Tuesday, May 31, 2005

*cue patriotic song*

Lookie what I found... Stamps of the Soviet Era. Notice the dated periods?



Monday, May 30, 2005

Ennui


Noi Albinoi (2003)


Director: Dagur Kari
Starring: Tomas Lemarquis, Throstur Leo Gunnarsson, Elin Hansdottir, Anna Fridriksdottir, Hjalti Rognvaldsson, Kjartan Bjargmundsson, Petur Einarsson, Greipur Gislason, Gerard Lemarquis
Details: Ice / 93 mins / (No Cert).


Redefining the word 'quirky', 'Noi Albino' follows the title character, who is not an albino but is something of a social outcast in the small Northern Icelandic fjord in which he grew up. Unable to commit to a life within the rural hinterland and uncertain as to what he wants to do should he actually leave, Noi is at something of a juncture in his life. A new girl working in a cafe near his school is the catalyst for Noi to get interested in life again, meaning that he's got to deal with a drunken father and a rather feisty granny. A filmmaker with a real and understanding of the power of the absurd, Dagur Kari has made an interesting, visually dextrous, movie. Although somewhat detached from its central protagonist, the climax of 'Noi' is still massively captivating. Kari visual style remains engagingly ambitious through (the gorgeous snow lands are beautifully and very starkly shot) while the performances - Lemarquis especially - are edgy. There are some faults - the intensely languid tone for one - but 'Noi Albino' heralds the emergence of new talent. Worth catching - if starkly shot, remote existentialist Icelandic dramas are your thing.

Film Review by Garreth Murphy
Reviewed on 21 November 2003






For some reason, the banality and futility of life rings out.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Week in Review

My recap of the week just passed:



Sun - After church, caught Revenge of the Sith @ Cineleisure with Darren, Calvin, Irvin (Iv's bro), Heshan & bf. Where do I begin? Irvin's turned out to be a fine young man. Once again, the price of movie tix have gone up. Feel like a real oldie, reading my newspaper while eating @ Subway's. Gee, youngsters look so... young! I wanna be 17 again... The movie was not bad - just don't watch it for the acting. Also, Lucas' tying up of loose ends got pretty incredible & inane at times - we meet Chewbacca, realize how inhumane Obiwan can be & also discover the secret to immortality.



Mon - Went cycling @ Pulau Ubin with Ray, ZH & G. Uber fun! Dashing down dirt tracks, negotiating mud puddles & ZH's utter disappointment at Chek Jawa (I blurted, "What, you expected to see a casino here??"). Ended the day with dinner @ Holland V with cell group mates - coz cell group is splitting. Typical S'porean camera fun. Essential Brew's a nice hangout - try the apple crumble with choc ice-cream! BTW I've put on 4kg since I started work at MINDEF. Sigh...



Tue onw... - Work work work. Was rushing a proposal to be submitted last minute. Busy busy busy - till boss popped in to say that proposal was not needed anymore, only presentation slides. Hmph. Second visit to Jaggi's proved ultra-satisfactory - mmmm, love north indian food. Finally went to The French Stall, near Little India - affordable French food - gotta try the ice-cream profiterole!



Fri - Had a candid session with boss about my performance thus far. Overall favourable, though I think I'm under-achieving. Colleague mentioned that she met a peer who now drives both a Porsche & a beemer - made her question her own achievements. Met Ray, ZH & G for supper of mainly fruits along upper thomson - how healthy is that?? Lured by canto-pop karaoke cum sing-along, we popped into a neighbourhood pub - Starlet - only to be besieged by an over-friendly waitress, eager to befriend us. Quickly fled over to quiet watering hole @ Bishan park instead.



Sat - new cell group. As usual, meeting new people, mostly younger than me & still schooling, yet I feel younger than them. Guess work hasn't taken its toll on me yet.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Queen: Bycicle



Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

You say black I say white
You say bark I say bite
You say shark I say hey man
Jaws was never my scene
And I don't like Star Wars
You say Rolls I say Royce
You say God give me a choice
You say Lord I say Christ
I don't believe in Peter Pan
Frankenstein or Superman
All I wanna do is

Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my
Bicycle races are coming your way
So forget all your duties oh yeah!
Fat bottomed girls
They'll be riding today
So look out for those beauties oh yeah
On your marks get set go
Bicycle race bicycle race bicycle race
Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
Bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle
Bicycle race

You say coke I say caine
You say John I say Wayne
Hot dog I say cool it man
I don't wanna be the President of America
You say smile I say cheese
Cartier I say please
Income tax I say Jesus
I don't wanna be a candidate for
Vietnam or Watergate
Cause all I wanna do is

Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

Thursday, May 26, 2005

SG Food In Australia



Caught on tonight's episode of Food Lovers' Guide to Australia, Singaporean expat girls' bridal shower. Hilarious! Of course, popiah was the main feature :) Guess S'porean gals have hope after all!


Pictured: Beef Tenderloin with Roesti & Broadbeans (mmmmm...)

Finally... FOOD PORN ALERT!! Calling all food lovers to check out the Food Art videos.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Phenomenon



Chanced upon through Googling, Friendster and Publicly Articulated Social Networking, an ethnographic study of Friendster and social theory and other related aspects of human-computer interaction. It was presented by a UC Berkeley student in 2004 at a conference in Vienna.

To highlight some interesting points:
"Relationship indicators in Friendster are binary: Friend or not... Because of this weakness in the system, the weight of a Friend connection is often devalued because trust cannot be guaranteed... By asking users to articulate and collapse their [own social] network in a public way, Friendster is also asking them to give up their status as a social connector, or bridge... Notably, most users fear the presence of two people on Friendster: boss and mother."

On Friendster's value in connecting people other than dating, "in one somber situation, a man with a Friendster account passed away in his sleep. His unconnected friends were able to pass on information to one another via the site. Friends of other deceased Friendster users have constructed memorials via the site... Women advertise their porn sites by attracting potential clientele... Two users capitalized on their social network... they decided to auction connections on eBay. In their ads, they promised both Friendster and real-life connections to hipsters, artists, musicians, record labels, etc. One was serious, while the other was simply making a point:
The 'self' you're packaging on Friendster is a strictly delimited individual - but when I'm selling my network on ebay, the value is determined by my extended self, defined by its relationships and surfaces rather than content - in other words, the true me, in its full, fragmented, postmodern glory, all the more true the instant a dollar value is placed on it!
My 2 cents' worth: A man is measured by the company he keeps... a man is also measured by the profile he puts up publicly. Though it isn't very fair to judge people through small, 2D gif graphics, you do get an inkling of who they are from the pictures they put up.

Some may dismiss Friendster as a young thing or another medium for the sociable to celebrate their connectedness. But quite significantly, Friendster clearly epitomizes the phenomenon of social networking through various websites and web applications. How many times have you received an email asking you "update my address book" or "enter your birthday so that I can better keep track of important events"? Just as globalization is sweeping the world's population closer together, the global cyber-village is growing with countless users added daily and shrinking because of increasing ultra-connectivity and medium convergence - all at the same time.

*deep breath* That's enough blogging for a lovely saturday on a long weekend.

Oh yes, I'm a silent trawler of the Friendster tubes :)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Back to Work



Reached the office at 8am this morning. Was told that I would be doing the emcee-ing for an event at 9am. Thankfully it was a limited role; you know, welcome-teabreak-welcomeback-questions?-thankyoubyebye. Thinking on your feet shouldn't be that hard anyway.

Lunchtime conversations at ABC market consisted of homosexuality, scholars in Singapore, Atkins diet, and the usual office griping. Oh, the roast duck is quite good, the kind with crispy skin and fat that melts in your mouth :)

One meeting after another and it was back to clearing my barrage of emails accumulated since Monday...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Learning IT Service Management the Fun Way



Finally completed the IT Infrastructure Library Foundational course today. If nothing goes wrong, I should pass and get my cert.

T'was an interesting 3 days. The actual content is actually quite dry - come on, who gets excited about terms like IT Service Level Management or Capacity Management??

Fortunately, HP incorporated a Formula1 game to teach us participants about the perils, oops, intricacies of providing IT services. Essentially the deceptively simple game simulated the complex operations of problem reporting and on-the-fly resolution, all of which are happening while 4 cars are "burning rubber". In order to meet the challenge of keeping our drivers in the leading positions, an effective system which demanded different roles and cooperative work.

Needless to say, there was much adrenaline pumping as each race "flagged off" and we scuttled and scurried to resolve each system fault. Most amusing was the 4th race which allowed for infrastructure component mirroring and us being true-blue kiasu Singaporeans invested heavily in alternative servers and concurrent instances of applications.

Experiential learning, as always, is the best way to learn. Or as I articulated in my honours thesis (a little chest-thumping here) - "knowing by doing".

Met some friendly folks from HDB - or could be that IT folks are simply quite casual.

Now, just for laffs...

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Dogville: A Bleak Study of the Wretched Nature of Human Beings

Misanthropy
Pronunciation: mi-'san(t)-thr&-pE
Function:
noun
: a hatred or distrust of mankind




Dogville (2003) on Arts Central kept this film buff up till late last night. Though it ended at 1am, unresolved thoughts persisted in my head till sleep eventually claimed me.

Moral of the story: don't try to sleep right after a "provocative & beautifully luminous" film.

Lars von Trier's much raved-about film is a bleak study of our inherently wretched nature. It begs the answer to the question, if you can do no wrong, and people around you do you wrong, what do you do?

It begins with a helicopter view of the curiously stage-like set; doors, walls & everyday objects have to be imagined where drawn lines and minimal props are used instead.



Nicole Kidman plays Grace beautifully - as always, she looks stunning - a naive and optimistic fugitive who is at first reluctantly accepted by the reticent citizens of Dogville, a drab and depressing community set in America. They grow to even love her kind and friendly ways, but as the film's "Big Man" puts it, their selfish instincts inexorably take over and Grace is sucked into a cycle of silent guilt and reciprocating what is perceived as hospitality. Eventually it degrades to such a deplorable situation of abuse and rape yet somehow these citizens justify their acts to placate their conscience. Even her lover abandons her to save his own skin but returns to dismiss his cowardice as a result of fear and even to claim her sexually.



Me, the viewer, is made to experience the entire gamut of emotions from sharing the joy of Grace's acceptance and later, a hope that escape will bring a new life. Then genuine betrayal when the escape is thwarted and dismal horror follows where the community utterly pours its malice on her. Grace is vindicated though she gives the command to her gangster father to torch and gun Dogville, and even repaying one woman in the exact manner she had shattered Grace's pride and joy. But finally it dissolves into a wretched feeling of guilt where I find myself gunning for Grace to "kill them, kill them all" even before she'd made the decision to.

All in all, Dogville is bleak and yet accurate - in some ways - in its depiction of human nature.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

But God



My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalms 73:26 (NKJV)

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Vespa Dream Scoots Away



Been toying with the idea of getting a motorbike license, followed by a motorbike or scooter, preferably a Vespa. A colleague commented the latter would be a chick magnet. What kinda chicks, I retorted.

Did my research, the license would cost me about $600plus, think the bike's available under $1.5K.

Oh yes, public transport's driving me nuts - esp. all the waiting at bus-stops.

After much deliberation, I finally summoned up the courage and asked my folks' opinion.

A curt "NO" came from my mom, followed by a brief lesson in statistics about the proportion of parents who actually consent to their child scooting about dangerously on 2 slim wheels.

Oh well.

Mother's Day



It's a lazy saturday morning.

While I sipped my coffee & flipped through the papers, I could hear mom industriously cooking lunch for the 3 other men in her life - that's dad, bro & me.

First, she washes rice to make porridge - yes, we're teochew. Then it's dried tou-fu strips ("tao kee") in dark soya broth. Followed by stir-fried stingray with pungent black dace sauce - this dish proved rather hazardous as wet stingray set off a fierce eruption of boiling hot oil.

Occasionally, she interrupts her cooking with nagging quips at my dad, e.g. "don't anyhow wipe your oily hands, use tissue!"

As the fried smells filled the kitchen even with the windows wide open, I considered fleeing the scene. But oddly, these smells evoke a comfortable feeling of homely belonging.

I love my mother.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Engorged



I confess, I've been eating 6 meals a day.

Pre-breakfast today when I wake up consisted of a fruit & a glass of milk. Breakfast was mee siam - got really hungry at 12! Lunch @ 12plus was fish soup with rice, 2 servings of fruit & soya bean (mmmmm... making me hungry again, just thinking about it). Tea break @ 4pm was milo & a red bean steamed bun. Dinner @ 8pm was rice with dishes & 1 serving of fruit.

Golly, does this count as stuffing my face???

Thankfully, Runner's World tells me that studies have shown that people who eat early AND frequently are better at maintaining their weight.

Doesn't explain why I've put on weight tho...

Alright, that was 1 rambly mundane blog...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Growing Old



Read "Alzheimer's: A Mother-Daughter Act"
By ELINOR FUCHS, NYTimes (you'll need login)


My greatest fear? Growing old and ageing. So what's a good age to die?

45? Kids too young. Imagine to be at peak of career.

50? Kids not grown up yet.

55? Kids grown up. Parents still alive?

Surprising Brands

Bought a 2in1 shampoo recently... it's by LG.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

4IQ Test... Just for fun

Your brain: 60% interpersonal, 220% visual, 80% verbal, and 40% mathematical!
Congratulations on being 400% smart! Actually, on my test, everyone is. The above score breaks down what kind of thinking you most enjoy
doing. A score above 100% means you use that kind of thinking more than
average, and a score below 100% means you use it less. It says nothing
about how good you are at any one, just how interested you are in each, relatively. A substantial difference in scores between two people means, conclusively, that they are different kinds of thinkers.




Matching Summary: Each of us has different tastes. Still, I offer the following advice, which I think is obvious:


  1. Don't date someone if your interpersonal percentages differ by more than 80%.
  2. Don't be friends with someone if your verbal percentages differ by more than 100%.
  3. Don't have sex with someone if their math percentage is over 200%.




My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 70% on interpersonal
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on visual
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 73% on verbal
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 35% on mathematical
Link: The 4-Variable IQ Test written by chriscoyne on Ok Cupid

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Remembering Loves

Arts Central's latest campaign "Life begins at 9" and indeed this wannabe was hooked for 1.5 hours.



First on the menu was The Food Lover's Guide to Australia, an absolutely wonderful 30min collage of sights & sounds in an avid appreciation of all things to do with gourmet cuisine, done in a way that's both pleasing and modern that can only be Australian.

Pretty nice sounding bullshit there huh?

I was simply captivated, especially to the short Food Art segment which was virtually a pornographic mtv portrayal of how canapes is prepared.



Listening to Marsalis' essential yet oft neglected fundamentals of learning to play an instrument reminded me of all the instructional books I used to read.

While hearing that Hadyn trumpet concerto being played brought to mind an SSO concert I'd attended years ago with my pubescent ACS horn section mates.

And suddenly an intense remembrance of my love for music flooded my soul...

Monday, May 02, 2005

Jaggi's

Sunday, May 01, 2005

A Daily Exam

Church friend cum student commented, "No more exams more you, yeah?"

"Well, yes. But it's a daily exam for me instead."

Go figure.

Trivial aspirations aside, I've been feeling lost as to my desired career path. And I derive little comfort from the fact that I'm not alone in my lack of professional passion.

What's your dream job?



Mine would be a Lonely Planet guide, i.e. Ian Wright.



*cue imagination to visualize Ed in Abu Dhabi raving about exotic middle eastern food*

A common phrase from Garfield: "Abu Dhabi is where all the cute kittens go."

Alright, I'm rambling now.

How about baking?



Some might interpret that as another qualification towards domestic-dom. A colleague declared me a SNAG in front of others.



*Ed ponders life choices & more...*