Apple Corner

Anyone who’s been to the ToTT Store in Bukit Timah will know what a kitchen wonderland it is, chock full of appliances we can’t afford, plus an IKEA-style cafeteria that is suspiciously not as crowded as IKEA’s cafeteria.

We had been looking for an apple corer over the weekend, because one of our new projects required coring many apples at a go, and doing it the conventional way would mean at least half a dozen apples going bad before we finished a batch.

We called ToTT, and some friendly chap called Thud (but who spelled his name as “Thad”) very helpfully went around the 36,000sf store and found three types of corers in stock, and said to come down and take a look.

We did, found a Jamie Oliver Twist N Slide Apple Corer, and asked one of Thud’s colleagues for the other two types. They looked it up on their computer and said, “Sorry, it’s the only one”.

We said, “No, your colleague Thad said there were three!”

They said, “Thad? Oh. Thud. Wait, we call him and ask.”, and picked up the phone and said, “Hello? Thud? Gut one customer say you tell dem gut three kind of apple corner, but we cannut pine. Dut’s what we entered: APPLE CORNER. Don’t hub. OK, I look again”.

We bought the Jamie Oliver Twist N Slide in the end.

Jamie Oliver cornering an apple

Krups is krap

Krups is krap
The stickers with my name on them were put there by the service centre… I’m gonna be collecting them like WW2 aces did when they shot down enemy planes.

A year and a half ago, Naomi’s mother gave us this Krups fully automated espresso machine, and being espresso addicts, we were thrilled. We set the machine up in the dining area, read the manual carefully, bought our favourite beans, and enjoyed several cups of coffee before the damn thing broke down a week later, a week outside its warranty period.

To get a Krups machine repaired in Singapore, you have to take it yourself to their contracted service centre, run by a company called Richland Group Limited, whose website will tell you absolutely nothing about repairing coffee machines.

Some more, they’re located in a warehouse type building in Changi, so, bringing your machine there is a bitch unless you live in Changi. The first time I took our machine to be fixed, it cost about $80 including parts and GST, and the lady there told me that the machine would be under a month’s warranty after that.

Just under a year after that, our fully automated espresso machine’s LCD display read “Service 1” when I turned it on one morning. The manual said if the machine’s LCD display read “Service n”, to try unplugging the power, then plugging it back in and turning it back on. It didn’t work, so it was back to Changi, to Richland Group’s massive warehouse building, and to pay $80 including parts and GST to get it fixed.

The engineer attending to me said that an “O-Ring” needed to be replaced. So I just shrugged and paid and brought the machine home a week later to enjoy our espressos again.

It’s been 3 weeks, and yesterday morning, after the fully automated espresso machine had fully automatically ground a handful of arabica beans, it made this horrendous noise not unlike that which a lawn mower makes when you run it over a mound of pebbles, and it refused to stop making that noise until I unplugged the thing.

I’ve tried plugging it back and turning it back on, but it’s still running over that mound of pebbles.

I’m fed up, and wondering if anyone has the same problem with any fully automated espresso machine, and whether they’re from Krups, because at the Richland Group Limited’s service centre, the shelves are chock full of espresso machines that have been sent for servicing and repair.

Coffee & Espresso Machines - Small Domestic Appliances - Krups International
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Pulsonic washable

I had my first shave with the Braun Series 7 (790 cc Type 5671) and it was good.

It was the closest shave I’ve had since my Army motorcycle skidded and crashed into the path of an oncoming Armoured Fighting Vehicle (M113) whose driver and vehicle commander were both looking out of my line of sight and who were only alerted when my Combat Team Sergeant Major threw a rock and hit the vehicle commander on the helmet with it, causing him to shout into the intercom to tell the driver to stop. (It was a good thing too that the driver’s surname was “Au”).

Thank you Encik. The puddle around the bike was petrol, I swear.

So anyway, with the shaver fully charged, I went to the bathroom mirror and turned the thing on. My heart beat was still louder than the whirr of the shaver, and I put the thing to my face.

You have to understand my fear of electric shavers. The last time I used one, it was a cheap, borrowed plasticky one from an uncle, who passed it to me thinking I’d be smart enough to check if it was working properly and that it had some juice left in it’s batteries.

I wasn’t and it didn’t, and the thing died while in mid-shave, clamping a portion of my chin hair good while I used a free hand to look frantically around the house for a pair of scissors.

No such problems this time. This baby’s LCD “battery” indicator tells me how much power it’s got left, as well as how hygienic I am.

I was however, a little perturbed when I saw the word “Pulsonic” on the top of the shaver. It took a while before I worked out that it was probably derived from the words “pulse” and “sonic”, and not “pull” and “sonic”.

So, a few minutes and a lot of other preening in front of the mirror later, I was done, and very happy with the results.



A check on the LCD panel told me that in shaving my face, I had used up none out of six battery bars, as well as two out of six hygiene bars. This meant it was time for a clean and recharge.

Cleaning and recharging is simple, you just chuck the shaver head down into the cleaner-charger and it tells you if it needs a eco, normal or intensive clean, and then you just press the “start cleaning” button and Bob’s your uncle.

The canister of flammable cleaning liquid lasts up to 30 washes depending on how hairy each shave is, but you can also wash the shaver manually if you so wish, so that you won’t have to keep going out to buy replacement canisters of flammable cleaning liquid.

Pretty neat if you ask me. My face so smoot now.

Take your Jedi weapon. Use it.

The doorbell chimed, the dog barked and I went down the corridor to open the door, where a man stood and said, “Benjamin Lee? Your shaver is here”.

So I screamed and ran and hid behind the sofa until he was gone, leaving a huge plastic bag containing a box which contained a Braun Series 7 (790cc Type 5671) self-cleaning electric shaver.

Then I remembered that a PR company had written a month ago asking if I would test drive Braun’s new self-cleaning electric shaver, and that they would send me one if I said yes, and I had said yes. I think they knew that I wasn’t a fan of shaving, and that my unshaven look was borne of an aversion to shaving rather than anything to do with fashion.

I don’t have that much of a problem with facial hair, like most Chinese men, and you can’t really call mine a five o’ clock shadow. It’s more like a April 2nd shadow, as that’s how slowly our facial hairs grow.

But the thought of not having to use shaving cream/gel and a manual razor was appealing. Anything you need to plug in and recharge is appealing.

Braun Series 7 Shaver
Hmm… wonder what’s inside?

Excited, I opened the box…

Braun Series 7 Shaver

Removed the pamphlet on top of the styrofoam inner box…

Braun Series 7 Shaver

And revealed the top of the styrofoam inner box.

Then I took off the lid of the top of the styrofoam inner box.

Braun Series 7 Shaver

And I thought, “that’s a pretty big thing to bring up to your face”, before I calmed myself down and took apart the rest of the box and its contents.

There was this little canister of clear liquid with a “flammable” warning.

Braun Series 7 Shaver
Highly flammable. So that’s why they want a blogger to test it

The shaver part of the whole kit was in it’s own plastic spectacle case, and opening it revealed a sleek silver thing with buttons and an LCD display at the end.

Braun Series 7 ShaverBraun Series 7 Shaver

Darth Vader had one of these, and he cut off Luke Skywalker’s hand with it 25 years ago, so this is not new technology.

Still, I read the instructions very carefully (anything with flammable liquid in a plastic canister and a plug to put into an electrical socket requires you to do so), and I’ve started charging the thing to use later. It should charge in a short while I go find the rest of my Jedi outfit.