A few scattered coins

Buying yourself more time… literally!

Some things in life simply don’t make sense – for example I recently read that it’s possible to sail faster than the wind. Think about it: how can you go faster than the thing that’s pushing you without introducing an external force? Yes, it’s possible. Another counterintuition I’ve discovered, this time relevant to everyday life, is that money can buy time. I was brought up with Asian values, which is to say practicality trumps everything when it comes to finances. A perfect illustration of this is if one of your grandparents overseas died, and you don’t attend the funeral because […]

Stylised graphic of a train

Close to home

Not very long ago I worked in a job where it only took 15 minutes by car each way to and from work, door to door (and not just on a good day – I go against the traffic). Recently, I’ve been working in the city, and the commute is 45 minutes each way, door to door (and that’s if there isn’t some delay with the trains). In essence I’ve lost about an hour each day, an hour where I would previously have done my gardening or made dinner. That one extra hour per day, considering your average 8 hour […]


Growing greener

One thing that irked me when I was single, and is only marginally improved now as part of a married couple, was the amount of food I threw away because the portions sold in shops is more than what I need. Herbs in particular – a recipe calls for a few leaves of basil, but they’re only sold in bunches. Sure, there are plenty of things I can do – freeze them, dry them, or even feed them to my worms – but you can’t argue with fresh ingredients. I decided to combat this problem, and chalk up another notch […]

Rolled up ties

Go mufti

Fashion has got to be one of the most glaring evidences of the great gender divide. Men’s clothes are the so bland: watch a Hollywood red carpet and compare the styles and colours of what the ladies are wearing vs. the men. Wow. A variation on the suit. With colour *rah*. Like so with work attire. Nothing says “business is boring” like a room full of men in pants and jackets, so why do we persist with it day in, day out? It’s possible to demonstrate professionalism and show respect for the workplace while dressed in something that reflects your […]

Schick Hydro 5 razors

Fully Schick shavers

The Onion had a bit of a laugh at Gillette’s expense back in 2004, with a satirical article featuring Gillette’s CEO bemoaning how competitor Schick released a razor with 4 blades to edge out (har har) their flagship Mach 3 product line, and how they were going to retaliate with… 5 blades! which the company actually did the following year. Then in 2006 The Economist picked up the joke and ran with it, graphing the trajectory of blade one-upmanship to show that by 2100 a typical razor would have no less than 14 blades. I was actually a happy Mach […]

Seafood hors d'ouvre

Super-quick Seafood Hors d’Ouvre

Got friends dropping by for afternoon tea and don’t have anything to serve? Well here’s a recipe for seafood hor d’ouvres that takes literally seconds to make, but looks like you put loads of effort into it. Ingredients Seafood highlighter/crab stick (whatever you call it) Smoked salmon Mayonnaise Parsley Mini toast Method: Don’t mind too much about the portions, just don’t overdo it with the mayo – the point is to be quick and measuring takes too much time. Throw everything into a food processor and whizz for a few seconds until you get a roughly chopped mixture. It should […]

My red clock

Fix your way out of a fix

Recently, while moving some pillows around, I knocked over my alarm clock and broke it. I’ve had this clock for almost as long as I can remember. My earliest memory about it is finding the detached head of a Transformers “Bumblebee” toy and taking it home and sticking it onto the face with blutac, where it remains to this day. It’s more than just a clock: when my family bought a puppy and we were told by the breeder to put a small alarm clock near its bed to help it sleep since it would remind it of its mother’s […]

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Worm farming

A few months ago a friend called me in the evening: “Hey, you at home?” “Yeah, what’s up?” “Mind if I bring some garbage around?” It wasn’t code for a drug deal nor a twisted new hobby where I collect people’s trash; I live in an apartment block with a generous waste disposal facility consisting of several skip bins, and he needed somewhere to put a few extra bags after a house party. Leaving aside the ethics of this arrangement, the problem he had was that his household generates far more waste than the council was allowing him to get […]

KFC fried chicken drumsticks

Pull a fast one on fast food

This is probably a very silly post, but I’m in a silly mood. I had KFC for lunch yesterday (maybe that’s why), and was struck by how insidious the menu is at the Carlingford branch – if you actually want to have their chicken and not a burger, you can either choose from the ~$3 snack options, or else you have to order a ~$10 combo box that could easily feed 2-3 people. I couldn’t see any other “in between” options (nor most of the other options listed on their Web site menu). I would’ve been happy with a piece […]

Global knife

Think sharp

I had a knifing accident the other day – I was attempting to cut an onion using my Global chef’s knife when it slid sideways down the curved surface and took a neat slice out of my finger instead. Without wanting to sound like an infomercial, these knives are renown for their awesome sharpness and one naturally tends to blame the knife for the accident. But if you watch Jamie Oliver or any of the prolific number of cooking shows around, you be familiar with the refrain that it’s blunt knives that hurt people. In my case, if the knife […]