Exotic sauces

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Somebody gave us a souvenir thing from a trip in the United States. Miniature bottles of dipping sauces! How cool is that. I think it’s the most unique souvenir we have received. Usually it’s the regular keychain or t-shirt, which are nice too of course. It’s truly the thought that counts.

According to one side of the label, the company Dave’s Gourmet is based in San Francisco, and the sauces in the pack were made in Costa Rica. The cute and catchy names of all the sauces are featured on the top part of the label as pictured below.

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I was also happy and surprised to come across a video review of one of the sauces in the gift pack. Dave sure has some serious fans. In this video, the handsome and engaging reviewer Gabe Ram did the Ginger Peach Hot Sauce.

So I decided it would be the first we try. And yeah, it’s like what he said. A gorgeous fragrance and very sweet and fruity. The taste of both ginger and peach was distinct. And it wasn’t spicy at all. So I don’t understand why it’s called a ‘hot sauce’. But it was delicious, and exotically different than what I’ve tried before. Can’t wait to get my taste buds on the other sauces, yummy!

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This post is Day 5 of ‘100 Happy Days‘.

Happy meter: Lip-smacking

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Happy by Pharrell Williams

Coming across this post by Greg of the blog I follow A Life in the Day on my Reader brightened my day so much more. Thanks to his iTunes Saturday feature, I have now been introduced to ‘Happy‘ by Pharrell Williams. Which I’m already infatuated with now. It’s been on repeat for a while. When I wake up tomorrow it’s probably going to be ringing away in my head.

screen capture Greg's website

For a while I was actually scatterbrained enough to snap a picture of my monitor screen with a camera. Even transfered the photo to my computer. Then I remembered the Print Screen. Duh. So, this is capturing the screen via that function…

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… and this was the camera shot! hahaha!
I love the Print Screen. Such a neat feature to have.

I’m not very familiar with the work of Pharrell Williams, but I’m turning into a fan. This is the second song by him I’ve heard lately that I really like. The first being Get Lucky, a song by Daft Punk which features Pharrell.

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This post is Day 4 of ‘100 Happy Days‘. Which, by the way, ‘Happy‘ would make the perfect theme song for!

Happy meter: boogying on office chair sliding here and there.

Ne me quitte pas, in Arabic! Swoon.

A quick check at Wikipedia shows that the 1959 French song Ne me quitte pas had been recorded by numerous singers, and in over 20 languages! That’s such an amazingly illustrious history that song has.

There is an Arabic version, beautifully done by the Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila, called Ma Tetrikni Heik. When I discovered this the surprise was so great and wonderful it gave me goosebumps so to speak. I mean, firstly I love this incredibly beautiful song. Secondly I’m loving the band more and more, the more I listen to them. They have that certain something that speaks to my soul, in the same way that some other artists, say, Sade, Chris Isaak and Gipsy Kings, to name just three but diverse acts, have as well. And thirdly I have a special interest in Arabic as I’ve started learning it some months ago. So when I found these three things have come together, it made for a delightful surprise that just took my breath away.

The cover is a short one at just over 2 minutes, as the first part of the video below shows. I hope they’ll do a full version someday. This one is from their third album Raasuk (2013).

I found some translation of the lyrics I believe, as kindly shared by YouTube user lilychahine in the comments of a video here.

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Original French Versions

I have loved this song ever since I first heard it, in the original French language and as sung by Nina Simone of course. I have written several times here how much I love her. Nina recorded her cover in 1965 for her I Put A Spell On You album.

The original singer though is the songwriter himself, the late Jacques Brel, who was from Belgium and first recorded the song in 1959 for his fourth album, La Valse à Mille Temps. Bonus in the video below: English subtitles! Brilliant.

  • Another French version I like is by Sting. Click the link here for a live performance of the song by the Englishman.

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Some English versions (“If you go away”)

Here are the links to YouTube videos of some of the English versions I like.

  • Dusty Springfield
  • Shirley Bassey
  • Tom Jones – a bit of a different beat than the usual after minute 1:50. Makes it a bit more interesting.
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Patricia Kass – a refreshingly different version. And sexy. Bonus: video features a smolderingly sexy DAMN HAWT Jeremy Irons, shirtless and all.
  • Madonna – Yes, Madonna! Her style of singing here brought to my mind her Evita/Something To Remember period.

And finally… the incomparable Cyndi. The one and only.

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Edit on 18 January:

Credit: Thanks so much to the following people who posted and shared the videos above on YouTube, that I may share them here on this blog,

as well as the other people whose videos I have the opportunity to link to.

Imran Khan vs. homophobia

I totally wasn’t prepared for how awesome this video was going to be. Found it via Gaybros. Where else but that subreddit as a reliable source for interesting gay stuff.

Just a bit of warning that there is that ‘f’ word at 1:50 and 2:10, for those who mind such things.

With winsome humour the video tackles some questions that are actually sad and dumb, but questions I can imagine going through the minds of ignorant, homophobic, or just the insistently hateful who are just hell-bent on putting down gay folks.

I laughed like crazy at so many parts, including the glitter ball and rainbow unicorn to illustrate the ‘gay AIDS DNA’, and oh my God, the stealthy gay conversion weapon. Genius.

But fun jokes aside, this video by the guys at All India Bakchod is really commendable for the effort to address discrimination and prejudice, even while it throws its hands up resignedly with a frustrated sigh at how ridiculous it all is. Sadly, here in Singapore we too have that 377A law which criminalises sex between men.

There is of course another famous Imran Khan, of Pakistan, the celebrated former cricketer who is now a politician. Who is incredibly sexy too, by the way.

But the hotness that is the host of this video with the breathtakingly beautiful eyes, is Imran Khan the actor, who works in Hindi-language films. An Indian American who was born in Madison, Wisconsin on 13 January 1983, (so he just turned 31 yesterday. Belated birthday wishes, you handsome big-hearted man.) Imran studied for and received his degree in filmmaking from the Los Angeles branch of the New York Film Academy. He is also a noted social activist, where he has taken up various causes including the elimination of violence against women.

I’m not familiar with his work, (I drool and fan myself more for his uncle Aamir) but for sure I’m going to be checking out Imran’s films very soon.

Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, it is so kind and generous of him to do this video. Risking his career and stardom, and his personal reputation to do this. I may not have watched a single film by him yet, but I’m already a huge fan of him as such a gracious human being.

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“The point is, that you don’t need cultural approval to live and love in peace.”

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Image from the tumblr site ‘Imran Khan Fan Club’. Click it to go there.

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Things to check out:

  • what’s elaichi? in biryani? (2:31) I love biryani. What is elaichi and why is it apparently gross in biryani? Have to check that out.
  • the question in Hindi in 5:01. Have to find the translation.

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Update 25 January 2014:

  • A blogger I follow Nuwan Sen has kindly provided the translation in the comment section below. I’ll reproduce it here. It’s:

The guy in Hindi, states, ‘that no body has ever been arrested under section 377, do what you want in the bedroom, without talking so much nonsense (i.e. basically stop fighting for your rights, it all about sex and no love).

  • And elaichi is cardamom in Hindi as well as Punjabi, according to Wikipedia.

You Can’t Curry Love

I love this short Indian gay film I came across on YouTube. It’s sweet and earnest and joyful. The actors are so handsome and appealing, meaning the two leads as well as the guy playing the boss back in London. The leads are just the kind of guys that turn me on the most; everyday dudes. Well of course they are way cuter than everyday guys, but what I mean is that they are not effeminate, but not superbutch either, just regular guys-next-door.

Posted in May last year by the filmmaker Reid Waterer himself, it now has got more than 2.2 million views. The film is just about 23 minutes long. I think it’s quite wonderful how just perfectly compact it is, managing a decent enough storyline with great pacing, and featuring interesting set locations. And a great promo for Indian tourism, as it features so many inviting scenes without being an outright advert, yet more than enough to whet my appetite and whisper into my ear teasingly, “Hmm… you know you want to go to India at least once in your life, someday soon.

Below is a still I’ve captured of one of the set locations. I think it is a museum. I’m trying to find out what it is called. Because I love the tile work and the inscription work on the walls so much. And of course an indoor courtyard (with a soothingly trickling fountain) is a glorious thing. So elegant, kind of decadent but not overtly so, and to me there is something so incredibly sensuous about it. I think I’ve seen something similar in pictures of a place in Granada, Spain. I can’t catch its name (or perhaps era) that the character Sunil mentioned, only that it is of the 14th century.

scene in You Can't Curry Love

Clicking this image leads directly to its scene in the movie on YouTube.

Doing it better, by Blush, for World AIDS Day 2013

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Image from the tumblr blog Support Humanity. Click to go there.

Today 1st December is World AIDS Day.

I read on The Online Citizen that Action For AIDS Singapore has commissioned and released a song called Doing It Better and its music video to commemorate this special day, the organisation’s 25th Anniversary, which is also the 25th Anniversary of World AIDS Day. Performed by Blush, a pop group executive-produced by legendary American producer Quincy Jones, it also features new rapper Russell Curry.

From the Online Citizen post:

Speaking of the collaboration that went into creating the Doing it Better video, Professor Roy Chan President of Action for AIDS said: ‘The video we have is a wonderful example of the convergence of ideas and collaboration of effort to address HIV among young people. It harnesses a talented pop group – Blush, a creative team of song writers and producers, with images of young multicultural youths in a setting that is ubiquitously identifiable for many in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region. The video is a winner on so many levels.”

Extending his influence to this collaborative effort is Quincy Jones, the celebrated music producer says: “The fight to combat and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS around the world is one that can never be abandoned.  As a lifelong advocate of using music and the arts to bring forth awareness and positive change for mankind, I am enormously proud that Blush is using their talents to help carry forth this message of safety and responsibility on World AIDS Day.”

Related:

  • TimeOut Singapore: World AIDS Day: For the 25th anniversary of World AIDS Day, Natasha Hong recommends five ways to get involved through Action for AIDS Singapore.
  • Action for AIDS Singapore
  • Action for AIDS Singapore: Facebook
  • Facebook for Be Positive, a campaign that aims to reduce stigma and discrimination and increase the acceptance of persons living with HIV.
  • worldaidsday.org

A ‘What Would You Do?’ episode touching on people’s reaction to homophobia

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John Quiñones. From the tumblr site severelycalm. Click to go there.

I’ve seen a few episodes of What Would You Do? on YouTube. Hosted by news correspondent John Quiñones, it’s an American series where actors are filmed by hidden cameras as they act out scenes of conflict in public areas, witnessed by bystanders who are clueless that they are being filmed. The purpose of the show is to document how some people genuinely react to the scenes of conflict, whether they will intervene by speaking up, or simply choose to look away. It’s really quite compelling. I’ve only seen a few episodes and the scenarios they come up with that I’ve seen are impactful and distressing, and sometimes I even get a little wet-eyed, haha.

But this one. Somehow the tears were rolling as I was watching it in bed last night. And my snivelling woke up my partner who was already deep in slumberland, the poor guy.

Some reality shows I’ve come across are so incredibly dumb and totally unnecessary. I guess at the end of the day, this one also uses some kind of sob-story angle to draw in viewers and their emotions, but at least it’s for something useful and meaningful. It makes us think on what we would have done.

Of course, what we would actually do may be totally different than what we fancy we would do. After all we would all like to think that we are nicer and braver than we are. The reverse also applies; we might turn out to be not as timid or apathetic as we think we are. We won’t actually know until we actually experience the situation. But it’s always nice to reflect on our character and wish to be a better person. And to me this show encourages people to do that, and that’s why I like and admire it a lot.

(Via Gaybros and the tumblr site homohautblk)

Buff Dudes

I came across their YouTube channel courtesy of Gaybros.

Brandon and Hudson make up the Buff Dudes and their fitness channel features intense workouts, healthy recipes and a whole lot of fun and humour.

The post on Gaybros led to the biceps workout below. I wasn’t really paying attention to the workout itself. When I exercise, it’s very lightly as I’m not interested in building a muscular bod. I also prefer videos that actually play the entire workout so I can exercise right there and then along to the video (like those found on HASfit), as opposed to videos that just feature demonstrations for me to watch and learn, and then spend more time to do on my own.

However, host Brandon is such an arresting and droolsome sight that I watched the entire video. Not only is he very goodlooking, but he’s charismatic and funny and the video is not the typical fitness video but entertaining. I checked out their channel and found other humorous videos. So this is a good find and I’m looking forward to seeing more. Maybe I’ll even be motivated to actually try some of their workouts, hah.

Twerk them balls, gentlemen

This advertisement for boxers by Kmart is just too damn cute.

I grew up wearing briefs. There  was a short period in my adult life, lasting only about a year or so, where I tried getting used to boxers. Supposed to be healthier or something. Not that I care about sperm count haha, but I thought it would be more comfortable with all that extra room. And boxers are more comfortable, except when I get one of my spontaneous erections and my dick gets outlined against my shorts/bermudas/pants.

Being embarrassed and self-conscious about the outline is one thing (even if in front of my partner, let alone in public), but sometimes I can’t even move much. It can be a bit too painful to move because the dick is slammed against the fabric in an awkward way. So it would be pointless to excuse myself to go somewhere private to adjust myself since I couldn’t even move in the first place. I would end up frozen while desperately visualising something really ugly or sad.

So reluctantly I finally gave up comfy cotton boxers after clinging to them for about a year, and got into boxer-briefs instead. They do nestle the goods snugly, though I found that I have to be careful to wear blends that lean more towards cotton, especially for days where I know I’m going to be all sweaty all day at the worksite. The more synthetic blends would chafe the skin of my inner (chunky) thighs after more than a few hours of sweating. It would hurt to walk by the time I went home after work and I would walk to the train station with my legs open a tad wide looking like I just got buggered, haha.

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Wrestling trunks, as fabulously modelled by Jack Black for Nacho Libre. Image from nachodelibre.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

Via tastefully offensive.

Related:

Take me to church by Hozier

First seen via Gaybros.

A stunning music video by new Irish singer-songwriter Andrew Hozier Byrne, known simply as Hozier. It was directed by Brendan Canty and Conal Thomson from Feel Good Lost, a visual arts production house based in Cork, Ireland, also where the video was filmed.

The song is really beautiful, and so is his voice.

One thing I don’t understand is that in the song the lover is refered to in the feminine, ‘she‘ and ‘her‘. Maybe I’m wrong, but my guess is that Hozier is not gay, he’s just pro-gay, like Macklemore and Cosmo Jarvis. Which is just an amazing thing to be. It takes an amazing person with a huge heart.

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Singer-songwriter Hozier. Image seen on mytvisnotworking.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

According to Ireland’s online magazine State:

Hozier says the video “references the recent increase of organised attacks and torturing of homosexuals in Russia, which is subsequent to a long, hateful, and oppressive political campaign against the LGBT community. The song was always about humanity at its most natural, and how that is undermined ceaselessly by religious organisations and those who would have us believe they act in its interests. What has been seen growing in Russia is no less than nightmarish, I proposed bringing these themes into the story and Brendan liked the idea.”

Related:

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Update (15 Nov 2013) to include a video of Hozier and friends performing the song live, uploaded by Dublin’s RTÉ 2fm onto their YouTube channel.