Wednesday, October 15, 2014

London Street Food

Street food is all the rage these days, as it has always been. The quality has improved beyond anything we've had before, and often if I need my daily dose of calorie boost I would seek out a food truck.

Here are my picks for some of the best street food operating in London right now, in no particular order.

Bleecker St Burger (Spitalfields Market, South Bank Queen's Walk, Street Feast Dalston Feast)

Bleecker St Burger won the annual London Burger Bash with their special New York style burger made out black pudding sandwiched between two patties of beef. And it tastes so darn good. Top it off with a cup of their delicious sweet potato fries.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Taruna Homestay review

Taruna Homestay is a family run bed and breakfast in Pemuteran, North Bali. We stayed there for two nights during our trip to Bali last month (wow, has it only been that long?). Of all the places we've been and stayed in, Taruna was in one of the least touristy and developed area, which suited us just fine.

Each of the twelve bedroom is designed as an individual villa, with their own private entrances and terrace via the courtyard (which leads to a small but nice swimming pool). The bedrooms comes with their individual outdoor shower and toilet area, which we found unnerving at first.

Pemuteran beach
Our room has air conditioning but we did not use it often preferring to use the ceiling fan instead. The room was clean, if a bit outdated in decor and dark. As a budget homestay, there isn't such luxuries like a TV (why would you want one?), but you do get a kettle, daily mineral water and free wifi access for your Instagramming needs. You won't get much privacy as each rooms are on the ground floor unless you have the curtains shut at all times.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bali: A GoPro holiday



Hello! It's been a while since I wrote on here. We've just returned from our holiday in Malaysia and Bali. Malaysia is the country of birth where I last visited 7-8 years ago, so it was more of a catch up visit (mainly with food).

This was my first trip to Bali and it was amazing. Long story short, we stayed at Kuta for a couple of nights, more out of obligation than necessity. A bit of advice - avoid Kuta and Denpasar as a whole, as the area is a bit of a hell hole and brings out the worst in Bali and tourists.

We moved on to North Bali and stayed at Pemuteran for a couple of nights. The B&B we stayed in is Taruna, a small family run business who were keen to help out with the planning of all our activities. While Kuta is populated by families and surfers, North Bali is far quieter. The people are friendlier and you meet all sorts of European backpackers. Pemuteran is a great base for those wishing to dive in Menjangan Island or visit the beaches of Lovina.

For this trip, my Nikon stayed at home. In its place was a GoPro Hero3+ action camera. We had a couple of reason for bringing a GoPro instead of a high quality image shooter. Firstly, we wanted to travel light and secondly, a waterproof case for a SLR costs more than a GoPro itself. And finally, I just wanted to get my hands dirty on trying out video shooting and editing.

In any case, here's five minutes of our Bali trip, edited down from tens of hours of footage using GoPro's excellent Studio 2.0 program with their Hero3 reel template. Bring on next year!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Street Feast Lewisham - Model Market

Today marks the launch of the Lewisham chapter of Street Feast. Hosted at the derelict abandoned 1950s Model Market just off Lewisham High Street, the organisers has used to opportunity to inject some much needed vibe into the local scene. Foodies who lives in Lewisham has one less reason to make the trek to East London. A good thing too as I personally find East London to be a victim of its own success.

Argument about the march of gentrification aside, the feeling that I've got from speaking with some longer term residents as well as newer residents like us, is that Lewisham has been waiting for something like this to happen to their beloved by often neglected town centre.  After all, Lewisham (and by extension, South East London) has long been a laughing stock of inner London (fun fact: Lewisham is the only inner London borough that isn't connected to the London Underground).

Monday, June 16, 2014

EasyAcc Powerbank PB5000C review

Despite the ever increasing power of smartphone, with high guzzling 1080p and hopelessly useless but diserable 2.5K displays, as well as quad core (and octa-core processors on the way), more powerful cameras and operating systems that are so woefully inefficient, battery technology has yet to catch up. Manufacturers insistence that we need ultra thin smartphones at the expense of battery capacity is also a culprit.

I have been a huge fan of my Nexus 5 device, but its sheer power is only matched by its inadequate battery. The Nexus 5's pitiful 8Whr battery lags far behind even the groundbreaking Motorola RAZR MAXX, which was released two years ago with a still unsurpassed 12.5Whr battery (only bigger unwieldy phablets like the Lumia 1520 has a larger battery capacity, and only just).

Monday, April 14, 2014

The day the Avengers came to Brockley, London

Last Friday, Marvel Studios came down to film a scene at the Rivoli Ballroom in Crofton Park, Brockley in South East London. My partner and I were walking down Brockley Road when we stumbled upon a film crew filming "After Party". The Rivoli Ballroom is no stranger to film - it has featured in Doctor Who and the Muppets Most Wanted, but this one was big. We could tell by the twenty of so trucks that were lining up on Brockley Road and Marnock Road. Curiously a couple crew members had shirts with Guardians of the Galaxy printed on it.

As the filming of the Guardians of the Galaxy has already wrapped up and is currently in post production, the only logical conclusion was that (OMG, this was when my jaws dropped when realisation hit me), they were a Marvel Studios film crew filming the next Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero movie - Avengers 2: The Age of Ultron! With crews and visitors in t-shirts bearing Captain America's logo and Converse's Chuck Taylor All-Star logo (you know with the big five pointed star in the middle, you didn't need to be a genius to figure it out. The symbolism was strong. It all hinted that whatever was going on in the ballroom had something to do with Captain America.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dear TalkTalk

Dear TalkTalk,

You win. I give up. I won't fight anymore.

There is no point. I have a life, and my life is worth more than £50. You can have that £50 you earned dishonestly, but you could have had so much more if you worked to make this right from the beginning.

I could have given you more than just £50 but because you wanted the money the quick and dishonest way, I will be leaving you in November.

We could have a long term relationship where you will eventually earn thousands of pounds from me. But you really wanted that £50, and that £50 will cost you. Have it, I shan't fight you any more.

Unless you bill me of things I did not agree of again, this will be the last of it. The next time you will hear from me will be in October when I give my one month notice to be freed of your tyranny.

Good luck, you will need it.

Jon

TalkTalk are still scamming people

Well if you thought our war against TalkTalk has ended, you are sadly mistaken. Upon checking my last bill with TalkTalk, I found that they applied an engineer charge of £50.00. This was done without my consent.

If you remember, TalkTalk was supposed to connect us to the internet in November, but failed to do so under terms of the contract. After persisting for a week they finally relented and agreed to send an engineer to connect us. In my calls to TalkTalk, they never once told me they would apply a call out charge - and why should they? They fucked it up first.

So I sent them a stern e-mail questioning this frankly illegal charge. Here is their condescending reply.
Thank you for contacting TalkTalk about your bill. 
I am very sorry to hear of your recent disappointment with our services. We assure you that customer satisfaction is our top priority, and we want our services to reflect that principle. I would like to apologise for any inconvenience this matter may have caused you.
I have checked your account and would like to confirm you that you have been charged £50.00 for the Engineer visit on 27th of November 2013. Engineer did not found any fault by attending the premises. Hence the charge is applicable to all the customers under the T&C acceptance.
I would love to give you the full refund of £50.00 but trust me I can't. As everything is not in our hand. I've checked your account and there are no notes to confirm that you've had a free Engineer visit at your property. So we are unable to credit you for the Engineer charge on your account.
Please, accept my sincere apologies.
Thanks for contacting TalkTalk. 
What a bunch of liars. An engineer came to fix a problem with TalkTalk after not connecting us for more than one week, and not once in my phone call with their customer service was I told that I had to pay if there were no faults found (which is frankly a lie, as we weren't connected for one week after we were supposed to go online).

When I called TalkTalk in October to move house, TalkTalk promised to reconnect me for free, and thus booked a free OpenReach engineer to come. This engineer failed to come and connect us. In fact, I still have a text by OpenReach claiming they didn't need to visit our property to connect us).

Now £50 is not much, but if TalkTalk thinks they can get away with secretly charging me £50, then who knows how many people they have scammed. I imagine they prey on elderly people who has no motivation to fight their dishonest predatory practice.

Our contract ends in November 2014 - that date can't come soon enough. In the meantime I urge you all not to sign up with them. They will do all they can to scam you. If you think Ofcom will put a stop on this practice you will be mistaken - these telecom companies have Ofcom in their pockets.