Monday, August 28, 2006

Pen Lovers Gathering

For those keen to join us pen lovers at a gathering to learn more about fountain pens, please RSVP.

Venue : Pengallery Level 2 The Weld
Date : 2 September 2006
Time : 11am

We will have some light food and also passionate discussions about this hobby. I will also do a short tutorial on my methods of pen photography.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Nakaya Urushi

I finally got a pen with true urushi (that poisonous lacquer used on Samurai Armour). This is the Nakaya Writer in Heki Tamenuri (blue green) colour. The top layer will slowly turn translucent over the years and give it a very nice antique look!

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

On the box, the big words read, "TOKU SEI MAN NEN HITSU" which means "specially made fountain pens". The smaller words on the left read, "NAKAYA MAN NEN HITSU KIN SEI" which means "Nakaya fountain pen carefully produced".

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fragrance Hunting And Usage

With regards to my previous post on GIT, let me share with you some tips when shopping for a fragrance.

Take note that for men, you basically have the choice of
1) cologne
2) eau de toilette (EDT)

EDTs are generally stronger and longer lasting than colognes.

For women, you have more choices...
1) eau de toilette (EDT)
2) eau de parfum (EDP)
3) parfum

Parfums are basically the strongest form of fragrance. I think in Malaysia, only Chanel No5 is available in this form and you only need one or 2 drops of it.

Anyway when shopping for a new fragrance, take note that fragrances often are divided into daily and evening wear. Daily ones are best for office use and smell fresher/fruity/flowery. Evening ones are a bit stronger and more exotic.

Fragrances often have 3 different 'notes'
- top notes are what you smell when you first put it on
- middle notes come about after the top notes evaporate
- bottom notes are what you smell after several hours

1) If you plan to use a fragrance for a long time, get the larger bottle (often 100ml). It's better value for money and you don't have to pay again for the packaging.
2) Do not buy a fragrance simply because the packaging is nice (because you have to pay for that packaging) or they give many freebies with it.
3) Sometimes, some fragrances are unisex in nature and can be used by either sex. Be open minded ^_^
4) Take your time when choosing a fragrance - when testing a fragrance, walk around a little bit so that you can smell the middle and bottom notes of the fragrance.
5) Smelling a fragrance on a test strip and on the wrist gives you different results because the latter mixes the fragrance with your own body smell. Sometimes the resulting smell may not be as good as the smell on the test strip.
6) Smell coffee beans in between smelling different fragrances. Fragrance counters often have cans of coffee beans for this purpose. The beans 'reset' your nose and ensures that the fragrances that you smell do not mix with each other.

On usage...
1) Remember some fragrances can last longer than others throughout the day.
2) When a fragrance is about to wear out, spraying it on again may not give you the best of results.
3) Never spray a fragrance on clothing material. You may stain it.
4) Remember to moderately use the spray... you may not smell it yourself but others may think you sprayed too much.
5) Movies show you that you just to spray fragrances on the wrist and then rub them together before rubbing them on your neck. This is WRONG. Doing so will crush the fragrance and muddle the notes.
6) Spraying should be done where the blood is closest to the skin i.e. the nodes. Examples of nodes are the neck, the wrist and the heart. NOT the armpit!

Finally, please read the reviews of fragrances at BASENOTES. Definitely a valuable resource when shopping for a new fragrance.

Green Irish Tweed

A few people know me to be a connoiseur of fine fragrances. I have been through many bottles of various fragrances in the past but this one is the one that I had always wanted to buy. It is now finally available in Ken's Apothecary...

Creed is a venerable boutique fragrance house and their creation, called Green Irish Tweed, has many celebrity fans including Clint Eastwood and Naomi Campbell. This fragrance is unisex and comes in EDP form (stronger than EDT but not pure Parfum).

Anyway I treated myself to this luxurious bottle today and here are some shots (click on the photo for the gallery).

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

In Malaysia, GIT is RM499 per bottle of 75ml EDP which makes it certainly more expensive than any EDT I have found out there. But being an EDP, this bottle will certainly last a long time. If you are able to find this overseas, it will be cheaper for sure.

You can read more about GIT HERE especially about how similar Davidoff's Cool Water is.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Eagle's Nest STEAKS!!!

Our outing to Eagle's Nest in Damansara Perdana. This is another official food crawl by Friedchillies and we got to sample A LOT of food (including a variety of soups, appetizers and steaks) for only RM45. Wow...

This is the steak with wine sauce and prawns...

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

An assortment of droolworthy BEEF! In the front is the green pepper sauce steak.

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

Americana with some button mushrooms.. yum!

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

The gang tucking in!

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Malaysian Fountain Pen Forum Doing Alright

I started the forum for fountain pen lovers and collectors a few days back HERE.

And we are getting a healthy hit rate daily as well as a decent amount of postings. Membership is slowly but surely growing...

So if you're a pen lover or want to learn more about pen collecting and are in Malaysia, Singapore or anywhere in South East Asia, please drop by OUR FORUM. You will be pleasantly surprised!

See you there!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Captain Picard Vs Scarlett Johannson

I couldn't help but laugh at this photo... good old Picard

On another note, here's an in-depth look at the extremely beauteous and uber hot Scarlett Johannson... click on the photos for the 'LARGE' versions...

Another Earth-shattering photo!

Monday, August 14, 2006

True Melaka Fishball!

Went back to Melaka over the weekend...

Dropped by a new restaurant in the heart of Melaka Raya called Asian Havana...

Food was ok but the decor was nice and the location is good... very relaxing. Give them a bit of time and I think they will get better.

Anyway I got to eat the much loved Malacca fishball and hehpiah (prawn crackers). In town, you will find several vendors, each selling these delicacies with their own taste. This one below is from my favourite one. He travels around town during lunchtime and the trick is to know his path so that you can find him during that time.

The fishball's texture is rough and it's very tasty... like an explosion of fish in the mouth. The dipping sauce is chili and also onion tim cheong (sweet sauce). The other items in the mix are prawn crackers, pork meat and water chestnut roll (a type of ngor hiong), yam ball (made from yam and flour), tofu and cucumber. Some of them also serve it with fried battered fish skin and there's another vendor who also sells it with chai pao. This portion you see is RM7.00 - enough for a light snack for 2-3 people on a lazy afternoon!

Friday, August 11, 2006

New Pen Forum - Fountain Pens SEA

After some discussion with my fellow pen lovers at the recent Pengallery launch, I decided to start a new pen related forum to cater to the needs of the local/regional pen lovers. It's still new but I hope it's the start of a great pen community as I believe we have much to share.

Most of the pen related fora on the internet are in the West and in Japan... so we definitely need something for us lovers here...

The forum can be reached at CLICK HERE TO GO TO FOUNTAIN PENS SEA!

Please spread the news and tell your friends about it. The link is also available on my blogroll on the left sidebar.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Painted Skies In Sunway

Most picturesque...

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Congrats Pengallery

The largest pen specialist shop in Malaysia re-opened in The Weld today after extensive renovations.

The first 2 pens are doorgifts to the occasion and the last one I bought because I have been eyeing the Lamy Vista.

Click on the photos for the full galleries...

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Blast From My Past Pt11 - Rotten Apples

I first got in touch with PCs back in 1983. A classmate had a Commodore VIC20 and we enjoyed many games on it. Loading a game was slow though as they were stored on cassette tapes). The VIC20 had only 3kB of RAM. My other experience with a Commodore was a C64 (with k4kB of RAM). It too had a lot of games on tape. I remember enjoying Scarabeaus and Hacker on it.

My first encounter with the Apple II came in the form of a rotten Apple II+. Fyi, rotten Apples are clone Apple PCs... much cheaper than their original counterparts. Our school computer labs had a few of them. I remember the first game I saw on the Apple II was a variant of Centipede. However my fondest memories of the Apple was playing (with them 5.25" single sided double density floppy disks) these games. Some of those I can remember are listed below

- Ultima
- Taipan (good joss!)
- Karateka
- Captain Goodnight
- Moebius
- Galactic Empire
- Return Of Heracles
- Lode Runner
- Conan
- Bard's Tale
- Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego
- Millionaire
- Aztec
- Burger Time
- Dig Dug
- Archon

The Apple II was an amazing machine. We could go code in machine language or Applesort BASIC (which was stored in the ROM of the machine). We could use LOGO or Fortran or Pascal. We could use CIA Tricky Dick to mess around with the machine language or even fix spoilt floppies (altering Ultima stats was cool). We could product perfect copies with Disc Muncher. With a sound card, we could have synthesized speech from text (our 128kB RAM with 80 column text Lingo machine had that). The floppy disk drive was robust as hell. If disks were problematic, we could force feed the disk drive. With the SSDD disks, we could cut a tab to use the other side of the disk (making them double sided). Verbatim and Maxell disks were the most expensive back then.

During the time when IBM PC clones where becoming popular, we saw the comings and goings of the Apple IIgs and IIc. I remember seeing my first Apple Mac with blue monochrome back in the mid 80s.

After all that, I look back at the Sinclair Spectrum ZX-81 (with 1kB of RAM) in wonder...

The Eye Of Sauron In KL

We have our very own Eye OF Sauron in KL thanks to the haze. Fuck you very much (to those responsible)!

This was shot at 8:00am today outside my window.

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

Friday, August 04, 2006

Malay Mail appearance!

Talking about our trip to Sarang Murai last weekend...

Here's an official report of it in the Malay Mail today :)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hotel Palafitte at Neuchatel

While my trip to Switzerland last year was one of the highlights of my life and memories of it lingers on, perhaps one of the fondest elements of that trip was my stay at the Hotel Palafitte in Neuchatel. I recently came across a photo tour of the place

And it definitely brought those fond memories...

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

Waking up at 6am in the morning to the sound of the lake's waves crashing onto the verandah just outside. The full hifi theatre system. The beautiful bathrooms. The wonderful cafe by the lake.

Of course the best thing was that my stay was paid for...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Greatest Looking Martial Artist Ever And His Brother

It's a hilarious title (quoted from LoveHKFilm) to this posting which is about Dragon Tiger Gate... LoveHKFilm has a balanced review.

Nevetheless, I really enjoyed the movie. Finally another CGI laden movie to match Storm Riders (the ones in between were not so good). You can virtually feel the testosterone oozing from the silver screen... check it out if you like nonestop action!

Asia Lantern Festival At Bukit Jalil

An interesting diversion over the weekend...

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

A Visit To Sarang Murai

I finally got to visit the legendary Sarang Murai at Hulu Langat last Sunday for lunch. The regular Friedchillies Food Crawlers totaled 24 people and we gingerly made our way through the traffic and the STEEP incline before arriving at the wonderfully quaint and tranquil settings of Sarang Murai.

Aunty Rosna is quite a character and definitely enjoyed sharing with us her wonderfully varied life stories. She also took the chance to practice French with friends of Songx who were on holiday in Malaysia.

Everyone soaked in the wet, cool and lazy Sunday afternoon and lingering thoughts of the spicy food we had...

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

Hannah Tan And Her Zenith

Revolution Magazine Interviews Hannah Tan

Check it out!