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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Raynox Super Macro Conversion Len DCR-250

I got a macro lens but it wasn't enough since we got 2 photo enthusiasts at home and 2 camera. Being a cheapskate, and not wanting to spend a bomb on another macro len for the other camera, I decided to look for something else that I can add on to a "normal" lens and I found the Raynox DCR-250 Macro Conversion Len.

There are 2 advantages to this. First it would cost me much less and secondly, if we go out, I can mount a zoom len on 1 camera and a macro lens on another and I am ready to take picture of close up and distance objects.

I bought it from MS Color. It cost $125.00 which was pretty decent compared to $800.00 to more than a thousand for a macro len.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Todai Restaurant

This is a mouth watering post. Be warned!

This is an offshoot of the popular Japanese restaurant. I have been to this place twice. So far, I like the food although it is somewhat predictable. Service is acceptable. Price is a bit steep but it comes with free flow of oysters, Alaskan crab, all sort of sushi and sashimi, Korean food, Italian food and of course Japanese food. Enough of words, let the pictures speak for itself.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nature Photography

If there is one thing I learnt the past few times that I tried to take pictures of creepy crawlies outdoor, it is that I got no patience. The damn thing is so difficult to do. Ever since I got hooked on taking these slimy things, I realised that taking such pictures is not simply a matter of locate the insect, point and shoot. 

First, there is a need to get the right equipment so that the insects can appear real big in the photo. With my previous kit lens of a standard 28mm - 55mm and another zoom of 55mm - 200mm, it was nearly impossible to take any nice picture. The best I could do was take one and then crop it which was a bit like cheating.

Next, even with the right gear, I need the subject to stay still and insects? how do they stay still? The grasshoppers and dragon flies are easier but the bugs, butterflies, those are a nightmare.

And if they do keep still, then its the wind blowing and blowing and a little bit of movement means my photo goes blur blur...

My friends said use tripod, monopod whatever but it is easier say then done especially when the insects are all over and most of them are not exactly in accessible view and need some contortion to get near.

Maybe I need to get somebody to teach me?

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I got a marco lens but with 2 of us in the house taking pictures, it wasn't enough and being a cheapskate, I got a cheap new toy to add on to the kit lens and hopefully get some good results. 

Following photos were all taken with the Nikon D60 + 55 - 200 mm kit len

200mm Aperture Priority
80mm + Raynox Super Macro Conversion Lens Manual

Friday, February 17, 2012

Spa Infinity

Photo from
Spent a painful yet shiok hour at the Spa Infinity this afternoon. This is my fourth visit there - a record since I made it a point never to go to the same place. Why need to when there are so many places to choose from? And all at dirt cheap prices. Previously, other than overseas trips, I restricted my visit to local spa to those that I can buy cheaply off the net through those coupon deals. And with that, I have visited the whole range from small little outlet to posh places and all at a fraction of the listed prices. Which is why I don't understand people who pays thousand of dollars for spa packages only to find it closed down one day, until I went to Spa Infinity.

First impression wasn't that great though. Although it was located right smack in busy Orchard Rd, it was housed in a dingy run down building. Worse, to get to the spa, one had to make their way down to basement 2 via a flight of staircase, and then exit the building proper via a wooden door which leads into the carpark! And across the doorway was the entrance to Spa Infinity. Not a very welcoming walk to what was to follows.

The 2 hot and cold pools
However, once you step into the spa, you are transformed to a totally different way. The reception is not unlike any other spa but the difference ends there. Unlike the other average spa which brings you straight to the treatment room, thrust a disposable underwear at you and you change there, at Spa Infinity, you get a key to a locker which is inside the changing room cum toilet. And what a changing room! I have not been to any real atas spas yet so I can't compare but against similar price establishment this was like Wow! There were shower rooms, toilets, a steam room, a sauna, a cold pond and a hot jacuzzi. And there was a whole range of toiletries on the long counter together with razor, comb, cotton bud, hair dryer...... And no disposable underwear. The guys get to wear boxers under the robe that is provided. Visitors are free to use all the facilities in the changing room before or after the treatment.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Those Idiotic Cyclists

One of the most common grouse of cyclists is that motorists "bully" them on the road. As a result, most of them, that is, the cyclists prefer to cycle on the pavement rather than the road. And while I don't like it, I grudgingly accept that this is necessary because it is really true that it is very dangerous for them on the road.

Conversely, one of the most common grouse of pedestrians is that cyclists "bully" them on the roads. And this I agree wholeheartedly and I boiled whenever I hear the loud jangling of a bicycle bell coming up behind me as it forces everybody in its way to give way. Hands up, those who have been forced by cyclists to move on to the grass verge to allow a cyclist to pass.

Many people including the gahmen urges everybody to share the walkway notwithstanding that it is illegal for cyclists to cycle on the pavement. And as mentioned earlier, for their own safety, I do accept that there is not much choice. But what makes me bladdy angry is that while the pedestrians have to accept the arrangement, the cyclists have now become the bane of us pedestrians. They have become the "motorist" that they want to avoid on the road! Just look at the way most of them cycle. Fast and weaving in and out without any regards for the pedestrians. And woe behold any persons who blocks their way. The fucking bicycle bell can be heard a mile away as they ring away forcing unsuspecting pedestrians to jump out of the way. And they are not apologetic about it at all.

Take what happened to me last Friday evening. 

I was running around the park connector part of which led me on to the pavement crossing over the Sungei Tampines. As I ran, a cyclist suddenly came right into my path. There was a small rise on the road leading up to the bridge over the river and we both didn't see each other until we were almost upon each other. Both of us came to a  stop otherwise we will hit each other. Naturally, I had no choice but to move aside but in the process I glared at the cyclist. The cyclist stared back and demanded "Why you run in the middle?". I was dumbstrucked. If I was running in the middle and he almost knocked me down, that means he was also cycling in the middle. So I told him off telling him he shouldn't be cycling on the pavement. His retort was that everybody was doing it so why can't he. I told him it is illegal and guessed what, he challenged me to call the police! Now if I had my phone with me, I would surely have done that but I did not. What I would have love to do was to push him off his fucking bicycle and throw it into the river. But if I did not, I would be guilty of aggravated assault and he would have the satisfaction of having the law on his side despite him being in the wrong in the first place. So after a few more heated exchanges, we went our ways.

Like I said, I am all for sharing the pavement if it means fewer accidents but until the cyclists learn not to take this as a right and treat pedestrians with respect and courtesy, I think they should go back on to the road. But I know this is not going to happen since the authorities are not doing anything and the cyclists will continue with their blatant behaviour. But I really hope the gahmen will do something or are they going to wait until some children or senior citizen is killed by one of these cyclists before they take actions!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Huat Kee Teochew Restaurant

As a typical Teochew uncle, I have always like Teochew food but most time was too stingy to eat at the nice expensive place. But due to the generosity of the company, I managed to go to one of the big 4 of the Teochew restaurant for dinner. Most time that I was there previously, I was an invited guest and cannot snap  any picture but this time round, it was me and some colleagues, a rather informal affair and so I happily snap away.

Since it was the Chinese New Year period, of course we had the Yu Sheng. Actually, I felt a little bit cheated. Prior to the dinner, we had checked out the restaurant web site and decided on the food we want. But when we reach the place, we were told only the special CNY menu was available and so we had no choice but to go along.

Yu Sheng is not my favourite food so I shall not say much about this dish which is currently generating a lot of heated discussions both side of the Causeway on its origin.

Typical of any Chinese restaurant, is the controversial but must have shark fin. As usual, the standard of the broth here cannot be faulted. And yes, though I believe in the shark's cause which has been generating even more heated debate world wide, I still took a bowl. More of what I think  of the great Shark divide in another post another day.

My favourite Teochew food, the fish. This is a typical Teochew speciality. A White promfret steamed to perfection with sweet crystal clear soup.

Next up was the roast pork, sea cucumber and leek dish. I am not a fan of sea cucumber but I absolutely loves the roast pork. But true be told, I find it rather ordinary.

Another trademark of Teochew food. Fresh steam prawn with ginger garnishing.

Next we have the "Teochew Char Kway Teow" which is unlike the black fried version available at the cooked food centre. This one comes with plenty of chye poh and colorful vegetables. Great but the portion after splitting it up for the 9 of us was too little.

And finally my must have dessert, the Or Nee and this I think is their must dish. For the CNY period, it comes with a pumpkin mash into it. Again, the portion was too little although I had 2 bowls in the end courtesy of a colleague who didn't like Or Nee.

Food was great as usual at Huat Kee but a tad expensive. The set menu for 8 cost $368++ but there was 9 of us so the restaurant charged us another $36,80. However, we didn't see any additional portion of food but since it was the CNY period, we didn't want to make any big fuss.

Was the food really that great? I have not been here for a long long time but I think the standard has drop a bit. Nevertheless, although pricey, it is still worth a eat especially if there is a good occasion to celebrate.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Black Angus Steakhouse

Another post on food. Bear with me. After all, this is the festive season and I have been eating and eating. But only the good or unique food get to be admitted to my blog post of fame or infamy for those who serve only mediocre food and yet claim to be good.

This time we were at Black Angus Steakhouse at Tanglin Road. The review of this place on Hungry Go Where wasn't that good though and I was a bit hesitant about going there but since none of us have been there before, we decided to give it a try anyway.

The most noticeable thing about the place was the excellent service rendered by this waitress, a lady who is in her fifties. She was so cheerful and friendly. Just because of her alone, I was prepared to put up with any bad food, if there was.

Each of us ordered a different dish. M has one of the grill combo which comes with a piece of prime rib and barbecue prawns.

The Princess had a normal piece of steak.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Johore Bahru Bak Kut Teh in Singapore!

Was out running and came across this place that proudly proclaims it sells Johor Bahru Bak Kut Teh. So that got me all curious. Was it going to be as good as those in the real JB or a dud like the Johor Bahru Bao? So  to satisfy my curiosity, we went down one evening to try out the food. The place was packed but a look at the tables revealed that most people were eating the zhi-char items rather than the bak kut teh. In particular, every other table was having the curry fish head. 

 Like any typical Malaysian stall, there is a cooking counter where the various items for the bak kut teh is cooked. Very "china" right?

But we were there for the bak kut teh and so will leave the fish head for another day.