flavoring added and dango without grape flavoring added:

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A world of difference.

…… So much for that. It did add a pleasant grape-y scent to some of the dango, though.

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No matter, they’re all the same cooked anyway.

On review, I DO need to work a little on both the shaping of the dango and the skewering of the finished product, because more often than not, the end state looked….. kinda pretty lopsided.

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I swear they look like fishballs…

And in no time at all….

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Mother of Dango

So congratulations on a job well done for a first time, please don’t laugh at the awkward shapes of some of them sticks, and  please don’t comment on the bowl of curry, that was lunch, and had nothing to do with the dango whatsoever.

The dango would also like to make known that they are of no relation to the curry because that’s just whacked, man.

Now I have more dango than I know what to do with.

Lessons learnt : One pack of Red Bean Paste will suffice for two packets of Dango Flour, and One does not simply grab hold of a metal pot on the stove with your bare hands especially under specific circumstances like the entire pot including the handle being made of metal.

Ouch.

More toppings next. I might consider using Nutella in place of Chocolate. It just seems…. right.

Just a little thing I picked up..

All my life, my dad raised us, his kids, with one ethos.

‘吃不用省’

‘Chi Bu Yong Sheng’. Loosely translated from mandarin, it means that There’s no need to save when it comes to eating.

Needless to say I ended up at the table of more than my fair share of lavish meals and along the way became pretty damn fat.

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Teehee

So all the way up until recently, I never quite followed his line of thinking. I had always, always, saved whatever I could when it came to food. A meal was a meal, and palatable was synonymous with delicious.

It wasn’t until I started my stint in NS that I came to begin the rather bad habit of indulging in food without any consideration to the price tag. I mean, it was also then I realised – there is no compromise to making yourself happy. You either indulge yourself when you can, or you don’t.

I’m the guy spent $18++ on a dessert on my first ever book-out from that Island. I know what I’m talking about.

So that brand new perspective led us yesterday to this quaint little place called ‘La Nonna’. Its Spanish for ‘Grandmother’ because they proclaim their culinary fare just the way grandma would have done it.

However, I don’t think my Grandmother would ever consider rolling out anything like this amazing lamb rack, Agnello (With Mashed potatoes and salad sans dressing)

Or Codfish so tender it melt on my tongue, Merluzzo.

What hit me before the main courses even arrived was the bread basket. Finally, a bread basket with some variety. I must say that the bread rolls were a little cold and on the tough side, but the crispy thin, almost biscuit-like flatbread was a pleasant surprise. Served with simple oil and vinegar, none of that cheap butter pish-posh. *insert atas face*

Ok, just kidding, I do enjoy a decent slab of butter on my bread rolls, but there’s something about the simple taste of olive and vinegar dressing that your waistline applauds you for.

They even had a decent happy hour special for just $6. Pity it ended at 7.30, so if you’d like to benefit from that, you’ll have to be there a little early.

The environment was really pleasant. Cosy’s the word, and they do have extra seating upstairs. Its a small-group-of-close-friends type of setting, as opposed to the raucous-midnight-party kind of place, which really attracts me.

Speaking of close friends, obviously, the first thing Piglet did upon sitting down was order a pizza.

Chalking up the calories of that particular meal to…

And later, being right next to NYDC, we did the only logical thing.

Oh look, it’s an Elmer Fudge.

We did dessert.

Mother of cake…

In all, truly a good night. Not one you can have on a regular basis, but that’s what makes these so special to begin with. What with Piglet flying off for Brunei and all, and Lionel having a new reason to celebrate. I’d say we deserved a little binge. And a little splurge.

That said…I must caution anyone on the price tags of those delectable dishes above. They will take a chunk out of your wallet, so be prepared. But absolutely worth it. Hint hint, nice date spot.

Getting back on my feet

Sorry for the lull. And here’s an additional apology for the understatement of the year, seeing as the last post was dated… oh…. 23rd october…. 2011.

What have I been busy with? Oh, this and that.

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Mainly this.

It’s been a while.

To be precise, it’s been exactly a year and a day since I took a walk down the gravel road, and I must admit it was paved with more than a few obstacles. I questioned myself a lot, and at times I wondered what I was really in for. To be honest, it wasn’t that I doubted my capability. It was my motivation that engendered the most doubt. Back when I was Captain of Kayak racing, I decided to take the role because I knew the people I was to lead, and I wanted to lead them because I felt an obligation to them. To mold them and protect them.

On the other hand, the past 9 months raised more than a few questions within myself, because I did not even know who I was going to lead, where I would end up, or what I was even aiming for. (Aside from the ultimate goal of getting out of here eventually.)

I must say, though, that everything worked out better than expected. For better or worse, I was prematurely dispatched from the Artillery Institute as a cadet, to the 24th Singapore Artillery Battalion, which is where I currently am as a Radar Commander. Separated from my peers was quite a bitch initially, but in compensation, I got to know beforehand, the men and specs who I now lead. It was a quirky twist of fate which led me overcome my greatest misgiving, because that’s the kind of person I am. I cannot lead at will, only when I have people I want to serve and protect.

If you think that line is cliché, I must stress here that when I say ‘serve and protect’, it isn’t even close to the definition that our National service propaganda would impress upon you. I’m not naive enough to think that broadcasting positive views automatically puts me on a pedestal as a hero of the country, no.

I mean it on a far smaller scale. I will personally serve and personally protect every single person under my charge. I always have, and I intend to do so to whatever extent that I can.

The strangest thing is, 2 months ago, I would not have been capable of saying that.

Without elaborating too much, the OCS system is one that does not work for everyone. In general, the system aims to tear down whoever you were before military life, to create a blank slate for them to build upon. Some people do not respond so well to being torn down, especially one like myself, who had absolute faith in what I was before because I had always been giving my best. So imagine what it was like for me to be constantly told that my best effort was never enough, simply because they were supposed to.

Morale broken, physically weary and literally injured, I came this close to not finishing the course. Because I was blindly flailing, unable to see the point in anything.

One consolation I drew from the arduous period was the knowledge of what I did NOT want to become, and it will, I’m sure, serve as my personal ethos for the remaining half of my time here.

Which brings me to where I am right now. Sure, I may currently (literally) be in camp on a Sunday, on duty, but I finally feel like I am finding my feet again. I’ve since begun by taking baby steps towards regaining my lost fitness, for one. Holding responsibilities once again is nice, too.

So, for the moment, there is so, so much I want to say. But I suppose I’ll have some measure of restraint, and watch this space grow once again. You know,  because really, seeing your thoughts penned out just helps to make everything a whole lot clearer.

5 Widely-Believed Food Myths (For Some Reason)

On more than one occasion, I’ve been asked by friends and acquaintances alike, to advise them on what they should eat. It ranges from some coursemate of mine asking “What should I eat to lose weight if I don’t want to exercise?” (really happened.) to my teammates asking “What should I eat after training if I don’t drink protein?”

I get all these questions directed at me because for a time, I was sort of like the resident nutritionist on the team, having researched all about sports nutrition purely out of interest, and I was happy to help. Later, everyone else outside the team came to know me as ‘the guy who is permanently on a diet’. Some of them even consider me weirdos. But I’m not worried in the slightest. In fact, I have to thank them for their deluge of questions because I don’t study nutrition for a living and there were many unanswered questions I didn’t have the answers to. This spurred me to go look for those answers, and in the process, end up learning more.

I must add, though, it was probably the whole ‘Not a certified nutritionist thing’ which led to many of them not heeding my advice after, which really defeated the purpose of asking me in the first place.

Part of all this digging for answers also revealed some very interesting tidbits of information – the debunking of age-old food myths that we thought (or were taught) were facts. Stuff like…

1) Drinking Cold Water After A Meal Is Bad For You

 This one is fairy recent. A couple of years ago I received an email from my mum, no less, harshly warning against the effects of cold water on your insides if you consume it directly after a meal. And then I subsequently continued to receive harsh warnings from the woman herself whenever I hit the fridge for a cold drink after meals. The research into this was purely out of frustration because I do love me a cold drink to round off a satisfying meal, and I wasn’t about to let an email of dubious origins rob me of that little pleasure.

Great verdict, as it turned out – The warning against drinking cold water actually, well, holds no water. (Pardon me.)

Here’s one version of the widely-circulated email:

“For those who like to drink cold water, this article is applicable to you.
 
It is nice to have a cup of cold drink after a meal. However, the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you have just consumed. It will slow down the digestion.

Once this “sludge” reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food. It will line the intestine.

Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer. It is best to drink hot soup or warm water after a meal.”

 

Other version of the email state an opposite reaction, the sludge in your intestines being harder to digest and will end up remaining as toxins in your body. This, as with the email above, is completely groundless.

Common sense should tell you that the internal body heat of the human body will quickly bring all consumed substances to a uniform temperature. If you’ve never performed this experiment you can very easily do so by drinking a mouthful of cold water and holding it in your mouth for about a minute. A minute is all it takes to bring the water’s temperature to the same as the inside of your mouth.

By the same coin, even if cold water could have any effect on substances in your stomach, the chances of that happening are low, because by the time the water reaches your gut, it would no longer be ‘cold’.

Besides this, the email claims that the ‘sludge’ would be absorbed by the intestine faster than ‘solid food’. This should be a dead giveaway as to the nature of the message. You see, by the time any food reaches the intestine, it would generally no longer be a ‘solid’. Your stomach acids, which hold a pH Value of about 1 -2 (Top-end of the acidic pH Scale) would quickly and efficiently have broken down anything ingestible.

According to BBC Science and Nature:

As soon as food enters your stomach, your stomach lining releases enzymes that start breaking down proteins in the food. Your stomach lining also secretes hydrochloric acid, which creates the ideal conditions for the protein-digesting enzymes to work.

I could go endlessly on about the science behind debunking this myth, but that would be an entire post by itself, all you need to know is that drinking that ice-cold cup of juice after your meal is neither cancer-causing nor bad for your waistline. It is in fact, perfectly safe. So grab one now – go on, you deserve it.

2) Mountain Dew Impedes Male Hormones and Lowers Sperm Count

Holy Crap! This one's radioactive!

This gem here is an old one. I remember far back in my Secondary School days, we used to eat at KFC nearly every week, and I’d always order a Mountain Dew to go with my meal, without fail. This would probably explain why I haven’t touched anything from KFC’s menu in nearly 5 years. (Perfectly serious, I’m hoping to go for…. oh, the rest of my life.)

My friends, at the time first brought this myth to my attention when they told me (and unanimously agreed) that “Mountain dew is gonna shrink your balls, man.”. “It’s been Proven” they used to add as an ominous afterthought.

I believed them at the time, but to my credit, It didn’t deter me from drinking the soda any less. After all, it was my favourite. Still is, actually.

Digging deeper into the rumor, I discovered that many people were citing the effects of ‘Yellow number 5’, the coloring agent in Mountain Dew. Most people, upon hearing this much information, are satisfied (or horrified, depending on how much they’ve been drinking of it) and accept the myth as fact. If only they had continued to dig deeper, they would have found that Yellow No. 5, also known as tartrazine, is an FDA-approved coloring used in both food and cosmetics, and it has been in use since 1916. (Or in other words, older than your Grandpa.) One would think that if there was any substance to the testicle-shrinking myth, we would have heard much more than just a couple of rumors by now.

It is true that tartrazine has been in a little trouble of its own, which caused a law to be passed requiring any products containing it to list the presence of the coloring on the label. However, this is mainly due to a few isolated cases of allergic reactions in a very small group of people, so it is hardly likely to happen to you.

Or , if you need further assuring, hardly likely to affect your testicles.

3) Instant Noodles Coat Your Insides With Cancer-Causing Wax

Here’s another myth that every single person I know seems to have accepted as fait-accompli. Some of the more health-conscious people have taken to boiling their noodles twice – once to remove the wax coating and the other to do the actual cooking with the seasoning.

The problem with this myth is that it propagates – man, does it propagate. The reason it spreads so easily is because it seems plausible that the cake of noodles can only be held together with wax. (How else does it hold its shape?) People ponder this question, and proceed to grab on to the nearest proffered explanation.

One example of the email reads:

There was an SBC (now TCS) actor some years ago, who at a busy time of his career had no time to cook, resorted to eating instant noodles everyday. He got cancer later on. His doctor told him about the wax in instant noodles. The doctor told him that our body will need up to 2 days to clear the wax.

There was also an SIA steward who after moving out from his mother’s house into his own house, did not cook but ate instant noodles almost every meal. He had cancer, and has since died from it. Nowadays the instant noodles are referred as “cancer noodles”.

How old this rumor is can be seen from the ‘TCS’ part of the email. TCS made the change to ‘Mediacorp’ more than 10 years ago.

Debunking this is easy when you realize that if this warning had any basis in fact, newspapers would have long-since printed the advisories to stay away from the noodles. This is provided the company who produced the noodles had not already taken their product off the market. Lastly, nowhere in Singapore’s history has an SBC actor even been reported as having cancer caused by wax, nor has there been a reported death of an SIA steward from instant noodles.

Some version state how surgery was required to remove the wax, but complications arose and the patient died instead. This one, however, at least recognizes the ridiculousness of the idea of surgery to remove wax from the stomach lining. However, it is still factually inaccurate by about a mile.

Instant noodles do not contain any wax. Noodle strands stick together because of cassava or potato starch, one of its main ingredients. Starch is what gives instant noodles its smooth texture and chewy bite. Its removal will cause clumping among the strands.

Neither do the styrofoam containers have wax. Styrofoam is composed of 95% air and 5% polystyrene. It meets stringent US FDA standards for use in food packaging and is safe for consumers. It does not in any way transfer its odor or taste to food because it is an inert, unreactive material.

No more need for boiling the noodles twice, methinks.

4) Correct Time For Eating Fruit is Before Your Meal

We are dangerous. 😀

Another relatively recent one, at least to me. I think I first heard it in early 2009, when someone sent me an email like this:

We all think eating fruits means just buying fruits, cutting it and just popping it into our mouths. It’s not as easy as you think. It’s important to know how and when to eat. What is the correct way of eating fruits?

IT MEANS NOT EATING FRUITS AFTER YOUR MEALS! * FRUITS SHOULD BE EATEN ON AN EMPTY STOMACH.

If you eat fruit like that, it will play a major role to detoxify your system, supplying you with a great deal of energy for weight loss and other life activities.

FRUIT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FOOD. Let’s say you eat two slices of bread and then a slice of fruit. The slice of fruit is ready to go straight through the stomach into the intestines, but it is prevented from doing so.

In the meantime the whole meal rots and ferments and turns to acid. The minute the fruit comes into contact with the food in the stomach and digestive juices, the entire mass of food begins to spoil.

So please eat your fruits on an empty stomach or before your meals! You have heard people complaining — every time I eat watermelon I burp, when I eat during my stomach bloats up, when I eat a banana I feel like running to the toilet, etc — actually all this will not arise if you eat the fruit on an empty stomach. The fruit mixes with the putrefying other food and produces gas and hence you will bloat!

The truth is, the nutritional value of a piece of fruit does not change whether you eat it before or after a meal. The claims made above, as proven by Snopes, are mainly a collection of tips from dietitians dressed up to look like research. They do not have any basis in fact, and are what we consider to be ‘Food beliefs’.

By the way, bloating is actually due to a lack of fibre, which is what comprises most fruit and vegetables, so if you do experience bloating, it has more to do with a lack of fruit than eating it at the wrong time.

While it is true that fruit will digest faster if it is the only thing in the stomach, the short time spent in there will not cause it to ferment, nor will it cause any other food item to rot within the organ. If so, then humans would have failed the evolution test eons ago.

Please check out the article here for the full explanation, if you’re keen. It is pretty long.

Now that this is cleared up, here’s the rest of the email, just for a little laugh.

Greying hair, balding, nervous outburst, and dark circles under the eyes all these will NOT happen if you take fruits on an empty stomach.

There is no such thing as some fruits, like orange and lemon are acidic, because all fruits become alkaline in our body, according to Dr. Herbert Shelton who did research on this matter. If you have mastered the correct way of eating fruits, you have the Secret of beauty, longevity, health, energy, happiness and normal weight. (By the way, Dr Herbert Shelton was an American alternative medicine advocate who passed away in 1985. He was arrested multiple times for practicing medicine without a license, so…)

When you need to drink fruit juice – drink only fresh fruit juice, NOT from the cans. Don’t even drink juice that has been heated up. Don’t eat cooked fruits because you don’t get the nutrients at all. You only get to taste. Cooking destroys all the vitamins.

But eating a whole fruit is better than drinking the juice. If you should drink the juice, drink it mouthful by mouthful slowly, because you must let it mix with your saliva before swallowing it. You can go on a 3-day fruit fast to cleanse your body. Just eat fruits and drink fruit juice throughout the 3 days and you will be surprised when your friends tell you how radiant you look!

5) Eating Fat Makes You Fat

You can eat all the grapes you want, but...

 Surprise! Yes, this is, in a way, kind of a myth. In 2 ways.

Obviously, eating fat such as potato chips, chicken skin and fried, greasy food will lead directly to weight gain.

However, firstly, Fat that goes into your mouth does not transform magically into the fat around your waistline. This is a process I’ve tried to explain to people time and again (with varying degrees of success…). When you eat, the food is first broken down into its most basic components. For the sake of ease of comprehension, lets just say its broken down into energy. This energy is distributed to the muscles in your body as well as your brain. If you do not use it, the body decides to store it for later use. There, we have fat.

This means that if you eat a very small quantity of fat, your body is likely to finish using the calories from that little bit of indulgence before it is stored as fat. Such as a single scoop of ice cream.

I said a single scoop. Now put that tub down.

Secondly, I would like to draw your attention to the existence of ‘Healthy fat’. Ever heard of Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and fish oils? Yep, that’s the one.

“Eating healthy fats does not make you fat, and in fact, it can help with weight loss. Many experts believe that healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids from fish are essential for weight loss. Weight gain in developed nations occurs predominately because of increased sugar intake in the form of sweets, soft drinks and extra pastas and breads. If the extra sugars (carbohydrates) are not completely burned off through exercise, they get stored in the body as fat. Be suspicious of cookies, crackers, or other refined foods that say “low fat,” as many have extra sugars to make up for the taste.”

In addition, plant-based fats, such as those found in olive oil, have powerful cancer-fighting properties. (Antioxidants)

A fascinating new study published shows that dietary fat is necessary for the absorption of nutrients from fruits and vegetables. In the study, people who consumed salads with fat-free salad dressing absorbed far less of the helpful phytonutrients and vitamins from spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and carrots than those who consumed their salads with a salad dressing containing fat.

The fact is we all need fats. Fats helps nutrient absorption, nerve transmission, maintaining cell membrane integrity etc. However, when consumed in excess amount, fats contribute to weight gain, heart disease and certain types of cancer. Fats are not created equal. Some fats promote our health positively while other increases our risks of heart disease. The key is to replace bad fats with good fats in our diet.

So while you probably won’t need to make any huge lifestyle tweaks, those who are dieting should now know not to stray too far from ALL types of fats. You might find yourself conversely gaining weight instead.

Happy Eating!

7 Gym Goers You Loathe Running Into

I decided to blow the dust off the ol’ blog today, but the digital dust choked me half to death and the pixel cobwebs got stuck in my hair.

Nevertheless, I was spurred to write a post today because I miss writing. Facebook isn’t a place where you’d like to spew out your honest opinions and Twitter? 140 words is a tad short if you ask me. Which reminded me why I set up this place in the first place.

Now, business.

The title of this post might not appeal much to those among you who are not seriously into hitting the gym. Maybe you go once, or twice a week. Maybe you get dragged there by a friend once in a blue moon. That’s ok – This list will give you something to look out for while you’re waiting for said friend to finish chugging through their sets. Perhaps you may have spotted one or two offenders on the list too.

To the avid gym-goer, just have a good laugh. Unless you happen to one of these, starting with…

1) The Moaner

"EEEEYYAAARRRUUUGUUGGGGGHHH"

The moaner is more common than you think. He (I will be using ‘he’ for the entirety of this post, not for sexist reasons, but because the majority of offenders who fall into these categories happen to male) is the one who makes training facing a mirror awkward. The moaner feels compelled to demonstrate the amount of effort he is pouring into his workout by unleashing highly inappropriate, uneasily orgasmic-sounding noises. Very specifically those types of moans.

I’m being specific because even screaming outright, while not advisable in any public setting which doesn’t include loud background music, is perfectly normal because science has proven screaming and/or swearing can help to relieve pain. The sounds that these people make should never be used in any social setting outside of a mass orgy.

As for where the mirror comes in, well, being humans, loud noises attract us. Rest assured, you won’t be blamed for being a busybody for looking up at the nearest inappropriate noise. Just pray that you are fortunate enough not to make eye contact with said person, because it has happened to me, and it was every bit as awkward as you are imagining it.

Why do they do it?

There’s no scientific explanation for this one, except perhaps that they flat-out do not know what they sound like. It happens to people – that’s why we have the condition of being tone-deaf. They probably believe the reason why all the ladies are staring at them is because of their ultra-sexy man pipes and their irresistible grunting. Either way, intentional or not, I refuse to have anything to do with a person who sounds like a bench press gives him an orgasm.

 

2) The Sweater

Here’s a nice picture of a sweater, because the sweaters I’m referring to in this post are just a tad more gross. Ok, here:

Nice, pretty droplets. Now imagine it all as sweat on a machine.

I may be a person who is difficult to gross out. But I still don’t like the idea of using a workout station saturation with the previous user’s body fluids. Its like indirectly being spat on.

Most gyms are air-conditioned, and public gyms here require that you bring a small personal towel of you own, so it isn’t a problem you see every day. However, I see it a lot in school, where the track is literally right outside the gym. You get folks who decide to do a warm-up lap or two, then proceed to grab a bench for their workout. Dripping wet. Yup, nobody here actually uses a towel.

Even in public gyms you get these guys coming in fresh from a run, and plonking themselves down on the nearest seat, dripping sweat all over the bench. Believe me this, I have seen this happen a couple of times, and the saddest thing is that they do carry the required towel with them, but don’t carry enough courtesy to wipe their own juices off the bench. And then some poor shmuck comes over and sits on the wet bench unknowingly.

Why do they do it?

It’s a simple case of  lack of courtesy. Or, as I like to call it, the ‘Someone else will get it’ syndrome. You might be guilty of it too. Perhaps you place your empty plates in the sink after a meal at home, run some water over it and wait for someone else to get it. Or dump your clothes in the washing machine and wait for someone else to start it. These things are arguably reasonable if you’re waiting for more dishes or more laundry to save water, but The Sweater, in this case, is thinking that the air will get it. As in, dry up their sweat. On the bench. Now you know why some gyms smell funny.

3) Staring Weirdo

Ooh interesting, you are.

And don’t tell me you’ve never been stared at in the gym. You have to have noticed at some point in time, somebody staring at you. Heck, you might have stared at somebody yourself, at some point in time. But there are a variety of reasons why we stare. We find somebody’s workout set interesting, for one. That’s how I pick up a few sets of my own – by watching. We find the person good-looking, a few quick glances won’t hurt. We may find ourselves wondering why the gentlemen next to us is using uneven weights for the dumbbells in each hand, and wait for him to notice.

Regardless of the reason, at least we have the courtesy to look away after accidental eye contact, right?

Not all of us.

Anyone who’s had the unpleasant experience of running into one of these guys knows just how uncomfortable it feels to hold more than 3 seconds of eye contact without the person so much as blinking or looking away. Chances are, you make eye contact again the next time you happen to look in the mirror (It’s always the mirror.) He’s probably still staring.

Why do they do it?

For the aforementioned reasons, is the most likely explanation. Or perhaps they simply just wish to be friendly. Then there’s the possibility that they simply never did learn the courtesy of looking away when they realize they are causing somebody discomfort. Or perhaps….

4) Gossip Girls

"HOW Big, You say?"

Sorry Ladies, but you be mostly guilty of this one. Although guys are not exempt.

Many’s the time when I was waiting for a certain machine, only to realize that the reason why the current users are taking so long is because their sets are extended by a chit-chat session. All they needed was a cup of tea each and they’d have a full-blown gossip session.

All of the above so far are minor annoyances compared to this one. When this happens, I get mad. Oh boy, I get mad. In fact, I get so mad, I turn into one of the categories later down the list intentionally. More on that later.

But who wouldn’t be angry? You find yourself waiting patiently for so long, interrupting your sets and there you have a group of inconsiderate users treating the machines as lounge chairs. It actually makes me angry just thinking about it. The average gym session lasts for about an hour. I have friends who tell me they have friends who can spend up to three in there. The way I’ve seen some groups talk, I don’t doubt it.

Why do they do it?

Sheer lack of civic-mindedness. There is no other explanation. They probably believe their gym fees are worth more than yours.

 

5) The Shadower

I admit, I am not the perfect gym-user, myself. This is the category I fall into. The shadower is the guy who, rather than ask you if you’re willing to share the machine or bench you’re on, waits silently in the background for you to finish. It can get annoying if your shadower is the type who ‘discreetly’ steps into your view from time to time to remind you that you’re on the clock – someone else is waiting for you to finish, so hurry up.

In my defence, I don’t do that. I make sure to stay out of sight a decent distance away so I don’t put undue pressure on the guy which could affect his workout. But the reason why I don’t like to ask for the machine is because I don’t like to share at all. I don’t know about others, but it puts pressure on MY workout, knowing that someone else is waiting for me to finish my set so that they can do theirs. I tend to cut short my rest time when this happens, leading to a less productive workout.

The shadower is everywhere – not just in the gym. A couple of days ago, I got ‘shadowed’ by this woman at IKEA in Tampines, waiting for me to finish my meal. She made a point of standing directly behind me, and you just know when someone is staring at the back of your head. If that weren’t enough, she strutted in front of me at many brief intervals. Needless to say that only made me ignore her harder and take my time.

Why do they do that?

I’ve stated my own personal reason above, but to others, it is a form of courtesy. They believe that whoever got to the machine first should have free reign of it. So they, myself included will wait patiently without putting pressure on them to speed it up. However, this patience evaporates when I realize that I’m waiting for a group of Gossip Girls. (Boys included in usage of that term.)

 

6) Weights Thief

You called?

This has happened to me only once in a public gym, but fairly often in the school gym. You finish one set, you look away for a second, you look back and your weights are gone. Better yet, only one dumbbell out of your pair is missing.

It simply amazed me when that happened. How could the person simply take one of the dumbbells when there were two of them? He must have known they were in a pair, and that they were in use. Yet he brazenly ‘stole’ them. Sure, the items in the gym are not governed by law, since they don’t belong to you, but common gym courtesy dictates that you don’t simply grab someone else’s equipment before they are done with it. Common human sense, too.

I do not know if anyone else has had this experience. At any rate, no one’s ever told me of theirs. But I believe that if it can happen to me, it must have happened to people at some point in time.

Jayzus, the things some people do…

Why do they do it?

I can’t come up with a single decent reason for this one. Intentionally trying to be an asshole, perhaps?

7) The Silent Sharer

Don't have a picture to demonstrate, but i hope this happens to them

This is quite possibly the worst on the list, so I’ve saved it for last. In fact, it happened to me just earlier this evening, which inspired this post.

Two of us were taking turns on the shoulder press machine, our rest time being the interval when the other was doing his set. Suddenly, this person came and slid into the seat just as I was heading to take over my position again, without so much as asking or glancing at either of us.

Um, what?

I didn’t even bother talking to the person, who was so inconsiderate it didn’t even matter. What if we were doing timed intensive sets which require us to keep swapping quickly? what if we had a set rest time on our program, which would be thrown off by the addition of an extra person? Only a novice in weight training would try to slot themselves in the way that person did. Either that, or an extremely inconsiderate person.

Sadly enough, it happens quite often. Sometimes the person has the courtesy to ask politely if they could share, which you can’t refuse because that, too, is gym etiquette. But I’ve had people slide in just as I was about to relieve my gym partner for my set on more than one occasion. But strangely, this time, never once in school. I can’t fathom why.

Why do they do it?

My guess is as good as yours on this one. How would somebody with enough guts to randomly cut into a stranger’s workout, for more than just one set, not be able to muster up the courage (or courtesy) to ask if they could share the machine?

I guess this is gonna remain one of those age-old mysteries, because I don’t intend on getting to know any such person well enough to find out.

DotA

Why guys who play DOTA make the best life partners

  1. Single-hearted devotion: He is willing to invest a lot of time and effort in pursuing the hobby he loves. In the future, he will be a successful career-minded professional who puts his heart and soul into what he does. Besides, a devoted man is an attractive man. The next time he is concentrating on a DOTA game, take a good look at him, and you may find him attractive in ways you never did notice before.
  2. Indomitable spirit: Every DOTA-er starts from being a newb. Every DOTA player inevitably goes through the long and painful process of feeding and farming only a Boots of Speed and 2 Wraith Bands (not bracers coz too expensive) at 30mins. If he doesn’t have a never-say-die-attitude, he would have given up long ago. So, every DOTA player possess strong will and fighting spirit. And such a man, is of course, more reliable and can be depended upon.
  3. Gentlemanly: A DOTA player is gentlemanly. Even when he gets thrashed badly, he will still say GG (good game) to the opponent at the end of the game. At the most, just try again another day.
  4. Extraordinary patience: DOTA cultivates patience. The opponent might be owning 10 minutes into the game, but a good DOTA player will persevere on and wait patiently for a chance to turn the tables. He will hang on tightly and continue to farm, gank (and sometimes KS if given the opportunity), until he gets the chance to wipe out the opponent team and make the winning push. Similarly in life, you can be sure that he will not PP (pull plug) but will hold your hand and endure the hardships together.
  5. Extremely durable punchbag: Every DOTA-er would surely have been at the mercy of imba magic spells before, those that would make anyone pee in their pants, like Reverse Polarity+ Black hole, a Lion+Lina lane etc, or a Blink+Echo Slam when you are Broodmother pushing with a thousand spiderlings around you. So you can be sure that he makes a good punchbag when you need one, especially on those bad days.
  6. Attentive and sensitive: A good DOTA player an observant one. One of the basic skills of DOTA is to be observant of your surroundings, of every move your opponent makes or is planning to make. Therefore, when he is spending time with you, he will be very sensitive to your feelings. Every frown or smile will not pass by unnoticed. He will lend a listening ear when you are troubled, his shoulder will be there when you need to cry (or are just feeling tired). He will offer words of comfort when you are feeling down. Can you find anyone better?
  7. Lightning reflexes: Another basic requirement of DOTA is to have fast reflexes. Slowpokes are doomed to die in DOTA, because by the time you find the hotkey for Voodoo, you would have been killed by Invoker’s Tornado+Chaos Meteor, possibly followed up by Cold Snap. You don’t need to be as agile as Jet Li to get by in life, but there is no harm in having a partner who can react quickly to real-life situations.
  8. IT-savvy: A DOTA player is more knowledgeable about computers and the net than the average guy. Any DOTA player would be able to talk, at some length, about graphic cards, CPU, mice, keyboards, bandwidth speeds etc. In this day and age, it can be embarassing if your partner is computer-illiterate. With a DOTA player as a spouse, you can be sure that all your kids will grow up to be tech-savvy, capable individuals.
  9. Remarkable mental strength: Constant psychological pressure during DOTA is a norm. You never know when a Nerubian Assasin will pop out from nowhere, annihilating you within seconds. You can never be sure if a Pudge+CM is lying in wait at the secret shop. Hence, you can be assured that the DOTA player will not crumble easily in the face of real-life pressures, because he is so accustomed to handling such circumstances and the hours of DOTA has increased his mental endurance.
  10. Effective planner: If you fail to plan in DOTA, you plan to fail. Rush headlong into a teamfight without planning and you will be waiting for respawn next. A good DOTA player is adept at planning, calculating risks and making judgements. To initiate a gank or not, how to position your character is but some of the many decisions you have to make throughout the game. Thus, the pro DOTA player is a careful and meticulous one. He will plan a party on your birthday, and plan a surprise for your anniversary.
  11. Reliable breadwinner: Money makes the world go round. Farming for gold is of utmost importance in DOTA. Without items, your imba skills at micro/macro management cannot guarantee victory. The long and arduous process of farming for gold (especially reaching that elusive 3800 for a Relic) requires a lot of skill and technique. Hence, rest assured that a pro DOTA-er will always bring home the bacon, and lots of it. The husband earns for you to spend. What more can you ask for?
  12. Faithful partner: DOTA players are loyal lovers. They are able to resist the flaming hot Lina or that sexy Rylai, and mercilessly send them back to where they came from (fountain), despite their charming looks. DOTA players will not be tempted so easily.
  13. Team and community spirit: -Good- DOTA players are self-sacrificing. They always put themselves before others. They have good teamwork, and are willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. They don’t mind letting the team’s main DPS hero get the kill. This kind of person is not self-centred, and will place the family or society above self.

Not all DOTA players may display all the points listed above, but that’s only because you haven’t discovered these attributes yet. Look a little harder, and give yourselves a little more time. You will not regret it.

[Source: http://jeremysng.wordpress.com]

———–

The above, is, of course, absolute rubbish. Just a random bit of fun.

I remember back when I used to play DotA. Oh yes, it is definitely time for reminiscing, because in the 4 years I have not played, the game has changed so much it now seems like a completely different game to me. Some major changes are the layout of the map itself, the position of the taverns (Not to mention the many, many new heroes) and even the gold-earning system itself. You now get 1 gold each second that passes, which, i guess, helps out the weaker players. All they have to do, is try not to die.

I was also confused that the shops have all changed, too. Not only that, the items themselves. I wanted to make a Guinsoo’s Scythe of Vyse, but now, it no longer requires Eul’s Scepter of divinity. You know, the cyclone thingy.

It used to be so fun, when enemies think they almost have you, you let them get close, then send them whirling up into the sky, puzzling them for a second or two before they realize they’re spinning around comically. Or, you could be ganked by 2 lesser heroes, you send one whirling up as you work on the other, then kill ’em both when the flying one comes back down. This was an epic item on the way to your Guinsoo’s.

So the other day i tried to make a Guinsoo, and I got myself an Eul’s, then I realized that Eul’s was no longer part of the recipe. (HORRORS)

It’s taken 3 days to more or less get the feel or kill/denying back, although I can’t seem to do it properly, probably owing to my keyboard being flat, causing me to press ‘caps lock’ many times while I was trying to press ‘A’, which kinda sucked. I never actually had a gaming keyboard, but a flat keyboard is hardly different from playing with a laptop.

DotA just brings back memories of my secondary school days. Of Clan SEX. (Sylph Endar Xanax, you perv.) How we used to play pubbies, and there’d be 6 of us, and we’d bully the Clan leader’s younger cousin by sending him over to the public team, because he feeds anyway. But sometimes he’d get a nice hero and start killing off our team members instead which was pretty funny.

The first hero I ever used was Razor – Lightning Revenant. It was at Dex’s place at about sec 2 or sec 3, and my next birthday,  He, together with Joel Peh, bought me a Battle Chest, shocking me speechless. Hey, it was expensive for a kid!

So then started the era of playing DotA together every single night and the matches would be the hot topic the next day in school. We were the dominant clan in school, really. I think there were other clans, but we overshadowed all of them, except for my ‘twin ‘, Joshua Cheng, who was part of Clan destiny-.  Thinking about it, it really was funny. One of the reasons people respected him was because there would be whisperings in hushed undertones about him being a ‘DotA God’. When you’re a kid, being good in something every else is doing really puts you high on the ladder.

I remember that I could not use any melee hero for nuts, and till this day, I can’t fathom why. There really isn’t any big difference between a melee hero and a ranged one, except perhaps you get denied more and get harassed more at the beginning. In fact, Melee heroes generally become stronger late game than ranged heroes. But I suppose this is one remarkable quirk of me reflected in my sport as well – Canoeing. My stroke for K1 and K2 is worlds apart. I know – we videotaped it. As a  year 1 junior, my K2 with Kok Wei was strong enough to bust our way into the finals during POL-ITEs. In fact, my K2 has never NOT made it into the finals of any event. TP has won the Gold for K4 twice, and both times, I was on it.

So you would think that I am a pretty strong rower in my own right….but you’d be wrong.

In THEORY, there should not be a discrepancy in fitness or technique. But I simply cannot row a single seater. A K1. For a time, I was the fastest K1 rower in my first year, because I learnt the fastest. But then everybody else caught up, and I seemed to be stuck at this wall – until I moved over to K2. Now, as a third year, some of my juniors’ K1s are faster than me. I have no reasonable explanation for this.

And its so funny how my clanmates used to complain when we’d AllRandom (-ar) and I’d get a melee hero. At the beginning, everyone questioned why I couldn’t use them, but in the end they all gave up and simply swapped heroes with me, which suited me just fine. Besides, I’m rather nasty when I harass, myself.  (especially in a 5v5, when not every wants to spend money on regenerative items at the start)

Besides DotA we also played games like FFERPG (Final Fantasy Epic RPG) where you had to type in -load followed by this really long code to ‘load’ your character, and type -save in order to get this code, which you had to record down somewhere.

There was also Anime Wars, ooh that was fun.

Uther Party…. a series of really, really fun minigames.

Tower Defence

Wintermaul Wars

Funny how I’m only remembering all this now. They really marked my secondary school years.

I stopped playing DotA because of the “O” levels. I told myself, hey, you need to study. And somehow, miraculously, I obeyed. So i studied. After ‘O’s, I realized that not playing DotA meant that I had a lot more free time, so I went to work and stuff and eventually I quit altogether.

Recently though (Actually, 3 days ago) my curiosity got the better of me, so I went and tried playing again. Now I’m addicted.

Oh…. No….

 

Chinese Valentine’s?

Today is ‘Yuan Xiao’, the 15th Day of the Chinese New Year.

Never knew that. It’s a pretty interesting fact, but I still prefer the actual Valentines day.

The reason behind all of this is a kindly cleric named Valentine who died more than a thousand years ago.

It is not exactly known why the 14th of February is known as Valentine’s Day or if the noble Valentine really had any relation to this day.
The history of Valentine’s Day is impossible to be obtained from any archive and the veil of centuries gone by has made the origin behind this day more difficult to trace. It is only some legends that are our source for the history of Valentine’s Day.

Well, if you’re interested, go research it. Wikipedia can be an interesting source, if not completely reliable sometimes.

Thank you for the best Valentines I’ve ever had,

And here’s to the many, many more that are going to come.

Sail On

And so, Randall left today.

He left on a big ship, called the RSS RESOLUTION.

I say it was a big ship, but it was actually kinda small for the 100-odd people on it.

Had a little tour, little cramped quarters, like 30-odd people in one room, on little squashed bunks, and frigid air-con. Space that would make you feel like a claustrophobic rat. Horrendous staircases.

I love it.

I watched as he sailed away from the wharf, waving maniacally. I smiled, but I just wonder, when I would catch up.

6 weeks, monster time.

Who made a funny?

Just some light humor.

1) Boy: It’s you & me..
Girl: Aww..
Boy: Baby it’s destiny..
Girl: AWWWW!
Boy: Oooh Your my Best Friend..
Girl: Aww..So cute..
Boy: In a World We Must Defend..
Girl: What?
Boy: POKEMON GOTTA CATCH THEM ALL!!
Girl: ….

2) Mom: Oh my gosh, how is your hair so soft?!
Me: Its a secret.
Mom: Tell me. Now.
Me: I…. I….
Mom: YOU WHAT?!?!
Me: I WHIP MY HAIR BACK AND FORTH, I WHIP MY HAIR BACK AND FORTH!!!!!!!!!!!

3) Girl: is your body from mcdonalds?
Boy: aww is it cause your lovin it?
Gril: no, its because its greasy and fat.
Boy: :O

4) Age 4: Mommy!! I got an owwie.
Age 9: Mommy, I hurt myself 😦
Age 12+: *blood gushing from leg* Chill guys, I’m fine.

5) Old people at weddings always poke me and say “You’re next.” So, I started doing the same thing to them at funerals.

6) Boy: So, sex at my place?
Girl: Yah!
Boy: OK, but I sleep in a bunk bed with my younger brother and he thinks we’re making sandwiches so this is the code. Cheese= Faster. Tomato= Harder.
Girl: OK?
~Later~
Girl: CHEESE CHEESE TOMATO CHEESE!
Brother: Stop making sandwiches! You’re getting mayo all over my bed!