After mass we went to a new jap ayce place but were quite disappointed. The fish and seafood weren’t as fresh as we’d like. It affected even their cooked dishes, the prawn skewers for example, the prawns were falling apart.

Renewed mum’s mobile phone contract. We had initially thought of combining into a family plan but neither timing nor price were attractive enough.

I made soup yesterday, so just a bowl for dinner after the big lunch.

bbmm lunch permit

Met mm for lunch at the usual jap ayce place. Didn’t have too much, sashimi, skewers, tempura. Both hot and cold sake. We were there till after they closed at 3pm, we’d settled the bill already and they didn’t seem bothered that we were still there.

Went to the travel office to renew our permit cards, then walked around and settled on the herbal tea shop to continue chatting. She had a red cross event so I walked her to the nearest point, grabbed a bus and was home for dinner.

pokehalloween, day of errands, iced chocolate reward


Thursday is office day, but I didn’t need to go in today. But I still left early because I had a lot planned for the day.

There is a pokemon go halloween event. Massive spawnings of gastly family, drowzee family and cubone family literally everywhere. The tracker map is back and if the map is zoomed out there are so many spawnings that they’re all clustered together.

I took over the gym up the road only to realise I had a few hours to go to claim my bonus, hahaha. Someone kicked me out soon after. By then I was on my way to the nearby housing estate for breakfast. I’d only been playing about an hour and my phone already needed charging. Another 30mins or so walking around morse park and more gastlys and drowzees and I caught my first marowak. Bus to signal hill, with a detour at k11 to charge both phone and ext battery. Signal hill gave more than just the halloween spawns, good varieties but nothing too exciting.


Lunch of scotch egg from marks and seasonal japanese beer from 7-eleven. Sat at the downtown park, with first very efficient sniping of the gym at one of the fountains. Quite hot but okay to sit outside, tolerable pollution today. They turned the fountain on while I was there, it was peaceful to watch it for a few minutes.

A good morning’s work. A huge amount of pokemons caught and also candy increase. Double candies means 6 per pokemon caught, I’m now at almost 300 gastly candies.

Dropped off a document at the bank, then walked back to the office. It’s almost november and still it’s 30ºC. Did a little work, surfed around the internet and continued reading my book. I’m not billing today so I’m not actually working, just charging my phone and enjoying the aircon.


We left quite late, almost 7pm. Dinner at 8pm at pokka café, mm had udon and I had korean fried chicken and topoki. We joined the restaurant group’s membership and one of the perks is one voucher per month of a free drink with meal. Considering they are a coffee specialist, their coffee is pretty good. But mm didn’t want coffee so we asked if we can order iced chocolate. Wow. I almost never order chocolate drinks because I find them too sweet or too sickly rich. This was different. Rich, but not overly so. Not too sweet. Very smooth. Came in a jug which we can pour over ice ourselves (or ask for a second glass and share). Good enough to be a dessert. This will be our monthly indulgence for the next 11 months.

I bought a few incubators in the morning and by the time I got home after a long day, I hatched two 10km eggs. Eevee and Electabuzz, sigh.



nano starts in 7 days. I struggled to come up with an idea; I still feel it isn’t the right year for spotter so I need a fresh one. Up to a couple of weeks ago I thought I’d do a collection of short stories based at an airbnb. All sorts of characters and stories. Probably not the most original and don’t really have any clue on what ties them together.

Then I had an aha moment after going to the college friends’ reunion. As the menu was fixed and there was no corkage, we knew how much the meal was gonna be approximately. The organiser took our contribution at the beginning of the meal. She rounded it up to the nearest 100 and suggested that any left over money she’ll go buy lottery tickets. She was super transparent and posted the tickets she bought to our whatsapp group. Needless to say we didn’t win.

But it got me thinking. What if the same thing happened to a group of college friends. Instead of posting the tickets, the organiser was silent and a few days after the draw, disappeared altogether. Did we win? Did she abscond with the money? Did something happen to her, someone stole our winning ticket? Like an Agatha Christie mystery, I thought about every character having a hidden motive for the money. The police wasn’t interested so that’s where the MC (or MCs) come in.


I asked mm about the idea last week and she came up with a few suggestions. As we were in toastbox and we didn’t have any paper, I used the tried and tested napkin method of brainstorming. I’ll copy it to a mindmap before I start.

I’m quite pleased with the idea. Not all fleshed out yet, see how it goes. So the graphics are downloaded, the spreadsheet template updated and finally I’m ready for this year’s nano.

bank, lunch, home shopping


More bank stuff today. Plus life insurance stuff too so mum came with us. The rep who helped us, the same young woman who helped us last time, was as helpful and proactive as before. She even anticipated our questions. Very grateful for the positive experience. Yes, we will need to go back 1 or 2 times, but that’s the nature of probate, can’t be helped.

Lunch at hmv. The set lunch was extremely good value. Starter two ways: quinoa salad and lentil soup. Sis and I had barramundi with tomato sauce and mum had chicken with mushroom. Also came with a lemongrass drink. Even with sevice charge it was less than local$100 (used to be less than £10 but now just over, fx). Their happy hour used to be 25%, they have a special promotion at 50% for regular wines, beers and cocktails. Worth trying. The place is huge and the restaurant is rarely full, not many people are buying anything either, I wonder if they even make a profit. I hope so.

Went back to the sportswear popup outlet with mum to look for casual shoes for her. The crocs that had her size and good design was too pink so we decided against it.

Some more home shopping at the teacher’s union shop: shower gel, handwash, olive oil then bus home. It’ll be a busy week, this is just the first of 4 consecutive days I have to go out.

vlm ballot result


Not that it was a great surprise, but I didn’t get a place in the london marathon through the ballot. This makes it 0 for 4 or may be 5. Why was I not surprised? Because it’s a scam. There are barely any places for people who just want to run, people who don’t want to be blackmailed into a charity place.

You get a free e-magazine as commiseration but I didn’t even click on it, because the sorrynotsorry email was already full of charity places! charity places! charity places! I have no doubt it’s the same inside the magazine.


Sour grapes? I don’t think I’m the only one who feel this. Others have described the whole thing as disgraceful and obscene. Even someone who ran it before with a charity has said never again because of the


amounts required by these scammers masquerading as charities. They want thousands of pounds. Thousands. If that’s not blackmail what is?

I agree with the ballot approach. It’s the only solution to a race that is so oversubscribed. But they need to be more transparent on how many ballot places there are vs charity spots. And to avoid turning it into a charityfest.

Of course, London is only one of many spring marathon possibilities. One of these days, I’ll be mentally strong enough to apply for Paris again. And of course there is always Brighton, Edinburgh (which is offering guaranteed places for London rejects for only £55), Barcelona, Amsterdam…and many others.

Someone commented that Chicago has pretty good chance (50% or higher) because they want payment upfront. May be that’s what VLM can do too, to get rid of those who enter on a lark. I guess until they start charging, I’ll still do my sign up for your free “sorry” magazine in october next year.

bbmm tea, sneakers, sake tasting


Met up for tea at toastbox; great value for money, we were at the café for more than an hour with just tea/coffee and toast. Spotted a poster for a popup sportswear outlet upstairs and got there to be faced with a literal mountain of sneakers. I got one pair and mm got 3 pairs, 40-70% off.

The reason for meeting up was to go to the japanese wine stands at sogo. We were there on thursday and bought 15 bottles between us. The promoters there said they were opening some new bottles for tasting this weekend, so we were there to try some new ones as well as re-taste others available. There were so many varieties of sake and umeshu. One of the tasting was from an interesting glass device. A small tap at the bottom and separate compartment for ice.

In the end we bought even more bottles, I have 10 in total now. Different sakes including one made from organic rice. Also different umeshu from different types of plums and aged for different times. One used whisky techniques, and tasted stronger. There was also a 3-year one that was richer and had more depth of flavour than a corresponding 7-year.

i am a swedish startup


Checked twitter and saw a notification of someone congratulating @watty. I get a lot of wrong tags for people wanting @wattpad, sometimes in other languages. I usually ignore. But this one had a link to a magazine article about European internet of things startups. All the way at the bottom of the page is from Sweden, whose product collects and analyses energy data:

to disclose the big power users in the household, like stoves or washing machines. Data is anonymized to hide the identity of the user. The system enables energy providers to develop new, intelligent services for conserving energy

Sounds innovative and something I would never have thought of. The world is strange, the things that come into our lives unexpectedly. I’ve started following them @watty_io although they haven’t replied. Wishing them luck.

office, bbmm hh

Office day. I finished writing the employee handbook.

relais01steak relais02dessert

Lunch with sis, we had to go to the bank to sign even more forms but the staff there were very helpful. We went to le relais since she had a voucher, but end up couldn’t get it to work. No matter. The light lunch was salad and a small plate of their regular steak and fries. Came with ice cream or sorbet and could upgrade to lemon tart or profiteroles. I had lemon tart. Quite a good deal. A couple of glasses of wine too.

After work mm and I ended up at stone nullah tavern. They don’t have their $1 starter happy hour anymore, now for a fixed price (around 2 glasses of wine) it’s free flow wine, beer, basic cocktails betwen 5-7pm. Plus bacon and fried chicken. We ate enough chicken that we didn’t need to have dinner.

Tram to sogo for mm to hand in a credit card application. Walked around and spent the rest of the evening at the japanese wine stands, trying sake and umeshu. Tried so much that we got quite tipsy! I bought 8 bottles of various sakes and umeshus, happy with my selection. They even deliver so I’ll get them next weekend.

taipei day 04


Woke up early to go to addiction aquatic development, which was a fancy name for fish market. Lots of fresh seafood: fish, crab, prawns. There were counters where customers could get seafood. Then a supermarket section with packaged sushi and cooked seafood. We opted for the supermarket part and got a bunch of sushi for lunch. Plus king crab legs, cooked fish to bring home.

Before we left, we went next door to the wholesale fruit market and bought 5kg of passionfruit to bring home. Also two local guavas? Not sure of name.


After lunch and packing it was time to leave, sniff. The end of the trip wasn’t as pleasant, as we got scammed by the taxi driver. Our fault for not checking that he’d turned on the meter. Worse was we ended up fighting over it. Lesson learned.

pics for whole trip: flickr set

taipei day 03

Breakfast of soy milk and stuffed rice balls from the street cart next to the hotel. Very traditional.


Destination in the morning was Tamsui, at the end of one of the mrt lines so it was a long train ride. Started raining so it wasn’t very pleasant to be walking around. There were many street stalls selling food, snacks and toys. We bought some to bring home and braved the rain to walk along the old street. Took the bus to fisherman’s wharf and lovers’ bridge at the end of Tamsui but pretty disappointing. The heavy rain meant nothing much to see or do and there were barely any people around. Nothing to eat too, we had tea at the convenience store.

Bus back to Tamsui and we found a whisky shop. OMG, so many rare bottles. I wanted to get ardbeg galileo and supernova but alas they only accepted cash and I didn’t have enough. Wasn’t worth trying to find an atm either. It is what it is.

Long mrt back to city and back to ximending to buy more duck tongue for mm’s nephew and niece. Ice coffee again, at the shop next to the shop we went yesterday just to compare. Finished off with mango shaved ice at another place.


Back to hotel to drop purchases and then bus to 12 basket restaurant from yesterday. It was so good we went there twice. No hotpot, just one steamed crab and prawn congee. Lovely lovely.


Bus to raohe street night market. Talk about street food galore! Meat, seafood, chicken, sausages. There were something like 50 stalls there. Almost everything was fried or grilled though and we were quite full already from dinner. Nice to just walk through the market without bothering to think about what to eat. Pretty crowded too. Bus back to hotel, around 9.45pm. We had a bit of appetite left so had sausages from the cart next to the hotel. Long day.

taipei day 02


Didn’t have breakfast, just coffee and tea in the lounge. Our hotel was near the taipei arena aka little big egg. There was a gym there so we tried to play but the gps was drifting too much so we decided to call it a day. Went to the nearby mrt station to get an easycard for mrt and buses. It was interesting to see a mobile library there, like a vending machine. That’s a good idea.


Walked around 20mins to our second destination hotpot restaurant, called 12 basket. Crab congee hotpot this time. Lovely server at our table did all the cooking for us. Before she put anything in, she had us taste the congee soup base. Then she cooked all the seafood: clams, prawns, fish, abalone. Much tastier and fresher than the ones from yesterday. We upgraded to a mudcrab and it was really great. Perfectly cooked, sweet meat.

tpe073crab tpe079crab

Next was a plate of lamb (we could have chosen beef or pork) which built the flavour. Finally mushrooms and vegetables. The congee was more like a soup, so she brought out cooked rice, 14 varieties in all. Added some eggs and the resultant congee was pretty heavenly. The dessert of ice cream and turtle jelly was nothing to write home about, only the honey that came with the jelly was any good.


Afternoon destination was ximending shopping district. We got off the mrt and saw the famous red house, which was under renovation so covered in a replica cloth. Inside were trendy shops and a display of an old chinese typewriter. Interesting.


Walking further, we got to an old-fashioned coffee place. All old wood and very 1950s feel. They had a bunch of ice drip coffee contraptions. I didn’t want to just have tea or soft drink so I ordered their ice drip coffee with ice cream. Not too bad, not bitter. The ice cream helped. Will it convert me to coffee? Not really.


XImending is a shopping area, with a rabbits warren of pedestrianised alleys and streets. Lots of fashion and accessories. Plus carts selling yummy street food: stinky tofu, spring onion cakes, taiwanese sausages. We had to try stinky tofu and taiwanese sausages.


The purpose of going to ximendng was for the traditional marinated meat shop. They basically sold duck parts: wings, feet, offal, neck and their most famous tongue. I remember when I first came across duck tongue with the attached bone and trachea it looked horrendous. More used to it now, and we bought many boxes to take home plus a selection for our dinner at the hotel.


To continue our shopping day, we got a bus to sunnyhills shop, which sold cakes and pastry. Their most famous pineapple cakes were worth the trek. Every visitor got a sample cake and a small cup of tea. The pastry was rich and one cake was quite filling. We (or rather, mm) got chatting with a group of women from Malaysia. By the time we left it was raining heavily so we got a taxi to a nearby sake shop. Looked at the map and realised we were within walking distance of the hotel so that was what we did.


Duck feast and sake dinner, yummy.

taipei day 01

Alarm was at 5.30am. Brush teeth, make tea, pack up electronics. mm texted that she was on her way at 6.15am so I took my suitcase downstairs to wait for her. I saw the gym was fightable so I quickly ran up the road. Before I even started she texted that she’d arrive already. Wow, without normal traffic it was quick. We worked out that it’d be more economical and way more comfortable to take ryan and park at the long term carpark. It was pretty full so many people had the same idea.

Check in was straightforward and we were at the gate fairly promptly. I scoffed the 2 hard-boiled eggs mm made for breakfast. The plane arrangement was 2-4-2 and we had the window and aisle seats. They even served us warm luncheon meat rolls, which hit the spot as I was getting hungry again.

We took a quick glance at the duty free once we arrived at taipei, bought a 4-day unlimited data sim card for my spare iphone for tethering and got bus tickets for the hotel. We debated whether to go to the restaurant before the hotel but it was raining pretty hard so I said we should check in first.


We stayed at the hotel quote, a boutique hotel near taipei arena. When we got off the bus it was still pouring, so it was a bit of a wet trek to the hotel. Very modern, comfortable room. Reviews say the rooms are dark, which we didn’t find to be the case. There weren’t any windows as such, what used to be windows were blocked off, may be that’s why people didn’t like it. The bathroom was open (with a curtain for privacy) which made the entrance area much larger, we had both our suitcases there and still plenty of room to walk around. Drinks in the minibar (water, soft drinks, tea, beer) were free and refilled every day.


They had a lounge and we stopped to get juice and a handful of snacks. They had soft drinks, juice, biscuits, coffee, tea and spare toiletries. Open 24hrs, a really good idea.


Taxi to the hotpot restaurant. We had planned on lobster hotpot but couldn’t resist upgrading to the live lobster. We got 2 soup bases, one with kelp and the other with kimchi. The lobster was really good, very fresh and totally worth the expense. They served it whole for us to take pictures, then took it into the kitchen to cut into smaller pieces. The other ingredients were less impressive. Too much fish and everything frozen. The ice cream, although offering many flavours and all-you-can-eat, we didn’t even eat aside from small tasting bites. Too icy, too artificial.

It was still early evening, we were full so we walked down the main street towards Sogo in search of whisky. The citysuper there was exactly what we were used to, but no significant whisky. The gym inside Sogo was busy busy busy. Walked slowly past more shops, found a night market but didn’t stay, eventually got some local sake from a supermarket for enjoying in the hotel. Early dinner meant early night in our room and more time to relax.

hedgerow consulting

In the office today in lieu of being away on thursday. Didn’t achieve much, mostly surfed the internet for taiwan travel stuff.

I’m not there as an employee. A freelance consultant is the best description. I had to set up my own sole proprietorship company, get a business registration certificate and all that good stuff. Luckily, my friend’s office admin helped to do that. I came up with Hedgerow Consulting because…dunno, it just occured to me. Something that evokes growth, stability, ethical standards.


I don’t have a logo yet, will ask my niece to design one for me. I have a vague idea what I’m looking for, and I can probably do it myself but it’s good for her portfolio and she’s way more creative. It’s hilarious to google “free business logo” and see all the instant ones that can be acquired with just a couple of clicks.

For other business stuff, I have a gmail address, that’s it. I was looking into domain name registration, custom email address, MS office vs google apps. Lots of comparisons out there. It boils down to which is more important for me: email or excel. Or to phrase it differently, can I live with poorer email or spreadsheet app. Sigh, as much as I love gmail, there is simply no comparison between excel and google sheets. Not totally necessary as I have everything I need at my friend’s office. Getting a domain name and apps is more for me personally than for the business. Then again, it’s a good time to get them, and a new computer too. These are tax deductions, cost of doing business.

sore from climbing

Not too much side effect from the dinner, a bit tired because I didn’t go to bed till 2am and woke up at 8am. The side effect from the wall climbing was very evident today. Arms a tiny bit sore, no big deal. My back, on the other hand. Ouch. Needed 2 panadols when I woke up and getting up from a sitting position was a slow affair. Once I got up and standing or walking it was okay. Used muscles I probably never used before.

kcl88 group dinner


KCL88 group dinner. This is a group I haven’t seen for a long, long time. One of the members very kindly did all the organising and made the reservation at Chez Moi, a french private kitchen. No corkage so we all brought lots of wine. Some people brought brandy and whisky too.

I shared with Dixon, so we could try more of the menu. Foie gras and scallops for starter, then a mussel, saffron and leek soup and sorbet. For mains we had two steaks, a rib-eye and a sirloin. We ordered rare, the rib-eye came medium rare and the sirloin was more medium. Still tasty. Dessert were walnut tart and pancake french toast. Long evening, lots of very loud talking and a great time. Way too much wine, I stopped after a while. Had a sip of brandy and whisky. It was a Singleton, and it’s a shame I didn’t finish it, didn’t feel like more alcohol.

It was midnight when we finished. Certainly a case of time flies when you’re having fun. Five of us shared a taxi, poor Dixon had a bit too much to drink and a couple of the guys got him home and settled. Wonderful friends.

#46 wall climbing


The one task I didn’t fully complete from 101.1001 was #46, to go wall climbing. I counted it as complete because I made the booking before the end of the challenge. So today was the booking.

I got to the ymca around 20mins before the course, to fill in forms and give them a couple of photos. There are 2 sections there, and one of the sections had a kid’s birthday party going on. It was a small class, just me and 3 young women, friends from Singapore I think. The first hour was going over rules, safety and first of all learning how to fall. Then it was earning how to use the harness and belaying system. Learning how to make knots, use a carabiner, use a <a href=”” title=”wiki’>grigri. We could climb up to 3m without a harness but anything above that we need someone to belay.

We were then paired off for our first climb as a team. Learned how to belay and steady our teammate. Checking each other’s equipment was paramount, as were the signals we have to give. Also learned how to fall and brace someone who is falling. The first time I did the fall I pushed off using my arms only and fell upside down, hahaha.






Climbed up and down a few times. I got stuck at the bit that was an outcrop but it didn’t matter. It was fun.

After 2 hours’ instruction was the assessment. Went through everything that we learned so far and made sure we did everything correctly. I was nervous and didn’t do too well. Was tired at that point too so couldn’t even climb very far. But I passed the assessment, so yay! Now I can book climbing sessions myself, but obviously without a teammate can only do the 3m or less bouldering. Definitely need more practice.

taiwan trip research


Spent the day researching for our short trip to taiwan next week. Just 4 days. Last time we were in taipei was 2004, excluding business trips in between. Our priority is time off and relaxation so not planning on doing the sightseeing thing. Food is probably the biggest focus. Hopefully we can hit a night market or two. New discovery is 上引水產 addiction aquatic development, a fancy name for a fish market/restaurant that apparently serves great sushi on counters and has a supermarket onsite too.

One of the most famous souvenirs people bring back from taiwan is pineapple cakes and one of the best of by sunnyhills. Around 20mins walk from our hotel according to google maps. They serve free samples with tea, so a good destination for relaxation.

We may take one day to travel outside the city to either danshui or jiufen. Danshui is a fishing village with shops and a famous fisherman’s wharf. Jiufen has cobblestoned streets. Or we may take the cable car at maokong, hike a bit and visit the teahouses there.

Also researched either sim card or pocket wifi. Either option is good and not too expensive. The more practical and value for us is to get a sim card when we arrive at the airport. I can put it in my iphone 5c and we can both tether. The problem is, niantic just disabled functionalities for trackers so it’ll take the fun out of hunting.

bbmm after work

After work today, we went with our friend B to japanese yakitori happy hour. 4 skewers each plus one drink. Very crowded place, good quality.

It’s started raining, so mm and I ran quickly to a nearby bookstore to look at travel books for our trip. By the time we finished it’d stopped raining.

bbmm l&p again


Met up with L&P again, this time the starting point was near where they are staying. Took an hour long rollercoaster-like bus journey to our favourite fishing village, with traditional stilted houses. Walked through the village a little, so close to people’s houses where they were preparing food, watching tv or just sitting out.

Ended up at a café called three lanterns. European coffee shop with outdoor seating on a deck overlooking the small river channel. We’d just ordered when it started raining. At first just drizzle then got heavier. There was some cover provided by large umbrellas and large sheeting but there were spots where the water leaked. The owner offered to move us inside but we found dry spots and stayed put. It was actually quite nice, the rain and the breeze made it cooler. Finally the rain stopped and we had our coffees, teas and cakes. Chatted away. The owner gave us a couple of pots of tea free, because we stuck with her and didn’t run away. The rose tea was very good.

Decided against taking the awful bus back, so took a small ferry. Double the price but more than double the comfort. The ferry hugged the coast, so there was no turbulence. Airconditioning and we had comfortable seats. We all agreed it was the better option.

Dinner at a local restaurant at the shopping mall. After saying goodnight, mm and I hung around for another half an hour or so for pokemon go. Got our gym bonuses and caught a couple.

bbmm l&p

Met up with our Dutch friends L & P for tea at HMV café. Didn’t order the afternoon tea set at the end, had a few beers instead. The fire alarm went off and kept ringing loudly for 20mins or more until finally someone from building management came to turn it off. Dinner at the korean bbq place in the same building.

at the banks

Bank day. Met sis at 10am at bank #2 and stayed there for over 2hrs. We had to open a joint account, a securities account, an investment account and close Papa’s accounts. There was a mountain of paperwork. Thought nowadays banks should be more automated, but there seems to be only more and more forms to fill in. The staff weren’t slacking, they had 3-4 people working on our case and it still took them to lunchtime to finish.

Lunch was at a conveyor belt sushi place. The set was nice, the sushi plates on the conveyor belt were barely touched, as most people ordered directly.

In the afternoon we went to bank #3. The staff there was also very helpful and there were also forms to fill in. We have to come back in about 2 weeks’ time after they sort out one of the bonds.

Long day and pretty tired. Bought meatballs and salmon from Ikea and took the bus home.

bbmm elements


I wanted to go to morse park and nearby but ended up at elements with mm. The nest there changed from abra to gastly. I got there early and walked around the shopping centre, then met mm and we walked around again. Total caught over the course of a few hours were 17 gastlys, a whole lot of voltorbs and magnemites and others. I’m about 2 gastlys short of being able to evolve.


We stayed at the shopping centre, dinner was at a counter service semi-fast food place at the supermarket. I had beef set and mm had mackerel set. The best thing in the set was the cabbage salad.