Monday, May 26, 2008

Grolsch Product Shoot

Last Saturday, I spent 12hrs in a studio shooting nothing but B-E-E-R! It was all kinds of macro shots of the bottle, the label, the embossing, the super-chilled sweaty "condensation drops" (that was just spritzed water). This included all kinds of pouring shots - more foam, less foam, more bubbles, less bubbles, more golden colour, less swirls, more viscosity... and the more appetizing and delicious the beer looked, the less edible it actually was (coz of all the chemicals mixed into it to create the particular effect).

As you can imagine, trying to get the lighting and timing right what with all the reflections in the glass and bottles or trying to get the bottlecaps falling at the right place, etc. was a S.L.O.W. and painful process. It was literally like watching paint dry.

Here's a shot of the popping beer bottle that was shot in real time (the whole thing was over in 2sec):

Here's the same 2sec shot that was actually shot in slow motion (high speed) played back at 900 frames per second:

And here's an extreme close-up of the bottle cap popping, also at 900fps:

All shot on a Hi-Def Weisscam camera which doesn't actually record onto tape - everything's recorded on a hard drive and you only render out the shots that you want. This baby is so hi-tech, it even comes with its own technician. Yes, a camera technician who travels with it and operates it completely separately from the DOP (the Director of Photography - in lay man's terms, also the 'cameraman'). It's hooked up to its own computer system which the engineer operates, while the DOP carries on doing his thing framing and lighting the shots... it was pretty geeky-cool to watch this relatively new technology in action!

More photos from the shoot in the album here:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cat in a fancy collar

My dad sent me this picture today of my cat back home. He's been licking himself bald for some reason, so they've had to put a Victorian trumpet collar on him. Cute!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Brrrr! Winter's here!

Just a week ago, it was warm and bright and sunny where even bergies could fall asleep by the beach half naked.

A week later, winter's properly hit Cape Town and all I'm craving is soup. Made a Barley & Lentil soup yesterday (yes, still lacto-vegan and going strong). Yum!

...and a Veggie Thai Red Curry today. It was absolutely dee-lish, but unfortunately I can't claim credit for it. Once again, it's Woolworths to the rescue with their vegan red curry in a can (with bamboo shoots & corn premixed) - just boil and add whatever else you want in it. Today, it's brussel sprouts and mange tout peas with brown rice and leftover couscous. :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tuscany moves to Johannesburg

I had to go to Johannesburg again this week for work. The thing about travelling locally for work is that there's absolutely ZERO glamour involved.

Domestic flights are pretty much glorified bus rides except travel time is much longer - it takes you 1 hour to get from home to the airport; you sit and wait for an hour to board the flight; the flight itself takes 2 hours; and getting to your destination in Johannesburg pretty much takes you another 1 hour (and if the traffic lights are out because of Eskom's infamous LOAD SHEDDING... forget it - it'll take you up to 3 hours to get anywhere). This means one-way travel time is anywhere from 5 - 8 hours.

Then you get to the client's office, sit for a meeting anywhere from 1 - 3 hours and then it's time to head back to the airport again to make that long journey home. Yes, all this happens in ONE day. Suffice to say that any day trip to Jo'burg basically means starting your day at 3.30am when your alarm clock in Cape Town goes off, and ends at midnight when you finally unlock your front door to get home in Cape Town again.

If you end up having to stay the night, company policy dictates you stay in the Protea (3-4 star hotel. aka not bad, I've stayed at worse) or Garden Court (2 or 3-star motel. aka this really sucks, almost the worst). The thing about me is I HAVE TO STAY IN A NICE HOTEL!!!!

Having been used to working on regional jobs around Asia where nice hotels are dirt-cheap and a dime-a-dozen, it took a while getting used to hotels/ motels that used horrible felt blankets under a flat sheet instead of down feather quilts (y'know, the kind of felt blankets they hang up at Chinese funeral wakes); where shower curtains are used instead of glass shower doors (I check for mould on those curtains and won't let any part of my body touch it); and where they only give you a bar of soap instead of body gel (Jo'burg's dry enough already and they want me to use SOAP?!)

So when I had to spend the last 4 days in Jo'burg at an offline edit, I was stressing over which crappy little place to stay at when someone suggested a guest house (aka B&B) instead. My life has changed and I'm never turning back from the Guest House again!

People always joke that Johannesburg's architecture is full of bad taste - the nouveau riche move in and build huge homes complete with marble arches and columns (Hey! Sounds just like Singapore!) ...except they seem to have a penchant for Tuscan architecture and nowhere is that more apparent than in the suburb of Bryanston. To the point where our guest house was actually called "Little Tuscany".

At half the price of the crappy Garden Court, with rooms that are TRIPLE the size of the crappy Garden Court - Little Tuscany wins, hands down. Plus, they even had an overweight Golden Retriever and affection-junkie Daschund on hand to greet you at breakfast.

I like that they also had those oldskool milk packets in the triangular shape - the kind you used to get as part of the school milk program back in the day. Except these packs were shrunken-down, mini triangles, enough to add to 1 cup of coffee only.

The only thing that really bugs me about being in Jozi is the constant security issue that keeps niggling at the back of your head, which isn't helped by seeing signs on the back of your room door like this:

...are they only talking about the pool, or am I just being a paranoid Singaporean?

Whatever it is, security there's pretty tight (but that's life in Johannesburg for you - everything happens behind high walls and electrified fences)... as long as within those walls everything's as rosey as this, it kind of makes staying in Jo'burg a wee bit nicer.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Only in Africa Part 5: Please try throwing your trash?

For a Singaporean super-used to having trash cans every 10 metres or so down any public street and having been ingrained by the government since childhood that these have to be used (or else "Fine $500"!), it was odd to come to a country where there was hardly a bin in sight to throw stuff away.

You end up having to carry your trash with you until you find a bin miles away, or just keep your snotty tissues in your pocket till you get home (and then forget about it till its gone in the laundry with your trousers only to have it come out as little powdery bits. YUCKS!)

The one trash can I finally found ended up being a "trial" bin. Vive l'Afrique! What happens after the trial ends? What if people reject the "trial" bin? ...Maybe it's a trial in case of the same reason here: Thailand Terrorist

Are terrorists creating an unhygienic world?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Only in Africa Part 4: Laundromat on the rocks

Took a short stroll home after brunch on the Sea Point Promenade. This is just up the street from where we live. Apart from the regular people walking their dogs and kids on the beach, check this Bergie* at his regular laundromat by the seaside. He's literally having a snooze on the rocks while his clothes dry in the sun.

*Bergie = Afrikaans word for homeless person, pronounced "bear-hee".

Friday, May 2, 2008

Rabbit Food

I've been vegetarian for 1 month and 1 week now - absolutely no meat and no fish. Was trying to go completely vegan, but cutting out dairy is exceptionally difficult. Can't go without cake and biscuits! I won't eat eggs that look like eggs... ie., not if it's an omelette, sunny-side up, fried in noodles, etc. But if it doesn't look like eggs per se but is mixed into stuff that doesn't taste like egg, eg. cake and biscuits, IT'S ALL GOOOOOOOOD. Pass the cake and biscuits.

So trying to find protein alternatives has been quite an experiment - lots of soy milk, nuts & beans (pooot!) (Just kidding, I don't fart. Really.) ...and came across this vegetarian meat alternative here by Fry's. They've got everything from burgers to sausages to mince to stir-fry strips (?) all made from Soy and mashed up with... er good stuff. This stuff rocks, it actually tastes like SPAM! (aka "luncheon meat")... y'know, that horrible mashed up yuck of pork bits that's bad for you but tastes oh-so-good. And the same tasting stuff here is actually available for VEGETARIANS!

Our freezer is now loaded with the stuff, although whatever shape it comes in, it all tastes the same. Time to discover the next meat alternative...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Gaye's ** Birthday Party

Welcome to the official first post on the new site! I'm thankful to be rid of Windows Live Spaces. :p

Monday was Gaye's big ** Birthday bash (** = the unmentionable number) and she invited 20 of her friends for dinner at Tarragon restaurant.

It started off rather civilized, with most of the (old) folks in their **'s (Gaye and her friends are going to kill me now). But then of course everyone got drunker, and someone discovered the most random thing in the ladies' loo - one of those made-in-Japan remote-controlled toilets, complete with buttons for "posterior wash", "feminine wash", "dryer" and the most disconcerting option - "enema wash".

A semi-sober Kiki decided to pull her pants down and try out all options (except "enema wash") in front of the rest of us, while Mandi was filming the entire experience on her trusty Olympus. I was laughing so hard I forgot where my camera was (damn, those pix would've been funny).

By the end of the night, people were falling over themselves and crawling on the floors (literally), and a jolly good time was had by all. Good to know life's still fun after 21.

Happy Birthday Gaye! Click on slideshow below to view full album.

Skippetty Street is moving!

*Click on title to view original post from Windows Live Spaces*

Please point your RSS/ Atom feeds and bookmarks to my new link on as follows:

This is officially my last blog post on this Windows Live Spaces site. I've grown fed up of the unintuitive user interface, the messiness of layouts, the lack of customizing options, the banner ads on top, and the list goes on and on... I won't shut down this site and all old posts will still be available here, and an abridged version of these old posts are also available on the new Blogger site.

Aside from a brand new look on Blogger, there are so many new (easier) ways to get things blogged - and you can also subscribe to email updates so I no longer have to send out those long-winded emails (plus, it's a Google company and Google's cooler than Windows).

Moving onwards and upwards! See you on the other side.
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