Archive for April, 2004

a half week

Saturday, April 24th, 2004

Hey, it was another busy week, but not so busy for me. Ha ha, most of the writing was done, now it is the layout, and soon we will have a new magazine in our hands, a wonderful process. Internet connectibility went down on Monday, so I was out of it for a while. I got back up on Thursday, not having done anything – so mysterious. Some writing, some hanging out, some going to conferences and meeting important Hong Kong and Korea payment guys. It was fun. Listened to music on the walkman and all that stuff, got wasted, watch 24, got bored and drank beer. Tuesday was my birthday, but it was pretty dull and lonely. Dorai took me out for lunch, bless him, it was very nice. Went to the Cards Asia conference in SunTec Singapore, which was OK. Saw a bunch of other Asian cards superstars, very fun. White Zombie. Black Flag. Malhavoc. Funny and interesting.

Book Review – Ripley’s Game. I have been unlucky to read several very crappy books this year, and this is one of them. The author created a classic character from crime fiction, but in her fifth Ripley book she can only weave an incredibly dull tale. With a minor character inexplicably becoming the major character, it is merely a clumsy conversion of a meagre short story into an extra watery novel. Pity – Ripley could have been so wonderful… It has been made into a film with John Malkovich, but I have NO desire to see it considering the pathetic source material.

Film Review – Sayonara. Had a lot of fun watching this tale of Korean War-era tales of interracial romance, set in Kobe, Japan. Interesting moral tale, based on the James Michener book (which reads a bit hokey) and starring Marlon Brando and Red Buttons (love that name) who got the Oscar for best supporting role. Amazing how times have changed.


Monday, April 19th, 2004

Hey, an quiet weekend. A very quiet weekend! I listened to a lot of music, but I stayed at home most of the two days, and I think I talked to a total of 4 people the whole time. Disusing the vocal cords, something like that. So how did it all go down?

Friday was a tough day. Woke up alone, Naoko and Zen were already gone… I got up at 6 and did some work. That was an interesting new experience. Went to work and had an OK day – I wrote 2 articles, hung out, ate lunch, stayed until 9:30 or so… Got home and tried to watch a taped episode or 24, but it was bunged up. I only watched 1 of the 2 hours before I shut it off. No problem – it is being rerun on Saturday. Cheques came in the mail – cool!

Saturday I slept until 7, then got up. Hung out until 10:30, then went to drop off the cheques, then off to EZ Video and Cold Storage. I bought the Spiderman movie on VCD, a bottle of gin and some tonic, then back for lunch. Did writing all afternoon, then off to Indian food for dinner. Yummy – I ate 4 different types of Prata, so good. Went home and watched Casablanca and Spiderman while I drank gin. Went swimming twice too, once in the morning and once in the evening. The pool is so lovely…

Sunday I slept until 9, amazing. First time I could do that for quite some time. Loafed around in the morning, did some work in the afternoon. Naoko called at one point, it was after the 7th year anniversary of her grandfather’s death memorial ceremony, and we talked for 5 minutes until some other call came in and she cut off our conversation, seufz… Did some work for Miriam at one point, some internet, some blah blah blah. Watched a Clint Eastwood movie, High Plains Drifter. I bought the video at a garage sale some months ago, finally watched it today…

Video reviews:

Casablanca: Probably my favorite black and white film. Does it get better than this? Victor Lazlo. Else Laszlo. Richard Wanes. All the classic lines “here’s looking at you, kid,” “of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine,” “this is the start of a beautiful relationship,” and many more. Bogie and Bergman are both stunning. It is funny – I am a big fan of the movie Top Secret, so this is the movie that Top Secret makes the most fun of, but… who cares? “I only wish I didn’t love you so much!”

Spiderman: My old friend Spider in Taiwan, in 1996 when I told him that they were making a Spiderman movie, told me “I only hope I live so long to see it – my dream.” I have lost touch with Spider, but I hope he is happy with the result. I am, for the most part. My name is Peter too, and as a kid reaing comics about a geeky superhero names Peter certainly appealed to me. Spiderman, as Peter Parker, was always an ordinary guy, so I always liked him best. His corny sense of humor. His acrobatics. His lone wolf mentality. Everything. Good great stuff. Overall very happy with the film, only exception being the Green Goblin’s stupid mask – what good is it really? I heard that the reason for the faceted mask is to make the CGI easier to do. Actually, for a big budget film it seems to have a lot of low budget crap in it – Norman Osborn talking to a mirror (cheap-looking) and other stuff was funny. Nice also to see Randy “the macho man” Savage back in the spotlight, still scary after all these years!

High Plains Drifter: Yer typical Clint Eastwood cowboy movie – stranger drifts into town and helps townpeople defend town from desperadoes out to destroy the people. The story is complicated by lots of different things, like corrupt town people, a dwarf, and Clint Eastwood killing half of the townfolk and raping half of the women! Crazy stuff.

Zen zen zen

the weekend, the week

Friday, April 16th, 2004

hey ho, another few days have gone by. Saturday and Sunday… I spent a lot of time writing. Sunday I stayed up until 1 AM going mad. Good thing – this week has been easier for the work I got done on the weekend. Saturday we went to the botanical garden, which is always nice. Sunday we went to Clarke Quay to see the flea market. It is nice being down there in the morning when there are no touts and tourists around. The flea market was OK – the usual flea market junk. We bought a toy truck for Zen for $1. Lots of otaku shops – models, comic books, super heroes, movie posters, that sort of thing.

Monday was a usual day for writing and fun stuff like that. Monday night… stayed late and got home just as Zen was falling asleep. Tuesday I finished a long article, nice. Tuesday got home early and hung out with Zen and Naoko for a big, going for walks and taking baths, stuff like that. Wednesday did a bunch of work, then went off to the Singapore Cricket Club, classy joint, for a book launch – a book on e-payments. Nice, fun stuff. Heard lots of funny stories, met a lot of cool people. Interesting. I drank a bunch of wine, maybe 5 big glasses or so. That makes a full bottle or so, I bet. Got pretty tipsy by the end of the evening. Woo hoo. Got home at ten, very tired.

Today I wasn’t really so hung over, but had a headache for most of the day – got really bad from 5 to 6. Oh well. Got home early so that I could help Naoko with the final packing. We took a cab to the airport at 7 – really strange cab driver, he was calling Zen a naughty boy who was noisy, crap like that – then checked in for their flight. Went for Burger King dinner, which was OK. Tasty, not filling. What’s more important, anyway? I was asked if I wanted to supersize. Give me a break! Had a nice time in the airport, Zen loved running around. He got a bit moody, though. Then they went through customs. It was so sad for me, now I’m all alone for 3 weeks, but it was OK. Zen seemed to cry a lot. I hope he will be fine on the flight. Tomorrow, long day with lots of writing. Yoips!

Book Review – Seabiscuit, by Laura Hllenbrand. Excellent book. By now the story of the little horse that could should be well known, as there has been a movie made out of it that got a lot of press. Haven’t seen it yet, but I hear it isn’t as good as the book (surprise, surprise), even for people like Naoko and my co-worker who both LOVE Toby Maquire. Hillenbrand is an excellent writer, and she really gets into the character of the horse in a compelling style, almost converting me from someone who has no interest at all into horse racing into… a fan? This book also has one of those rare things, critics comments on the cover and inner flap that are actually accurate and not just a bunch of crap, particularly the one from Pittburgh (!?) that says “Hillenbrand’s narrative is so authoritative and compelling that the book becomes one of those rarities: page-turning nonfiction.”

Zen the frog rider

a week

Saturday, April 10th, 2004

Hey ho, no interest in blogging these days, I guess. What to report, then? Today is Good Friday, so I got a day off. This morning we went to Little India to walk around, mainly to go to Mustafa’s which is like a huge store complex full of cool Indian nicknacks and cheap stuff, very wild. It was obviously a smaller store that expanded and expanded to near department store size. Interesting system of bag checks and things like that. Got lots of goodies for Naoko to give friends and relatives next week when she goes back to Japan. Afterwards we walked around looking for a place to eat, took some doing because a lot of the places were Chinese food and we were shooting for Indian food, or they were too crappy. In the end we ate Malay fried rice, not so good. Zen held out for a while, then fell asleep in the cab home. It was a fun time. Back at home I wrote up three quick articles while Zen slept, then mailed them out to the editor, allright! Zen woke up, we went cycling, had dinner, went for a walk, then watched the Matrix Reloaded. Naoko painted his toenails red, so he looks pretty strange.

Zen has been very good these days – he walks and runs more, asks us to carry him less and less, or not at all. We changed the route to school, so we pass chickens and dogs and elephants and lions, so he has more to see. Crappy sidewalk, but few cars. He answered the phone the other night, but all he said was “hello hello hello.” He often asks us to sing “happy birthday to you,” so we find ourselves regularly wishing him a happy birthday. He has developped a funny panting soung – hoooooo – I wonder where (or who) that comes from.

Last week wasn’t too eventful except for several very long meetings and some agonizing over articles. Tuesday four of us went out with one of the boss’ friends for French food, that was fun. The longest dinner I’ve had for a while, some very expensive wine, some funny conversation about how to rhyme words with “orange,” also some Austin Powers thrown in there. Got home late. Next night came home late after going to cocktails for some IT company launch, Thursday night also got home late as I was finishing up articles. Reading a really good book now called Seabiscuit. Yes, after the movie. The last book I read was really awful, luckily Seabiscuit is well written and exciting!

Book Review – Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei, by David Mura. Totally dull book. David Mura is a writer and a poet, but he really has nothing to say. He goes to Japan on some sort of junket organized by the cultural exchange people, he wanks around a bit studying butoh and noh, then he obssesses a bit about his relationship with his wife. Who cares. Probing the nature of his heritage is also frightfully dull – he resisted his Asian identity as a kid, wanting to be a regular American kid, then he went to Japan as an adult – he made a few friends, he formed a few opinions about “the home country,” he went to a single demonstration, but nothing else happened in the entire book! The poor guy wrote a non-book.

No Heart For Blogging

Thursday, April 1st, 2004

Singapore sure is hot. In the evenings we get cool breezes, and there have been times when I even had to close the windows so that I didn’t shiver under my thin flannel blanket, but these days it doesn’t cool off much in the evening and there is no wind, so I soak the sheets through with sweat. What else is new. It is hot in the mornings when I step out into the baking sun, and Zen refuses to walk and asks me in that sweet voice to carry him, so I do so and am dripping with sweat and pooped out when I get on the bus at 8:30. Such is the life of an expat papa with no car in Singapore.

Not much new there days. Monday I went to a meeting in the morning, then a media roundtable. At least it was on a high floor of Singapore’s greatest high rise – the view was great, so was the coffee. The comic I had worked on came out and it was so-so funny. Got home Monday night – Zen was spazzing out and crying about which shirt he could wear or something. He got sleepy and fell asleep at 9.

Tuesday was a good day – I spent the whole day writing and came up with 2500 words, my long article nearly all done. Great. Tuesday night was badminton. My first time playing in ages (maybe even the first time ever). I did very well, I think, and got the hang of hitting the birdy very quickly. Those birdies fly with a very strange dynamic – you can hit them high in the air, then watch them drop like a stone, so they can arch right over the other player and drop right down behind them… but still within bounds. Very interesting. Sweat buckets, then changed back into my work clothes for the commute home – yuck! Lying in bed as Zen was getting to sleep, suddenly he pointed to the cieling and said “wani” (which means alligator in Japanese – shorter and easier to say it in Japanese than in English).

Wednesday was a day of doing various many different small things, but I still wrote an article, nice. Calling and emailing all around, and I found out about the 5.6 km. long JP Morgan corporate challenge run, to be held on a Wednesday evening at the end of April in the downtown core, fun. I will have to take part in that for sure. Got home at 7 and had a nice dinner, then took Zen for a walk, our evening ritual. Zen was saying all sorts of strange things that I didn’t understand. He was singing “Rain Rain Go Away,” but it sounded more like “train, train, ho ha wey.” He asked to play the Madonna CD, so we played a few tracks from “American Life” before we went for a walk. We saw a guy swimming in the pool, then stepping into the poolside shower, and Zen said “there Opa.” Funny.