Archive for June, 2004

blog, blogged, blogged

Sunday, June 27th, 2004

Hey, another week. What have I been up to? Busy. Wednesday I took over a new job for my colleague who is going on leave for a week, so I got the hang of some of that work. That was OK – a bit of trouble, but nothing too bad. one of my stories was among two I worked on and got sent out. Went home, watched a bit of Zatoichi, but to too sleepy and couldn’t finish watching it.

Thursday went to work, took off for a press conference at the new downtown branch of Dutch bank ABN AMRO. They may be a bank, but if you look at their bold sign and the colour scheme, they seem more like a gas station than a bank, at least that is what Naoko said to me today. Nice opening, cool presents, great food, but very crowded and noisy. Oh well. Went back to the office and worked on more stories. Stuck around until 7:45, then went off to my ex-colleague’s place for dinner. I knew he lived in a nice part of town, but when I saw the house he lived in my jaw literally dropped to the floor. Yes, literally! Hardwood floors, Chinese furniture, a den, a library, high cielings, rafters, a wide staircase, a pool out back, a garden, a driveway. It was like a huge house back home, but by Singapore standards that is a mansion. Amazing. Huge library with all sorts of novels, massive bedroom with his ‘n’ hers bathroom/dressing area, a room for each kid, cool stuff like that. Wow. Five of us with our host, i.e. one colleague, two ex-colleagues and a wife. Lots of people who were invited didn’t show up. Their loss. Great food too – kebabs, fritters, salad, bread. Yum. Drank beer until midnight, then took a cab home. Snagged the Sopranos Season 3 on DVD and the new Harry Potter book. Nice.

Friday was a busy day – a 10:30 coffee meeting with someone from Deutsche Bank, then back to work to finish up another e-newsletter. One of the interns had her last day, so we went out to lunch with her. Worked on the e-newsletter, but lots of delays. I had to get home so I could pick Zen up from school, so I finished up work from home. OK. Had a nice dinner with Zen, took him for a walk, Naoko came home from work late at 9:30. Zen went to sleep around 10, and we finished watching Zatoichi together. Nice.

Saturday… went downtown early because Naoko had a dental appointment – consultation on braces, which she probably won’t take. Nice doctor’s office and Zen had a cool time playing on the crocodile see-saw and reading Japanese kids books, then we all went off to eat kaya toast and coffee breakfast in a crowded place. Nice. Went to the botanical garden for a while, but Zen seemed tired, so we went back home. He fell asleep on the bus, so we got home, put him to bed, and tidied up, rested, read. I finished the Joe Fante book, started Harry Potter. Zen woke up before 2, so we hacked around here for a bit, went for a swim, then a bike ride, had some dinner, and a long walk after dinner. Seems like we got it all done fairly early, but now it is already 9:00. Zen is watching Spiderman, nice. We want to watch Picnic At Hanging Rock tonight, should be OK…

Sunday – grocery shopping day. Zen woke us up at 7, we watched Spiderman once, at 9 went out to get the groceries, Zen was upset that we only took the bus a short distance. Got lots of yummy stuff, then back home by cab. Cabbie was very nice. Hung out at home, Naoko and Zen napped, I did 4 hours of work, then went for a swim, then a bike ride, dinner, a walk after dinner, the usual routine. Very nice sunset tonight. Tonight I recorded 1 minute video clips of 3 nice songs – “Roadrunner” by Jonathon Richman and the Modern Lovers, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot, and “the Tomato Song” by Stompin’ Tom Connors. That is, the OTHER “Tomato Song,” the one recorded in 1971, THAT one. Watched Welcome to the Dollhouse on video late at night, and here I am blogging it up to present. Hey!

By the way, let me know if you want me to send you the clips of any of the above-mentioned songs. Easily done. I can also send other songs – please refer to the list posted previously… scroll down a bit… yeah… there it is. Got it!

Film Review – the Story of Zatoichi. This is the original story of Zatoichi, the blind yakuza masseur swordsman, from 1962. Black and white, of course. Nice intro to Zatoichi, as he joins the war of two squabbling yakuza groups. He is hired by one side, then befriends the swordsman hired by the other side, a noble samurai dying of TB. Of course, there is a showdown at the end of the book, and it is quite good. Something reminds me of the themes of Twilight Samurai too, somehow. Nice romance potential between him and a lovely pharmacist.

Film Review – Welcome to the Dollhouse. A tale of the bitterness and pain of youth, in a suburbia so bland and unappealing, so soaked in despair that even the happy moments are horrific. Opening scene, an ugly girl is asked point blank if she is a lesbian, is then called “weiner dog” for the rest of the movie. One of the lines is telling – “Why do you hate me?” “Because you’re ugly.” What kind of a sick mind would produce a screenplay like that? Yet it is brilliant. The twists of the ending are good, although the pain is a bit thick and biting. Scary, funny, sad.

Well, a few days have gone by, and I find myself still thinking about this film. Amazing how you can have films like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Moonstruck,” seeing these ugly ducklings suffering so much in their oppressive home environment, then you see this film and it’s a bit more like the real thing. One big long bad day that never seems to end is what this is. “The Five Million Dollar Blockbuster.”

Film Review – Picnic At Hanging Rock. Another, totally different view of adolescence, the priviledged children of this Australian boarding school for girls dance off to a poetry reading at a spooky piece of volcanic rock, disapper, and the mystery that results shatters lives. Fantastic early film by Peter Weir, although some of the psychadelic aspects of it, however minor, do date the film somewhat.

Book Review – The Wine Of Youth, by Joe Fante. Great Italian-American growing-up-poor-in-America stories, maybe along the lines of Angela’s Ashes, but not so hard. Father is a tough bricklayer, mother is long-suffering, everybody is poor, there are priests and confessionals, etc. Some stories are not autobiographical, but all are good. Of particular note is the story “One Of Us,” which is about the death of a 10-year-old boy, which is very sad, very well written. Interesting thing – he tells the same story twice at the end – it is about a man wooing a floozy, but in one case the guy is a successful man, in the other case a dumb labourer who works from job to job.

Picture – Zen and I in front of one of the recent frames I put up. I put up six frames, three of them are framed artwork, three of them are framed collages of CD liner jackets, i.e. 24 CD covers in one frame. I think it looks nice. Here is one of them. I know it’s kind of hard to make out, but the albums featured are from the groups Faye Wong, Machines of Loving Grace, Pixies, Timers, Osaka Monaurail, Coa, Neil Young, Boredoms, Garadama, Lin Chiang (inside album art spread), Nick Cave, Fernando Rodriguez, K. K. Null (double spread), Iron Butterfly, Wu Bai, the Surfers of Romantica, Henry Rollins, Shonen Knife, PWEI, and the Mekons. The frames are cool, and each of them has at least one album by Coa, the Mekons, and Henry Rollins.

picture perfect, but a bit crooked

four more days

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2004

Hey ho, here we are. Had a fun weekend – Saturday I did a bunch of work, tidying, Naoko and Zen went grocery shopping with Manae and Mitchan. Zen fell asleep at noon, so we waited until he woke up and went swimming, nice. Hung up more frames. In the evening went to Sean and Mihoko’s for cocktails, hung out there and watched Zen play all night with Kai. He finally went to sleep at 11:30, yoiks.

Sunday we went to the botanical garden, which was nice. Got home, Zen napped and I prepared my Monday morning meeting and presentation stuff. Yeesh. In the evening… Naoko watched her VCD, so I had nothing to do but read the Superman Vs. Spiderman comic book. Good, classic stuff.

Monday gave a presentation at the morning meeting, then wrote perspectives and stuff, flaked out a bit in the late afternoon. Got home in the evening and watched the BLOB! Scary!!

Today I got to work, did some tidying up, wrote an article. Nice to get something done in a day. After work I went off to the DVD library at the Esplanade, rented the first Japanese Zatoichi movie, Welcome To The Dollhouse, Picnic At Hanging Rock, and Every Which Way But Loose. Watched Every Which Way But Loose.

Movie Review – Every Which Way But Loose. One of the few Clint Eastwood movies I haen’t seen yet, funny because this one is regularly on TV. Trucker movie that looks like it was more intended for Burt Reynolds. Lots of funny bits, great script, and plenty of dumb stunts and comedy. Clint looking young and vibrant and tres muscular. Cool wide lapels and shaggy hair on half-bald men, the country soundtrack is quite bold, if you think about it. Cool appearance by Hank Worden, who was the old waiter in Twin Peaks, and a fantastic performance by a huffin’ and a puffin’ Ruth Gordon (Minnie Castavet in Rosemary’s Baby, Maude in Harold and Maude) as the sassy foul-mouthed mother to the two guys. Funny flick that stands up well 25 years after it was made.

Movie Review – the Blob. Steve McQueen’s movie debut. Hmmm… he does look a little old as a teenager, he was 28 years old at the time. Better on a technical level than anything else (nice shots), the movie takes a while to build up and then there are barely any good shots of the blob itself. Could have been a bit more gruesome, since the Blob itself is a terribly disgusting creature. Some of the worst acting by a child actor that I have ever seen. Oh well…

One Week

Saturday, June 19th, 2004

What a week. Monday I got to work and wrote a bunch of stuff. Whew. Monday night Naoko and I watched Kwaitan until we were too sleepy to watch any more. Tuesday I wrote an e-newsletter all morning, then spent the afternoon in training how to put together an e-newsletter on the technical side. Very frustrating. At the end of the day, two e-newsletters written by me went out, probably a record. Went to the library on the way home from work, dropped off the DVDs of last week, and rented a few more – the Blob (with Steve McQueen), the Day the Earth Stood Still, the General (Buster Keaton), and a Space: 1999 DVD. Ho hum. Got home and Zen went to sleep right away, early, like 9:00 or so. Wow! We watched all of Twilight Samurai, which Naoko had from a work colleague, and then slept at midnight. Wednesday… found out that I was suppposed to be going to Beijing for a business trip the end of the next week, but then found out I didn’t need to go. That was quick! Mid-afternoon I was told I have to appear on the TV news channel talking about Chinese banks, so I did 2 hours of prep and then went on air to talk about a recent news nugget, commentary, for 4 minutes. It was easy, and I was much less nervous than last time, but unfortunately I still come off as a frozen head with a moving mouth. I’m not a very dynamic TV announcer. Will have to fix that. Hmmm… Thursday had lunch at Clarke Quay, yummy burger, then a Korean translation of my e-newsletter came out, cool. Worked on lots of stories. In the evenings this week I had been fixing up my frames with the CD-jackets arranged inside, Thursday they were all done and hanging, nice. Friday I went to an event in the morning at the Raffles Hotel, met some nice people, ate some good food, listened to presentations… Got back to work, finished 2 more stories, did some calling, at the end of the day submitted 6 stories – cool. 15 minutes before going home found out that I would have to make a presentation on monday morning early, so I guess part of my weekend will be spent preparing. Sigh… Friday night got home, we had 4 guests – Mitchan from JB, her daughter, and her parents in from Japan. Had a huge dinner, went for a pleasant walk, and I watched some Buster Keaton in the evening.

Movie Review – Kwaidan. Kwaidan is based on four stories from Lafcadio Hearn’s collection of Japanese folk tales and ghost stories, which he collected a la the Brothers Grimm, a modern Japanese classic. The four tales are The Black Hair, the Snow Woman, Earless Hoichi, and In A Cup Of Tea. Hoichi is the most famous tale, about a blind monk who is famed for his retelling of the tragedy of the Genji-Heikei sea battle of Shimonoseki, who is asked one night by a warrior to tell the tale to his master, but of course the warrior and the whole consort are all the ghosts of the Heike who were slaughtered during the battle. The Snow Woman is about a man who discovers a thing or two about his wife after ten years of marriage, and the Black Hair is also about a man and his wife. Didn’t get to see the last story, too sleepy. Wonderful movie, very mysterious and slow-paced. Great camera work and sets, a plodding sense of doom. Wow, it sure was good! Very artsy fartsy in a Japanese way, the epitome of wabi sabi perhaps, so it won a Cannes special prize in the year it was entererd, 1965.

Movie Review – Twilight Samurai. A companion piece to the Last Samurai, as it was set in the same era, and even stars one of the actors of that Tom Cruise movie, Sanada Hiroyuki as a grimy samurai who toils as a clerk until it is discovered that he is a skilled swordsman. Sanada’s character is a sweet man who has lost his animal will to fight, and is happy as a clerk and farmer living in poverty and raising his two daughters and taking care of his senile mother by himself – his wife died when the daughters were still young. Of course, by the end of the movie he is enlisted to do some killing, which he goes about disconsolately. A wonderful film about the end of the samurai spirit and happily quite different in tack from the Tom Cruise film.

Book Review – The Day After Tomorrow. By Allan Folsom. The book starts off with a guy accidentally encountering the man who he saw murder his father in his childhood. The film takes off from there as an unconnected murder investigation involves the man in the slow unravelling of an international plot of monstrous proportions. I picked up this book thinking that it would be a laughable bit of pulp thriller writing, pleasantly surprised to find a very well-written and intricately plotted novel, comparable in some ways to the Da Vinci Code, but much better. Of course, the Da Vinci Code had all sorts of interesting nuggets of information that this book didn’t, but I’m still not much of a Dan Brown fan, mainly because he is not much of an artist with his words and characterizations. The Day After Tomorrow does go a bit overboard with some of its ideas, but it is an interesting, well-paced ride. Eventually it becomes easy to figure out how the book will end, but it sure is fun getting there.

Domino domino domino effect

printer printing

Monday, June 14th, 2004

Hey, Zen is so funny – he loves to watch pages coming through printer. Laughing in glee type of stuff.

Today was a good day – Zen woke us up at 7, we hung out, tidied a bit, showered and ate, then went off to Ikea to buy a bunch of cool stuff. Frames, a plush snake, clocks, hooks for the frames, kitchen stuff, enamel bowl, corkboard, etc. Our house is just a little spiffier. Got home, did some work, Zen napped from 2 to 5, we went swimming, which was lovely, then had pizza and beer. Zen is watching Duck Soup now.

Frog Boy at the table

the Frog Boy grimace!

Thursday Friday Saturday

Sunday, June 13th, 2004

Hey ho, another three days. I forgot what I did Thursday – oh yeah, I worked hard, came home and ate and went for a walk with Zen, then when he finally got to sleep I helped Naoko translate a business contract from Chinese into English. Difficult. This is about 3 nights work. Lunch today was interesting – my co-worker drove us to the cool hawker centre downtown. It is a big building, done in an old colonial style, with cathedral rooves and cieling fans hanging from long lines. The food was regular hawker centre food, but the environment was pretty classy. Lots of tables too.

Friday was a regular day at work, although we did get to meet a new co-worker who seems very nice. In the evening I went to eat Indian food with Zen and Naoko, very fun. Watched an episode of 24, then a bit of Shot In The Dark, the second Pink Panther movie. Saw only half of it. I am 500 pages into a 700 page novel. It is getting pretty good – actually, it started out really great, now it is trucking along very very nicely.

Saturday was a busy day – it started out right with nice long sleep, then we spent the morning tidying and cleaning. The place looks great. Moved the bed in the bedroom to the other side, it looks pretty interesting now. A bit more room on one side for me now, so it is a good improvement. Naoko did 6 loads of laundry. Went grocery shopping, bought yummy stuff, also got Fosters Beer, cheaper than Tiger and in bigger bottles, can’t beat that. It will be a cold day in hell when Singapore has regular prices for booze, sadly. “Social vices” and “sin tax,” how condescending. Zen finally fell asleep at 4, we did translation from 4 to 6:30 while he slept. I also went out to pick up the framed pic for Zen’s room and to order more. The frame guy sure is talkative! Naoko got a call from Mitchan. We finished up just as Zen was waking, then went off for a swim, nice. Had a late dinner, took Zen for a walk, then more work as they watched videos. It is now 10:30. I wonder when Zen will fall asleep so we can finish watching the Pink Panther film?

Zen's new Flash Gordon swimming gear

Zen's froggy after-swim bathrobe

Monday Tuesday Wednesday

Thursday, June 10th, 2004

What a week so far. Monday – woke up feeling OK, but began feeling worse and worse throughout the day. Had the runs in the morning, by 10:30 I was barfing chunks. Not sure if it was food poisoning or a “stomach cold” as they say in Japan. Feverish and aching, I rode out the day as I had an important meeting, as well as an important phone interview, which I did between barfs, miraculously, and wrote an article out of it. Hmmm… Worked through lunch, since I wasn’t feeling so hungry, then went home by cab at 4:30. Got home early, when Zen was still napping, locked the door and slept and read until 7:30. When I came out I found out that Naoko was sick too. Luckily Zen was fine. Poor boy, he wanted to go for a walk, but neither one of us could move that far. Luckily, the girl from next door came over and they played happily for a while, with the dinosaur toys (“oh, no, you’ve died, you can’t go to my wedding, Mr. Dinosaur”) and watching baby videos of Zen’s first birthday. Zen got to sleep at 10 and so did we.

Tuesday was an OK day, although I was a little listless. Worked a bit in the morning, as I drank a 2-liter bottle of isotonic drink, then off to the Fullerton Hotel where Citibank presented on all the millions of dollars Singaporeans are keeping idle in cash deposits when responsible wealth managers like Citi could be helping them get better returns on their money (wishful thinking, Citi). Great food, gorgeous PR girls, and fun interviews. After the meeting, I went off to the nearby Esplanade to rent out some more DVDs and videos, and help my colleague Mark get a membership (yes, complicated). I got out Kwaidan, Duck Soup, A Shot In The Dark, and Our Man Flint. I wanted to get Tombstone and The Children of Paradise, maybe another day. Back to work, back home, and watched Duck Soup with Zen after dinner bike ride and bath. Duck Soup is his new favorite movie, I think.

Wednesday more work an writing and fixing up articles. Did some transcriptions, and some doodling and tidying. Yes, nice. When I got home I found out we had a new translation to do – Chinese to English, business contract. Groan. Two hours of work on that before I got to sleep.

Movie Review – Solaris: yes the Tartovsky original, not the Soderberg remake. Solaris is 2001 on a low budget, it is long and beautiful and with minimal dialogue, maximal mystery. It was slow low going, and with nearly no sounds above the dialogue (there is barely any of that) there wasn’t much to listen to. I put it on double speed and whizzed through all the prettiness, keeping up mostly with the subtitles as they flashed by. Nice. Unfortunately, what with falling sick, I couldn’t finish watching it. Pity. Maybe I will get it out again.

Movie Review – Duck Soup: very funny Marx Brothers film, our collective first, and now one of Zen’s favorites. My first impression is that I don’t like Groucho so much for his corny one-liners (some are good) but Harpo for the silent routine he does with all the stunts – pulling a blowtorch out of his pocket, the circulating hat thing, the classic mirror scene, his tattos, all that great stuff. I guess we will be watching it a bunch of times this week, since Zen is constantly calling out “Want Duck Soup! Want Duck Soup!!” Then, “Please?! Please – baba – duck soup – please?!”

long time no blog

Sunday, June 6th, 2004

Hey how, long time no blog. Thursday was a regular day at work, not too much got done somehow, but at 7 we all went off to our co-worker’s wedding reception, which was fun. I went in my work duds, but some of the ladies showed up looking stunning. Nice. Sat at a table with the boss, his sister, and her son (his nephew). One waiter thought the kid was the boss’ son, which was funny. Good laughs, didn’t even talk about work much. People sitting at the other tables were paired up well. I guess our co-worker had a hand in setting up the tables, putting people the boss gets along with best at his table, or something like that. Went off with 4 friends after the reception to have more drinks. I had 2 more glasses of wine at Bricks, a cool pub around the corner from work, which was fun. Saw some of the skanky bar chicks that hang around the pubs, a.k.a. Sarong Party Girls, and some of the angmo who chase them. Good-ish band playing. Missed my last bus by 10 minutes, took a cab home and got to bed at 12:30.

Friday was a day mostly spent in meetings – about 6 hours or so. Wow. One meeting was about tossing around ideas, and there were lots of laughs, good cookies to munch on too!! Friday night I watched a taped episode of 24, and the last Space: 1999 episode. Have come to the conclusion that the episodes that I enjoyed so much as a kid do live up to their memories and are still fun to watch, but the others are utter rubbish. I saw this awful episode with Peter Cushing in silver make-up, about kidnapping Koenig to do psychological esperiments on him. Incomprehensible, as was the one about Arkadia… or something. Awful.

Weird things are happening on the commute recently. Friday morning I just narrowly missed my connection TWICE!! Then Friday afternoon I had just-in-time connections, twice. Weird how that happens. Over the weekend we have just missed a bus once, but had just-in-time luck three times. Amazing. Just missing a bus by seconds can make you feel like a loser, especially if it happens two or three times in a row. Then if you are just in time to catch a bus or train you feel like you’ve really gained something – being in the right place at the right time, or something. Good karma. Same thing with green lights and walk signals. I guess these are things all of us have to live with, whether we drive or commute or walk to work.

Saturday we went off to see new apartments, all of them in Signature Park where we live at the moment – there are 900 units here and always vacancies, so it is easy to move about within the same development. Our lease is up end of June and we could move to a new place… maybe… Saw three places. The first one was on the 9th floor, but unfurnished. Not so good for us. The second was on the fifth floor, had a great view, furnished with really cool stuff – the owner/previous tenant had done it up really great!! It had a huge TV, lots of mirrors and shelves that we don’t have in our apartment, cool stuff in the kids room including a wall mural of Disney and Warner Brothers characters and Barnie. A little icky, but very well done. Enlarged back area, which is nice, and a huge shower in the master bedroom… which we don’t have at the moment. Cieling fan!! Would love to live there, but there is no cost saving in living there, plus there’s the expense of moving, paying new agent fees, etc. Also it is in the same building where our current landlord lives, which would be awkward when we run into him in the elevators.

Later went on to check out frames in a frame shop. Gonna make up a bunch of frames for the art that we have, should be nice when it is done. Our walls are a little blank at the moment. Went on to the hawker centre for lunch, then the bus home because Zen pooed and then to let him nap from 1 to 3:15. Once he woke up, no more work was done, and we took him swimming, cycling, and for a long walk before he fell asleep at 9:40. Watched Don’t Look Back over a glass of wine, that was nice.

Today, Sunday, we woke up with the intention of going to the botanical garden. Looked like rain, so we did stuff here, but it never did rain. At noon Zen was getting antsy about riding the bus. “Seven seven bus? Seven seven bus? Seven seven bus?” He loves riding the bus. Went out to West Mall Kopitiam to have noodles and rice for 10 bucks, then back home. Zen tripped and scratched up 2 knees and an arm once we got home, oops! He was sleeping by 1:30 and I got to work on some things. Nice. Trouble with the neighbours this time, though – the downstairs neighbours were singing loud karaoke, had to ask them to be quiet. Then the kid upstairs was bouncing a glass marble off the marble floors, seemingly his favorite pastime. THis sound sets our teeth on edge, so we went up to ask him to cut it out. The mum yelled at the kid. Like she didn’t notice him doing it the whole time? Heard it once after I got back downstairs, but then silence. Ah, glorious silence!!!

DVD Review – Don’t Look Back: A documentary of Bob Dylan’s time in London in 1965, just before he went electric and met the Band. Interesting to note that the young Bob Dylan kind of looks like me!!! With the blocky nose and the fuzzy hair, everything. Wow. Of course, he doesn’t have my goofy grin. Watching the documentary, I had to think of the Leonard Cohen documentary of a few years before Don’t Look Back, which is a lot clearer. Don’t Look Back is hard to understand, as far as the sound and dialogue. At the beginning, Dylan sounds kind of like an idiot, but after a while you wonder if that was because he was nervous about being in London. As he gets more relaxed in his role he starts sounding more confident and… cool. Then there’s Joan Baez, sounding absolutely beautiful as she sings. Were Bob and Joan composing “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” at the time? Funny scene of Dyland and Donovan being goofy as they listen to cool jazz.

No pics today, maybe hopefully tomorrow. I got some nice ones of Zen in his new swimming gear…

Space: 1999

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2004

Tuesday – office work all day, which included lots of emailing and telephoning to set up interviews. OK. Went off at lunch to get my library membership and pick up a few DVDs from the Esplanade library, in the heart of downtown’s “durian hall.” Great stuff available there. Only can get out 4 DVDs at a time, so I got two Space: 1999 DVDs (three episodes of the series apiece), Tarkovsky’s “Solaris,” and Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Look Back.” Great stuff. Bad luck with the buses going back to work. Got lunch for myself, then worked in the afternoon. Went home at 6, more bad luck with people blocking the staircases so that I miss my train by 5 seconds. Next train in 2 minutes, but I missed my connecting bus by 30 seconds so all for naught. Had dinner, then off to Bukit Batok to take Zen to the doctor’s to find out what the hard bumps on his head that he complains about are. Turns out it is just dandruff, ha ha… More bad luck with buses getting home, then Zen fell asleep in the bus. No shower for him tonight. Zen is so happy whenever he is on the bus, it is just great to watch him smile and laugh as he sits in his own seat and looks out the window. Zen’s idea of heaven must be to ride the bus, suck on a candy, sitting in momma’s lap. I watched 2 episodes of Space: 1999 over beers before I got to sleep.

Wednesday felt like Sunday because it was a national holiday – no work! Lazed around in the morning, feeling the cool breeze blow in, Nagisa Nite and Jonathan Richman and Belle and Sebastian and Neil Young on the stereo. Took a bus to Bukit Batok, then a train around the north part of Singapore where we never go. Nice jungles there, Buddhist temples full of people celebrating Visek Day, then back to Chao Chu Kang for a great lunch. Sat at a table where Zen could see the buses leave the terminal and the trains come into the station. Nice. As we were sitting there a truck pulled up and unloaded supplies for the tofu shop, one of the guys looked like a Singaporean Iggy Pop – 50 or so, shirtless and shoeless wearing only shorts, wiry and muscular, cool to look at. Took the train and bus back home, let Zen watch Anpanman until he fell asleep. Watched more Space: 1999 while he slept until 6:00, then took him for a ride on the bike and a ride on his trike. After dinner, another walk around the place, and a shower, some TV, then try to get him to sleep before 10:30. He has school tomorrow.

DVD Review – Space: 1999. Took a membership to the Singapore DVD library downtown, maybe I can get there once a week so that I can pick up my 4 weekly DVD rentals and hit my fix finally. So many cool films available there, it really took my breath away. First up I got a bunch of Space: 1999 DVDs and realized what a cool old series it was. Apparently they had a big budget, so you get great movies sets, large casts, cool effects, excellent camera work, great mood lighting, and pretty good scripts. Of course some of the dialogue is laughable, for example: Raan “Do you thik you can span two million years of evolutoin,” Koenig “I can try.” The best is the codgerly Victor Bergman, who is the scientific consultant to the commander, who is always coming out with different ways of saying “I don’t know.” For example, “Victor, could this have all been caused by a freak gravitional field,” “that’s a good questions,” Victor responds, as he walks off. Of course, the fact that September 13th, 1999 has passed and no moon base has been blasted out of earth’s orbit adds to the irony of the series, then there are other flashback episodes to 1994, and 1996, like in Dragon’s Domain episode that are funny. In the world of Space: 1999, nobody ever eats, they just drink coffee. Alan is regularly getting punched out. More activity happens in the medical centre, the domain of the luscious Dr. Helena Russel (played by Barbara Bain, who was 50 years old at the time!!!), and the all-knowing computer prints its communications out on little strips of paper that look just like… convenience store reciepts! Of course, many of the extras look like off-duty models, and since the series was done in the ’70s, they all have that funky blond-haired, blue eye-shadow spangly make-up and gold lame bikini look. Funky!

The episodes so far have been mixed. By far the best was “the Force of Life,” which is well shot, atmospheric, spooky, and has pretty decent acting. A guy gets zapped by a blue light, which turns him into an energy well, sucking heat from people and objects. Spooky. The ending is just as frightening as I remember from when I watched it as a kid. “Dragon’s Domain” is OK, except that the flashback bits are a bit hokey. Nice use of Albinin’s Requiem, eerie music favored by the Doors and Yngwie Malmsteen. The battle royale with the monster at the end was well-executed, although perhaps it was over too quick (see also “Hellboy”). “Guardian of Piri” was interesting, and a bit droll in parts, as the influence of an evil computer, and the sexy android that controls it, turns the Alphans into apathetic hedonists. “Missing Link” features Peter Cushing, and it was madearound the same time as Cushing made Star Wars, but the plot about a scientist from the future using Koenig for psychological experiments is such utter rubbish that it is hard to sit through the whole episode. Definitely bottom of the barrel stuff.

no more junkets

Tuesday, June 1st, 2004

Hey ho, another fun day at the office. Last night was really weerd – it was cool and breezy all day, around 10:00 became very still. Then I woke up at 3:30, Naoko was shutting all the windows. A huge wind had picked up and was blasting outside. The windows were only open a crack and it was still blowing stuff around the room. Luckily Zen slept through it. This morning we all got going early enough, but as there were traffic jams along the roads I still got to work late. Bummer.

Work – 3.5 hour meeting going into lunch hour, then fiddling around with various stuff. Nice. Got home at 7:30, hung out, answered emails, slept.

funny face!