Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cavalock and The Vintage Revisitation

It's the crazy house that keeps on giving! Nah, it's not as creepy as it sounds but just when I thought there's aren't any vintage stuff left to uncover in the old family home, I found more last month. Some of them have already found new homes with friends, others are still looking. The six old unused glass whiskey or cognac bottles below were snapped up within a day after I posted them on my Facebook!

Now these are some dining table cloth mats that I have no idea where they were from. Found neatly folded up in a drawer and like most of the stuff, never been used. I'm guessing they are at least 40 years old or more. The design looks kinda middle-easten but as far as I know no one in my family has ever been to that part of the world. Maybe they were a gift? Anyway, if anyone is interested in them, just name a price and we'll see. ;)

Here's another piece of vintage oddity I found. Well, it's not the first time I came across these. I actually discovered about five or six of these old flour sacks earlier last year. Now these aren't dirty old sacks, they are incredibly clean, dried and neatly folded away for decades. I swear they look and feel brand new! I asked my 92-year-old aunt last year about them, and she told me how she washed and sunned them out to dry. Friends and neighbours would ask her for them, it just sounds so strange! The first batch I found, I passed them all to a friend who said she wanted to make cushions outta them. I'm thinking this new five sacks would look pretty cool hanging on the wall of some hipster joint.

While going through the old place, I found a hard cardboard cylinder tucked in a corner of my late uncle's bedroom. Opened the top, and out rolled these old retro posters from the 1960s. You got Chicago's Old Town, Washington and San Francisco. My late uncle spent most of the 60s and 70s working in the US so these meant a lot to him. They look alright, a little yellow around the edges cos they are after all almost 50 years old. I don't think they were ever pasted on any walls so if you want any of them, l'm giving them for free.

Time to turn on the ‘geek rant font’ so turn back if you aren’t a geek. I’m probably one of the very few Star Wars fan out there who greeted the news that the Expanded Universe won’t be part of the official Star Wars Universe with a huge sigh of relief. For the record, I HATE the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

I have many reasons to hate the Expanded Universe and here’s one of the main causes. When one of the early Expanded Universe novels Heir to The Empire appeared on the shelves, I devoured it earnestly. I thought it was all right even though there were bits in the story and characterizations that I found bumpy. The main uneasy part being the lead villain wasn’t exactly human. Now there is a reason why the evil Galactic Empire, as seen in Episodes 4 to 6, consisted mostly of white males. Lucas has mentioned in past interviews that he fashioned the Empire after the fascist and racist Nazi regime of WWII. Just about everything from the slick black uniforms to the name “stormtroppers” are reminiscent of Hitler’s SS and the German army. Then you have the good guys in the Rebellion that consists of male and female humans as well as aliens. The heroes practice diversity while the villains don’t, that’s a pretty simple point to follow.

I thought casting a non-human in the role of an Empire officer in that novel was a one-off fluke. But then I noticed aliens and even female officers popping up in other Expanded Universe materials like comics and video games. In subsequent novels, they were almost as diversified as the Rebellion! Well, if they wanna crap all over the Lucas’ original vision, then count me out.

It’s like an upstart movie director who wants to make a WWII movie but decides to cast all Asians, blacks or women as Nazi officers just for the sake of diversity. You can’t portray an evil chauvinistic, fascist Empire by doing that. Well, maybe for a small art house movie you can but that’s not the point.

Well, another reason why I don’t like the Expanded Universe stories is how emo most of them were or are. No one was emo in Episodes 4 to 6. There was only one love story and that was kept direct and to the point. In the Expanded Universe, I remember relationship discussions between Luke and Mara Jade taking waaaay too many pages. Then when the Han and Leia had kids, geez, kid-parent relationship topics reared its ugly pimpled-riddled head. Why am I suddenly reading about groups of rebellious teens, angry parents and love-triangles in a Star Wars adventure?!? To me, the original Star Wars is about action and adventure in space, not all that emo shenanigans!

Yah, there are other reasons why I hate the Expanded Universe but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate all the work and effort that went into it, hey, I did enjoy playing the old Dark Forces shooter game immensely. To me, the whole Expanded Universe is more like a giant corporate fanfic machine with no single creative direction. It's not the real Star Wars universe. Come on, if it's that good why didn't Lucas annex it? 

Ok, rant over for now! Live long and prosper! :P

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cavalock and The Winning Meatball Formulation

So after walking pass this Italian restaurant for over a dozen times over the last couple of months, I finally managed to find a reason to grab a table at Cicheti. Well, reason being I finally managed to squirrel away enough for a fancy dinner. Read a lot of good things online about this joint, like how authentic and good it is. And guess what, it is all that and more! It's definitely advisable to call for a reservation cos the place was pretty even on a weekday.

Just about everything we had met our expectations. Started with the Duo Caprese below, where you got fried mozzarella cheese served with semi-dried tomatoes Capri-styled salad. There's the sweet tomatoes mixed in with all that cheesy goodness and you got a winner right here.

Always wanted to enjoy a "traditional" pizza with homemade tomato sauce and topped with bufala and parmesan cheese. Yah, I think I had at least one while in Italy but don't think I had one here till now. It felt almost deliciously enticing, picking up and folding each slice then with all that tomato sauce and gorgeous cheese dripping away. But the highlight of the night were the above tasty sautéed beef meatballs that came with the fresh homemade tagliatelle. A truly unforgettable dinner experience set in a nice and cozy little shophouse along Kandahar Street.

Thought I'll just share some more of my 80-year-old Dad's latest bird shots since it has been like a month since I posted any of his pix. As usual, he has been travelling by himself all over the island almost every single day. Really makes me worry when he's taking public transport alone and carrying all his gear, then I see other younger seniors sitting aimlessly in the arcades or in the nursing home, and I don't complain anymore. Anyway, some of these shots were taken Gardens by the Bay and Pasir Ris. Hope you guys enjoy them.

Oh, and here's a crazy little lizard to end the post! <^;^>

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cavalock and The Secret of The Real Iced Lemon Tea

Now here's a little secret on how you can get the healthiest drink in your local kopi tiam or coffee shop. You know how when you ask for iced lemon tea, most places would serve you a pre-made sickly sweet syrupy drink that only remotely tastes like lemon or even tea? Well, here's how you can get REAL iced lemon tea. Just order 'teh O peng' that's plain iced tea. And ask for a slice of lemon in it. There you go, iced lemon tea the natural way at your neighbourhood kopi tiam.

Another drink I really really like is a foamy tall glass of teh chino which is pretty much just hot milk that's "pulled" with a layer of tea added on top. The most puzzling thing bout the drink is why in the world would anyone serve a piping hot drink with a straw??? Do you know how crazy it is to suck hot fluids through a straw???

I know some of you may be sick and tired of my fake Lego purchases but I love them and for like less than S$2 each, I'll keep buying them. They even have the fake New 52 DC statues by Jim Lee like Green Lantern, Flash and Superman, and they certainly look tempting. You still have to be careful when buying the fake Legos as not all brands are the same. Some like the Decool and S brands are closer to the real deal. I can almost find no faults in the newer ones I bought a few days ago, like Catwoman that came with a cool whip and diamond accessories, and the paint job on the Joker was amazing.

Yes, I swapped Aquaman's head on Cap's body. :P

Something I picked up at the Sunday flea market at China Square Central recently which is really THE place to get all your fake Legos these days but not necessary the cheapest. It's a fake Lego chamber for the Batman costumes or armor. Like how in the movies and comics, Bruce Wayne would have his costumes hanging in special chambers, well, here's the fake Lego version of it, for only S$5. But I guess technically, you can put any costume in there. ;)

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Cavalock and The Joys of Being A Pluviophile

We had an early Christmas Japanese-style last week as I received more than a few gifts from Sapporo, Japan. I have been drizzling my morning coffee with some Japanese maple honey here. Now I always wondered what the heck is maple honey anyway, is it maple syrup or honeycombs or some crazy mutant hybrid? Maybe its by bees who build their hives in maple trees??? Well, according to Merriam Webster online, it's actually "maple syrup of light colour that's boiled to a density of strained honey". It's not terribly sweet and that's probably cos I don't use a lot. I like it and would definitely recommend it as a good substitute for those (like me) who aren't into using sugar anymore.

Some of the other loot I got included a pack of fancy erasable color markers, a food porn magazine, a Snoopy tote bag to carry my boardgames (Battlelore boardgame not included) and a Simpsons anniversary moleskin notebook!

New word of the week, 'Pluviophile'. Ever since I was a kid growing up in the old family home, I have loved rainy days especially when it's pouring on those dark evenings and nights. My aunt would tell people how I unfazed I was by the the thunder and lighting, or how she would find me playing with my toy soldiers as the storm raged on outside. In the old days, when it rained it seemed like everyone in the family would rush home after work and I would be surrounded by all my aunts and uncles. That's what home was like.

Even after my folks moved to another place, those rainy days still brought a smile to my face. As a teenager in my other apartment, I had a huge tree right next to my bedroom window and when it stormed, the branches would sway and swipe right pass my window grills. Then my mom and I would make a fun activity out of breaking those branches as they often carry giant red ants into my room. Oh, and that tree was also home to squirrels and giant bats but that's another story for another day. But really, I like how the cool the air would be during and after the rain. The eerie red rain clouds at night, the gusty cool air, that distinctive and familiar dewy petrichor scent after a downpour, that all come together to evoke a sense of joy and peace that I rarely experience anymore.