Friday, October 2, 2009

Want Some (Aglio Olio) Mør?

Remember 1999, when the Millenium Bug threatened to blast mankind back into the Stone Ages? Me neither, but apparently, knowing how to cook over an open fire was of utmost priority in preparation for civilization's iminent demise. Yet, even the prospect of damnation couldn't budge Her Royal Hoboness into taking that one-way ride into Culinary City.

Boiling water for instant ramen pretty much constitutes my whole idea of cooking but with my finances currently in shambles, eating out is indefinitely out at the moment and heaven forbid a diet of Nissin's and crackers! :O Time to summon my inner kitchen goddess.

Step 1: Take time to survey available artillery.

Save for some spaghetti, mør, cheese & dried parsley, there's nothing in the cabinets aside from packets and packets of sauces and spices. I would invoke Recipe Matcher's omniscient guidance but the program would probably just tell me to quickly take a bite of cheese and sausage for energy, and then make my way to the grocery store to re-stock the pantry.

Step 2: Allow this minor setback to fuel Her Royal Hoboness' creativity.

What can I say? I'm just awesome like that. I found some olive oil, roasted garlic granules and some crushed chili flakes in the hodgepodge of spices and a light bulb just switched on in my head: Aglio Olio pasta, of course!

Step 3: Start Cooking.

I have no prior experience preparing aglio olio but I've eaten enough plates of it to know that it can't be that hard. My expertise ends at cooking pasta al dente but I've never been afraid of a little experimenting in the kitchen, so here goes:

Heat a bit of olive oil in a shallow pan, flavor with roasted garlic granules and crushed chili flakes then add cooked pasta, a generous amount of dried parsley, a little bit of salt, some grated cheese and voila! A tasty meal that takes less than 10 minutes to prep.

For added flavor, Her Royal Hoboness Kitchen Goddess had another great idea. A few slices of mør, coarsely chopped then fried until the pieces are crisp, stirred into the pasta add a Scandinavian twist that's absolutely delish!

Step 4: Admire Your Handiwork.


Mør Aglio Olio...YUM!

A closer look:


Now Hobo-dom need not survive on instant ramen alone.

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mail, Mail Go Away...or Don't

Mailers are evil. They are menacing tools of mercantilism disguised as innocent colorful sheets of so-called information. They are designed to influence and manipulate not unlike a power-consumed dictator. What more, they are the very cause of the prostitution of what's left of the earth's virgin forests.

Her Royal Hoboness marvels at how the envelopes her bills come in every month are stuffed to bursting with pages and pages of flyers, pamphlets and brochures when the statement itself is all of one page. Unsolicited ads routinely get introduced to the kitchen bin with nary a glance at their rambling-like-Britney copies. There's nothing special about the "Special Offers" pushed by big businesses, after all. 5-10% off of food or merchandise? Hardly attractive. I won't be so hot to visit an establishment for the promise of a couple of dollars' discount unless it's somewhere I've already been frequenting in the first place.

Hobo-hood has its quirky way of turning things around though. Suddenly, a one dollar voucher assumes a level of importance previously unperceived and that 5% discount now seems vaguely valuable, enticing even. Mailers that used to get sentenced straight into Incineration City all of a sudden gets a reprieve as I browse through them religiously for the first time, looking for a veritable steal - and a steal is what I found, indeed!

Buried deep within my credit card bill was a brochure for a supposedly award-winning wellness haven whose illustrious reputation gives the owners the license to rob their clients blind charge top dollar. 180 bucks for a 60-minute Balinese massage may sure seem reasonable when you factor in the welcome drinks, traditional dessert and a relaxing sauna session all within a modern sanctuary with full amenities, never mind that the reception smells a bit like a wet dog. Still, when other places offer just as good a massage even without the perks, it all seems a tad bit decadent and quite needless. With the help of my brochure though, I got the whole service for a mere S$30. I was gonna try the Couple's Package, with the additional body scrub and jacuzzi dip for just S$88 with my boyfriend but ze elkboy cannot make it the last minute so Her Royal Hoboness went ahead on her own.

All else considered, I would say it's the best experience one could get for 30 bucks, even when the Thai masseuse got a bit over-enthusiastic kneading and cracking my spine, leaving bruises on my back. Her Royal Hoboness still had an enjoyable time and it's all thanks to finally giving those evil mailers a chance.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Going, Going, Gone...

Finally unpacking my things, 4 months after moving in with The Elkboy (don't ask) coz well, being unemployed, Her Royal Hoboness can't exactly shirk from her domestic duties by playing the "busy" card anymore.

Turns out I have tons of stuff. How anyone could rack up so much in just a couple of years or so is beyond me. I came to this country with just two suitcases not very long ago, after all. Sure, they were as huge as the Buckingham Palace but that's beside the point.

Needless to say, my acquisitions consist mainly of fashion items: clothes, shoes, bags, bling and the like with no real value until after decades from now maybe, when they might be considered "vintage" and fetch millions at Christie's or Sotheby's - provided they haven't been devoured by moths or other creepy crawlies by then. Until then though, clothes in particular, even unworn, could only fetch a fraction of their original price, if at all.

I've considered renting a kiosk at a flea market to offload some of my belongings. I'm one to hoard and hold on tightly to things like a vise grip but when you have literally boxes and boxes of stuff you didn't know you even owned, then perhaps you never really needed those things in the first place. Plus, Her Royal Hoboness could use the cash, obviously.

Unfortunately, flea markets are apparently seasonal in Singapore. Some groups organize them at certain locations several times a year but there aren't any permanent ones or at least, I haven't found them. I don't exactly shop in those places, myself. Her Royal Hoboness wouldn't be caught dead despite recently entering Hobo-hood. My next option then is to spread a bedsheet at a sidewalk in Chinatown or Little India and lay down my stash right where the foot traffic is but thinking about the effort required makes my head reel. Hot sun, smelly passers-by, hard sidewalk...need I say more? I think you need to apply for some kind of permit, too. Just way too much hassle.

Thank God for the concept of online auctions then and its premiere developer ebay, I could sell my items right at the comfort of my living room...or not. The process sounds much simpler than it actually is. You have to take good quality pictures of each item, determine a selling price through research and try to describe them in glowing terms before uploading all of these information into individual auction pages - not exactly effortless. It felt like a full-time job and I didn't get a single cent for my hard work.

Also, I had this idea that I'd be rolling in dough in no time. I've heard of the most ridiculous things getting sold on ebay: nail clippings, ghost in a jar, Britney Spear's half-eaten sandwich, a piece of Cheetos in the shape of Elvis. How can my gorgeous Tommy Hilfiger Parasol clutch or my funky Fornarina unicorn shirt not sell, right? I look at all the stuff I listed on my page and I always have to stop myself buying them at those über cheap prices! And yet, I've sold a grand total of 2 friggin' items in two friggin' weeks.

Check out my auctions here and find your next shopping steal!

It seems that ebayers in Singapore wouldn't touch your item with a 40-foot pole unless you price it at 1 dollar or something really cheap. Oh, and don't forget to include free shipping. A chipmunk has better chances of selling acorns to the Russians. That doesn't make much sense, but that's the point. Weirdly enough, the two sales I've made so far have been to people in other countries who talked me into shipping overseas even when I'm technically just selling locally. There seem to be some parameters that need to be met before you can sell worldwide although your auctions would still be accessible even if only to those who are really searching for them.

All else considered, ebay is a great way to kill time, checking every now and then to see if anyone has placed a bid on any of your items even when you know there likely won't be any. At least it keeps Her Royal Hoboness busy enough to stay home and thus, indirectly cut spendings. Of course there's the small but costly issue of bidding on other people's auctions but that's another story.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The 311 on 419

With a lot of time in my hands but no business to enjoy my newfound freedom shopping (Oh, the irony!), I thought I'd have a look around the net and see what money-making ventures exist for little hobos like me with nothing better to do.

Sadly ladies and gentlemen, all of those "Make Money Fast" schemes are nothing more than the brainchild of Nigerians swindlers trying to get people to give them what little money they have left in their meager bank accounts. I mean, you won't be pruning about the information superhighway for some miracle way to grow your pennies into thousands of dollars if you were well-off now, will you? Damn scammers trying to clean out people possibly even needier than they are.

When desperation sets in, of course it's easy to believe that some dead guy from some exotic African state actually wants to give you his millions - because there are many millionaires in Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire, silly! This story, and its countless reincarnations now widely known as the "419 scams," is so incredible, so out of whack that it's quite astounding how many hopeless hobos have fallen into this crazy-as-Michael Jackson trap. Which is why Her Hoboness took it upon herself to stop more of her fellow hobos from following the same pointless and calamitous route.

I put together a nifty list of some of the more popular web schemes designed to wipe your balance clean. I might or might not have fallen for these phony plots myself *cough cough* but just take my word for it when I say that these findings are verifiable.

Google Profusion Kit


Who hasn't seen those "make thousands of dollars a week posting ads for Google" banners around? All it takes is a software that you purchase for something ridiculous like, $3.85 (0.99 if you try to navigate from the page before entering your credit card details - dead giveaway) and that which would erase your entire hard drive if you try so much as to put it in your CD tray. There have been reports of cards getting charged for $38 or $385, all for a crappy CD that can only be good for checking if there's salad stuck between your teeth.

Singapore Net Jobs (or whatever it's called in other countries)
UPDATE: Their international site is apparently called Part Time Net Jobs with the same misleading claims on potential earnings.


You can supposedly make up to $25000 (shock! horror! disbelief! :O) per month answering surveys and doing interviews for companies who conduct them. All you need to do is deposit $20 to gain access to a "database" of companies that pay good money for your opinions - a list that the bastards kind people behind this scheme have painstakingly put together for hobo-dom's benefit. Well, the "database" turns out to be a skint index of about 90 or so survey firms, most of which no longer exist, and the ones that still do, you can easily find on your own by doing a simple Google search. No surprises there.



While not fraudulent, this "Financial Entertainment" site reels you in with their daily "Special Free Cash Game" where you can win real money without having to pay for anything. What you won't know right away though is that, you can only win in a Free Cash Game once and you won't be able to withdraw your winnings unless you have at least $50 in your account. Not very convenient when the top prize is only *drumrolls* 30 bucks...ta dah! Sad but true...



It's a bidding site where people raise bids by mere pennies! How absolutely cool is that? Bidders have apparently won all sorts of high-tech gadgets for spare change - a song would have practically cost more. $2.75 for a PS3 console? GPS systems for 6 cents? iPhones for something like a dollar, even 700 big ones in exchange for 50 pennies! You know what they say, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It's not such a steal if you need to pay to get in the action and it doesn't come cheap. Depending on the package you choose, each bid could cost you a dollar or so. Before you go thinking you can win an auction simply by placing a bid around the closing time, know that this is no ordinary bidding. In the dying seconds of the auction, the clock gets topped up ten ticks every time someone places a bid and the game could be quite literally never ending! I feel like dancing to Limahl right now while riding on a big giant puppy - rock monster optional. Fill up on Twinkies and remember to keep a bottle for pissing by your side. There could be hundreds of people battling for the same item and the process could take hours, possibly even days and a few hundred bucks worth of clicks with no guarantees of a win.

Free Lotto


You won! This is not a joke! Claim your prize now! Just enter your credit card details! might as well just hand your card to some drunk dude at a Vegas casino and tell him to max it out at the craps table. As long as you don't subscribe to the dodgy FAST system - the auto-betting service they're offering, you're all good. Save for the bombardment of mails that keep saying you MIGHT have won something in order to trick you into signing up. You can join their free drawings by visiting the site on your own volition - gotta keep the "free" tag somehow - but it's possibly just a waste of time and effort as you have better chances of getting hit by lightning than win anything. True facts.

The moral of the story? There's no easy way to make fast cash aside from maybe drug-dealing or stripping, but that calls for another blog entry. ;)

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Best Things in Life are FREE!

Times may be tough and Her Hoboness is in financial stitches but not even her new-found destitution could make her abandon her beauty junkie ways. As a wiseman (read: my lovely BF) once said "Rehab is for quitters." Ah, such wondrous wisdom! So if quitting is not an option, how's a girl gonna feed her beauty addiction? The answer: Fr3b - Singapore's first-ever sampling concept store. It's a shop filled with tons of beauty buys and yes, you won't have to dance nekkid for anything here. Everything comes for free!


Of course, giving out freebies to attract potential users is not exactly a new venture but an entire store filled with products you can take home for nothing? Priceless - quite literally. From hair care to skin care to diet aids, even baked chips - Her Hoboness can practically dance in her nuddy pants (thanks Georgia!) even if she doesn't need to this time.

As with every other good thing however, there's a minor catch. There's a S$28 (USD20) annual fee to get into the members-only store. They give you a goodie bag that's worth more than double that amount though as a welcome gift so it's all good, but if the recession made you shut your purse tight and toss the key into the depths of the Atlantic, don't despair. Fr3b has an online counterpart that requires nothing more than a quick registration to access.

There's a nominal shipping charge to check-out up to 4 items at a time but other than that, all you need to do is give quality feedback on the products you pick-up in order to check-out more in the future.

Sounds like a good deal? Check them out here or you may click on the Fr3b banner at the bottom left corner of this page if you prefer.

I know, I know, I'm such the recession-beating genius so if you really must thank me for letting you in on this one, you may return the favor here. :D

Happy FREE shopping!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Her Hoboness Speaks for the First Time...

Well of course, the economy is crap - it’s all the news outlets can blab about for the better part of the year aside from MJ’s too-normal-it’s-unbelievable demise and of course, the dreaded pig flu. Not that I cared much about the recession and its nasty repercussions. After all, everything is funny as long as it’s not happening to you but when you do get hit squarely on the face, it’s hard to keep laughing.

One moment, I was traipsing along the idyllic beaches of Phuket, sipping mojitos while devouring Susanna Clarke’s whopping 1000+ page debut, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and the next, I was contemplating parading around town with nothing on but a sandwich board that reads, “Will Dance Nekkid for Food.” No, thanks to a pretentious high-profile job that didn’t think twice about spitting me out after it used me and abused me for years.

So what’s Her Hoboness to do? She cannot possibly survive without all her creature comforts. What is life without a gorgeous Tokidoki Foresta Dolce handbag? How can she survive when only a stunning pair of made-to-order-not-available-in-stores Rodarte thigh-high boots could possibly save her from the throes of damnation? When a much higher paying job or a wealthy dying relative is not an option, Her Hoboness seeks out ways to stay chic and keep having fun in this crap economy.

Stay tuned.

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