Cappuccino Shoes

I noticed this guy and liked how well put together, yet still comfortably casual he looks. I’m normally running around in t-shirt and jeans or cargo bermudas. This outfit he’s wearing looks good and something I can see myself in the next time I feel like putting in a bit more effort.

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The jeans would have to be looser than that, though. I don’t have his slender build so I can’t carry off that skinny jeans look, but even if I can I wouldn’t want too. Actually the fit here looks okay, unlike some skinny jeans I’ve seen that look like they’re really strangling the legs and balls of the wearer. The fit here looks comfy for this guy. But personally I just prefer something roomier.

And while cuffed hems like that are still trendy and I admit they look creative and fun, personally it’s just still not my thing.

But I do like his colour coordination especially that lovely green of his shirt, and how nicely and neatly his sleeves are rolled up.

And I really like his messenger bag, nicely classic and a tad rugged, in materials like leather and canvas. I’m glad it’s not a tote bag, which I still see on some trendy guys. I’ve always thought that men don’t look good carrying tote bags. I don’t care how accepted they are for men. Heck, even for young women I don’t think they look good. There is just something about those huge bags that says ‘auntie‘ to me. Aunties who are sensible and feel the need to carry a lot of stuff in their bags, like umbrellas, water bottles, maybe fruit and a sandwich, Tiger Balm or Vicks VapoRub or some other rubbing oils for headaches and joint pain, sweets and other candy for coughs or sore throat or to give as a treat to grandkids or neighbour’s kids. All those things and then some. And maybe to have extra room to squeeze in even more stuff like groceries should they decide to stop at the stores.

Saving the best for last… those shoes he’s wearing. I think they are what that brings a sparkle to his outfit. And not just because they look clean and well shined.

I love them. I want them.DSCN2373_shoes

I don’t believe I’ve ever bought shoes in that particular brown, which there and then I decided to call ‘cappuccino’. I don’t need new shoes possibly for some years, because the pairs I have are all in good condition. But the next pair I buy shall be in that style and colour.

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They’re called wing tips or something. Image from the tumblr site The Dapper Gentleman, first seen via The Sharp Taste. Click image to go to the latter.

Related:

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Day 24 of ‘100 Happy Days‘.

Happy meter: wistfully admiring beautiful shoes.

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Hamed Sinno

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Image from Raynbow Blog. Click to go there.

Hamed Sinno is the 25-year-old Lebanese lead singer of the Beirut-based band Mashrou’ Leila. Openly gay and goodlooking, Hamed is a charismatic singer whose handsome face and moustache have gotten him compared to the late great Freddie Mercury. Sex appeal-wise, I think Hamed is also touched with an elfin quality which renders him not just sexy but cute too.

His voice is incredibly sexy and is perfect for the songs he and the rest of his band produce. I just came across them recently and have not heard all their songs yet, but the ones I’ve heard so far are dreamily sensuous and touching. Like this one in the video below, Imm El Jacket إم الجاكيت (The Girl with the Jacket). Click here for a translation of the lyrics.

Noha El-Khatib wrote in an interview article for Discord Magazine that he first met Hamed in 2006 when the singer was a freshman at the American University of Beirut. He described Hamed as:

…an intellectually rebellious art student whose presence never went unnoticed, thanks to his ostentatious jokes, inappropriately sharp commentary, and beautiful voice that fetched many admirers before he even performed in public. Sometimes his impromptu lyrics were about sour or taboo topics like child molestation, homosexuality, and violence. Being exposed to his bluntness and volume, however, convinced most of the onlookers to think that he was confident, sexually ambiguous, outgoing, and unfazed by social expectations. Most of that was not true. He was shy, apologetic, struggling through social turbulence, and anxious for knowledge and peace of mind.

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From the tumblr blog mashrou3leilafans. Click to go there.

Related:

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From the tumblr blog mashrou3leilafans. Click to go there.

Jack Andraka

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Image from the tumblr blog Faith In Humanity Restored. Click to go there.

Reading about 16-year-old American Jack Andraka, the scientist who developed an early-detection test for pancreatic cancer, and what he has achieved through curiosity, determination and hard work is powerful stuff. I first came to know about him from the Facebook page of Pink Dot SG a few days ago, when I read about him being honoured by the Pope with an award in Rome. The International Giuseppe Sciacca Award, which is given to young adults the Vatican considers to be positive role models.

A few years ago when Jack was 13, a close family friend passed away from pancreatic cancer, and Jack felt compelled to learn more about the disease. He went online to find answers, and was shocked to learn that over 85% of pancreatic cancer patients were diagnosed late, and that the current tests used for this are terribly outdated and more than 60 years old. Not to mention prohibitively expensive at US$800 per test, and inaccurate, missing 30% of all pancreatic cancer.

If I watch only one video a year, that’s fine as long it has the same significance of Jack’s TED talk below. I felt impressed and hopeful for the future, yes, if more young people are like him. But also scared and angry about the current state of testing for pancreatic cancer. If people in so-called First World countries who have the means to pay for their medical tests and treatments can still be so screwed, what hope is there for the rest of us?

The Advocate.com article also mentioned that Jack is “in negotiations with a couple of biotech firms to refine and market the test, which would likely be available to the public in five to 10 years.” I hope that it will still be affordable and accessible to everyone by the time it does reach the market.

From his bio page at Ted.com:

After Andraka’s proposal to build and test his idea for a pancreatic cancer detector was rejected from 199 labs, the teen landed at Johns Hopkins. There, he built his device using inexpensive strips of filter paper, carbon nanotubes and antibodies sensitive to mesothelin, a protein found in high levels in people with pancreatic cancer. When dipped in blood or urine, the mesothelin adheres to these antibodies and is detectable by predictable changes in the nanotubes’ electrical conductivity.

In preliminary tests, Andraka’s invention has shown 100 percent accuracy. It also finds cancers earlier than current methods, costs a mere 3 cents and earned the high schooler the 2012 Intel Science Fair grand prize.

And according to Wikipedia:

Jack has been openly gay since he was 13,and discussed that in interviews with The New Civil Rights Movement,the London Evening Standard,and Washington’s MetroWeekly,among others. When asked to be interviewed about his sexual orientation, Jack responded, “That sounds awesome! I’m openly gay and one of my biggest hopes is that I can help inspire other LGBT youth to get involved in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics]. I didn’t have many [gay] role models [in science] besides Alan Turing.”

Related:

Thug Notes. Summary and Analysis of Classic Literature.

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Image from sektumsempra.tumbr.com. Click to go there.

I absolutely love the Thug Notes video series which I was introduced to by Tastefully Offensive. Here’s the latest, for Macbeth, which I first read and loved a quarter of a century ago in school.

The first time I saw Sparky Sweets, PhD, I think it was the video for Moby Dick. My laugh at the novelty of a thug-like guy explaining classic literature quickly died down and turned to rapt attention as I realised he was really sharing a serious summary of the book, albeit in a non-classical way.

His videos serve as such a fascinating and fun introduction to many titles in classic literature. For anyone, not just students. Certainly did for me. Unless of course one is worried for spoilers. Personally I don’t care because I don’t usually remember them by the time I pick up the book. So yeah, I’m interested in tackling Moby Dick sometime. I used to think of it as “Eww, some guys going whale hunting? Sounds boring.” Sparky drummed up my interest real good and made it something I’d want to pick up and read.

Related:

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Image from sektumsempra.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

Manly hobbies for men

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Image from The Meta Picture. Click to go there. First seen via Pinterest of Ms. Tracy McDonald.

Manly hobbies as listed by Mr. Brian Cornwell in nextluxury.com. Seventy-five of them, to boot. For an interesting list called ‘Top 75 Best Manly Hobbies for Men‘, which I first came to know of via Gaybros.

I have to say I like lists; they can be funny and entertaining. Buzzfeed has a lot of fun ones. Some if not most are obviously not meant to be taken seriously, but I think I came across some thought-provoking ones as well.

Lists with a ‘best’ or ‘worst’ in their titles like this Manly Hobbies one, I take with a pinch of salt. But I have to say I like this one, for a few reasons. Firstly I’m impressed with how comprehensive it is (not ten or twenty but seventy-five hobbies!), and secondly it includes some stuff that’s not conventionally considered masculine, like fashion design, dancing and thrifting. Third, it has some unexpected and fascinating-sounding suggestions. Knife making, anyone? Uhmm, gold panning?

I guess the title is not meant to be taken seriously, it’s there just to attract eyeballs. It certainly did mine. The list is about suggesting activities for guys who are considering to engage in new stuff, and in that regard I think the writer did a great job.

Below is the full list. I’ve gone through it and checked how I can relate to it.

  1. Cooking and Grilling 
  2. Homebrewing Beer
  3. Skiing and Snowboarding
  4. Leatherworking
  5. Chess
  6. Rocketry
  7. Investing
  8. Lockpicking
  9. Archery
  10. Thrifting (does getting brand new junk at 2-dollar shop Daiso count? hah)
  11. Tattooing
  12. Bodybuilding (working out in general)
  13. Rock Sports
  14. Classic Car Restoration
  15. Traditional Sports (e.g. rugby, soccer, baseball, basketball, etc.)
  16. Magic
  17. Paintball
  18. Electronic Models
  19. Survival
  20. Cycling and Mountain Biking
  21. Photography
  22. Reading
  23. Martial Arts
  24. Skateboarding and BMX
  25. Geocaching
  26. Knife Making
  27. Landscaping
  28. Sculpting Stone
  29. Wet Shaving
  30. Electronic Music Producing
  31. Writing
  32. Darts
  33. Sailing and Canoeing
  34. Flying
  35. Rock and Mineral Collecting
  36. Drawing and Painting
  37. Digital Design and Coding
  38. Astronomy
  39. Scotch Tasting
  40. Billards
  41. Fantasy Sports
  42. Rebuilding Motorcycles
  43. Gold Panning
  44. Fencing
  45. Volunteering
  46. Poker and Cards
  47. Guitar
  48. Golfing
  49. Coaching and Mentoring
  50. Meditation and Yoga
  51. Fishing
  52. Traveling
  53. Auto Racing
  54. Fishkeeping
  55. Surfing
  56. Bowling
  57. Interior design
  58. Currency Collecting
  59. Foreign Languages
  60. Whittling
  61. Genealogy
  62. Cigar Enthusiast
  63. Wine Tasting
  64. Movie Watching
  65. Gardening
  66. Fashion Design
  67. Snorkeling
  68. Dancing
  69. Boxing
  70. Watchmaking
  71. Woodworking
  72. Internet Marketing
  73. Metalworking
  74. Camping
  75. Model Crafting

Green: Done, either as things I still do as hobbies, or used to do, or at least have tried/sampled doing.

Blue: Interesting ideas, or stuff that had crossed my mind before. Would love to try someday, time permitting.

Red: No. Just no interest.

Purple: No. Sounds a teeny weeny bit interesting, but no resources or not applicable. Or it requires buying too many new stuff. For some years I’ve been cutting down buying things instead of acquiring new unnecessary things, because 1. to save money; 2. my residence is small, and 3. for the environment (less stuff bought equals less packaging thrown out and less used broken stuff thrown out.)

Drake Jensen

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Drake Jensen’s latest album. Image from his website. Click to go there.

I knew checking out that Reddit for the young’uns would shimmy up a golden nugget or ten. I don’t participate or subscribe in the first place because really I think it’s a place for young men like in their early twenties to discuss stuff, but it’s now one of the interesting places to check out gay-related stuff.

Thanks to them one of the things I have now discovered is Canadian country music singer Drake Jensen. A link by redditor lordyjordy led me to an article about how new singer Steve Grand shouldn’t be called the first openly gay male country singer, and it mentioned Drake, and I was quickly onto his videos on YouTube. Great stuff.

I don’t listen to country much, there is very little in my iTunes. I would say my first encounter was early k.d. lang, starting with Angel with a Lariat and the classic Shadowland, an amazing album, a masterpiece really, that I think I’ll put on again right after writing this. Along with Chris Isaak, a long-time favourite, his music colours the landscapes of my life over the years till now.

Then there were some other artists I came across when they had songs that made it to pop radio like LeAnn Rimes and Sheryl Crow, whose greatest hits album is an absolute joy. I need to play that too later. And oh, not forgetting Loretta Lynn and her Jack White-produced Van Lear Rose. That’s another amazing album I love. Yup, that’s it. There might be other country or country-esque stuff in my collection I just don’t recall now.

I can’t begin to describe how much I adore the following version of Stand by your man. I was introduced to the song watching the closing scene of The Crying Game at the movies.

Related:

Vincent Wijeysingha

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Image by Wikipedia user ‘Jacklee’. Click to go to source.

Vincent Wijeysingha became Singapore’s first openly gay politician, when he came out on his Facebook last Friday the 28th. I read this on Yahoo! News Singapore the following day. According to the article by Shah Salimat, Vincent wrote:

“…yes, I am going to Pink Dot tomorrow. And yes, I am gay.”

Writing about him here, I want to include the link to that declaration, but I can’t seem to find it. Anyway, the link to his Facebook is here.

Oh wow, we now have an openly gay politician. How amazing is that? This is huge. Needless to say (but saying it anyway), it is incredibly brave of him to do so. He has so much to lose, so much more hardship and obstacles now to face as a consequence, but he did it anyway. Major balls. I hope his family, friends, colleagues, and everyone else who know him personally especially, all rally round him and give him further strength and motivation.

To be honest I don’t really follow politics. Before this, if you had shown me a picture of him, I would recognize him as one of the opposition guys running in the last election in 2011, but I wouldn’t remember his name. Now, yeah, I even know how to spell it. And even marvel that his name has ‘singha‘ in the end. That means ‘lion‘, as in part of ‘lion city‘, ‘Singapura‘, the very name of the country he loves and serves! Too cool, right?

And to add to that, I even start to look more closely at him and think… hmmm, he’s actually goodlooking. (The above picture doesn’t do him justice. He has a sweet attractive smile in some of the other pictures I saw.) Yes, I’m superficial like that sometimes. *shrugs*

Some stuff I learnt about him from Wiki and his Facebook:

  • Dr. Vincent Wijeysingha (born 1970) is a politician and civil activist from Singapore.
  • He studied at Victoria School in Singapore, then headed to the United Kingdom and studied at the University of Lincoln, earning his PhD in social policy at the University of Sheffield. He lived in England for almost 16 years before moving back to Singapore.
  • He is currently the Treasurer of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and a member of its Central Executive Committee. He also heads its Communications Unit.
  • Dr Wijeysingha has stated that he joined the SDP because he realised he had a responsibility as a Singaporean to work for change, saying that: “I cannot look the other way as more and more people experience the adverse effects of current PAP policies.”[*]
  • He was previously Executive Director of Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2), a non-government organization advocating the rights of low-waged migrant workers.
  • He also lectures and publishes scholarly papers on social work.
  • Currently he teaches social work at SIM University.

Related articles:

James Gandolfini

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James Joseph Gandolfini, Jr. (1961-2013). Actor. Photo from taniaonthescene.com. Click to go there.

Aaarrgghh I can’t believe he has already passed away. He was only 51. Nooooooooooo…

Of course I loved him as Tony in the six seasons of The Sopranos, and he was amazing in so many other roles, but my favourite by him was Winston, the gay assassin in the adventure-rom-com The Mexican (2001). The leads of that movie were great too. Julia Roberts was a fun hysterical riot to watch and Brad Pitt was funny as well. But James was riveting, as usual. He was always brilliant and charismatic and an absolute joy to watch, made more remarkable by the fact that his performances are always so quiet and dignified.

The character Winston Baldry was an amazing creation in itself. A gay role that was so unlike typically portrayed in movies, but James breathed life into it as only he could. Some roles, like Tony Soprano, are played so perfectly that you’re just convinced they are truly meant for the actors that played them, that no other actor can play them as well.

My heart goes out to his family. His baby girl is only 8 months old.

A beautiful tribute to James here on Vulture.com by Matt Zoller Seitz.

And this great video tribute by movieclipsTRAILERS.

Stephen Fry

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Stephen John Fry. Image from Wikipedia, by user ‘Brian Minkoff-London Pixels’. Click to go to source.

At the beginning of this year, I found myself noting the suicide of Aaron Swartz, who was only 26. And then just a month later Arpad Miklos, who was only 45, although being depressed and to the point of taking or wanting to take your own life is sad at any age.

I like this Stephen Fry guy. I’m glad I’m not writing about his death by suicide here, although it still saddens me to learn that the man attempted it last year. I came across this news from a Telegraph article dated the 7th this month, itself a searing and sobering read from the journalist Tim Lott, with regards to his own attempt when he was 31, and his own mother’s suicide shortly after.

Wikipedia lists Stephen’s talents as the following mouthful: actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television and radio presenter, film director, activist, and board member of Norwich City Football Club.

I like him because I find him fascinating from what little I’ve seen and read of him, in the things he has to say, whether it’s on homophobia and other gay issues, and on atheism. Born Jewish, Stephen’s an atheist. He is outspoken about religion. He is often funny and entertaining. He also seems to me to be, for lack of a fancy big word, kind. I have come across him being described as a ‘humanist’. Checking that word on dictionary.com (haha), humanist means: a person having a strong interest in or concern for human welfare, values, and dignity. I suspect he’s really that.

I’d like to include a video of him I saw last year.

In The Independent, another UK online news outlet, Stephen’s attempt happened during the course of filming a documentary for BBC called ‘Out There‘. It is about what it means to be gay in different parts of the world, specifically Russia, Uganda and the United States. For this work, he met a range of people both for and against gay rights. It was during the making of this film that he took an overdose of pills and alcohol while alone in his hotel room. He was unconscious when fortunately he was found by a producer on the film who came into his room and who got him medical help.

Stephen found out later that while he was unconscious, the large number of pills and large amount of alcohol he had taken had caused his body to convulse so much that he broke four ribs.

Stephen Fry – Out There, is due to be screened later this year.

In another article also by The Independent, I went on to read that Stephen had been diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, which had been previously documented in another BBC production called Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive. He had also been public about his battles with depression. The things he said contained in the article are revealing and sad:

“You may say, ‘How can anybody who’s got it all be so stupid as to want to end it all?’ That’s the point, there is no ‘why?’ That’s not the right question. There is no reason. If there was reason for it, you could reason someone out of it.”

“I am the victim of my own moods, more than most people are perhaps, in as much as I have a condition which requires me to take medication so that I don’t get either too hyper or too depressed to the point of suicide.”

“Sometimes it’s the expression I imagine on my mother and father’s face – both of whom are alive and happy – that stops me. But there are other occasions when I can’t stop myself, or at least I feel I can’t.”

(About feeling unable to talk to friends about his condition) “All my friends and family, when they eventually heard about it (the suicide attempt), came to visit me in hospital all said, ‘Well, why didn’t you call?’

“I like to think that if I had children I would think harder about doing it, but I know people who have had children who have done it.”

“There are times when I’m doing QI (a television quiz show) and I’m going ‘ha ha, yeah, yeah’, and inside I’m going ‘I want to f**king die. I… want… to… f**king… die.'”

I hope he’s well.

Huang Wenyong

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Image from the Facebook of ‘EDMW loves Singapore’. Click to go there.

I was shocked to read on the online Straits Times a few days ago that the much-loved local actor had passed away last Saturday the 20th, at the age of 60 (uhm, the poster above while sweet and nice-looking, should have read 1952. He was born on 25 July 1952). I don’t recall reading in the news previously about him being in poor health. It emerged that he had gone through a six-month battle with lymphoma, which he was being treated for with chemotherapy. He kept his condition secret from fans and many colleagues as he did not want to alarm them.

Actress Xiang Yun revealed in a tribute to him on her Facebook recently that he did not let her visit him in hospital as he did not wish her to see him in his condition. She continued to encourage him through his illness. They had been friends for 30 years.  She described him as an actor who was very dedicated, giving his all to his craft.

Like Xiang Yun, Wenyong is one of the most familiar faces on Singapore television to me. I haven’t watched our local Mandarin TV dramas for some years now (same for Malay and English; I just don’t watch TV so much anymore), but voraciously followed them as a kid and teenager in the 80s and 90s. So I’m familiar with names from the earlier era like theirs along with the likes of Zoe Tay and Fann Wong, Li Nanxing, that yummy Flying Fish guy Yu Qing, Hong Huifang, and some others.

According to his Wiki page, Huang Wenyong appeared in more than 100 television programmes, and was among the first few locally-trained actors to enter the local entertainment industry. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of local Chinese drama.

Wenyong’s funeral was held yesterday at Bright Hill Temple. His hearse was routed along Caldecott Hill, where Singapore’s largest broadcaster Mediacorp is located. The road around Caldecott Hill was lined with fans and colleagues paying their last respects, applauding him as his hearse passed by.

A one-hour television special will also be produced to honour him, tentatively titled Remembering Huang Wenyong. According to Today Online it is to air 29th April, 8pm on MediaCorp Channel 8. That’s this Monday. I hope there will be subtitles as I’ll be tuning in.

( Other sources also include: Channel News Asia – ‘Last Applause for Huang Wenyong’ )