Category Archives: Location

Singapore, Singapore – Getting a Haircut

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Singapore – I have been back in Singapore now for almost two weeks and I very much needed a haircut. I walked over to the nearby Plaza Singapura as I knew there was a barbershop there.  This shop is just outside the Cold Storage grocery store we frequent there in the mall.

They advertise (see the sign at the bottom of the window) a ‘Korean Style’ haircut in 10 minutes for $10 SD. At the time I am writing this that is equivalent to about $7.34 USD. Far less than I am used to paying back in the States.

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The process to get a haircut here is different from at home. The first thing you do when you enter the shop is to go to the automated teller machine shown above, put in your money, and get a ticket. Once you have given one of the barbers your ticket they seat you for the haircut.

There was a bit of a language barrier but after a little pointing, pantomime, and broken English the barber finished the haircut. The outcome was not bad. Perhaps a little longer in the front than I would have liked, but I won’t hesitate to go back to that shop the next time I need a trim.

Last year I had a haircut in a shop in the Dhoby Ghaut MRT (subway) station adjacent to Plaza Singapura. They too had a machine issuing tickets. Their cost was $12 SD. The only real difference was the numbered seats for those waiting on a haircut. You took a seat in the available spot with the lowest number. As the barbers took a customer waiting to get their haircut from the #1 seat, those that remained would each scoot over to take a seat in the next lower numbered seat. An effective but different style of waiting in line.

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Central Texas IEEE Life Members Visit ATX Hackerspace

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IEEELocations – The Austin chapter of the IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) Central Texas Section Life Members group (IEEE members who are at least 65 years old and who have been an active member of IEEE for at least 35 years) met last night at the ATX Hackerspace.

What is ATX Hackerspace? Per their website they are:

We are a collaborative industrial workshop full of people who love to learn and make things! ATX Hackerspace can be found at 9701 Dessau Road, Building 3, Suite 304, Austin TX 78754

We have over 8,000 square feet of space that is perfect for artists, designers, engineers, makers and hackers, fabbers, scientists, musicians, seminars and workshops, co-working, and a ton of other stuff. We’re the perfect place for any project that needs space, involves loud or messy equipment (woodworking, soldering, welding, painting), power (we have 120V, 240V, and 3-phase power), tools that are too expensive or large for your own workshop ( see our laser cutters, CNC mills, and 3D printers ) or meeting with collaborators.

More importantly, we are an established and ever-growing community. Imagine what we can do when we combine our skills, knowledge, ideas, tools, and materials… or see for yourself at our next Open House, every Tuesday evening from 6-10pm.

We’re hackers (thoroughly defined here), which means we create things and we put things together in new and innovative ways. ATX Hackerspace is dedicated to encouraging and promoting technical, scientific, and artistic skills through projects, collaboration, and education by all legal means.

After a brief meeting, we were led on a tour of the ATX Hackerspace facility.

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The first stop was the room with their 3D printers. Unfortunately, some of the folks taking the tour blocked the larger printer in this photo. It is located against the back wall to the right. Smaller printers are on the table to my right out of the photo.

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In addition to the 3D printers, they have a small electronics lab space.

They have two relatively large laser cutters.

Their largest ‘maker space’ is their wood shop. Not shown is their welding area and car shop. The auto area is near the yellow box in the larger of the images above. The welding area is behind the red-curtained portion of the space.

ATX Hackerspace has a number of tools available. You can see the complete list of their tools-resources.

For a $75 fee with 24/7 access to the building, this looks like an inexpensive and well-tooled facility to take your projects from design to reality.


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Las Vegas, Nevada – Texas de Brazil Steakhouse

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Food – A few nights ago we went with family to the Texas de Brazil Steakhouse in Las Vegas. This location is at 6533 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89119. This is only one of the many locations of this restaurant. Sadly, there is no location in Austin, Texas or Singapore . . . yet.

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First, there is a huge salad bar. This contains salad items and some hot side dishes. You can opt to just eat off of the salad bar ($19.99 for lunch, $29.99 for dinner). Easily I could eat my fill just at the salad bar and never have more than one serving of any item. The challenge is not eating too much from the salad bar before you are served the meats.

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The real attraction to this restaurant is the variety of meats that are brought to your table. The full experience is $32.99 for lunch and $51.99 for dinner and well worth it. Waiters bring skewers of meat by your table (examples shown in the photo above – NOTE all photos in this post from Google image search). You can pick and choose what to have added to your plate. They keep coming by until you are stuffed! The meats include Herb-Marinated Pork Loin, Picanha, Brazilian Sausage, Leg of Lamb, Chicken Breast Wrapped in Bacon, Alcatra, Lamb Chops, Filet Mignon Wrapped in Bacon, Parmesan-Crusted Pork Loin, Garlic Picanha, Braised Beef Ribs, Barbecued Pork Ribs, and Parmesan Drumettes. It was all wonderful!

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The service was excellent. The food was plentiful and delicious. We are already talking about returning the next time we are in Las Vegas with family. This is a great experience, though a little on the pricey side. Just make sure you prepare yourself before going and fast all day!


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Singapore, Singapore – Black Tap

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Food – A good friend here in Singapore recommended the Black Tap restaurant. We have now been there twice and have really enjoyed it. The Black Tap is located in the Marina Bay Sands Mall. Officially the address is 2 BAYFRONT AVE, SINGAPORE 018972. I didn’t realize it when I was there that the Black Tap is a chain of restaurants out of New York City.

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The Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino are shown above, with the Mall spread out at its base. The Black Tap is actually located at the near end of the Mall (building with the curved roof) shown in the photo above.

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It is one of the many shops and restaurants in the Mall. Notice at the bottom of the photo above you can see the ‘canal’ that goes through the center of this section of the Mall. It is complete with gondolas that you can purchase rides on.

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Exploring the Mall alone is worth a trip to the Marina Bay Sands.

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But we had come to the Mall specifically to dine. I chose the Steak Au Poivre Burger (a Blue Cheese Burger) with fries. It was very good.

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My wife had the Baja Grilled Chicken Sandwich with fries, which she enjoyed. While these, and the other items on the menu, were good, they were not why we visited the Black Tap.

The Black Tap also specializes in Crazyshake Milkshakes. If memory serves me, we ordered the Cookies ‘N Cream Supreme Oreo Shake (vanilla frosted rim with crushed Oreos topped with a ‘cookies ’n cream’ sandwich, crumbled oreo, whipped cream & chocolate drizzle) and the Sweet N’ Salty Peanut Butter Shake (chocolate frosted rim with chocolate gems & PB cups topped with a sugar daddy, pretzel rods, chocolate covered pretzel, whipped cream & chocolate drizzle). These are just two of the eight shake masterpieces that are available.

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We were lucky to have a seat where we could look over to where the shakes were being made. What better entertainment! Dining at the Black Tap is an experience I am sure I will repeat and I recommend it to anyone.


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Singapore, Singapore – Hard Rock Cafe

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Food – A few days back I took the two-mile walk to one of the local Hard Rock Cafe‘s here in Singapore. This one is located at 50 Cuscaden Road, #02-01, HPL House, Singapore 249724. There is nothing really unique about this location, but I find visiting a Hard Rock Cafe while traveling is like taking a little step back home to the States. Sometimes it is comforting to see food just the way you are used to seeing it.

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This location is pretty large and is set up for live music.

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It even has an upstairs with more room for seating. I visited in the early afternoon, so there were not many other customers. I suspect that the place is much more crowded in the evenings and especially on weekend evenings.

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While they have a nice menu, I kept my order simple opting for the cheeseburger and fries. It was a very good lunch!


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Singapore, Singapore – Black Angus Steakhouse

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Food – On one of my walks here in Singapore I came across the Black Angus Steakhouse. It is about two miles away so it is not a place I am able to visit very often. This location of Black Angus is at 1 Tanglin Rd, Singapore 247905. As stated on their website:

Black Angus Singapore is the only franchised Black Angus steakhouse licensed by the U.S. Principal for the whole of South East Asia.

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Black Angus Steakhouses originated in the US in 1964 and have several US locations, though I have not visited any. I have enjoyed a very good burger on both of my visits to this Singapore location. They have a good menu to choose from with several Steak and Prime Rib options.

I enjoyed my meal on both occasions and I am sure I will be going back. This is a nice place to have a casual, but very good dinner or lunch.


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Grande Bibliothèque – Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Libraries – I like visiting libraries when I travel. I thought that this was a great introduction to Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal, Canada. I have added this library to my list of places to visit.

The Critiquing Chemist


While in Montreal for the day (stay tuned for next week’s post highlighting our 24 hours in Montreal), I couldn’t resist looking up Montreal’s most popular library. I was most definitely on a library high after the stunning Library of Parliament that we’ve visited the day before in Ottawa and was eager to explore another library. After perusing the list of city libraries, the Grande Bibliothèque stood apart as it was the most visited library in North America in 2011.  It was a bitterly cold Sunday morning that we were exploring Old Montreal, with a stiff wind making the chill that much more penetrating. With the weather now given context, marry someone who will readily walk into that biting wind for approximately thirty minutes to visit a library you have been reading about only that day. Luke and I were both frozen through by the time we stepped into the warm entry…

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A visit to Stockholm Public Library

Libraries – I like seeing blog posts about libraries and have made a few myself. I enjoyed seeing this one of the Stockholm Public Library and wanted to share it.

The post contains a little more travel info than just the library itself, but it is worth seeing another library I might want to add to my list of places to visit.

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Our final day in Stockholm and just enough time before heading back to the airport to fit in a visit to the Stockholm Public Library in Odenplan. I love visiting libraries wherever I travel and what a delightful one this was. The library, which was designed by Gunnar Asplund and completed in 1928, is one of the city’s most famous buildings with its geometrically designed neo-classical architecture and is listed as being one of the world’s most beautiful libraries.

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Stepping through the Egyptian style doorway and climbing the central staircase, we were able to get our first glimpse into the central rotunda of the library. The rotunda is a circular book hall and is an absolutely stunning temple for book lovers like me. It contains a total of 40,000 books on three levels and retains its original mahogany furniture and leather chairs.

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Library of Parliament – Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Libraries – I always like visiting unusual libraries. When I saw this post covering the Library of Parliament library in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada I had to share it.

Needless to say, it is now on my list of libraries to visit one day.

The Critiquing Chemist


Over this past weekend Luke and I took a three day weekend up to Ottawa and Montreal. As several of our trips had fallen through recently with wildfires closing Yosemite, canceling our Half Dome hike and a new job changing our American southwest journey I was bursting at the seams to go on a new adventure. Knowing we had a three day weekend, we decided to fit in a trip to the Canadian capital, especially as their Library of Parliament had been on my library bucket list for a quite a while now.  To access the Library of Parliament the public is able to go on free guided tours throughout the Centre Block, where not only will you get to glimpse this remarkable library but also be taken on a tour the center of Canadian government such as the Commons and Senate rooms.  Prior to our trip I’d read that…

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Singapore, Singapore -Dean & Deluca

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Food – My wife and I walked over to a nearby Dean & Deluca location a couple of nights ago for dinner. While it looks empty in this photo, it is generally very busy. We were there a little early. This location is at ORCHARD CENTRAL, 181 Orchard Road, #01-09/10, Singapore 238896. It is one of three locations here in Singapore.

We each ordered a pasta dish which we were pleased with, though I liked mine more than my wife liked hers. We decided to take one of the outside tables to be by the water feature and to be able to watch the people walk by.

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The highlight of the dinner was when this little fellow flew up and landed on our table. He sat there looking at us a short time them off he went.

The restaurant is located in a large enclosed atrium that goes up five or six stories. We think this little guy came in through the large sliding glass doors, but we are not sure. The food was good, though not exceptional. Having this guest land at our table though will make the evening memorable.


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