Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kindle and Me

I've thought of getting a Kindle when I first saw it on Oprah. It was one of her favorite tool for reading and she recommended it so highly. But since Kindle is black and white, and I'm a child of the smartphone and tablet era, I thought a tablet would made more sense. So I got a HTC Flyer instead to read my ebooks. But the glare kinda hurts my eye and most of the time I can't read more than an hour or so. So Kindle was always at the back of my mind.

I seek some advice from my brother, and he say he has an old Kindle he could lend me for a trial run. I agreed to swap with him my HTC Flyer to try out a Kindle to see if I could get used to it before I make a purchase. I have no idea how much one would cost at that point. Well, we didn't swap. He said he has no use for his Kindle, so I got to inherit it instead. Winner!
I didn't really use it at first cause it was loaded with Buddhist books and it was boring me to death just reading a chapter of it. But I suddenly have to read a Murakami book title "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle", and I had to get a copy of it from the library. The book was so good I was hooked. I needed to read all his books! And what better way to read it then with a Kindle!
So the Kindle got a revamp loaded with Murakami, and went through a baptism to get its name right. And I haven't looked back since! I've been averaging about one books per week! And once the reading habit started, I read books from my Kindle (majority), my tablet (sometimes), and even physical books! Here's my impressive reading list from July 2013 onwards till September 2013 (2 months):

  1. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle  by Haruki Murakami via book
  2.  Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami via Kindle
  3. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami via Kindle
  4. Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres via Kindle
  5. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami via Kindle
  6. The Mind and the Way: Buddhist Reflections on Life by Ajahn Sumedho via book
  7. Two Lipsticks and a Lover by Helena Frith Powell via book
  8. Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes via tablet
  9. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis via Kindle

Still have more Murakami to go, and planning to read Game of Thrones series as well, and a whole lot of French authored books! Btw, I'm using Kindle 4th Gen. If you love to read, I highly recommend you get a Kindle, I am totally in love with it! It's light, and the battery life is amazing! In two months, I've only charged it once. Plus with a Kindle, you save space, you save trees, and you save your eyeballs from burning out.

HTC Flyer

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Flower Power

A few weeks ago, life was rather unbearable, what with endless work and endless stress in the office. Weekend was a welcome change to me, but my house was always in a mess as I couldn't find the time to keep things tidy and clean. One day, fed up with the dump hole I was staying in, I decided to buy some flowers to cheer up my home. These are the first flowers I ever really bough for my home. It cheered me up instantly! Each stalk cost around SGD0.80 to SGD0.90 with the white back drop costing SGD3.00 but reusable if you keep them well. 

With just this small change, something interesting happened. I started cleaning my house on a weekly basis. Usually after I placed the flowers on my dining table, I would have the urge to clean the whole house. The fact that I love my floor cleaner helps tremendously. It's an environment friendly cleaner and the most expensive soap I ever bough for my home at around SGD7.15 for a 800ml container only available so far in NTUC. I love it cause it smells like Orchard ION where the big water feature that smells like soap is. You can say I'm kinda addicted to it :)

The following week, more flowers! And the house is now sparkling clean! I've also been exercising more and eating slightly healthier. The exercising could be due to my inspiration read of Murakami's memoir "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running", and combine with "Two Lipsticks and a Lover" and "Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It". Better stop before this turns into a book review entry! I'll write more on how I suddenly started reading again. Stay tune!

Orchard ION
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Two Lipsticks and a Lover
Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My CBTL Coffee Machine

A few years back, I had the most delightful macchiato at a place call Esmirada and fell in love with it. Coffee never have been a big part of my life before. As a child, we were not allowed to consume coffee as my parent consider it a drug and bad for kids. I grew up not drinking coffee and was always a social coffee drinker as an adult. But I've always love the smell of freshly brewed coffee! And I love espresso, I love the smell, the taste, and the way it's serve. And macchiato to me is such a small joy that I thought I'd like to be able to enjoy it as and when.
So in 2012 I started seriously consider purchasing an espresso machine for home use. Consuming shots of espresso outside was a pain to my pocket. It was only in April 2013 that I finally purchased one from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Initially we wanted to get a cheaper contata model selling at SGD199 which was our budget. But there was a trade-in promotion on where if you trade in a used coffee machine, they will give you SGD100 credit for your new purchase. The staff at the shop told us we can purchase a second hand machine for less than SGD10 at Cash Converter and bring it in. So we did, and we got ourselves an americano machine retailing at SGD299, but with the discount cost us SGD199 instead.
A start-up kit of 12 assorted capsules came with the new set, and we bough a further 2 tubes of espresso at SGD9.10 each to go with it as my goal was to use it solely for espresso. Well we just did a refill of 2 more tubes a week ago. We don't really drink it every weekend, it's just when I need a pick-me-up and feel like I need some home luxury I'll make myself a cup of espresso, usually black and without sugar. Occasionally I add some milk to make a macchiato. Now I don't frequent any coffee chain any more except if I can help it.
I've also tried a recipe for nutella coffee which taste like a mocha, but I stopped after two tries as the chocolate doesn't seems to melt as I would expected. What with palm oil being one of the ingredient in nutella, I decided to stop making it after that. Which reminds me, I need to try it one day with some milo instead....hmmmm.

Anyway, it has been a good buy. My cost of espresso from SGD2.50 cheapest have fallen to just SGD0.90 per shot now and I'm loving it! Besides, as I age, I read that coffee can help fight alzheimer. So I'm also treating this as a kind of health supplement to keep my brains working.

Btw, I got my adorable espresso cups from Jusco at Port Klang while I was there on my annual Cruise in 2013, half a dozen for less than SGD10!

Cash Converter
CBTL Espresso Machine
One of the many articles on Coffee and Alzheimer