Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mister Cellophane

Indeed, I love how my one of my friends puts it:

"But for now, back to reality, to politics and bitching, to watching your back, to skin-deep smiles and being vague so you don't have to lie."

She took the words right out of my mouth. Sometimes I can't help but feel that my entire life revolves exactly around this statement.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Avenues for Entertainment

Ahh, managed to rake up another four movies over the past few days. I think I deserve an upgraded PLAY! membership or something by now!

The latest four, as you can see, have been quite a nice mix of old and new movies, with all four being distinctly good in their own right. Two British-produced movies, and two American-produced ones. Bill Nighy stars in both British movies, to very good effect despite having a somewhat small role and very contrasting characters. He's quite the unmistakable screen actor!

Hot Fuzz is a campy, loud, and extremely funny film brought to you by the power duo who was also behind the 2004 sleeper zombie hit Shaun of The Dead. Storyline isn't quite the strongest, naturally, but all the spoofs and gags it pulls from cliche action flicks is enough to send anyone guffawing out of the theater!

The Constant Gardener, a 2005 Golden Globe award winner, is a powerful movie about a British diplomat in Kenya, Justin Quayle (played by the immaculate Ralph Fiennes), who is determined to get to the bottom of a potentially explosive secret after his wife Tessa's (Rachel Weisz) brutal murder. Justin decides to investigate her death against the strong wish of his superiors to let the matter quietly disappear. He discovers a powerful mystery involving the members of the British High Commission and the not-so-savory business practices of the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry. In the process of learning the secrets of his powerful enemies, Justin uncovers many of his wife's secrets as well.

I've become to see what a strikingly capable actress Rachel Weisz is, having watched her recently in the fountain. It would be interesting though to see her take on more diverse roles, instead of always playing the stubborn, ailing, enigmatic, hot-headed wife/girlfriend. That's Catherine Zeta-Jones' job! I absolutely couldn't stand her in Ocean's Twelve and Traffic!

The poignant ending of the film, for those of you who have watched it before, features a striking eulogy in the lines of this:

"So who has got away with murder? Not, of course, the British government. They merely covered up, as one does, the offensive corpses. Though not literally. That was done by person or persons unknown. So who has committed murder? Not, of course, the highly respectable firm of KDH Pharmaceutical, which has enjoyed record profits this quarter… and has continued testing Dypraxa in Africa. No, there are no murders in Africa. Only regrettable deaths. And from those deaths we derive the benefits of civilization, benefits we can afford so easily… because those lives were bought so cheaply."

All this a startling and chilling reflection to what's happening in real life, where Africans are being tested, without their knowledge, experimental medicine whose formula isn't complete yet and its side effects could be fatal. Yet, large pharmaceutical companies, though fully aware of this, still continue such testing as redesigning the formula would take years and millions of dollars more, and by then other competitors would come up with their own cures.

Red Eye is a very well-paced, well-written and well-shot thriller courtesy of horror maestro Wes Craven. It's great to see Rachael McAdams playing a more mature and well-developed character (the only other time I really remembered her was in Mean Girls), and Cillian Murphy is excellent with his haunting on-screen blue-eyed stare.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is another one of your CGI-laden summer action flick, but eye-candy Jessica Alba makes up for any mediocrity that this movie suffers from. It is, in all right, a pretty decent comic-to-film adaptation, although definitely lacking the substance that the X-Men and Spiderman franchises carry.

What's disconcerting though, is that I felt the supporting cast fared better than the main cast. Kerry Washington looks great (I recently saw her in The Last King of Scotland), Julian McMahon just looks tastefully diabolical and even Laurence Fishburne's VO for the Silver Surfer is quite the captivating thing to look out for. Don't get me wrong, Jessica Alba and Chris Evans look absolutely yummy on-screen, but their acting is rather rough on the edges.

Oh, gawd. I better stop. This blog is starting to feel like a rottentomatoes.com wannabe now!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cockles & Noodles

I managed to meet up with Wiggy the previous Sunday, when he first got back from Melbourne. Clarence, of course, joined in the fun. Which is mostly made up of eating, eating, and more eating. We had the classic Singapore-style hawker-fare supper at the iconic Newton, which totally sucks 'cos there's no smoking area.

*ecks* I'm gonna die on 1st July, I swear. No smoking everywhere! Balls!

As you can see, we managed to polish off quite a deal of food. Hokkien mee, cockles, chicken wings, stingray.. Oh, and you see the centerpiece of three Krispy Kremes right in the middle? Yes, those are real-deal KKs, baby! Courtesy of Wiggy, who promised me more than those three but apparently lost all the rest to the appetite of his family members.

So, you know, who really needs ice kachang or honeydew sago when you've got THE dessert of choice, right? So, although those three KKs were meant for me, I very valiantly offered two up to Wiggy and Clarence. Haha!

As you can see, Clarence is quite the donut connoisseur, irregardless of where he's sampling one. Hawker center also will do, you know. Ahh, yes, we also had some of those bloody elusive macadamia nuts [picture] which I got for him the last time I went to Melbourne, but left it at Ena's before I got back. Wiggy brought the nuts back, though! So, yeah, basically we went nuts.

Ok, that was really bad. All credit for my lameness, however, goes to the lame maestro Charles Wong!

SAF Day Parade vetting is tomorrow, and thank you damn organizers for making us have to report to camp tomorrow at 6:45am. I don't know why you need us there so damn early when our vetting is only at 3pm.

Seriously, our army is one of the most f-ed up places when it comes to strategic planning. The new programme, however, is thankfully simple enough. So that means less screw-ups. Still, though, the choice of songs would really leave one stumped. We have, among the more iconic Bee Gees and Frank Sinatra hits, random songs like On Top Of The World, Hey Jude and Don't Worry Be Happy.

In other more random sightings, if you happen to be walking down the main outdoor atrium of Junction 8 (when you first exit the MRT station), you'll find all the pushcart stalls gone. Which is good, you know, clear and open walkway and all. But right smack in the middle of it you'll find something like this:

Gee, that sure looks appetizing doesn't it. In an apparent attempt to plug a couple new food stalls that have appeared at B1, they have erected (or shall I say cooked) up a huge bowl of fake noodles in a bid to actually make you feel hungry and perhaps patronize those stalls. But in reality that is just about the grossest piece of shit that one could every think up of.

Trust me, the picture makes it look better than it actually is. As Vik would put it, it looks like "a bowl of brains". Great advertising move there, guys! Haha!

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Indistinguishableness of Me

Dang, imeem.com is acting up again. Pissing me off! Can't they be a little bit more consistent and reliable? MDC work is driving me nuts. Can't wait for JCT to get back to work tomorrow. You've been in Taiwan long enough now! Haha.

Watched Hot Fuzz (finally!) in the theaters yesterday, and Rise of the Silver Surfer today. Thanks Sharon for allowing me to drag you and go watch the first one. Haha! And Red Eye on DVD last night. I've just rented The Constant Gardener, but I think that'll have to wait till tomorrow night. I miss my college life. That's when I still had a life.

Damn myself. Free me already...

Oh, random fact for the day. Indistinguishableness is 7 syllables long by the way.

"Better to let the memories fade than to spend each waking moment
wondering why it can't always be like that. Reality beckons."

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Wistful Plannings

'Twas a long night out last night.. I haven't had one of those in awhile now! Did my usually happy hour sets at Balaclava, where Albert was nice to drop by only after we finished! He's such a lousy drinker for a Russian, I swear. People in Russian movies drink neat vodka from drinking glasses all the time (and I should know; he keeps making me watch Russian movies with him!), but that dude only does vodka in shot glasses. And he gets sloshed pretty quick! Shame shame!

Last night was a pretty good night, with Feri back to do this thing on the guitar for us 'cos Serene's away in Nippon land. I'd rather be in Serene's place, though. Afterwards I headed down to oosh to join Kewei to chill out some, and that was already approaching 11. On the way there, however, Kiwi suddenly texted me saying that there was nobody playing at the Lookout Bar and the management asked us to fill in for the night. Talk about ad-hoc! So we ended up doing another two more sets, which went pretty well. Was bloody smashed tired after that, though! After that I went down to Molly Malone's to meet Gerry and her friends for a few more pints to call it a night.

Have been quite hooked up playing Rainbow Six Vegas over the last couple days. Yeah, I finally got it! 2nd-hand, no less. But I guess for $40 it wasn't too bad. I'm so slow nowadays when it comes to games; no longer the one in the know anymore. I just know Halo 3 is due to come out in September 2007, and I'm the only self-professed fan who didn't manage to try out the Multiplayer Beta 'cos I missed out on getting that Crackdown game which came with beta invites!! Gah!

Today I met up with my cousins for dinner and one of my cousin's place. Karen-jie, your cooking is absolutely fantastic! I rarely ever meet my cousins so it was a great opportunity to actually get together and realize that everybody is actually growing old, finishing school and getting married! I have quite a number of cousins on my mom's side, but unfortunately I haven't spoken to some of them for years. It's even worse on my dad's side... I have a cousin whom I haven't seen for 5 years or so now.

That's Clarice, the 17-year-old who likes to go clubbing at Dragonfly. Haha! Talk about exquisite tastes. I think she's gonna be quite the party babe when she turns 18. Cheers to early liver cirrhosis!

For a dose of bad news, look no further than MDC. Apparently the client for SAF Day has disapproved our entire programme all of a sudden! So that means all the songs, dance routines, vocal arrangements that the artistes have done have all come to naught. F**k them, man. I still remember vividly when they came done for our very first vetting and said it was very good, and now then decide to change the entire programme just like that. Dammit!! SAF Day is on 1st July, by the way. Which is exactly a week from now to come up with an entire Original Concept Show. That's really f**king great news, man. Ok, on another note, and I really hate to brag... But if you go to the MDC website there's a little bit on the Vocal Ensemble (that's the group I'm in). Check out the feedback bit. Hehe.

Alright, another photo for the road, before I retreat back in to the crevices of my bed and huddle in front of my TV gunning down more terrorists in Las Vegas! It's Super Sleepy Sunday tomorrow! Which usually equates to teaching as well. Tutt!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Everyday is Movie Day

My DVD-rental spree is seriously getting out of hand. Every other day (or sometimes even everyday) I'll be found hunched over the PLAY! machine at NorthPoint, scouring for my next rental DVD fix. Every night is DVD night for me now! No matter what time it is.. Which means I usually only end at about 3, sometimes 4 in the morning. As Gerry can attest to, I'm a sucker for watching the extra features on the DVD. It's simply irresistible! And that usually means another hour or two taken to sift through all the special features.

Those 4 movies are some of the movies which I managed to watch recently; ranging from pretty B-stuff to Oscar-award winning movies. Pan's Labyrinth and The Illusionist are both excellent films, with the former being an absolute must-watch! Seriously, it didn't win 3 Academy Awards for nothing. Ivana Baquero does an amazing job filling up the shoes of the lead character Ofelia.

I felt The Illusionist is, actually, better than The Prestige. For those of you who remember The Prestige, it was a really good movie with a great plot setup until they went to the bit with cloning people with giant tesla coils. That's where everything started going out-of hand. On the other hand, The Illusionist is a very carefully-crafted story of a certain illusionist called Eisenheim (played superbly by Edward Norton), set in the turn of the 20th century Vienna. Along the way, he gets re-acquainted with his childhood sweetheart, a duchess who is of a much higher social standing than himself. Oh, sorry, gotta pause for a moment here. Jessica Biel is starting to make me drool!!

Complications occur, and situations call for Eisenheim to rely on his illusionist skills to play his cards in the quest for his love, and having to, at the same time, find a way to free her from the grips of the ruthless Crown Prince Leopold. It's a brilliant movie, carefully played out before culminating in a brilliant ending, with a twist of course.

The Sinking of Japan is a remake of the 1973 original, and is actually quite the clever film. I was expecting something rather B-grade (despite my given biasness towards all Japanese films and TV programs), and my general aim was to catch Kou Shibasaki in action. However, the movie was finely crafted, touching on issues like humanity, political blackmailing, mistrust between countries, impending life choices and so on. The editing was rather choppy, causing the timeline to be slightly confusing, and dampening what could have been a more powerful relationship development between the two main protagonists. I just have to say this though, if Singapore ever starts sinking, I'm packing my family and my ass onto the next outbound flight.

The Sentinel is one of the many action thrillers that Hollywood excels in producing (a genre which I happen to like, unfortunately). It provides a good opportunity to once again glorify the "dedicated men and women" serving for the United States government (this time the Secret Service), and provides Kiefer Sutherland yet another opportunity to don clean shirts and ties and run around chasing baddies with gun in hand a la 24 style. He seems to have been casted in stone with the Jack Bauer image. It is nevertheless enjoyable, and Eva Longoria sure helped! She's definitely a much more watchable character in this movie as compared to Desperate Housewives. Kim Basinger rocks as usual (still the definitive lao chio), and Michael Douglas still looks pretty suave and charming for a 63-year-old.

Whoops, gotta go now. Rented Red Eye just now... Time to go watch! Heh!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Vivaciousness & Vicariousness

I read something really thought-provoking on Leslie's blog earlier just now. It mostly pertains to a few poignant scenes that take place in the recently-concluded theater play On North Diversion Road by W!LD RICE; and he was just penning down his reflections which I found to be pretty thought-provoking.

We're all so caught up in blind love, mediocre relationships, empty promises, false hope and so on that sometimes tiredness just catches up. I'm really jaded in every sense of the word, and I allow myself to be pitied by myself (and no one else); I tell myself how hopeless my situation is. But after all, what do I really know? Or, for that matter, what do we really know?

And that's only because we almost always fail to see the big picture. We love to micro-manage our love affairs, our relationships so much because we know any thing beyond that is simply beyond our control. Someone accepts marriage because he or she has been a marathon, 10-year-long relationship. Or someone else relishes in the moment, only to be disillusioned the next.

Tiring. And depressing. The endless circle of vivaciousness & vicariousness

Read Leslie's blog entry here.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Better Horoscopes!

Sick and tired of all those horoscopes that keep giving you cookie-cutter answers that are always so ambiguous and general? Well here's something for a refreshing change! It works like a normal horoscope; scroll down to the corresponding horoscope and read away!


THE BETTER ALTERNATIVE
Horoscopes That Tell You The Real Truth

Aquarius (Jan 23 - Feb 22)
You have an inventive mind and are inclined to be progressive. You lie a great deal. You make the same mistakes repeatedly because you are stupid. Everyone thinks you are a f**king jerk.

Pisces (Feb 22 - Mar 22)
You are a pioneer type and think most people are d*ckheads. You are quick to reprimand, impatient and full of advice. You do nothing but piss-off everyone you come in contact with. You are a prick.

Aries (Mar 23 - April 22)
You have a wild imagination and often think you are being followed by the FBI or CIA. You have minor influence on your friends and people resent you for flaunting your power. You lack confidence and are a general dipsh*t.

Taurus (April 23 - May 22)
You are practical and persistent. You have a dogged determination and work like hell. Most people think you are stubborn and bullheaded. In actual fact you are nothing but a goddamned communist.

Gemini (May 23 - June 22)
You are a quick and intelligent thinker. People like you because you are bisexual. You are inclined to expect too much for too little. This means your are a cheap bastard. Geminis are notorious for thriving on incest.

Cancer (June 23 - July 22)
You are sympathetic and understanding to other people's problems, which makes you a sucker. You are always putting things off. That is why you will always be on welfare and won't be worth a sh*t. Everyone in prison is a Cancer.

Leo (July 23 - Aug 22)
You consider yourself a born leader. Others think you are an idiot. Most Leos are bullies. You are vain and cannot tolerate criticism. Your arrogance is disgusting. Leo people are thieving motherf**kers and enjoy masturbation more than sex.

Virgo (Aug 23 - Sept 22)
You are the logical type and hate disorder. Your sh*t-picking attitude is sickening to your friends and co-workers. You are cold and unemotional and often fall asleep while f**king. Virgos make good bus drivers and pimps.

Libra (Sept 23 - Oct 22)
You are the artistic type and have a difficult time dealing with reality. If you are a male you are probably queer. Chances for employment and monetary gain are nil. Most Libra women are whores. All Libras die of venereal disease.

Scorpio (Oct 23 - Nov 22)
You are the worst of the lot. You are shrewd in business and cannot be trusted. You shall achieve the pinnacle of success because of your total lack of ethics. You are the perfect son-of-a-b*tch. Most Scorpios are murdered.

Sagittarius (Nov 23 - Dec 22)
You are optimistic and enthusiastic. You have a reckless tendency to rely on your luck since you have no talent. The majority of Sagittarians are drunks. You are a worthless piece of sh*t.

Capricorn (Dec 23 - Jan 22)
You are conservative and afraid of taking risks. You are basically chicken sh*t. There has never been a Capricorn of any importance. You should kill yourself.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Columns for Entertainment

It’s the Sunday afternoon again. A time of momentary lull and a breather of action, where I usually just spend my oasis of relaxation from all the hectic scheduling by... sleeping! The weekend was my usual foray of gigs, weddings and teachings, but over the past few weeks I have been able to catch up on my insatiable movie appetite through DVD rentals. Thank god for those! I haven't been to the theater for ages now.

I've managed to finish watching the critically-acclaimed Iwo Jima saga from director Clint Eastwood. Though I have to say, I enjoyed Letters more than Flags, although both movies did manage to achieve stunning portrayals and perspectives of the battle for Mt. Surabachi and the consequent events that took place. There's actually lots of factual history and stories about this significant event in WWII, which provides for quite good reading on Wikipeidia!

Another excellent movie is The Last King of Scotland. This movies is based on the events of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's regime as seen by his personal physician during the 1970s. Idi Amin is played by the fantastical Forest Whitaker, whom I think did such a great job that he really deserved his 2007 Oscar. James McAvoy (he will always be remembered, for me at least, as the fawn from Narnia!) does a very decent job portraying Nicholas Garrigan, a young semi-idealistic Scottish doctor, comes to Uganda to assist in a rural hospital. Here he meets the Ugandan President, and through a series of fate-driven events, ends up as his personal physician. However, not all is what it seems, and soon things start to get bloody, violent and gory!

This movie doesn't flinch when it comes to scenes of gore. Well, I won't spoil any for you; you really do have to watch this award-winning movie. But, be prepared! Another recent one which I quite enjoyed was Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain. Starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, this show is a co-linear portrayal of three separate events that take place at three different points of time spanning 1,000 years. Each story, however, talk about man and his pursuit for eternal life.

The first talks about a Spanish conquistador in the 1500s, searching for the Tree of Life to free his captive queen. The next, an oncology researcher working with tree sap possessing miraculous healing abilities, at the same time spurred on by the drive to find a cure for his dying wife. The third talks about a space traveler seeking enlightenment, traveling with an aged tree within an ecospheric spaceship as he moves toward a dying star that's wrapped in a nebula. Their stories intersect in a parallel fashion, providing answers and guidance for each other.

Quite the artsy film, but yet easy to comprehend and grasp. The messages are clear, and the stories are pretty gut-wrenching. It's quite the realization, that man doesn't change fundamentally as time moves on. We're always searching for our own enlightenment, our own answers, our "correct" path, in little ways that perhaps others don't see.

I've been spending quite a lot of time re-playing bits and pieces of Final Fantasy X. No thanks to the fact that I'm too broke to buy new games, and that my brothers have just started playing it on my PS2 (talk about old school, right), I've been drawn and tempted to re-visit Spira with my first love, Yuna. It was indeed quite the re-visitation of fond memories, back in 2002/03 when I first played it! The final battle sequences, the final summoning of aeons, defeating Yu Yevon... all good times!

It really is one of the best RPGs ever created. Gorgeous landscaping, relate-able characters, engaging plot, hauntingly beautiful music, grand battles... All the trappings of a great epic! So, if you've already clocked up more than 200 hours (like me) on FF XII, and now waiting for FF XIII's release, go hunt out your FF X game (not X-2, mind you!), blow of the dust, pop in the DVD and enjoy!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

iRack

Once again, satire owns the day! This is absolutely hilarious, and definitely a MUST watch! Brought to you by the really funny people from MADtv!



Killer weekend, here I come! But I'm getting a really great respite tomorrow; my 3-month wait is finally over! The PLAY! A Video Game Symphony concert by the Singapore Festival Orchestra is tomorrow, at last! I am so excited about it I can hardly put it in words. At last, fans of game music in Singapore have been noticed!

I'll be heading down with Jon Low tomorrow, both of us all ready for some major geeking-out. Just read the papers today; SquareEnix did not grant the concert producers rights to screen Final Fantasy game footage during the Final Fantasy numbers. But it's alright, that's not gonna dampen my spirits. Just being able to be there to listen it live (from row G, no less!) is rewarding enough! This concert is also the inaugural performance of the Singapore Festival Orchestra, so that should be good! Also, Nelson Kwei will be heading the chorus. Big names!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I Need a Drink!

Who would've guessed! Last Sunday I had another wedding dinner, and I was just hanging outside the ballroom's side entrance for a smoke when I saw something pretty interesting and amusing, so I decided to take a photo of it.

At first I was wondering what on earth was she doing just standing there, then I realized! That little girl was seriously rooted to that spot for at least a good five minutes, just staring longingly into the huge array of glasses filled with yummy soft drinks. I could've sworn she was just dying to have one herself, but didn't know how to go about asking for one!

Give her 10 years or so and she'll be longing for something a tad more alcoholic instead! Which reminds me; I could really do with a drink right now. Gerry's having all the bourbon to herself right now. Gee...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Cruisin' Across North Luzon

Last Thursday, I went down with Hsin Yeow to catch his wife Eleanor in her latest theater production, On North Diversion Road. This is the first full production staged by young & W!LD, the training arm of W!LD RICE. But, as how I'd like to quote Eleanor, as it isn't exactly a "youth division because there are those in the company, like me, who are not young; just wild". And wild they are!

The main gist of the story is about ten couples dealing with issues of love, fidelity and commitment in ten starkly different ways, all while driving down the North Luzon Expressway, a widely used highway in the Philippines and also known as the "North Diversion Road". All the scenes take place inside a car in which each couple is driving, with no specific linear plot. The outlooks of these ten different couples driving along the same highway, dealing with marriage-on-the-rocks in a myriad of stunning and surprising ways, range from candid to sombre. This play is written by acclaimed playwright Tony Perez and directed by Jonathan Lim.

It was also nice to be able to meet some old friends that I haven't seen for awhile; Celine, Andrew, Hansel, Candice, Audrey, Daphne... Really makes me think back on my theater days! And of course, it's always such a riot to chill out over drinks with Eleanor! It was quite amusing to see Leslie's smoking scenes too. I'd say he did quite well! (I was the one who tutored him on how to smoke convincingly like a smoker.) Just hope he doesn't pick it up and make it a regular thing, though! I wouldn't have to have it on my conscience if anything happened to that fantastic classical voice of his! It was, though, my first time seeing Leslie onstage in a play at I must say he did quite the impressive job.

The play runs from the 6th to the 17th of June, so if you're in for some light-hearted fareand simply just go see something that doesn't come along with the huge Singapore Arts Fest crowds, go get your tickets for this one now! It's held at the Arts House, and tickets are at $20 (adults) and $15 (students, NS men, senior citizens).

Saturday was my folks' 23rd wedding anniversary, and the whole family had dinner at Fish & Co. at AMK Hub. (Haven't been to Fish & Co. for awhile! I'm always too busy eating sushi.) And here's something I found out: in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries, you can receive a message from Queen Elizabeth II for the 60th, 65th, and 70th wedding anniversaries, and any wedding anniversary after the 70th. Apparently, this is done by applying to Buckingham Palace, or to the Governor-General's office in Commonwealth countries. Whereas in the United States you can receive a greeting from the President for any wedding anniversary after the 50th.

Is that true? Can anyone verify it? Singapore's a Commonwealth country, so I guess couples here who've stuck with each other long enough qualify to apply. It's be pretty cool to have something from the Queen herself to hang on your wall at home, eh. Anyway, photos from dinner.

Dad & brother Joseph.

Mom & me.

Lydia & her unquenchable appetite for seafood!

After dinner I had to rush down to oosh to play; I was on sub duty that night. I was so damn nervous about playing with Maya, but thankfully everything went pretty smooth and well. I guess I could do with more of these instances where I have to sub and end up playing with unfamiliar singers; it keeps me up on my toes much more than my usual gig nights. Maya's a bloody good singer and a terrific lady; I hope to be working with her again soon!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

deuter = people


Apparently, some "people" (get the pun? haha!) think that as long as you flip a recognized brand upside down and sell it off as fakes, other customers won't be able to tell the difference. As you can see from the above "p" and "d" are completely flippable, giving pirates the perfect chance to pass off cheap, low-quality lightweight backpacks as reputable Deuter Sport backpacks from Germany.

Shift+click on the picture to view an enlarged version, and you can see that by simply employing a stealthy trick of hand (i.e., flipping the logo), and adding a reaching-out-to-the-masses type of brand name such as "people", you are all set to sell your own MIC backpacks! This ripoff was actually spotted downstairs from my house, Sun Plaza, at one of the shops near the entrance towards your left.

If reps from Deuter Sport read this and they manage to conduct a large scale crackdown, gimme a free backpack too, ok! Anyway, just sidetracking, someone should create an additional MIC article in Wikipeida. It stands for Made In China, btw.

In other embarrassing life news, my friend Lydia recently offered a seat to a supposedly pregnant-looking woman (i.e., simply fat) only to be answered, "Oh it's ok, it's ok. I'm not pregnant." Gosh! I don't know who should feel more embarrassed, the woman or my friend. Anyway, you can read her amusing encounter on her blog here.

I had another wedding last Tuesday, with one more coming tomorrow. Here's a picture of the lovely proceedings:

Yeah, hope I wasn't too sarcastic when I said "lovely proceedings". That's the relatively new, post-renovation Marina Mandarin ballroom by the way. And so I reiterate my love-hate relationship with weddings, weddings and more weddings. Everything about wedding dinners is such a cookie-cutter affair, I struggle to find that special touch from each wedding every single time I'm at one, and unfortunately, not all weddings have that.

Everybody tucks into the served dishes and guzzles down the free-flow alcohol with gusto, but it comes to the yum seng toast, nobody gets up or responds enthusiastically, leaving the poor couple stuck on stage with their parents. Even the bridesmaids and the "brothers" need to be coaxed and cajoled onstage, with some of them responding only half-heartedly.

That is, indeed, very confusing. And confounding to some extent. So, someone or something put back the positivity of wedding dinners back in me, because it is indeed becoming quite tiresome watching yet another one proceed from start to finish.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Prince & the Charming

OH-SO-TIRED!! Got called down to SIB yesterday for a total f***ing waste of my time. Absolutely! I swear. The only redeeming point about Mowbray Camp is that their canteen has an adjacent smoking area, so no need to go to smoking point. Yes, I'm that straightforward and shallow. Especially when it comes to having to sacrifice my good MC days when I really treasure. I was supposed to be on MC yesterday, and I had to get this kind of shit.. MPC is really such a farce in Singapore's military.

Managed to watch Shrek 3 with Sharon over the last weekend on Sunday. It was actually a Sunday where I wasn't dead tired and trying to catch up on sleep or busying my ass off at work, and that has come in a very, very long time. Sharon's leaving for Taipei today for YET another holiday, and to visit her boyfriend. Lucky you!! After the movie we went for dinner at Sakae Sushi then ice cream at Gelare. Such sinners, we are.

As you can see, Sharon really studied very hard for the upcoming "Sakae Sushi Menu Yearly Assessment" (left) but she didn't so as well as she would've expected. Thus, she got quite upset so I tried to cheer her up with some ice cream. Apparently that didn't work very well, unfortunately (right). She was still quite fuming over her poor results! Haha! Okay, okay.. Lameness is getting into my head. Shrek the Third, on the other hand, is quite the enjoyable movie to watch. Here's my absolute favorite bit:

Prince Charming: You! You can't lie! Where is Shrek?
Pinocchio: Well, uh, I don't know where he's not.
Prince Charming: You don't know where Shrek is?
Pinocchio: On the contrary,
Prince Charming: So you do know where he is!
Pinocchio: I'm possibly more or less not definitely rejecting the idea that I undeniably--
Prince Charming: Stop it!
Pinocchio: Do or do not know where he shouldn't probably be. If that indeed wasn't where he isn't!

This rates almost as close (but not just yet) as my favouritest animated movie moment of all time; from Meet The Robinsons where the T-Rex complains about having "a big head with little arms". That one is, without a doubt, unbeatably funny! In the sudden excess of animated films being released recently, Ratatouille looks set to be pretty good, while Surf's Up looks like it's gonna bomb!

Monday, June 04, 2007

5-Minute Management Course

Lesson 1

A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor. Before she says a word, Bob says, "I'll give you $400 to drop that towel to your waist!”

The woman thinks for a while. "Hmm, since my husband is still upstairs taking his shower, I guess it wouldn't really hurt!" So she complies and drops the towel to her waist, exposing her bosom.

Bob gets really excited and, unable to resist, tells her, "I'll give you another $400 to drop your towel completely!" After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob After a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves. The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, "Who was that?"

"It was Bob the next door neighbor," she replies.

"Great," the husband says, "did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?"


Moral of the story:

If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.


Lesson 2

A priest offered a nun a lift. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg. The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg. The nun said, "Father, remember Psalm 129?" The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again.

The nun once again said, "Father, remember Psalm 129?"

The priest apologized, "Sorry sister but the flesh is weak."

Arriving at the convent, the nun sighed heavily and went on her way. On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129. It said, "Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory."


Moral of the story:

If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.


Lesson 3

A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie says, "I'll give each of you just one wish."

"Me first! Me first!" says the admin clerk. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world."

Puff! She's gone.

"Me next! Me next!" says the sales rep. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life."

Puff! He's gone.

"OK, you're up," the Genie says to the manager. The manager says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch."


Moral of the story:

Always let your boss have the first say.


Lesson 4

An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing?" The eagle answered, "Sure , why not."

So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.


Moral of the story:

To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.


Lesson 5

A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree," sighed the turkey, "but I haven't got the energy."

"Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?" replied the bull. "They're packed with nutrients." So the turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree.

He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.


Moral of the story:

Bull Shit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.


Lesson 6

A little bird was flying south for the Winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him.

As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.


Morals of the story:

(1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.

(2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.

(3) And when you're in deep shit, it's best to keep your mouth shut!


THIS ENDS THE 5-MINUTE MANAGEMENT COURSE


P/S: There's no such phrase in Psalms 129, by the way. Just thought I'd clarify!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Vodka & Mousey

Last Friday was actually a rare night where Kewei, Serene & myself actually had some time to hang out with each other after our set without any or all of us having rush off for something else. So just sat by our favorite spot (i.e. the cosy stairs) and just chatted away amongst ourselves and the regulars. Found out that one of our most regular audiences and long-time Balaclava customer Charles is leaving for Hong Kong to be based there for work next week. And even though yes I know he'd prefer Ein Ein to me, we'll still miss having him around! Serene's also converted herself to be quite the drinker now. Below 42 won't do anymore, it now has to be Polish-made Belvedere vodka in giant bottles. And, please sir, no shot glasses! A straw will do!

Also, on the Friday, the funniest thing happened. You know how customers make song dedications for the band by scribbling (almost intelligibly) their requested song titles on cocktail serviettes? Then they just pass it to the bartender or staff who will just pass it on to us without looking or reading it. And that night, Sam (my homie bartender and Ena's crush) just passed us a cocktail serviette. And upon looking at it, we almost just fell apart laughing. Instead of a song title, it read, "Whatever food and drinks she buys, I'm not paying". It took us awhile to realize that it was actually a message from one of the male customers to the bar staff letting them know that he wasn't going to foot his female companion's food and drink bill! Totally hilarious! Best thing was, we were in the middle of the song and we almost broke down.

Speaking of "female companions", according to Charles there are actually a lot of self-confessed "alcohol sluts" in Balaclava too. Yup, they actually introduce and call themselves that. They have the ability to just somehow "know one guy at the table" and then just simply help themselves to the bottles on hand. And the best (or rather, worst) part is, they don't get drunk! So for you guys who are looking for a "female companion" and don't mind footing the drinks bill in exchange for getting fresh with her for the night, those ladies are definitely not your target audience!

Also found out that Serene went to get a Nokia 6300, like myself! Good, now there's someone I can play 2-player Snake 3 with in between sets. Haha! The past week has definitely been worthy to be deemed horrendous. I told Clarence on Wednesday night at Balaclava; sometimes don't we all wish we could just disappear from the face of this earth of just become functional robots so we can just live our mundane, systematic life void of all stress and emotion? And he said, "Yeah I feel that way too. My body is like a piece of dead meat from the beatings of the world". Well put, indeed! So tired now; I was still clinging to the thought that Thursday's Vesak Day would be a chance for me to recuperate and rest at home but I knew I had a full back-to-back 10 to 4 teaching schedule.

However, I did manage to catch up with Aik Wee as I was teaching just right opposite his Farrer Road house at Woollerton Park. We went for dinner down the road at Mad Jack's opposite Serene Center. Man, you gotta give in to their fish and chips! Wanted to go for some dessert at Island Creamery but decided against it. The BMI's not doing very well these days, you know!

MDC shows (for VE, at least), seems to have died down for now. Which is good, 'cos I know come July & August all hell will break loose. So far we only have two or three slated shows, which should give me a well-deserved lull at work. Although knowing myself I'll probably start to complain about inactivity at work in about a week's time! Better start teaching Vicknesh all his new parts, but everybody from VE has been alternately clearing off (along with the artistes), with me trying to scrimp and save whatever OILs I get! Mostly my day consists of gossiping with the managers and having lunch with Meng Yee and maybe some of the musicians. Well, for now at least! So, tell me Aik Wee, was MDC ever like that back then? Haha! Let's catch up again soon. I might be doing the insane act of going down to the PC Fair tomorrow, wanna join me and go again? Heh.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Life's Oddities

Think your day sucked? Imagine the last person who got fined $1,000 for not pushing his/her bicycle across the underpass. Now, that's when you know your day really sucked. But that's life. If not for Singapore's archaic laws, life still bites you back in the end. And in the end of the day, somebody's going to go down. Really hard. Then I'd agree and say you had a sucky day after all.

It's also quite amazing how many intricate yet absolutely useless and trivial things you can find lying around in office. Or what amazing things you can learn from posted bulletins in the office bulletin board. For example, last week I learned that, according to professors from the US, your child will become academically smarter and less likely to do drugs if you have dinner with them. Case in quote.

And this was taken from a "Eat With Your Family Day 2007" publicity poster that was put up on my office bulletin board. Apparently, they call it "A Ritual of the Heart". Doesn't it just simply come across as another exceedingly contrived campaign concocted by our beloved government? I'd rather they just simply give me more GST tax credits instead so I can treat my family out to a nice dinner without having to worry about the 2% increase in GST.

Family dinners. This word, meant to carry heartfelt connotations of familial warmth and communal gathering has been warped into a total different meaning these days. This is always most evident when it comes to wedding dinners. It's come to the time now for us to move on and dispel the notion that with each wedding there is also a requisitioned wedding dinner.

A wedding dinner is meant to be a celebration of the couple within family and friends, not a showcase of someone's hospitality skills or choice of fine cuisine knowledge. If a couple wants to skip the dinner and just have a buffet lunch, then so be it. If the couple just wants a cocktail reception, so be it. If the couple wants to do away with all of those altogether, then so be it as well. It is never our place, be it the parents, aunts, uncles, siblings or cousins to question the couple's choice.

We all secretly agree and know that more often than not, a huge percentage of the guests are only there because of the food. That's where their true interest lies, and if indulging in these interests requires them to just shake the hands of the couple and mutter a few words of congratulations, then they will do it. And this is not only limited to friends; even close family members of the couple also attend wedding dinners with such intentions. And it's because of this, that's why newly-married couples nowadays are choosing to opt for smaller-scale dinners or do away with the wedding dinner completely. And it's these instances where there will always be the pompous, self-righteous family member (or two) who will start making a big commotion about how unwise such a choice is, about how the couple is doing the wrong thing, about how it is simply not "correct" to omit a wedding dinner. They will make sure the rest of the entire extended family know of their unfavorable opinions, barking away like mad dogs.

When in actual fact, these specific family members are just waiting in gusto to freeload at the next wedding dinner, or perhaps waiting for an excuse to dress up for one once in a blue moon. We may truly never know, but it is indeed a pity that these people can still call themselves family members related by blood.

Ah well, but I digress. In other office sightings, I managed to uncover a very interesting No. 3 uniform name tag (left). Thanks Ben for modeling this name tag on your shirt, even though you don't quite deserve what it says just yet! Haha! Well, neither do I, actually. But it is indeed every NSFs dream to be able to finally say those words one day, knowing full well that his 2-year sentence to the country is almost over. One of colleagues ever made an interesting (if not slightly simplistic) comment.

He said prisoners in Changi prison come out of their jail sentences better equipped than NSFs; combat NSFs slog all day in the sun doing silly navigation and fire movement exercises, while convicts come out of prison equipped with life skills such as baking and carpentry. Food for thought, isn't it? I'll let you decide which system's better! In the meantime, I'll be patiently awaiting with bated breath the day I can pin that name tag on myself in full pride and glory.