Saturday, February 28, 2009

Popcorn Talk Pt. I

Well, apparently the Merlion back home in Singapore has been struck by lightning. Just imagine that! I'm sure you've heard someone say at one point of time or another that it's harder to get struck by lightning than to strike jackpot. Damn, the Merlion must be one lucky fella! I've only read a couple of articles of this story online, but I've yet to hear any responses that Singaporeans might have written to the press -- I don't know what the general sentiment will be like, but for me, I've always found the Merlion to be somewhat of an eyesore so I'm definitely not shedding any tears over this incident! Here's a paragraph of the online article as reported on 938LIVE:

"Nature sure knows how to throw a tantrum.

In its fit of anger, Singapore's longstanding original icon - the Merlion, was damaged by lightning flashes."

Gee, I wonder what would make Mother Nature so angry. Guess that will be pretty much left up to open interpretation! So, anyway, last night and tonight have been enjoyable movie marathons which I've organized in my room (for myself, mostly) as part of the ongoing celebrations to commemorate my internet independancy. My laptop has been downloading and streaming at full speed for most of the time since I got it working again, and believe me that translates into quite a considerable number of movies now sitting pretty in my hard drive!

Last night started off with catching up two missed episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Thank goodness they went on a short hiatus in mid-season from December 16 last year to February 13, otherwise there would be an insane amount of catching up to do. Following that was a re-screening of The Matrix Reloaded -- I still remember watching this in theatres six years ago and enjoying it immensely. How time flies. (Yes, I seem to have to say this phrase in every single blog entry.) Ikhwan, who came to London from Sheffield for the weekend, then joined me for Quarantine, something which I've been wanting to watch for a long time now. Quarantine is a bloody (literally) brilliant movie, absolutely terrifying and best watched with the lights out.

Tonight I managed to watch the second half of Red Cliff, and was quite relieved because when I watched the first half I knew I wouldn't be around in Singapore to catch the second half. You know how annoying it is when you're watching a movie on a plane and they shut the entertainment system off when you're midway through? Yeah, it felt like that when I knew Red Cliff II was released in Singapore and I wasn't around to finish watching it. Well, thank goodness for torrents, I suppose!

And to round it off I managed to find the Sydney special for the Japanese drama Attention Please. Aya Ueto's character seems to be alot more brash and noisier than I last remembered, but nonetheless it was enjoyable to watch. This dorama really makes me think back on the good old days where we would all gather in the TV room back in MDC and watch Japanese dramas all day long. So, there you have it -- self-concocted entertainment that doesn't cost a single pence for the entire night. That's if you don't count the multitude of crisps, Dr Pepper and snacks that I've stocked up!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Big Apple Revisited

So, I've finally got my internet back up at running -- after 3 months, no less. My laptop has been out of service for as long as it has been working; I only bought it in September last year! Nonetheless, the feeling of having online independancy is nothing short of liberating. No more hunching over a school computer or peering into the minuscule screen of my iPod touch! What's lamentable though was the fact that I solved the problem easily by reinstalling Windows Vista -- something which I would've done long ago if I didn't know that I didn't need the startup CD to do that as HP laptops come with a partitioned hard drive that has all the necessary installation files in one partition!

Ah well, enough of that. I'm glad to say life has been picking up considerably now that I've moved, to Golders Green no less. The neighbourhood is brilliant and I'm loving every bit of it. Last weekend I decided to flee to NYC for a getaway trip as well, so that was great! Meeting up with Jon, Marcus, Fion and the rest of the MDC gang was fabulous -- I even bumped into Leslie as well! Haven't seen him for ages. It feels like yesterday when we said bye and he left for NYC to undertake his masters, and now he's graduating this summer. How time flies! Ah dammit, I said that again.

The first night in NYC was an absolutely smashing (and smashed) night, with us plying the streets of K-town again! We started off with a Korean BBQ dinner where we gorged ourselves silly like no tomorrow, then went to this quaint place for makkoli before bar-hopping to somewhere else for somak (which is a lethal combination of soju and beer). These glorious Korean drinks are destined to leave you well and truly inebriated by the end of the night, I tell you! Needless to say, we were all thoroughly hungover the next morning and slept in with wild abandon.

Throughout the weekend we ate like kings (that's the nice way of saying we ate like pigs), from Chinatown to Midtown to wherever there was a restaurant with good food. I felt very much like a Zagat reviewer after that entire culinary adventure -- covering everything from wine & tapas to nyonya cuisine to Bubba Gump shrimp! Of course, I managed to squeeze a couple touristy deed or two, like tramping through Central Park (which I missed the last time round) and spending a good half a day at the Guggenheim. Sunday proved to be a real treat as well as Jon took me to watch the Metropolitan Opera National Council Grand Finals Concert, which saw eight really talented and young finalists from across the US compete for a chance a four prize winning spots. Of the four winners, one was soprano Nadine Sierra, who at the very young age of 20 is still studying at the Mannes College of Music. Talk about young talents! Some photos from my weekend trip:

Kids, this is what "sumptuous" means when you describe a meal.

Getting sloshed on Korean alcohol.

Laura, me, and those shockingly small eyes.

A very captivated JCT at the Met store.

Read, Marcus, read. The Bubba Gump menu, that is!

NYC skyline from Central Park.

Taking in Picasso's "Woman Ironing".

This is the second time I'm here -- the first was in GTA IV.

Well, so there you have it. The remainder of the photos can be found on my Facebook album here. And with that I've just about exhausted all my funds on the trip, so now it's back to my glorious life of instant noodles and microwaveable dinners. Not like it was much different than before, but this time I'm typing this at my own laptop on my (new) cozy bed. Hallelujah! Now, to finish my Composition assignment for tomorrow before I get lazy!