Recently in objects of desire Category

in eating and drinking , objects of desire |


i know i’m back in the US when I have pancake breakfast and then go outlet shopping. The pancakes were at one of my favourite place, Cracker Barrel. I could have had the big breakfasts with bacon, sausage, eggs, hash brown, biscuits and gravy. The blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup were a little lighter, I was able to finish the entire order.


We were going to go to Costco, but drove further south to an outlet mall. I checked off one of the items on my shopping list by getting a new pair of running shoes. I had nike frees in mind and they had several colours. The ones I wanted, in orange and blue, were $85. A few colours were 30% off so I opted for grey. Quite pleased with it.

in objects of desire |


I have new glasses. I got the last pair over 3 years ago, after the sunglasses attachment of an earlier pair fell off in the middle of Chicago marathon, I was so annoyed I immediately switched to photochromic glasses.

These look innocuous, but they are superduper glasses. Super light, super thin lenses, photochromic and, because I can no longer live in Egypt, varifocal. Luckily there isn’t the telltale split of traditional bifocal lenses, these are progressive.

Apparently it takes from a few hours to 2 weeks to get used to new glasses, especially those with a varifocal element. They seem fine, I’m getting used to where to focus when I’m reading and when I’m switching from short to long distances I need to blink once to refocus, that’s it.

in being healthy , objects of desire |

nikefree201501 Saucony Kinvara 4 Running Shoes
nike frees are mine, kinvaras courtesy sprogz

Always on the lookout for running shoes and related news. Gear Patrol has 25 best running shoes of 2015, and the trend is the blurring of lines between the traditional neutral, stability and minimal labels. Looking at the road (vs trail) selection, there are the usual brooks, mizuno, nike, new balance (ugh) as well as the more unfamiliar skora, karhu and APL. I’m surprised there are no sauconys or asics, I adore my kinvaras especially since they are in orange.

They’re all expensive, US$100 or more; the nike lunar 3 are $200. Eeep, eeep and double eeep.

I think anything over $120 is excessive, my preferred price point is $50-80. There’s an argument that even $50 is too expensive. Supermarkets and high street shops offer way cheaper models. Saw that someone reviewed $16 walmart running shoes. They do look pretty good, probably because they’re a copy of nike free 3.0s. But that’s where the positive ends. The foam at the bottom comes off, there is no grip, the material is even more inflexible than a regular leather shoe. The takeaway lesson: $16 walmart running shoes are really bad. Save up, look out for prior years’ models or watch out for runningwarehouse specials. For instance, mizuno waves are $55 and kinvara 5s are $60. These don’t cause blisters and last for thousands of miles.

Talking about sneaker reviews, here’s a hilarious one via digg of a seriously monotone review of air jordans including an incredibly detailed description of every.single.side of the box:

on this side of the box there is the color black

Anyway, once we get our new running shoes, we need to learn how to lace and tie them properly. There are so many methods of lacing for different purposes. Sometimes I get nagging pain at the top of my foot so the hotspot method may work. The runners’ tie that loops around the top eyelet is well known and a good tip.


I’ve also been taught to lace my sneakers so the laces end up on the inside at the top. Securely tie and the knot stays in place to make it easy to slip off and put on the shoes. There’s this way of lacing so that the laces are hidden inside the shoes and don’t get tangled up, may be I’ll try this out too.

in objects of desire |

hipflasksteel hipflaskcopper

I can’t think of anything I want for Christmas. On my shopping list are a new ipad cover (but no hurry—the current one is chipped), a belt (more urgent as the current one is getting grotty) and a foam roller that I can store at parents’ place.

Everywhere I look, there are lists of what to buy as presents. What caught my eye was a list of best hip flasks from the people who recently took us on the bourbon trail and to whisky in Scotland.

And besides, I have a weakness for hip flasks, remember the ones inside hollowed out books.

Two caught my eye, and they can’t be more different. A bog-standard $10 stainless steel flash that looked surprisingly good with its clean lines and sturdiness. At the other end of the spectrum is a $200 copper flask because: a) copper and b) cork stopper.

in objects of desire |

When I was talking to sis’ restauranteur friend about a whisky bar, he mentioned about an idea he had about whisky and waffles. Quite intriguing. The main reason is that using standalone waffle irons or electric griddles falls under a less stringent food licence. And waffle irons can be used to cook all sorts of food other than waffles.

We ended up not going through with the whisky bar idea. And waffle irons do come in other shapes like animals, the state of Texas and of course Hello Kitty.


I was reminded of our idea when I saw this keyboard waffle iron kickstarter project featured all over the place. I can imagine geekily shaped waffles and whisky being an interesting idea for a bar-café. And for an alternate breakfast idea, how about keyboard waffles with this pg tipple cocktail made from pg tips, marmalade and bulleit bourbon.

$60 for a waffle iron is on the expensive side—most kickstarter projects are expensive I find. If I were going for the whisky & waffle bar idea then I’d probably get a couple of these.

in objects of desire |


Hurray for thoughtful friends who remember what you like, mm’s friend CC is visiting from the UK and she brought me a copy of the Christmas issue of BBC goodfood magazine. The one that sells out quickly and has a 2015 recipe calendar. I’ve used this calendar for many years, but the past couple of years haven’t been able to get a copy of the magazine. I didn’t want to bother people to find and send a magazine. The shipment will probably cost more than the magazine itself. Sigh

I intend to read the magazine very, very slowly. I’m even looking at the ads and the inserts that came with it. Miss London so much. Love, love this magazine. Recipes, events and gadgets. Already seeing recipes I’d like to make. Persian lamb tagine looks scrumtious, but I can’t get neck fillet. Lime semifreddo cheesecake, wow. There’s an article about unusual foodstuffs that are produced in the UK like caviar from the west country, saffron from Norfolk and even escargots from Aylesbury.

In the age where I look up recipes online rather than in cookbooks, and sales of paper newspapers and magazines have fallen, I’m very tempted to subscribe to this magazine. £25 for 12 issues is good value, if I were still in the UK. International subscription is £61, and I can’t justify that. Sniff.

in objects of desire |


My old wallet was falling apart, so badly that it was embarrassing to use it. I thought I had a new one in my drawer but it wasn’t suitable. I went to the department store yesterday and couldn’t find a good one. I told mm and she suggested that I look at brands online and ask her brother to get one for me as he is currently in Paris. Ack, I don’t want a designer wallet, I just want a vertical one with enough slots and a clear compartment for ID and licences.

I had to go out today to get my small camera fixed (more about that in a future post). On the way home I walked through the touristy market and got a fake boss wallet for £10 equivalent. Perfect.

in objects of desire |

ripjeans02 ripjeans03

Here’s a story from GCLS Dallas 2013. I was running around all con taking pictures of everything and all the sessions, this is pretty well known. Thursday was a long day, ending with karaoke night. I had a big rip in my jeans all day, and no one said anything.

The jeans were old 501s, a favourite, and already ripped in the knees and the bum. The rip at the seams had been repaired, and the knee area patched up. The thing about jeans is that you can wear them when they are badly ripped, some stores even sell them pre-ripped.

So in the morning, I was running around as usual in the main area when I heard this tearing noise behind me. Argh, somehow I’ve inflicted another rip at the back, just underneath the seat of the jeans. There was no time to waste because sessions were beginning so I hoped that my shirt was long enough to cover it. Anyway, no one complained. Either they didn’t notice, or they were too polite to tell me, or they were laughing at me behind my back. Hmmmph.

I had to say good-bye to them though at the end. I bought quite a lot of stuff, had to re-pack and it became a victim of my shopping. Not before I took a few pictures. Currently I have 3 pairs of jeans I wear in rotation, and I’m noticing that my favourite pair is becoming ripped while my least favourite pair stubbornly remains pristine — I was hoping to wear the least favourite one old quicker, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. Typical.

in easily amused , objects of desire , on the relationship front |


Early start today, woke up at 5.45am and got the 6.30am bus. Every year in Sept and Nov we go to early morning mass in memory of mm’s sister. It’s 10 years to the day that she left us. I was at the church first, then their family started trickling in. Early morning mass on a weekday is short, so it was finished by 8am.

Breakfast at a nearby diner then went back to her parents’ place to pick up some stuff. Then had to bring th stuff back to mm’s place.

Lunch was just the two of us, I’d made reservations at a hotel café for buffet. We both agreed the buffet was a good one. Back to her place to rest, I actually did fall asleep while she was pottering around in the kitchen.

Drinks at the Marriott with her brother and his wife. Buy one get one free happy hour drinks, I had a malbec while she had a rioja. She drove me home, got home around 10pm.

Additional achievement today: we drove to an industrial estate and bought new watches. Both the same design and colour — taupe sports chrono. She got the smaller ladies size and I got the medium unisex size. Very sharp design, we like it. I haven’t worn a watch for a while, over a year, but I do find it a pain to have to dig out my iphone from my back pocket every time I want to know the time, may be I’ll start wearing a watch again.

in objects of desire |


My parents don’t own very good knives. They tend to use one very blunt paring knife for everything, and even though there are 3 other knives in a block they are also extremely blunt and useless. When I was breaking down beef cheeks for braising, i had to abandon the knives and use a pair of scissors instead. They just don’t cook the way I do, so they don’t need the same equipment.

Since I’ll be staying with them more often, and therefore doing more cooking in their kitchen, I decided to upgrade their kitchenware somewhat. Mum and I went to a restaurant supply store and bought mixing bowls, a whisk, measuring spoons and the like. Last week when I was at Ikea I bought a set of ceramic knives — 2 large and 1 small. I threw away the box so I can’t remember the product name.

I’ve always fancied getting a new set of knives. Good knives are hugely expensive, so even though I was in a restaurant supply street in Japan, and even went inside a couple of knife stores, I didn’t get any because I’m not in a money-splurging space right now.

Ceramic knives are supposed to be the next big thing. Made of zirconium oxide that is harder than diamonds, they retain their sharp edge and don’t require much maintenance. The downside is that they are also more prone to chipping than steel knives and can’t be used for hard stuff like bones. For everyday use, they are fine — fruits, vegetables, boneless meat. They are as light as plastic so are more suitable for elderly people or people who are not comfortable with their knife skills.

I’ve been using them for fruits and veg as directed. Compared with what was available, of course they are way better. Cut through everything really easily and nice to grip too. Good value too, $25 for the set. There is another set at $65 I might buy for myself.

in objects of desire |


Spa day. Was shopping with mm a few weeks ago and she stopped at one of those aromatherapy places. They had a trial promotion for massages, so we booked for a trial at < a href=”” title=”alqvimia”>alqvimia. I’m more used to standard massages that are more muscle manipulation (ie more painful) than these oil-slathering type of massage. First, the therapist checked for which type of oil would suit my type, then she put on soothing music and I got 60mins of a nice relaxing massage. It was okay, I felt no different afterwards. I probably won’t go again, too expensive.

in being healthy , objects of desire |


When I’m training, I try to rotate between 3 pairs of shoes. I’ve been using just 2 for a while, so it’s quite exciting to “open” a third. Nike dual fusion I got on sale. Will it make me faster? Probably not, but it’s orangey-red and really bright.

in objects of desire |

dysonhotcold argosfan

I will be needing a heater when I leave London, and I’d been lusting after the dyson hot+cold ever since it came out. Not only is it a fan heater, it’s also a fan for use when the weather is hot.

It’s also horribly expensive. John Lewis is doing a promotion where they take 20% off in exchange for a portable fan or fan heater. That’s more than £50 off the RRP of £269.95. I don’t own a fan or fan heater, but I wanted to take advantage of this, so I went to Argos and got a £9.97 fan and exchanged it. All in all I come out more than £40 better off. I’ve done this before, I bought a crappy Sinclair Spectrum and part exchanged it for my Mac LCIII way back when.

I probably could have gone to a junk store or market and gotten a broken fan for £5 or less, but this is already a good enough deal for me. The weather is supposed to turn cooler soon, but in the meantime today I’m enjoying my new fan.

in eating and drinking , objects of desire |


Since I’m over here, I’ve decided drink less new world wines and go back to old world or at least focus on European wines. I’ve started drinking more Valpolicella, Chianti and mm likes Rioja and Gewurztraminer. Beaujolais noveau doesn’t really count. Anyway, I got this bottle of Rosalcy Lalande-de-Pomerol 2008 at Whole Foods. I figured, start with a simple Bordeaux. Needed 2 hours of breathing. I think I need a decanter. Deep and rich. Not sure I’ll return to it, I’m still not a big merlot fan.

in habitat , objects of desire |


I go on the Metropolitan Line every day, it’s the one that goes all the way to Amersham and Watford. The trains are large and long, almost like regular railway trains and not part of the tube. TFL are gradually replacing the older trains with new ones — those are nice, bright and just seem so…modern. As part of the refurbishment, they have rescued a limited number of the distinctive luggage racks. They are not new, but

approximately 50 years old and will bear the patina of service to millions of Londoners. Scratches, abrasions, slight buckles and dents are all part of the authenticity of a decommissioned original.

I like them, and can think of where one can fit in my own home. If it weren’t for the £250 price tag, I’d seriously consider getting one.

in habitat , objects of desire |


Sometimes when I’m really, really tired, like after running for 4 hours plus, I don’t even have the energy to step into the bath and stand up for a shower. I’d always wished for an automatic showering unit, and had envisioned that it’s like a tall tub where I can sit down and the top closes at neck level, enclosing the body and automatic sprinklers do their business, kinda like a car wash for humans.

This horizontal shower from German company Dornbracht isn’t quite the tub, but I think it probably makes for a far more relaxing experience. The showerheads can be adjusted as gizmodo describes, like

an inverted version of the Bellagio’s fountains, as the various showerheads can be programmed and choreographed to cycle through different intensities and water temperatures

Obviously the main surface should be warm and soft, otherwise it’ll be like laying on a marble slab. Still some tweaking needed, but I’m on board with the idea.

in objects of desire |

A few things came today from amazon, that I ordered for myself. My sis had given me gift certificates that will expire in april, so I made some inroads into that balance.

sennheiser MX75 earphones


Only £9.99, cheaper than the US, I think it’s because there is a new model out. These are my regular non-running earphones. I haven’t been listening to my iphone on the tube, but I might start again soon. Of course, the headphones I really want are the Bose QC3. Sigh.

reflective vest


I’ll have to start on my run home from work soon; the training program calls for 8-miles mid-week. It’ll still be dark, and I thought it’s better safe than sorry. I saw some reflective vests for cycling and running at Lillywhites and the cycling shop for £25, but this one at £5.99 I like, because it’s light and can go over clothing and a small backpack.

sonic dog repeller


This sonic dog repeller, together with pepper spray, I’ve wanted for a long long time. I probably won’t need it for running on my local track, but perhaps further afield and definitely when / if I go back to running in Chicago. There seems to be a problem with American dog owners not able to teach their things to stay away from humans. I certainly hope it works and it HURTS. Take that, bloody dogs.

Oral B professional care 500 electric toothbrush

oral b

Replacement, at £18.50, price has since gone up already. Nothing much to say, just that it’s time to replace my one year old model.

in objects of desire |


It’s getting colder, and there is a small threat of snow at the weekend. I found a pajama shirt at the bottom of the t-shirt drawer and I’ve been wearing it to bed instead of what I usually wear. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve worn a long-sleeved something to bed. It’s a blue flannel shirt from Old Navy, it’s nice and fluffy and warm.

in eating and drinking , objects of desire |


I have a very simple wishlist for Christmas. I want a metal pasta strainer that can fit in my large le creuset pot. Just the strainer, not the pot because I don’t have the space for another pot. The reason I want the strainer? To use to put the ingredients when I make stock. I can’t believe how easy and a lightbulb went off in my head when I read this. All my colanders are plastic so they won’t survive 3 hours in boiling stock. A metal one will.

in objects of desire |


Yes, I’m trying to declutter my life and not buy anymore stuff, but I’ve been coveting these kidrobot for swatch collection since they came out a month ago. I was at the kidrobot store 2 weeks after launch and they’d already sold out, so I was happy to spot a few at John Lewis. They didn’t have the full collection so I couldn’t get the black one or the pink one. This grey bengali tiger by Joe Ledbetter is super dope and I’m very pleased with it.

in objects of desire , wheels in motion |


I was booking a zipcar for grocery shopping tonight and saw on the website a bunch of new locations and cars. Although zipcar and ford agreed to a joint venture in the US, it hasn’t made its way here. All the new cars are non-Golfs — Polo, VW vans and yes, that’s a BMW 1-series that will be around the corner from me. Yay, yay and more yay. Not sure about timing, I faked a reservation in late Oct and they were still greyed out.

in objects of desire , on the relationship front |


mm has a new love, her piano that was delivered today. She whatsapped be this morning and sent a pic to me already. I can’t remember the specs like brand, height and other important details. I’m sure I’ll hear about it in glorious detail in the months and years to come. I jokingly call it not!3mins to encourage her to keep going. Not a problem right now because she seems very keen (obsessed) with piano. I guess I shouldn’t feel threatened by an inanimate object? Heehee.

in in the news , objects of desire |


We’re definitely going to the Olympics next year. I checked my account yesterday and money has been deducted. Excluding the 4x£995 Opening Ceremony tickets (which were a punt anyway), I got about 25% of what I applied for. I can’t tell exactly which sessions but worst case is we’re going to 3 events; we may have up to 5-6. Fingers crossed we get something good.

Considering that 250,000 people didn’t get a single ticket they applied for, I think I’m pretty lucky. I understand why locog did it this way, but I can’t help the feeling that we the public are being cheated somehow.

  • no indication of how many tickets are really available in each price bracket
  • they take money from me but I have to wait 3 weeks to know which sessions
  • money taken over 1 year in advance, think of the interest earned
  • most people who got tickets are for the less popular events, so who really got tickets to the best events
  • people in Germany or US or other countries didn’t have to go through this painful process

in objects of desire |

kettle1 kettle2

There’s an interesting question on the kitchn about whether to buy an electric kettle. You can hear the double take from everywhere that is not the US.

The first time I visited Chicago, I was astounded that people in the US don’t use kettles. Those that do, use stove top ones. The rest boil water in the microwave. For everyone in the UK, most of Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada and the rest of the world, a kettle is the most basic equipment in the kitchen, before microwave and toaster. And it’s almost 100% electric. Cordless too. In Asia, it’s the hot water dispenser that prevails. I mean, permanent hot water available, who doesn’t want it. When I gave mine to my downstairs neighbour, she was ever so pleased. I lived for a while without one, boiling water in a saucepan. As soon as I could, I got a basic cordless stainless steel one from Kenwood. Again, basic.

in in the news , objects of desire |


Submitted my application for the 2012 olympics. Only 20 sessions allowed per application so I chose the ones that mm, sis, my niece and I were interested in. And then planning where to go each day. Ended up with quite a diverse selection — diving, table tennis, badminton, taekwondo, swimming, gymnastics, athletics, cycling, fencing. I have no idea if I’ll get all the tickets I applied for. Heh, if I did, I’d have to make sure I have an astronomical amount of money in my account.

in objects of desire , techtalk |

video link:

I’m so glad I didn’t buy any ipad cases, I’d just have to buy newer ones for the ipad 2.

in objects of desire , photography is life |


The s90 was probably my best gadget investment, I rank it higher than the ipad and even the ereader. I didn’t even consider taking the EOS to the air show, and that one has a longer lens.

Now canon is launching the s95, which adds HD video and a viewfinder (would have been useful at the air show). Almost drool-worthy. Except I don’t take many videos that need to be HD quality. (The camcorder being very low on the list of value gadget investments.) According to cnet for existing s90 owners there’s

not much of a reason to upgrade

Which is a relief of sorts, cos otherwise I would have had to find someone to give / sell the s90.

in objects of desire , photography is life |


I know I’m trying to cut down on junk but seriously, I have to have this!! Aptly found in the awesomeness section is this coffee mug that looks exactly like a EF 24-105mm lens, which is what I use as the standard on my EOS. Just read the photojojo people gush about it:

It’s equipped with a lens-cap lid (omg), rubber-grip focus and zoom rings (o…m…g), and an auto-focus switch that actually switches

There’s also this canon dial decal for the mbp, and other cool stuff on that site. I love how they explain that they have canon and nikon dial decals:

because we know there are two types of people in this world: those that brake for Nikons and those that don’t let friends buy one


in objects of desire |

Took Mum to the outlet at aurora. Just over an hour’s drive. Nicely organised mall, we were impressed. Ended up I probably bought more than her — new backpack, cubs cap, and a bunch of stuff from coach for mm. It was a scrum at coach, totally packed.

in objects of desire , techtalk |


My itoys: ipod original, nano, classic, iphone, ipad.

Yes, I went and bought an ipad. The wifi version, not the 3G. This one is actually for Mum. I can’t get one for myself yet — it’s not compatible with Tiger so I have to either upgrade to snow leopard or get a new mbp first.

Anyway, look at how huge the original “cigarette case” ipod is, especially next to the nano. This one has a lot of memories for me. I bought it with mm’s sis, and in those days ipods were mac only. In a way, I’m glad apple opened it up to PCs, cos it shows that the revenue has gone into further research and design. Of course we’re all having to adjust to more people in the apple space nowadays.

in objects of desire |


I’ve thought about getting a pair of supras, just because. I’m meh about their skytops, which I know are their signatures, but these bullets look nice.

in objects of desire |

swxwing swwalker

My running shoes, technical shirt, gloves and socks are all nikes. I’m pretty brand loyal to nike, and don’t even spare a glance for the other brands.

My point? I am probably gonna break my nike loyalty for the adidas star wars limited editions. They have vader, stormtroopers, yoda, princess leia, millennium falcon sneakers. But the ones I covet most are the orange x-wing hi-tops. *deep breath*

They’re coming in January, and are already on ebay for $250.

in objects of desire |

I looked out of the window this morning and there was 2 inches of snow. It was too early and too dark for a picture. The snow was sort of predicted, but arrived in the early hours, too early for the authorities to do salting or shovelling. I was walking on fresh snow for most of the way to the station.

It wasn’t that cold. Then again, I dug out my very old rohan jacket, from way back when they were still a niche independent company. It kept me nice and warm.

I also had my new timberland boots on. Yeah, I’m sort of prepared for the winter.

in how the day went , objects of desire |

It was a glorious day when I woke up, so I went running by the lake. All the way up to where the bike trail ends, then back down along the lakefront all the way to Montrose Beach.

After showering drove to Ikea. The route on google maps is bogus, there’s been roadworks at the Lawrence junction to the Kennedy for ages, so I just took Foster.

I was really hungry by the time I got to Ikea, so I headed to the restaurant immediately and had a large meatball, lingonberries and mashed potato lunch. The aim was to look at kitchen tables, to make sure that I wasn’t missing out on anything. There was one, table and 4 chairs for $129, good price but not what I was looking for. I ended up buying a bedside table to use in the living room by the fireplace, 4 glass bowls at 99c each and a bottle of chopping block oil. I never thought of oiling my chopping blocks, let’s see if it works.

The main shopping was done at home. I finally ordered the bar table and stools I saw at cb2. Delivery on Friday.

Also bought 6 ebooks, catching up on recent releases. And 6 mp3 cds:

  • oracular spectacular — mgmt
  • breakthrough — colbie caillat
  • rattlin’ bones —kasey chambers & shane nicholson
  • b.r.m.c. — black rebel motorcycle club
  • baby 81 — black rebel motorcycle club
  • the e.n.d. — black eyed peas

Oh yes, my musical taste doesn’t make sense, here’s acid, pop, country, alt rock and hip hop.

in evidence of my insanity , objects of desire |


Here’s me in my new special edition darth maul hoodie by Marc Ecko, which came out just before ptown. I was brandishing the double-bladed lightsabre I made at disney. Cool, eh? (Thanks to Trin for the pic.)


I did debate long and hard over whether to get the darth maul or the boba fett hoodie, part of me is very tempted to get the boba fett one too. It’s been around since 2007 and was out of stock at one point. Hmm, may be for Christmas.

in objects of desire |


mm and I discovered acupuncture shoes a couple of years ago and I’ve been wearing these blue jellys pretty much non-stop for over 2 years. They’re comfortable, goes well with all my clothes and are eye-catching. I get “nice shoes” from people all the time. They’ve been with me all over the world — business and holiday. They’ve probably logged over 200,000 air miles. But during last week’s trip to Cape Cod I realised their time was up: when it was raining, the water seeped through the cracks in the plastic and my feet got thoroughly soaked.

So I’m switching to a new pair. In honour of the old trusted pair, here’s a nice shot using the lomo app on my iphone.

in 101.1001 , objects of desire , techtalk |


I can’t get away with just yesterday’s one line post about the iphone right? Of course not.

So, i’ve had 24 hours with it, is there anything new I can add to the millions of words already out there about the device? No, not really. All I want to do is add this: SQUEEEEEEEE!!!

In a way, I feel like I have 2 years of catching up to do. That I couldn’t be a part of the early adopter crowd, or the 3G excitement last year, only to partake vicariously. But, c’est la vie, I wasn’t living in the correct part of the world. Then again, I am glad that this is my first, that I won’t be holding onto a 2G or a 3G and wishing I can get a 3GS.

Early impressions:
pros — fast, fast, fast. apps. easy to use. easy to sync. apps. beautiful. great functionality (see that apps wall at WWDC this year?)
cons — my fingerprints are all over the screen! luckily i have one of those sticky protectors. and it’s a bit big for my pockets, especially when wearing work clothes, i probably need to get a holster.

Basically, I can see why Apple sold 1 million in the first weekend. I know i’m guilty of disdain / contempt at people who’ve recently jumped on the Apple bandwagon — that i’m no longer the anomaly with the cool computer — i guess it’s either swallow my pride and be one of the masses or get on another train. I suppose I could have gone the Gina Trapani Android route, if it were any manufacturer but Apple i may have. As it is, I’m seeing a long and mutually enjoyable relationship with my iphone(s). And I haven’t even been tempted to jailbreak it yet.

in arts and media , objects of desire |


The first Walkman was launched 30 years ago this week. Wow. I had one of those original monsters, and still have this 1987 WM-103 in my drawer.

The BBC asked 13 year old Campbell Scott to trade his iPod for a Walkman for a week, and his account made me feel old. OTOH, it’s amazing how much technology has advanced over the last 30 years, that he has absolutely no idea what a cassette tape is.

It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape.

Oh my! Cassette tapes! I still have a couple of them at the bottom of drawers. Remember making mix tapes for friends and swapping them? Blah RIAA.

in objects of desire , techtalk |

netbook osx

I hadn’t planned on having spare time this weekend, so I didn’t bring the mbp. *gasp* So when I find myself with spare time I naturally started missing it, or wishing I had a netbook. There does seem to be a huge netbook mania nowadays. I think there is a time and place for netbooks — as second computers for basic tasks only — but it seems that there’s already feature creep on these machines.

The majority of netbooks are Windows (mostly XP) and Linux. The nearest mac equivalent is the mba or the new 13” mbp. Both very attractive machines undoubtedly but not even I will want to spend $1200 or $1500 on a spare laptop. If I wanted a mac netbook I’d have to get a regular netbook and hackintosh it. I missed out the chance to get a hackintosh-perfect dell mini 9, even though I’m sure it’s available on ebay. I’m not saying I will necessarily hackintosh any netbook I get, but hackintoshability is one of the criteria. Luckily lots of people are also interested in this, and bb gadgets have been keeping track of the various netbooks in the market. So it looks like I’m getting the MSI Wind U120.

in how the day went , objects of desire , techtalk |

First I went crazy at amazon and bought three earbuds. Then I met up with my parents for lunch, and went crazy with more gadget shopping. Here’s what I ended up buying today.

sennheisermx75 sennheisercx300-b skullcandy inkd

from left to right: sennheiser mx75 sport $27.68, sennheiser cx300-b $19.99, skullcandy ink’d silver $9.63. Also bought a ton of replacement earphone sponges and buds.


Bought the my taxi game for the PSP. This is quite an old game that I’ve played on the PS2, and mm’s brother let me play on his PSP at christmas, so I had to get it.

Another gadget was a spare card reader, 55-in-1, it’s the same one I have now. It doesn’t need a power supply, just plugs in straightaway.

Mum and I went to look at apartments cos I suddenly decided I can afford to buy a small investment property. Saw something quite promising, will explore further.

Early dinner at the casual restaurant at the wet market. Then had to go back across town to get the wooden car beads that I forgot to get. Those were heavy, man. And no, I don’t have a car. But I will in Chicago, so I wanted to get these now.

in objects of desire |

Yesterday’s post was about upgrading, but sometimes there’s no need for branded products. Sometimes generic or own brand stuff are equally good. In this case the opposite of upgrading isn’t downgrading, it’s not wasting unnecessary money.

  • inside clothing — by inside clothing I mean both clothes I wear inside other clothes and clothes i wear only indoors. Socks I buy in bulk, plain t-shirts are the $10 for 4 packs, underwear always from M&S. There’s no good reason to buy, say, Polo socks. I love the no label stuff from gap, muji, uniqlo — fantastic value and good quality
  • toiletries — there was a time when I absolutely loved the 99p Apple shampoo and conditioner from Tesco’s, and also the Boot’s own brand stuff. still have a small supply
  • pantry food — sugar, flour, canned tomatoes, dried herbs, all these i get the store’s own brand. mm and i wanted honey this week and looking at the huge variety available, we picked the store branded one. after all, it’s just to make honey and lemon drink, tasted perfectly fine
  • water — may be in a restaurant at a business meal I’d go for Perrier or what not, but generally I get the cheapest bottled water when i’m out and about
  • panadol — paracetemol is the same chemical whatever the brand. This goes the same for other OTC medicine too

It’s an interesting question, is the ultimate brand, no brand at all? Think Ikea and muji. There is no shoddiness about their products, yet they don’t feel the need to slap a brand on any of their products, they are distinctive enough. It’s like the mercedes without model label, those who need to know, will already know.

in objects of desire |

Jason Kottke was talking about upgrading your life by buying and using better quality items of every day stuff.

I rarely buy anything anymore but the things I do buy are usually better versions of things I already have. As things break or wear out, we’ve been replacing them with items that are nicer to use/wear/whatever and will last a whole lot longer than the cheaper stuff.

It’s the usual argument. Get cheap and cheerful stuff that don’t last, or more expensive higher quality stuff that may last longer. I find that when I was younger and just starting out in “life” I could only afford the smaller, cheaper things. Now I’m at a point where I don’t need to buy new stuff, so I’ve been upgrading my life, so to speak. Here are some of my upgrades:

  • aeron chair — I’ve had the aeron chair for over 2 years and considering the amount of time I spend sitting in it, it’s money well, well, well spent
  • dual monitors — especially at work when I need to work constantly with multiple spreadsheets
  • camera lens — it’s universally acknowledged that the kit lens that come with the camera body are no better than plastic toys but it took me a while before I finally got new lens
  • earphones — to be upgraded. i’m still using the apple earphones that come with the nano, although i bought a nike sports earphone for running. The plan is to get one of those Shure noise cancelling earphones — the reason I hadn’t gotten them yet is because they’re much more expensive than the US here
  • pillow — those tempur pillows really make a difference. I spend hours sleeping, so all the more reason for quality pillows
  • mattress — the Simmons I have are over 10 years old, it’s a good mattress. But time to get a new one, can’t decide whether to get it now or in Chicago though
  • knives — i have a set of le Creuset knives from London. When I bought them they were one of the high quality ones although now they’ve been taken over by carbon fibre Japanese knives. I sharpen them and keep them in good care, I think there’s a few years left in them. I pretty much only use 3 knives — a chef’s knife, a smaller chef’s knife and a small serrated one
  • pots and pans — i have 3 le creuset pans I use: an everyday pan with sprout, a large stockpot for soup and the grill-it. Additionally I have a daily use aluminium pan that is fantastic. I’ll probably gradually upgrade to lightweight Berndes
  • salt — kosher, salt, fleur de sel…good cooks know the secret of good salt. I use good with everything salt i get from lakeland, it’s sea salt plus a bunch of herbs, pepper and lavendar, i swear by it

Some people over at the ask mefi thread said macs, which is like, duh!

in objects of desire , techtalk | | comments (2)


I just kinda decided, spur of the moment, to get an ipod nano. I’ll probably still end up getting the iphone, but the nano will be useful for travelling and running.

I got the 16GB black one (what else). Now that my iTunes library is over 50GB I have to be selective, so I spent this morning sorting songs and moving to a nano playlist for copying. It’s easy.

I also created a playlist for running: 60 favourite songs, rated at least 4 stars. And I did take it out running. And it did make the running easier and more enjoyable. Nice.

in objects of desire |


We had a departmental lunch yesterday and there were halloween themed cookies — pumpkin shaped and topped with orange icing. It’s getting towards that time of year.

I wore my Converse this trip, instead of the jelly Acupuncture pair that I’ve been wearing since last summer. I got these Chuck Taylor’s in Singapore a few years ago. My colleague was then remarking that she liked my halloween themed sneakers, cos of the orange and black colour scheme, heehee.

I can’t find a picture of them anywhere, but the converse website allows us to design our own, and this is the nearest I can get it.

Then again in the afternoon another colleague remarked that she liked my hi tops too. So twice in a day. I’m definitely regressing.

in objects of desire , photography is life |

I wonder if Nikon, not Canon, had come up with the first good autofocus camera I would have gone with Nikon rather than Canon. hmm, the more I think about it, yes. As things go now, I suppose it’d be too late to jump ship, buying a Coolpix notwithstanding.

Why the musing? Because of the new Nikon D90, their new prosumer DSLR. Why the wanting? Because it takes videos. I know point-and-shoots have been still and video for a while, but this is the first SLR.

It’s manual focus and may be seen as limited. But guess what, it’s not a camcorder replacement. For real videos use real video equipment. What it is, is a device that enables you to take short videos when they are needed cos somethings when you’re on holiday it just may come in handy.

If I were in the market for a new DSLR, I’d give it serious thought. What is surprising is the comment from David Pogue:

It’s pretty funny that it comes from Nikon, a company with practically no experience in video cameras — and not, say, a camcorder/camera behemoth like Sony or Canon.

I’m sure the next EOS will come with video. But by then Canon is a follower not a leader, dammit.

in objects of desire |

I got interviewed briefly for a company event today. The interviewer used a flip video to record me. It was so ultra cool, the device is the size of an original iPod, runs on 2 AA batteries and has no wires. A flip-out usb port connects to the computer and allows the video to download.

For just over $100 to get 60mins of recording, I want one.

in easily amused , eating and drinking , objects of desire |


Mixing it up with the cocktail chemistry set. UrbanOutfitters via cribcandy.

in objects of desire , photography is life |

I’ve always had 2 cameras. The main SLR and a smaller one I carry around in my backpack or for business trips when I know I won’t need a full camera. The second camera has always been an ixus, an original 2.0 model. It’s gotten to the point when it’s not reliable, even with new batteries.

So in June I dragged mm to get a new one. I was so set on another ixus, I did research on the various models and it was just a matter of trying out to see which fit in my hand best.

The unthinkable happened.

The shop assistant said to me that I can get the same specs as the one I was looking at (850 or 90 I think) for 30% less. It’s not a second tier brand but a Nikon. Same specs! I asked why it’s cheaper and he said that Canon spends too much money on expensive advertising which bumps up the prices. Regardless of whether that’s true or not I can’t fault the big price difference. Yes there was a huge built-in resistance to Nikons, I wasn’t comfortable because, well, you’re either a Canon person or a Nikon person.

Money won at the end. Plus it’s a small point and shoot. What’s the harm?

I’ve been using it for 2 months now. Pretty much exclusively, for the last 2 Chicago trips. Now most people graduate to a DSLR from a small digital, not the other way round. Case in point, Dean Allen’s reaction on getting a Nikon D60:

It autofocuses in less time than it takes my eyes to imagine what a proper focus would be! You can take pictures in tungsten light without tacking a fucking white card to the wall and metering fifteen times! You push the button and it takes a fucking picture! I am in consumer ecstasy!

My take on it is that it’s a very solid camera. There is no viewfinder, the LCD screen is the source. It took me a while to get used to it. The macro function is excellent, which is important to me cos the major use of this camera is to photograph food. It has a smile mode, a number of nice features, and it’s small and light. The biggest complaint is if I have it on single shot mode it takes forever for it to display the picture and enable me to take the next shot. Sometimes I have to wait 2-3 seconds before I can click again and I’m so not used to this.

No way am I abandoning my trusted EOS, it’s just the occasions when I needed a camera lately have been more suited to a point and shoot. For quick snaps of hotel rooms and restaurant food the small camera is oh so convenient. There’s not such a big emphasis on resolution and picture quality.

I did a quick test of both cameras over the weekend. The sunrise shot was taken using both. There is a marked difference in colour rending.

Picture 1: Nikon Coolpix S550 | fully automatic. Picture 2: Canon EOS350D | 28mm on EF24-105mm | ISO200 | P



Not photoshopped or altered in any way except resized and cropped. Does the S550 hold its own against the EOS? Well, no. The colours from the EOS have more depth, and captured the orange-red of the sunrise better. Exposure wise the S550 is brighter and sharper but the EOS picture is easier on the eyes.

I know, it’s unfair to compare. I’m not saying the S550 is not good, in fact for quick snaps it’s better. I’m just saying there is room for separate cameras in my life.

in easily amused , eating and drinking , objects of desire |

I sliced a large chunk of the fingernail off my left index finger about 2 weeks ago and it’s been in bandages since then. The nail fell off last weekend so at least that discomfort is gone. It’s only when the finger is disabled but not fully out of commission that I realise how much I use it. I use my hands a lot. I eat with my hands a lot too. And judging from the way I eat chilli crab — getting sauce on all 10 fingers — I eat messily.

I read about these trongs on the chicago tribune over the weekend and they seem to be perfect. These plastic grabbers fit over thumb and 2 fingers and are designed for eating wings, ribs or any hand-heavy food. Just slip them off to grab a drink or something else without sauce or food bits getting in the way. Pretty neat.

At $5.99 for a pack of 6 they’re a bit expensive though. I’d expect them to be disposable.

in objects of desire |

It was only Saturday that I remarked to mm that I could still go to bed without having the aircon on. Argh! Jinx. It turned hot all of a sudden. Not only hot, but humid and sticky with heavy showers thrown in. Very uncomfortable. I took a shower after I got home yesterday and then by bedtime I had to take a second shower.

I dunno how I can go through another hot hot hot summer. I think it’s time to bring out the air conditioned shirt. If only I knew about this when I was in Tokyo.

via gizmodo who were actually talking about air-conditioned chairs.

in being healthy , objects of desire |

Oh yes. I bought yet another pair of new sneakers. I usually keep 2 pairs of sports-only sneakers around cos I have a tendency to break them easily. And lo and behold, my old pair broke. Heehee. I don’t need any excuse to buy sneakers.

These are nike air max moto+ 5, which is freaky, cos the previous pair I bought last year are nike air max moto+ IV. It’s a pure coincidence, cos I didn’t even look at the model name and number till just now.

in objects of desire |

We had meetings, lunch meetings and I did a nice powerpoint for tomorrow’s big presentation.

But the big news today has nothing to do with work. I went to Hakuhinkan in Ginza, which is a big toy store. And I bought a PSP. In Silver. ¥18,000-something, cos I can claim tax back. That’s about $170-ish.

I really have no self-control when it comes to spending money.

in arts and media , objects of desire , techtalk |


There’s been a fair bit of attention on amazon’s kindle lately. At first I skimmed past all the articles but today I sat down and read a few of them. First impressions? Very mixed reception and boy, is it ugly. Conclusion? No thank you.

I’ve never considered using an ebook reader at all, although I can see the benefits especially when travelling, or for students who are carrying around too many heavy textbooks already. The demo video on the product page sure is enticing, and it tempted the gadget-geek in me for, oh, about a second.

why I might buy it

  1. it can store hundreds of books in one book-sized package — saves lugging lots of books around

  2. as of launch, almost 90,000 titles available from amazon at a lower price than paper books

  3. amazon name, especially the book selection

  4. eliminates expensive shipment fees

  5. built-in wireless means instant shopping gratification

  6. subscriptions to newspapers, magazines and blogs

  7. dictionary and wikipedia

why I won’t buy it

  1. oh lordy, is it ugly or what

  2. $400 for the reader alone — there’s comparison with iPod pricing, but thing is … music requires a widget, be it walkman, boombox or iPod but books don’t need no hardware, dude

  3. monopolistic — it can only read the proprietary amazon format, cannot load other formats, no connection between the book on my shelf and the ebook

  4. DRM — who’s ever heard of DRM-ing books? Once bought, it’s mine and i should be free to do as I please with it, including sharing with my friends

  5. although cheaper than paper books, $9.99 for best sellers is expensive — the publishers don’t seem to be passing along the vast amount of savings from not needing to physically publish and distribute books

  6. charging consumers for books in the public domain doesn’t seem right

  7. charging consumers for stuff they can otherwise get free is ridiculous — $0.99 per blog per month? Kidding?

  8. omg, black & white screen?

  9. what is the keyboard doing there? why isn’t it a slide-out panel?

  10. the so-called built-in wireless uses EVDO, which for those of us who live in non-caveman networkland is something unknown — apparently it’s a CDMA (omg!!!) based cellular wireless network that is provided by Sprint. In other words it’s completely and utterly useless outside the US

  11. I said ugly already, right?

I want to like this device. I’ve not thought of using an ebook reader but I’m intrigued. I read enough books to want something small that can hold more — I took 6 books with me on my 2 week trip, imagine the convenience with a kindle. I can imagine the convenience of having loads of travel guides when I’m on holiday.

Many people, including the newsweek cover story likened the kindle to the early iPod. Not apples to apples, I’m afraid. Yes even though the analogy is there, there is one HUGE difference — the consumer can happily use and enjoy the iPod without ever going near iTMS. I mean, I like amazon and order a hell of a lot of books from them so it’s not a huge problem that the content is tied to the hardware. But it’s too closed. What if a book I want isn’t on amazon but is available from say a niche publisher? So my choice is limited, isn’t it?

The iPod sold us something we never thought we needed before, but can’t live without after. There’s no such buzz with the kindle, for me it’s meh at best. It’s a great idea, and I hope amazon will continue to improve the product. Until then, I’ll stick with traditional books.

And really, they have to do something about the dismal design.

in objects of desire |

With the success of the iPhone, it’s no wonder that other brand names not usually associated with cellphones are eyeing the market. What better combination than sports cars and high end cellphones? Like oil and vinegar; peanut butter and jelly; strawberries and cream. A 12-year old boy’s dream come true.

If the 12 year old boy has €1,200 to spare, he will soon be able to buy his very own porsche phone. In the scheme of things, it’s not a fancy phone filled with all the gadgets, but the Sagem-made P9521 has the Porsche name, which ups the drool factor by a zillion.

In other news, Audi has unveiled a prototype of its own phone. This one, also, is understated but has security features tied to the car. Quite appealing.

porsche phone  audi phone

This makes a change from before, when it was common to attach a sports or luxury car badge to an existing phone. McLaren, Harley Davidson, Hummer and Ferrari are among the many brand names who have done it.

car phones

Car manufacturers have some synergy with cellphone manufacturers — so much software goes into cars nowadays that they have become 2-ton computers.

in habitat , objects of desire |

Since Mum is here with me, I have a twin hotel room. I haven’t been sleeping very well because I’m not used to sharing my sleeping quarters with anyone, so I hear her whenever she moves around.

Plus, it’s been a long time since I slept in a single bed. There’s not enough room! [/whine] Another reason I’m looking forward to going home, I need my nice queen bed to roll around in. Sometimes I sleep horizontally, sometimes diagonally and there were periods when I slept with my head at the foot of the bed.

Talking about bed sizes, I’ve always been confused about the difference between UK and US bed sizes. I never got what “full size” meant. It’s most relevant when I’m buying bedsheets and similar. So, I looked it up.

  • smallest 3’ wide — US tends to call these twins and are 38” wide; UK calls them singles and are 36” wide
  • middle 4’6”-ish wide — this is what Americans call full and British / Europeans / Australians (ie the rest of the world) call doubles
  • the big 5’ wide one — this is the queen size, and what I have. Sometimes in the UK it’s called a king
  • the super large 6’ wide one — this is the luxurious king (sometimes super king in the UK) that are found in hotels

I don’t want to get into California Kings, Olympic Queens, Small Singles, Long Kings and all the variations.

Standards, people. Standards.

in all about people , objects of desire | | comments (2)

I watched as a small object tumbled out of my colleague’s hand and into the dark murky sewers the other day. I couldn’t see what it was but she said it was a diamond earring. Yikes.

So why would anyone want to put bits of stone all over their bodies — that are prone to being lost or stolen and cost a whole lot more than their size would suggest? Here’s what I think of diamonds. They’re pretty, sparkly and um a form of carbon. I mean, yes they’re expensive because they’re rare — or are they rare because they’re expensive? Like most of the Earth’s supply of carbon is as graphite or silica, it must be elitist to be one of those rare carbon atom that makes it into a diamond.

diamond graphite

Alright. I’ll stop it with the science geek mode. So really, why do women love diamonds? The answer, apparently, is History, Hollywood and Hope:

  • History — revered from ancient times, it’s an appreciation of the effort and expertise needed to get it from a rough rock to the dazzling white light form.
  • Hollywood — represents all that is glamorous about owning a diamond. I’ve yet to meet someone who wears a large diamond and not want to show it off. It’s a status symbol, as well as a sign that someone somewhere treats the wearer (okay, I’m gonna be gender-vague from now on) is loved and worthy. It’s like saying, “How much am I worth? Look at the price tag” but a little more subtly.
  • Hope — people normally want to be wanted; and possession of such an object of desire may be a way of vicariously living through that desire.

I get it; but I don’t really get it.

Now, I’m far to prone to be attracted to gadget-y stuff. So imagine my reaction when I saw the gold-plated macbook pro on engadget. Slobber slobber drool drool. To be honest I’m not entirely convinced about the gold-plating but the diamond encrusted apple logo sure catches the eye.

gold mbp

Luxury laptops are nothing new, nor is putting diamonds on all sorts of gadgets — like swiss army knives, iPod shuffles, Nokia N95, even a mouse. Diamonds are diamonds. Not even the suave leather bound thinkpad reserve is as nice as the mbp.

gold mbp

So while women like diamonds as rings or necklaces or somehow displaying on their bodies, I want it on my mbp. Let’s not mention that laptops have a habit of becoming outdated when new ones are released; and I’m not sure how we can open the casing up to add RAM. Hee.

ETA: and the blinging continues with the 24-carat gold iPhone.

in objects of desire , techtalk |

All the attention and big whoo hoo about the iPhone unlock mostly did the rounds in the tech side of the blogosphere. It’s ironic, that it didn’t hit the big time until the firmware upgrade to 1.1.1 bricked the phone. Heh, I wonder who coined the term “bricked” because it’s so appropriate and easily understandable.

Naturally the tech world reacted quickly, with instructions to unbrick appearing right away, to varying degrees of success. The latest? downgrade to 1.0.2. Oh dear.

In other parts of the world, iPhone will be carried by O2 in the UK, Orange in France and T-Mobile in Germany. What about the other European countries? Personally I am keen to see how it does in Scandinavia and how it comes up against Nokia.

When I try to explain the US model to my friends, inevitably I am met with expressions of disbelief and incredulity at the outdated and preposterous nature of it. Apple will have to think carefully about how they tackle Asia markets where:

  • there is intense competition between carriers
  • phones are not tied to carriers
  • there’s often no strict service contract
  • customers demand all the latest in technology (ie, it must be a bells and whistles 3g iPhone)
  • phones are commodities
  • copycats and parallel imports are a fact of life

I was tempted to get an iPhone in Chicago, but I’m glad I didn’t. I’m not a good enough hacker to be able to deal with the unlock and I don’t want to pay someone to tamper with it. Still, it’s hard to wait. May be I need to console myself with a lego iPhone for the time being.

lego iphone

ETA: via engadget: for this clever bit of advertising I might even stick with Nokia when the time comes.

nokia poster

in objects of desire , techtalk |

sigh, sigh, sigh, sigh, sigh, sigh.

I wonder why it only has 16GB. If it has more, I’m getting one when I’m in Chicago in 2 weeks.

in objects of desire |

I’ve bought a couple of t-shirts from the twop store before, the Periodic Table of Sloth and Please Touch My Monkey among the ones taking up room on my t-shirt shelf. I like this new one, because I’m feeling pissed off at nothing in particular lately, it’s the aptly named Chip on My Shoulder.

chip t-shirt

in objects of desire |

mm got me new glasses for my birthday. Nothing particularly wrong with the old ones, just that I’ve been wearing them for 3 years and the lenses are pretty scratched. My prescription hadn’t changed in more than 5 years.

These new ones have thick black plastic frames that mm says make me look studious and…brash? cheeky? It’s a new look anyway, not too bad.

I looked the model up, they’re ck Calvin Klein 5110 001 — the 5110 is the model number and 001 is the colour. I also got custom-made clip-on sunglasses, no need to specially find glasses with sunglasses attachment anymore because they can be fitted to any model nowadays.


in objects of desire |

Yeah, it’s not even 2 weeks into the new year and I have a new toy already. Well, in my defence this is my Christmas present, I actually asked for contributions towards this from my family. Naturally mm gave me a generous contribution too. :D

Yeah, I bought a new lens — the EF24-105mm f/4 L IS USM. The most important part of that spec is that it’s an L-lens. Top of the range, flagship and all that good stuff.

Now I really have to go learn how to take pictures.

in objects of desire , techtalk |


in objects of desire |

Two of the items I want for Christmas — a new lens for my camera and a roomba. The lens is understandable, cos I want a better lens, right? But what’s up with the roomba (or equivalent)? Because I’m too tired or lazy to clean all the time. My sis commented that all I seem to do at weekends is laundry, ironing and grocery shopping. I don’t clean often enough.

via wired, someone allgedly wrote a script that allows control of the roomba using the mbp’s tilt sensor. I mean, the tilt sensor can already be used to make lightsabre noises, and now it can vacuum my floor? *swoon*

in objects of desire |
in objects of desire |

Our office upgraded to aeron chairs over 2 years ago. Very expensive and kinda pretentious, but I’m so used to sitting in one for long hours, it’s so comfortable and has the “others pale in comparison” effect. I spend so much time at my desk nowadays, even more than my sofa, or any other piece of furniture except the bed. I’ve been sitting on the very stiff dining chairs for a few weeks and it’s not a long term solution. So I ordered one, and it arrived today. Recline, tilt, slide, roll … woot!


in objects of desire |

For the first time in weeks and weeks, I watched a little TV today, to give the mbp a little downtime. And then I left it on to take a shower and when I came back outside it was making a quiet whining noise and the picture was gone. Tried changing channels, nothing. Tried the buttons on the TV itself, nope. Bye bye TV.

Well, it is an 8 year old 25” antique that has travelled around the world. I took it to New York and Zurich. How many TV sets can claim the same?

Another excuse to buy a new toy, heehee.

in objects of desire |

The Mini XXL is doing a tour around Europe and Asia/Australia. It’s a stretch limo that has everything a luxurious, OTT, souped up car should have: flat screen TV, DVD player, CD, radio, air conditioning, sunroof, full black leather interior and on-board bar.

But no, there’s more. There’s a jacuzzi at the back with detachable roof. Yes, jacuzzi. Here’s a post from when it was in Japan.

I wonder how this thing drives. I bet it’s a monster.


in objects of desire |

I was thinking, it’s time to change my watches. So I got two. A darker one for work and another one for … not work. Even though I can wear both if I want to. Best thing is, they’re both really chunky.


in objects of desire , techtalk |

Apple announced the 17” macbook pro. Sigh. Pretty. And 5x faster than the Powerbook G4. I’m not annoyed that they announced a new machine a week after I bought mine because I wouldn’t have considered the 17” anyway.

I booted up the mbp and the dell at the same time tonight. I had a conference call and needed webex, hence the need for the dell. I have totally neglected it btw, soon I won’t need it at all once I get either Boot Camp or Parallels working.

Anyway, I had the airport on, firefox loaded and beginning to check gmail on the mbp. Meanwhile the dell was still going through the bootup routine and only 1-2 icons had been loaded on the task bar.

There is no comparison.

in objects of desire | | comments (2)

Forgot to mention re: sunday shopping. We spent a fair bit of time at Louis Vuitton, where mm had her eye on the multicolour monogrammed speedy 30. It’s quite a big bag but it looks nice in her hands. Bit too expensive for our taste, but she deserves something nice for herself occasionally.

Reminds me of articles I read about the opening of the Louis Vuitton Megastore on the Champs Elysées last October, where artist Vanessa Beecroft put on a “performance” of 40 naked models wearing nothing but string and LV shoes, draped around the shop’s display of bags and cases. Classy.

More images at and bbc news.

lvmodel1 lvmodel2

in objects of desire |

In honor of the nano that mm bought for sf which is happily charging on my laptop, something I came across, via popgadget, a neat accessory for the nano.


Available for pre-order through tunebuckle for $49.95. It looks nice enough, nothing spectacular, my initial reaction was kinda meh. But there’s something about the model, the mid-riff and the pose that screams HOT! to me.

in objects of desire , techtalk | | comments (1)

omg. Want. Now.

in objects of desire |

Top 100 Toys, as remembered by the people at TV Cream. Decidedly British focus, and I remember them soooo well.

Among the entries:

#93. Rubik's cube -- I have a cheat sheet which I followed, but I never got to solving it on my own. And I thought I was good at puzzles.

#90. Mastermind -- no, not the Magnus Magnusson show, which was damned hard. A deceptively simple guessing game that can be played in silence. It's great.

#69. Twister -- amazing that it's still played. Yay.

#66. Downfall -- yes, I can see that box, still in my parent's house.

mastermind   downfall

#47. Operation -- teehee, who can forget "butterflies in stomach", snerk.

#43. Slime -- if ever there was a definition of my childhood, it's this viscous mixture of latex, wallpaper paste and food colouring. Man it was fun, it crackled, there were bubbles. But who can forget when it got filthy and dried out eventually.

#40. Game & watch -- before Gameboys, before PSPs, there were the donkey kongs on these credit sized tiny devices. Had loads of them, I wonder where they are now?

slime   gamewatch

#32. Tiny tears -- hate it, my question is, what is her left hand doing? Hmm.


And finally, the top three, and how boring:

#3. Action Man
#2. A computer
#1. A bike


Now wait a minute, where is the Lego? Where is Monopoly?

in objects of desire |

I keep feeling “trapped” today. From the moment I got on the bus this morning, to even now, as I’m writing this. I don’t know what by — location, job, home, boredom — it’s more of a general feeling that I need to get out of …. somewhere and something. It’s probaby temporary, although it may be the manifestation of accumulated resentment. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll be feeling “floaty”, how do I know.

So today’s post is quite fitting. From designboom via boingboing.

This is an entry into a teenage furniture competition, called MyRoom, which its Belgian designer says “integrates an inflatable lightweight nylon-fabric room, a PE air mattress and a polyester storage bag into a mobile privacy cocoon.” The combination weighs only 2.6kg and inflates from bag to full size in 3 minutes. There is room for small personal, but indespensable, items like iPod, flash drive and, um, toys-that-need-to-be-hidden-away — these just stay inside the package when deflated. Perfect for sleepovers and to create a private space anywhere you want. It’s like camping in luxury, indoors. I think adults can benefit from it too, I’d love to escape into it and not get bothered by the outside world.


in objects of desire |

From boing boing, originally from marieke gast, a Berlin-based designer.

Last week it was ultra modern shelves with pull out chair and table. This week I came across some shelves that give haphazard new meaning. The piece is called Broken Shelf and it’s even weirder than the other ones. According to the designer it’s “a more natural way of shelving books.”

The broken shelves actually provide support for taller books and nothing falls out. There’s even space to put a human inside. What is it with providing seating with shelves nowadays? Must admit, will filled with books, doesn’t look so odd, though I think a more traditional shelf can hold more.

brokenshelf1  brokenshelf2

in objects of desire | | comments (2)

Warning: Adult content!

From wired.

I hardly write about adult toys but this was too good to resist. With this new toy, sending text messages to a loved one will never be the same.

in objects of desire | | comments (1)

Over the last 18 months I travelled a lot, I think Sept and Oct are the first time that I've been home for two consecutive months without needing to pack my bag. It starts again in Nov though.

Whether I'm gone for 3 days or 3 weeks, no matter what flight class I'm travelling in, I take the same bags -- my big wheelie bag, a bit like this one, except mine's blue canvas and $30 from Costco.


I only take my backpack as carry-on, I can put it under the seat in front and it doesn't fight for overhead space with those bulky boring trolley bags that proliferate everywhere. Talking about cabin bags, I read about the fidobag, which are a humorous take on cabin luggage. It's shaped like a dog, with a detachable "head" for small items and is made from soft leather. Comes in blue, black, brown or white, all with retro piping finish.

fidobag4  fidobag2

Of course the reason they caught my eye is the second picture, aptly titled breeding.html. Snicker. However cute, I don't think I want so spend $180 on it though.

I did a google search on fidobag and came across something amusing. Apparently last year gizmodo broke a story about a furry suitcase manufactured by samsung-italia that will respond to the voice of its owner and come at their command, even wagging its tail in the process. Also, if someone tries to steal the bag, it will bark at an intensity of 197.5 decibels, thereby drawing attention to the thief.

This was exposed as a hoax or joke. First, Samsung makes electronics, not luggage. Second, it needs to pack a hell of a voice recognition system to pick out the voice of its owner in a busy airport. Third, 197.5db? That's louder than standing next to the Shuttle when it launches -- human eardrums break at 150db. Fourth, even if it was above board, who wants to be seen traipsing around airports dragging a furry, tail-wagging suitcase?

fidobagfur  fidobagdude

As an aside, doing a google image search for fidobag also gets the Fido Dido backpack. Actually, out of the three, I prefer that one, dude.

Here's a poll. Pick your favorite.

  1. The retro breeding doggie fidobag
  2. The furry tailwagging eardrum splitting fidobag
  3. The cool dude sk8er fidobag

When I get round to it, I'll install a polling script so next time it'll be a proper poll with radio buttons and graphical results. But this time, just put your vote in the Comments. It'll be fun to see if anyone responds.

in objects of desire |

Another one via boing boing, this one originally from mocoloco.

Modern design shelfing unit / room divider. The shelves themselves are not your traditional boring grid, they’re a slanted, but books can still be kept there. There is a pull out chair and table for easy access. Even though they look nice and expensive even, I can’t imagine having these shelves at home, too … overdesigned? Show-offy? Cold? I like the slanted shelves but I’m iffy on the chair and table. Oh, the lamp is called Titanic lamp. I wonder why, may be cos it’s half submerged?



in objects of desire | | comments (1)

I’m the world’s worst person when it comes to presents and being romantic etc. Like the jigsaw chain fiasco, when I moaned about Swarowski not giving us 2 boxes to keep our necklaces in, when the whole idea is supposed to be all romantic and keeping them together as a pair. Heehee, she had a good laugh at me for that.

Our birthdays are coming up. She’s planning a holiday for us, so far I’ve done nothing, she’s made all the enquiries and bookings. So lovely!

I asked her what she wants for her birthday present, cos I can’t think of anything interesting. Digital camera? iPod? She already has. Jewelry? Clothing? I have no idea. A book? Does she have time to read? Argh!

I thought about what I want. Originally I thought of aeron chairs I have in the office. But I made enquiries and the supplier doesn’t give corporate discount for personal purchases and these chairs are extremely expensive. Sigh.

in objects of desire |

which phone did I buy at the end? Remember which one I really wanted? The Nokia 7280. I wanted to take a photo of my actual phone and not use one from nokia, but they didn't turn out that good. So it's here again.

nokia 7280

No particular functions, just contacts, calendar, bluetooth, the usual. Nothing fancy. But man, it looks fine, so fine.

I have to re-enter the contacts, IR the stored pictures, set everything again. But that's nothing.

in objects of desire |

Last weekend we went out and bought her a mini iPod, her Christmas present from her sf. Before Christmas there were no stock, so we've left it till now.

It took her like half an hour to decide on a colour -- pink in the end.

The problem is it ships with iTunes 4 which only works on OSX, her iMac is still on OS9 and though I can switch to OSX on the Powerbook I hardly use it. So it's been a week since we got her new toy and we're only now getting round to playing with it.

I loaded 3 CDs as a test and to show her how it's done, she's real happy. She's at her Mum's today and is taking it with her to show off.

For most of today I switched over to OSX, loaded her iTunes and uploaded a bunch of my CDs. So now she has 400+ songs in her library. I need to figure out how to copy songs back and forth between my library and her library, especially if I'm moving to OSX sometime, it's just more efficient, not having to upload again.

Anyway, just as we have her new toy, Apple decides to bring out the newest iPod, the iPod Shuffle. I've read that it looks like a pregnancy test stick and it does. It's tiny alright, but it only has max 1GB and that's only 240 songs and that gets tired easily, I want to carry my entire library with me at all times, I don't care if it's 1,772 songs and 5 days of continuous listening. I want to choice.

in objects of desire |

We bought these days of the week bath salts many months ago, could even be as much as a year ago. A packet of 7 of course, that's been sitting idle on my bathroom shelf.

So it's been cold and suddenly I feel like a bath, so I maxed the hot water heater, put the kettle on (cos the boiler doesn't give enough hot water for a whole bath) and went about making myself a bath. Or as the Japanese say, a soup.

The Monday bathsalt is "Ocean" and it's blue. Nice.

I stepped into the tub and had to jump out cos the water was too hot, but I mixed in some more cold water and after some adjustment all was well.

It's been a while since my last long bath and boy was it nice. The best feeling? When I slid down and I felt the heat on my shoulders and my neck, it's like I've been cold for a long time and finally I can feel the muscles relaxing.

in objects of desire |

I was thinking, it's the second day of new year and I've run out of things to say already??? We've kind of decided not to go out today either, I mean I have to go back to my place eventually tonight, and the supermarket before that. But it's still the afternoon so there's time. She's better today, the proof is she's busy tidying up. And then she gave me my Christmas present -- an electric toothbrush. Something I've been thinking of buying for a while but not got round doing it. I gave her a couple of DVDs. I know, we're too practical.

But healty teeth, is worthwhile in the long run. So when I'm old she doesn't have to worry about my teeth falling out. Heehee.

in objects of desire |

We visited a Christmas shopping fair after work, stalls run by individuals mostly jewellry, clothing, small things. There's usually a proliferation of them around this time of year.

She has a friend with a jewelry stall so we spent a lot of time there, picked out some rings, necklaces, cufflinks, scarves. Presents. I had to get away at a point and look at other stalls and buy other stuff, we were there till closing time, luckily I got all the other shopping done, I can't believe how long we can spend at just one place.

in objects of desire , techtalk |

When I first got my iPod it was a rarity. A much coveted rarity for those in the know, but it wasn't for general consumption. It was the version with the touch wheel and the control buttons neatly positioned next to the wheel, much more intuitive than the later versions where the buttons sat above the wheel.

At that stage the Windows version had just came out.

Since then the iPod has become the accessory of choice. Apple sells more iPods than Macs now.

On the one hand I'm glad it's so popular, on the other, it takes away the exclusivity feeling that us long term Apple supporters have enjoyed. I mean Apple = cool = exclusive. It's like any riff-raff can claim to own an Apple product nowadays.

Anyway even the designers have jumped on the bandwagon and there are so many cases available. This pretty spread from city magazine via gizmodo. I like the black leather one (hint hint ...).

iPod cases

in going places , objects of desire |

Received a promotion postcard for a new hotel in Bali called Uma Ubud. Strange cos I've never been to Bali and I don't know where they got my address from, the postcard had a Thailand stamp on it. According to the spiel, Uma is “a retreat devoted to the body and spiritual wellbeing.” Special introductory rate of USD145++ including breakfast until 18 December.

Usually for these sort of promotions you'd expect a beautiful view of the beach or a shot of the luxurious king size bed, no? No. Their selling point, a black bathtub in what is obviously a spacious and modern bathroom. Very swanky. But it leaves me cold. What spoils it for me is the tub is shrouded by a, what? mosquito net? I mean, you need a mosquito net to take a bath? How infested are we talking about? Isn't there air-conditioning?

Don't tell me it's asthetics. I do not want to take my luxurious bath under a tent made of icky material. I know it's supposed to be stylish and modern and all. I don't like it. I'm not sold. See for yourself.

uma bali hotel

in objects of desire |

For 27 years the Concorde whisked passengers “faster than the sun” across the Atlantic, bringing them to New York even before their departure time from London.

After the last commercial flight on 24 October 2003, the fleet retired to various museums, mainly in the UK. But 500 seats have been removed and are now being restored and offered for sale as executive seating. Each will be supplied with a certificate of authenticity plus a discrete engraved plaque on the seat itself to signify its exclusivity.

Price for this piece of aviation memorabilia? USD10,000 (plus tax), GBP5,000(plus vat) or EUR7,500. On a first come first served basis at

There were 100 seats on board each Concorde, and the most sought after was seat 1A, which served all types of celebrity and royalty. Only 5 1A seats are being offered, at double the price.

Check out the website, there's a neat little flash animation that rotates the chair.

All this for a chair. And here I am, trying to decide whether to splash out $600 on a Herman Miller. Hmmm.

in objects of desire |

I spend an inordinate amount of time in office lobbies, bus stops, and in front of shops, restaurants or any place that one generally meets people. On average I think every time we meet I have to stand around for 10-15 minutes, sometimes more.

I've learnt not to get mad, just mildly annoyed, but it still shows. Sigh. Some people simply have a different concept of time and punctuality. In Switzerland if a train is scheduled to leave at 9.17 it will leave at 9.17 on the dot. This one time in Austria, a train was 3 minutes late and we were already complaining - that's how high the expectations were. Hee.

Back to waiting in office lobbies and subway stations. If I don't have my iPod it gets real boring. So the obvious thing to do is to observe people walking past. What I tend to focus on first are their shoes. Why shoes? First of all it's rude to stare at their face, secondly I really have very little interest in clothes and fashion.

I think it was my ex-colleague Larry who said that it's possible to tell if a guy's from the US or Europe by the shoes he's wearing. Especially work shoes. The styles and cutting are different. The almost beautiful brogues made by Church's are so different from the soft tanned elegant leather shoes from Italy.

Back in the days of the silicon valley fever, how do you tell a dotcom millionaire from a mere minion? Shoes. Underneath the T-shirt one size too small and the ripped jeans is a pair of the most state-of-the-art sneakers. Those were the days.

It's conceivable to tell someone's station, aspirations and self-worth by the shoes they're wearing. Ok, huh? Although it's not always 100% accurate, someone who's wearing low quality ugly plastic-looking footwear is probably not the most upwardly mobile individual. May be that's a grossly unfair generalisation, I dunno.

in objects of desire |

We're getting new chairs for the office. It's a big thing. Okayyy.

We have to make sure our personal belongings and confidential files are all locked away. We even got instructions on how to use these chairs properly - how to adjust the height, tilt, lumbar depth and all. It's all very technical. Just in case pictures aren't enough, we can download quicktime videos to learn about the various ergonomic adjustment options available. Or what about articles, research summaries, case studies and awards, these are all available on the webpage.

I mean, it's nice and all but it's only a chair, people. No need to go all TMI. Sheesh.

in objects of desire |

It finally happened. We were walking from the dry-cleaners to the bus-stop on saturday and I thought I had a pebble so I turned over the bottom of my sneakers and eeeep! there's a gaping hole in the middle of the sole. My favorite sneakers, ones I've had for 4 years, since before I went to New York. I'm glad they lasted this long. To think of the places they've traveled to, amazing.

I should throw them away but I can't bear to do it yet. So they sit rather forlornly on my shoe rack. I don't have proper replacements, I know I have the new black hi-tops and a fresh pair of vans, and what about the navyboot collection, or the red camper. None of them are suitable substitutes. May be this weekend we'll have to go on a sneaker hunt.

in objects of desire |

Right now I'm very tempted to buy this new combo PDA/phone/camera gadget thingy. Hard to believe I don't have a Palm, I'm still using my filofax. Always maintained that I'm waiting for a phonePDA and now it's finally arrived. Should I buy it now knowing that as soon as I get it a newer model will appear. My brain is like a pendulum. Buy it, the brick joke is getting old. It's so cool, fully loaded with features. The phone is tri-band. You can have wireless internet access. No, wait till the models stabilise, besides you don't need the camera. It's expensive. Mac compatiblity is a question.

I guess if I'm having any doubt at all I should hold off.

What to do. What to do.